2021 Abstracts Stage 2

Can paintings depict reality in a more meaningful way compared to photography in terms of political issues?

Investigating whether painting depicts reality in a more meaningful way compared to photography when faced with political and non-political issues and scenarios.

2021 Abstracts Stage 2

Sexual Promiscuity & ‘The Great Masturbator’: An understanding of the nature and ethics of this behaviour.

Object: Salvador Dali’s “The Great Masturbator” (1929) Painting. Dali’s history as an artist confused and disturbed by sexual behaviour and promiscuous acts is represented by the strange surreal distorted imagery surrounding the sexual act. Examining Dali’s strange and disturbed history with promiscuous behaviour encourages us to ask the following questions:
-What is the nature of sexual promiscuity?
-Is sexual promiscuity ethical?

2021 Abstracts Stage 2

Project Question : ‘How Might Walter Benjamin Compare the Influence that Digital Technology has had on All Forms of Art from the twentieth Century to the twenty-first Century?’

Although all forms of art have changed massively in the 21st century under the influence of digital technology, it is the forms of art that contained the aura in the 20th century that have changed the most as the aura that was once there, is no longer.

2021 Abstracts Stage 2

The Art of MMA

The object of this project is the sport of MMA itself, and the project will emphasise and refer to the philosophical concepts of Sun Tzu, with a concise focus on his philosophy of war within The Art of War. With regards to context, this project will emphasise how a mixed martial artist’s adherence of Sun Tzu’s war philosophy can contribute to the elevation of their performance. This essay will firstly address Sun Tzu’s Five Indispensable Matters of the leader and demonstrate how an MMA head coach’s adherence of these concepts can build the foundations of a successful team. This will be executed by outlining a specific MMA Gym that subconsciously adheres to the five matters and will meanwhile demonstrate the type of leader that aspiring mixed martial artists should aim to fight under in accordance with Sun Tzu’s philosophy. After evaluating the five matters, I will then focus upon Sun Tzu’s concepts of The Spirit of the Troops and Emptiness and Strength as here the emphasis will shift from leader to soldier, and therefore I will apply his philosophy directly to the fighter’s rather than their head coaches. Here I will apply his concepts to contemporary mixed martial arts examples and demonstrate circumstances where they are subconsciously applied by successful MMA practitioners. The purpose of this will be to demonstrate how a mixed martial artists adherence of the Sun Tzu’s philosophy can prove to be prudent in one’s pursuit of a world title. With regards to secondary literature, I will utilise Michaelson’s Sun Tzu for Execution, which is his interpretation of how to utilise Sun Tzu’s war philosophy to get results in the modern day. In order to improve the validity of this project I have also conducted two online interviews via direct message with professional mixed martial artists Nathan Fletcher (6-1) and Luke Riley (3-0), with the two athlete’s responses showing contrasting perspectives.

2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Marx, Benjamin, and Fisher: The Work of Art Commodified

Capitalism represses the emancipatory force of a work of art regarding both its production and how it is viewed. In transforming artists and artworks into commodities, the authority of artist and work of art are lost. The commercial function of capitalism brings art into the culture industry, in which art became a mere object for exchange.

2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Death, Beauty and Scandal : A philosophical investigation into the relationship between artists, their work and the consumer

In the contemporary world, which values accountability and justice, can we hold to esteem the art of individuals who have lived morally reprehensible lives?
Artists and their art are one, inseparable entity. The intentional act of creating art is to put an illusory part of oneself into the world, as in line with the philosophy of Nietzsche.
The feral Dionysian characteristic of artists has long been used to excuse morally reprehensible behaviour. However, due to the changing status of artists from remote, struggling characters into celebrities who are part of an elite world, artists are being held to a much higher standard of morals.

2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Art as Catharsis and as Therapy

The so-called ‘cathartic’ elements of art, especially music, have fascinated me in some way for a long time. The strong emotions that can be aroused in the presence of an artwork, or while one is listening to certain music, are very often difficult to comprehend and put into words – such feelings can be said to ‘elude common vocabulary’ (Gabrielsson, 2010, p. 548). Especially since by nature our individual experiences are so subjective, the cathartic or therapeutic nature of art can also be very difficult to make sense of and thus communicate to others, perhaps even yourself. However, there have been and continue to be more sociological and medical articles being published investigating the idea of art therapy, which seem to be gaining traction as sound cases arguing in favour of art therapy. In light of all of this, what this article aims to accomplish is split up into two parts: firstly, I will provide a thorough philosophical foundation for understanding the very idea of artistic catharsis, which will entail a deep and critical exploration into Aristotle’s concept of catharsis and the debates surrounding it; and secondly, once this has been done to a satisfactory level, I aim to transition into a more social and psychological approach by considering the current ways in which art therapy and catharsis are viewed today. This latter half will pay specific attention to the effects of music on various individuals and groups, taking into account the different factors at play that may impact how those individuals or groups experience music, and even several other art forms.

