Angela Maddock in the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care
From October 2016 to March 2017, textile maker Angela Maddock, whose practice explores emotional and physical intimacy, worked in a collaboration between the clinical skills team in nursing and midwifery and their students in the simulation lab.
Angela's residency in the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care was part of the Parallel practices scheme at King's. Parallel practices was a pilot project of residencies, partnering makers and medical professionals, supported by the university's Culture team and the Crafts Council. Through these residencies, the project aimed to demonstrate the mutual benefits and value of collaboration between biomedical scientists and craft makers. The project was intended to stimulate learning and innovation through a focus on the body, materials and processes that inform clinical outcomes and artistic practice. This lead to new ways of working in collaboration and showcase tangible outcomes such as new artistic work and medical interventions in craft making.
During her Parallel practices residency at King's, Angela worked across the Faculty to explore and develop material empathy with nursing and midwifery students through skills associated with textile making. The project sought to support students in developing their haptic skills and extending their personal and professional development through creativity and reflective practice. Angela’s initial work explored what the students understand by haptic practice. From this she developed workshops for the students across her six-month residency that focused on making as a methodology for developing emotional and material empathy.
Through her collaborations with the Faculty staff and students, Angela explored parallels between nursing and her own field of practice, realising similarities between nursing fundamentals and textile ones and how both fields have foundations from which everything begins. In her first Parallel Practices blog post on the Crafts Council website Angela wrote: 'I think of warping up, casting on, even threading a needle. All first steps that we can sometimes take for granted but out of which everything else comes into being. How in both fields we need a proper grasp of these things before we can become well practiced – I notice the link here between the hand and the grasp. Perhaps, in this respect, textile makers and nursing students both need to become properly "handy"'.
At the beginning of November 2016, Angela began a project called Patching up, which ran throughout her six-month residency and culminated in an exhibition of finished works. For Patching up, students were asked to bring along a valued object in need of repair and, through a process of discussion, reflection and negotiation, they developed a care plan for the object and they continue the repair in their own time. There is a blog on the King's website that features contributions from students across the faculty, their photos and their reflections on what the process means for them.
Explaining the thinking behind the project, Angela said that 'our emphasis was on visible repairs, which is where the phrase "patching up" comes in. Together we could reflect on what it means to repair, but also we realised that we cannot always return something to its original state. A "patched up" jumper is always a jumper, but a "patched up" porcelain cup might no longer serve as a functioning tea cup, instead, an interesting repair might shift it into a very different category…something to be admired, but no longer safe to drink from.'
About the artist
Angela Maddock is interested in how we belong and how we build relationships with each other and with objects or things, especially things that are handmade and given to us as gifts. She is a knitter, weaver and writer and also a lecturer in contextual studies and textiles.
Angela's research investigates the potential of knitting as research methodology. This she does via the simple act of knitting between mother and daughter, a process of discovery that generates new thinking on knitting itself, and also on knitting as conduit between subject and object and as a catalyst for thinking on such varied themes as proximity, love, loss and desire.
She is a part-time senior lecturer in Contextual Studies at Swansea College of Art and leads its MA Textiles programme. A textile practitioner, writer and researcher, currently in her fifth year of a six-year practice based PhD at the Royal College of Art, where she is also a visiting tutor.