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Making that remembers: a correspondence between emotion and material

Key words: writing, speaking, material, unbelonging, care

My research is framed by recollection, writing and making and my inquiry is as follows:

What role does making play in writing and emotional articulation? How is writing as artistic practice giving form to certain kinds of silencing, and how might these investigations, specifically in relation to introspection, give new insights into the liminal states of longing and unbelonging. By association, my questions also reference the throat, the voice, speech and song. Building on personal references, I want to push and blur the boundaries of practice and theory employing both to speak on my behalf.

The research is led by two questions: how can writing and recordings as artform induce affective reaction and radical care? In what ways can an expression of the aftermath of growing up in the state care system, specifically that of women, change wider social and academic debates on care and carelessness?

Inherent to this inquiry is remembering – in terms of cognitive recall; the material properties of paper pushed beyond passive substrate; and audio recording as a form of retrieval. A cultural relationship with the colour blue as symbolic and metaphorical register for emotion has also become central to this research. My particular focus relates to indigo and a speculative idea of its potential to stimulate latent, early memories and an echo of an elsewhere.

I am working with a practice led research method: close looking, iteration, concealment, fragmentation, residue, close listening, verbatim theatre methods and the epistolary alongside writing, freewriting, papermaking, indigo dyeing, watermarking, laser etching and audio recording to examine the autobiographical through the lenses of autotheory in correspondence with affect theory. The research foregrounds what Tim Ingold (2013) describes as ‘thinking through making’.

I am investigating the point at which writing and material engagement coalesce to give new perspectives on putting pen to paper. I am paying attention to the materiality of writing, the meaning of the words, what the writing gesture transmits and transfers – what is being absorbed by or dissolving into the paper as I work and how I can manipulate these unseen traces to dissect my inquiry. The materiality of writing extends to recorded readings of the written word, and voice notes to self and others.

I am privileging fault lines and weak spots as essential components – fragility, fracture, instability, dissolve, impermanence, residue, risk, mess, breaks. This presupposes vulnerability, unpredictability and temporality in the form the artworks take, and what Elena Ferrante (2017) calls ‘frantumaglia’ with regards to the form the thesis writing takes. These tangible attributes are being studied in direct relationship with the precarious, oscillating, internal-versus-external negotiation provoked by the two liminal states driving this project – longing and unbelonging.

Key details


  • London Arts & Humanities Partnership (LAHP) Studentship

Personal links


More about Maria

My artistic concerns are influenced by the complexities of the relational – between people, and between people and place. Through writing, printmaking, artist’s books, audio visual works and sometimes glassmaking I am trying to substantiate what might be going on in collective situations, paying specific attention to what is hidden, obscured or unspoken.

I have developed projects with museums, galleries and other cultural organisations including: Watermarks (2021), Metal Culture; “Where are we?” (2020) Mid-Sussex, District Council; edge/threshold/brink (2018), Nuit Blanche Toronto; Act, Campaign, Petition, Reform, Lobby, Argue and Soit droit fait come est desire (Let it be done as it is desired) (2015); Houses of Parliament; Workforce (a work in progress) (2014), National Maritime Museum; a moment of your time (2013), People United in association with Turner Contemporary; Betty, Pat, Diane, Ivy, Lynette, Bonney (2011), Parramatta Artists’ Studios; Dolphin Loves Disco (and other favourite words) (2012), PEER; 21st Century Reporter (2005), Foundling Museum; Tribute (2002), Arnolfini and Bristol Royal Children’s Hospital; Finders, Keepers (2001), Horniman Museum & Gardens; and …a moment caught in three dimension(s) (1999), 198 Contemporary Arts & Learning.

Work in public and private collections including the Parliamentary Archives (UK), V&A, Arnolfini Collection Trust, and Limerick National Drawing Collection.

MA, Royal College of Art

BA (Hons) West Surrey College of Art & Design

Future Collect 2023, iniva/Towner Eastbourne

Winston Churchill Fellowship

Project Grant, Arts Council England

London Arts & Humanities Partnership (LAHP)

Developing Your Creative Practice Grant

Future Collect Commission | solo show | Towner Eastbourne, Spring 2024

living in fear of quicksand | solo exhibition | Nunnery Gallery and Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives | Curator: Gemma Lloyd, 3 Mar - 21 May 2023

Untitled: an INDEX exhibition of works in progress | solo exhibition | Stuart Hall Library | 14 Feb - 28 Apr 2023

Who speaks? Who Listens?, Martina Margetts (2023)

Maria Amidu and Gemma Lloyd In Conversation (2023)

Episodes, I Care By… Research Communiques, RCA School of Arts and Humanities (2021)

public art needs the people and the people need public art, What’s the Point? a case for art in the public domain, UP Projects, London (2020)