MA3 — Week 8: Ethics, PPP and FIFCA

Visiting Lecture with Dr Michele Whiting FHEA

The biggest take away from Dr. Whiting’s lecture was a desire to reclaim physical space, through action, but also to reclaim a memory through material and transmit the experience to the viewer.

I could really feel the landscape through the work she showed us, and I really enjoyed the performative aspect of the slide show, through the addition of the writing. Through the paintings and drawings I felt i could feel not only the process of making the marks, but also a unity between those marks and the process of walking, physically moving though the space. The soft edges, colour palette and textures all lent themselves to the landscapes that I could feel even through I have never been to the UK.


Role of Artist and Ethics

I was a bit surprised this is the first time ethics has come up during the MA formally, but it is something I often think about. When I received my first research grant as an undergrad, I had to take an ethics workshop and comply with the Research Ethics Boards’ and receive approval from the Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCPS) standards for my work. The workshop was general, and I worked alongside mathematicians, scientist, social scientists and musicians during the training, but I think as a whole the guiding principles should apply to all:

  • respect for human dignity
  • respect for free and informed consent voluntarily given
  • respect for vulnerable persons
  • respect for privacy and confidentiality
  • respect for justice and inclusiveness
  • balancing harms and benefits
  • minimizing harm
  • maximizing benefits

In career climbing we must also be careful to be ethical in our lives. I think the rules for researching and working ethically can apply to all aspects of our being in the world. We must treat others with respect, and provide opportunities for informed consent and respect any times we work with vulnerable populations, being cautious of our privileges and advantages.

I think generally working with others in a respectful, collaborative way always results in more dynamic, engaging and considered work, and it is through sharing that we can grow as a culture. The divisiveness and competitiveness that often occurs in the art world can only lead to hurting the larger community in the long run, and limiting your own knowledge about when you may be treading on others, appropriating other’s work or being unprofessional in the end.

Because of this, I don’t think that work and the self, can be separate, and that to make ethical work, we must also be moral as an individual. Even if a work is ethical, if the maker has unethical qualities or seems to be doing questionable things with their privilege, that is tied to the work and a part of the work too.

Generally I don’t think art can be separate form the social world it is a part of, and it is important to the cognizant and sensitive to the diverse social issues which we are all a part of as artists. It is our responsibility, as independent makers and thinkers to act in ethical ways, and produce work that has been considered, because it is an amazing privilege to be able to make art, and we should acknowledge the responsibility wherewithin.


In the hopes of getting an early crack at the final submissions for this year, I decided to get a jump start and do a preliminary edit this past weekend. The most major edits were to the year ahead section and the 5 years, as I would like to keep the momentum from the MA going next year, and am trying to shoot for slightly bigger goals in the long run, in the hopes that some manifestation might help.

Rachel Thornton PPP Year 3 

Install at Atelier Imago Inc.

This week I set up a small exhibition at the Atelier Imago Inc, an artist run-print shop in Moncton, NB as a part of the Volet Arts médiatiques projects for FICFA (Festival international du cinéma francophone en Acadie). The exhibition opens 14 November and is on view until 15 December.

I really appreciated the opportunity to put up some fresh work, and that they translated my statement and bio:

Le film uranography propose un nouvel agencement des étoiles du ciel nocturne. Inspirée de l’histoire de l’astronomie, de la cartographie céleste et des représentations mythologiques d’Uranie, la vidéo allie une version réinventée du cosmos aux étoiles existantes pour créer un nouvel arrangement des étoiles. L’intouchable cosmos est manipulé par une voix narrative silencieuse et anonyme à l’aide de dessins, d’images imprimées et de séquences de films trouvées.

Rachel M Thornton est une artiste émergente et une commissaire, descendante des premiers colons. Elle vit présentement sur les terres non-cédées des nations Micmac et Wolastoqiyik (Sigenigteoag / Sackville, N.-B.). Elle explore sa fascination pour le cosmos par l’entremise de divers médiums, dont le dessin, la vidéo et le numérique.

Elle détient un Baccalauréat en arts visuels avec distinction de l’université Mount Allison à Sackville et est étudiante au programme de maïtrise en arts visuels au Open College of the Arts à Barnsley, au Royaume-Uni.

Final Video after some slight changes that are probably even too minor to notice:

Installation view, better documentation to come


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