2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Separating Art from the Artist: An Investigation into the Commodification of Art and its Effects

The issue of whether we can, and should, separate art from the artist is perennial. This project considers the question of separating art from the artist and assess the effects of commodification of art in respect to it. Looking at competing ideas of artistic interpretation and focussing on the approach of historical materialism, this project presents a Marxist view of art and places commodification at the centre of the issue. This project considers Adorno and Horkheimer’s contributions to the subject in the form of their theory of the Culture Industry.

This project found that the effect of the commodification of art was the separation and alienation of the artist from their art. It suggests that this separation and alienation is a necessary feature of production in capitalist societies. The concept of autonomous art is presented as a potential solution to this problem, being defined by its functionlessness and the idea that it cannot or is not commodified.

2021 Abstracts Stage 2

Drag as a Social Deconstruction: the argument between Natural Kinds and Societal Kinds

For the past centuries, gender has increasingly become an important point of discussion. With changes to the law to allow women to vote, to changes in government documentation with the allowance of labelling of non-binary individuals, to the popularisation of those who do not follow typical gender identitys in media. There is even more important changes occuring within this generations lifetime that allow gender to become understood and a topic people are no longer afraid to investigate
There are many theories behind gender and possible explanations for why people identify certain ways. From the first argument which began thousands of years ago in Ancient Greece by Aristotle, which was natural kinds, whereby all females or males share the same ‘essence’ which later became the biological determinist theory which explained that there are biological reactions that cause individuals to either identify as male or female.
This is compared to societal kinds which means that gender identity is formed and continued through society. Our relationship with friends, family and the outside world determines how we identify. This is the position taken by most post-modern philosophers such as Judith Butler, Erving Goffman, and Nancy Chodorow. Each have a different explanation of how gender is formed and each place emphasis on different aspects of the individual’s social life.
Drag is a tool for individuals to help them experiment with their gender and an aid for helping improve self-esteem. This was studied by Jessica Strübel-Scheiner who helps to show the impact of drag in individuals from the lgbtq+ community.
To gain a deeper understanding of how gender is viewed in modern day society, compared to that of historical explanations.
To understand how drag can not only be used as a tool to help people understand their gender but as a way of combatting the stigma behind gender as well as creating a new environment for gender to progress.
Aristotle. (1999). Politics. (B. Jowett, Trans.) Ontario: Batoche Books.
Bach, T. (2012). Gender Is a Natural Kind with a Historical Essence. Ethics, 2.
Barnes, J. (2001). Early Greek Philosophy. London: Penguin Group.
Butler, J. (2007). Gender Trouble. New York: Routledge Classics.
Butler, J. (2011). Bodies that Matter. Oxford: Routledge Classics.
Entwistle, J. (2007). Addressing the Body. London: Routledge.
Ereshefsky, M., & Reydon, T. A. (2015). Scientific Kinds. Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition, 969-986.
Mambrol, N. (2016, December 8). Nancy Chodorow and Feminist Psychoanalysis. Retrieved from Literary Theory and Criticism:
Manders, B., & Windsor-Shellard, B. (2020, September 1). Office for National Statistics. Retrieved from Suicides in England and Wales: 2019 Registrations:
Millett, K. (1971). Sexual Politics. London: Granada Publishing Ltd.
Moi, T. (2001). What is a Woman? And Other Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Plato. (1952). Phaedrus. (R. Hackforth, Trans.) Cambridge: Cambridge university press.
Strübel-Scheiner, J. (2011). Gender Performativity and Self-Perception: Drag as Masquerade. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 12-19.

2021 Abstracts Stage 2

The Functionality of Tattoo Artistry and its Discourse in the Attachment of Meaning, Expression and Identity

Tattoo artistry is a form of permanent body adornment, which functions to establish as a form of art which configures a permanent establishment of meaning, expression and identity. Tattooing is a unique and heterogenous form of art which works directly upon the body as a canvas, eliciting a relationship of pain and sensation. Examples of recorded tattoo experiences and tattoo culture have been provided, both traditionally and contemporarily to establish the diversity and adaptation of historical change, as the tools and customs have been found to radically progress. The functions by which are carried out by tattoos, such as meaning, expression and identity, are able to be assessed with respect to differing perspectives. Present in discourse surrounding tattoo artistry, is how and why distinct differences in tradition and custom development are able to occur.
The application of Susan Sontag, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Fredrich Nietzche to the heterogeneity of tattoo discourse allowed for the consideration of hermeneutic culture, metaphysical expression and the re-establishment of the self as reflective functions present in the application of tattoos. These noted functions act indivisibly throughout the consideration of tattooing and the practical tattooing process. Tattooing discourse reveals the underlying difference in the conception of tattoos and its customs, with the exploration of contemporary experimental tattoo environments, displaying the developing ideologies present in the tattooing sector.

2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Deriving meaning in theatre – a philosophical investigation concerning the creative groups involved in the formation of a theatre production.

The theories that attempt to explain the derivation of meaning in art concerning the individual usually assume the original creator is one individual. Theatre however always contains three distinct creative groups in the formulation of a play. This dissertation aims to examine how theatre stands out amongst other art forms in the derivation of meaning due to the distinct creative groups involved in a theatre production.

I will be taking an autoethnographcial approach by applying the concepts to a performance of Hamlet that I was in and, by examining that experience, hopefully see if such theories accurately apply to theatre.

2017 Abstracts Stage 3

Artistic Appropriation: Do you Own what you Create?

Plagiarism is wrong. Says who? Why should we obey this? Does Plagiarism stifle creativity? Is plagiarism a force of coercion and obedience?

2017 Abstracts Stage 2

What can Louise Bourgeois tell us about art criticism?’: a meta-critique of philosophico-psychoanalytic readings of the artist.

Object: The art criticism of works in Louise Bourgeois’ Cells series
Territory: Contemporary art criticism
Concepts: Subjectivity, intention, Freudian psychoanalysis, the artist and their relation to works of art, authority of criticism
Philosophy: Nietzsche, Foucault, Wimsatt and Beardsley, Bal.

In my project, the work of Louise Bourgeois in her Cells series is utilised as a case study to explore wider issues in art criticism and how works of art are interpreted in relation to the artist. An examination of the reception of Louise Bourgeois’ work shows largely the same approach in psychoanalysing Louise Bourgeois and relating this back to her work and perceived intended meaning. Conversely, the position in the project argues that such a reading of her work, as well as that of other artists and authors, carries problems related to the importance of artistic intention, the public sphere of a work of art compared to the private sphere of the artist, as well as to what extent such readings are not only valid, but in the case of Louise Bourgeois count as genuine criticism rather than uncritically accepting her own statements.

Philosophy from the course included use of material from modules PHI2002 and PHI2006.

2017 Abstracts Stage 3

Can we resolve the conflict between Art and Science

My object is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and my territory is the relationship between art and science. In my project I argue that the arts (and humanities) come into conflict with science (and technology). Richard Dawkins laments that in his view science does not get the same respect as poetry. Meanwhile Midgley claims that science attempts to colonise humanities with inappropriate methods. Habermas claims that science has ‘infected’ politics, ethics and philosophy. Warbuton argues that the concepts used to evaluate scientific research are applied to the arts as well, but are not fit for this purpose.
Lyotard looks at one of the causes of this conflict. Narrative has been the main way of transmitting knowledge, and is still used in the arts. However, science condemns narrative as no knowledge at all, since narratives are only legitimated by their general acceptance. Science, on the other hand, requires legitimation by empirical evidence, and must be able to justify and defend its claims against challenges. However, science can only justify and defend its claims by using narrative, so could itself be accused of begging the question by using a form it has condemned as not susceptible to legitimation.

Heidegger argues that technology, by treating human beings as a reserve, poses a danger to our very essence. Pirsig proposes care as part of the solution. Heidegger sees care as constitutive of humans, inextricably linked with human life and temporality. Pirsig’s version of care is what provides the creativity and imagination which he demonstrates is needed by science to come up with new theories and hypotheses just as much as it is needed by the arts. If this is accepted then care, creativity and imagination could provide the basis for a bridge between the sciences and the arts.

2017 Abstracts Stage 2

The Cost of Creativity

Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization- the concept of madness and how it has developed over time. Foucault argues there was a specific moment in history when madness was labelled as a mental illness.

Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy- life is subject to extreme bouts of suffering. Artistic production can contribute towards overcoming the pain we encounter in life. What implications does this have on the link between madness and creativity?

Are creative spirits more likely to be mentally ill? Ultimately the aim of this project is to reflect upon the complex relationship between insanity and creativity, to decide whether there is a correlation between individuals who suffer from psychological disorders, such as schizophrenia, and those who are highly artistic. It is arguable that there is a link, as mental illness and creativity often co-occur. However, this project will also reflect upon the idea that a correlation is simply a romanticised outlook with dangerous implications, and that mental illness does not need to be present for creativity to exist.

The subject matter will be considered via the philosophical thoughts of Foucault, Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, but also with reference to the psychoanalysis work of Freud drawing upon examples such as Daniel Paul Schreber, a famous German judge who was a diagnosed schizophrenic, whom Freud interpreted. The evident Freudian influence expressed by Andre Breton within his novel Nadja will also be addressed. Breton believed insane people were simply victims of their imagination.

‘Madness need not be all breakdown. It may also be break through. It is potential liberation and renewal’

2017 Abstracts Stage 3

On Bunnies: An Interpretative Approach to Playboy in the Sphere of Art

The use of nude photography does not exclude a work from the sphere of art

Featured Articles

Rose: The Paradigm case of Pornography-Playboy does not possess the same explicit sexual characteristics of other ‘adult’ entertainment.
-In the production of Playboy, there is no violation of liberty or victim.

Noë: ‘strange tools’ -art is purely the subversion of function and purpose, that calls into question the surrounding presuppositions -Playboy does not have his same subversion intention.

Hegel- the closest instance to absolute truth within art is the human form “we must search out that in Nature which on its own merits
belongs to the essence and actuality of the mind…The human form is employed…exclusively as the existence and physical form correspond to themind” (Hegel, 2004)

2015 Abstracts Stage 3


A philosophical investigation into the monumental art and cultural changes at the beginning of the 20th Century – specifically focused on the art movement Surrealism and the philosophical theory of Walter Benjamin, juxtaposed with the thought of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.
To what effect did Surrealism change the course of our culture and did it succeed in its ambition to eradicate art pour l’art ? Are we capable of appreciating art beyond the sphere of aesthetics? Why Surrealism is such a tremendous influence on artists today, and particularly in the medium of film? What cultural changes were occurring during this time that enabled the movement to flourish, and what were the lasting effects? Does Surrealist art allow for freer expression, and can this constitute fine art? Furthermore, is it the leading cause of our amalgamation of high and low cultures, and is this a good thing?
I will be evaluating these questions amongst many others in my final year project, looking specifically at the artists Giorgio de Chirico and Frida Kahlo.

2014 Abstracts Stage 2

Is Dadaism Anti-Art?

The internationally revolutionary art movement Dadaism changed what we constitute as art to this day. Fundamentally a form of protest art, it has deep philosophical roots. In my project I will investigate Dadaism and what the artists stood for.

Albert Camus famously wrote about the concept of the absurd; Dada was a chaotic mix of nonsense, humour and nihilism – just how important is art in our ill-fated world?

Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Aesthetic Judgement pens what should constitute fine art – does this notion apply to the unrestrained world of the Dadaists?

Finally, I will use Nietzsche’s early and middle period writings to analyse the importance of art and culture in our society – is culture an illusion, and what is the importance of art in our lives?

2014 Abstracts Stage 3

A Philosophical Enquiry into the Relationship between Art, Politics and Architecture in a ‘Post-Political World’

With reference to:
 Rancière’s metapolitical framing of architecture and the reconstruction of Brodsky

The intention of this project is to outline three independent topics concerning: (1) Rancière’s ‘metapolitical’ framing of architecture, (2) Alexander Brodsky and Illya Utkin’s ‘Paper Architecture’, and (3) Ralph Erskine’s ‘democratic’ architecture, with the aim of analysing and assessing the question as to whether there is room for a political enquiry into the philosophy of architecture in a ‘post-political’ world.

2013 Abstracts Stage 3

The Proliferation of Contemporary Capitalism in the Art World: Between the Global Market and the Business of Art Production

Since Sotheby’s auction house opened in 1744, the art market has grown and now sells pieces for millions of dollars every day. My project explores the societal and technological changes which have occurred throughout modernity to understand why paintings like The Scream were bought for over $119 million.

Commodity fetishism and the global art market
Using Marx’s exploration of capitalism I focused on what constitutes a commodity and how art has been fetishized. I then incorporated Vattimo’s use of telematics and globalised media to demonstrate capitalisms more recent developments; this enabled me to discuss the role paintings have played in a global billion dollar market. In contrast I also looked back to 15th century artists, to understand if art has become a commodity only with the advent of capitalism and technology.

Mechanical technology and mass production
I used Benjamin’s philosophy of mechanical reproducibility to highlight the importance of technological advancement, especially that of mass reproduction, in selling the image of a work enabling fame and exposure to a wider market.

I also looked to how these factors of the current market affected the minds and work of artists themselves using the philosophy of Andy Warhol, and the artwork of Damien Hurst, Warhol himself, and Julian Opie. All of these artists demonstrated the drive of a capitalist mind-set, have benefited from global exposure, and produce pieces using technology invented in a postmodern age such as laser printing and spinning. My goal was to ultimately demonstrate that the market has changed both the nature of the art which is produced and opened the art world up to everyone on a global scale.

Internally replicable model of the art market
Mass reproduction of famous classical/modern works (such as The Scream and No.1)
Original work becomes more valuable as its image and fame is spread over a global market (both sold for millions)