Researcher

Ms Melinda Young

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Biography

My studio-based craft & research practice spans jewellery, textiles, installation and interactive public art projects. I have exhibited extensively in Australia and internationally, participating in over 200 group and solo exhibitions since 1997 including recent solo exhibitions in Bangkok and Sydney. My work is held in public collections in Australia and overseas and included in numerous publications.

My professional experience in the...view more

My studio-based craft & research practice spans jewellery, textiles, installation and interactive public art projects. I have exhibited extensively in Australia and internationally, participating in over 200 group and solo exhibitions since 1997 including recent solo exhibitions in Bangkok and Sydney. My work is held in public collections in Australia and overseas and included in numerous publications.

My professional experience in the contemporary craft and design field since 1999 has included gallery management, curatorial projects and writing commissions. I have been teaching for 20 years in community and tertiary education institutions including Enmore Design Centre (TAFE NSW), Sydney College of the Arts. Since 2015 I have been working with the Indigenous Jewellery Project, running workshops in communities and at Aboriginal Art Centres including Buku Larrnggay Mulka (NT), Ernabella (APY Lands) and Gab Titui Cultural Centre (Thursday Island). In 2020 I received an APA Scholarship to undertake a PhD in the School Of Geography & Sustainable Communities at the University of Wollongong. I have worked at UNSW Art & Design sessionally since 2002 and as an Associate Lecturer since 2017. 


My Qualifications

2020 - current PhD Candidate, School of Geography & Sustainable Communities, University of Wollongong

2017 - Foundations of University Learning & Teaching Certificate (FULT), University fo NSW

2016 - Certificate III Floristry

2007 - Graduate Diploma of Vocational Education & Training, Charles Sturt University

2007 - Certificate IV Workplace Assessment & Training, Charles Sturt University

2002 - Master of Visual Arts, Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney

1999 - Bachelor of Visual Arts (Hons), Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney 


My Awards

2020 - APA Scholarship, University of Wollongong

2019 - Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching, UNSW 

2006 - Profile Award for Established Artist, Jewellers & Metalsmiths Group fo Australia (JMGA) NSW


My Research Activities

I am a contemporary jeweller and craftsperson, my practice-based research moves across contemporary jewellery, small objects, speculative vessels, textiles and curatorial projects.  The research I undertook for my MVA at Sydney College of the Arts was concerned with re-presenting the natural state of the body using the written and visual language of scent, abjection, the body and botany alongside sensory materials such as soap and wax, to reference the interior and exterior landscapes of the body via actual and speculative jewellery objects. Ongoing research in this area deals with the memorative affect of scent as expressed through cultural constructs of (invisible) adornment.

Recently my research has shifted from an investigation of the interior landscapes of the body to the exterior, the spaces the body inhabits and moves through – an awareness of the body in the landscape via artificial re-presentation of ‘the natural’ and most recently a focus on the actions of making – the line, the stitch, the trace. A residency at Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery in 2014 was a significant immersive research experience which led to the development of a new body of work, silver city dreams, an investigation of place through wearables, speculative vessels and small-scale textile works. 

Since 2007 I have been working on a collaborative research project with Adelaide based artist Lauren Simeoni: unnatural, naturally. We explore ideas of permanence and impermanence and question of what it is to be ‘natural’ or ‘unnatural’ via material use, making methods and the imposition of project briefs and extending to viewer response, participatory actions and behavioural observation/manipulation. Together we have presented 15 iterations of our research through exhibitions, curatorial projects, workshops and participatory public artworks in Australia and overseas. 

I am currently undertaking a cross-disciplinary PhD at the Australian Centre for Culture Environment Society and Space (ACCESS), University of Wollongong. My research project explores how the concept of place has developed as a common touchstone for the maker, wearer/user and viewer of contemporary jewellery and small craft objectsMy research investigates how ‘objects carry traces (Ingold:2013 p.11) and how these traces help to distinguish and form personal narratives. Found materials (both natural and ‘unnatural’) continue to be a constant presence in my work, the recovery of leftover materials is used to develop narrative, direct meaning and context for the research and its physical outcomes. The action of moving through the landscape, the linearity of a journey rather than the abstract fictive space of the ‘excursion’ increasingly informs the production of the work and the liminal space of the journey is frequently the site of making. 

 

Since 2015, my teaching and research practice has extended to working with Indigenous artists on Country at Art & Cultural Centres around Australia as part of The Indigenous Jewellery Project, this is a nation-wide jewellery project managed by curator, writer and gallerist Emily McCulloch-Childs. I was invited to work on the project due to the use of natural materials and environmental narratives in my studio-based research practice. My involvement with the Indigenous Jewellery Project over the past 5 years has certainly had an effect on my work. Within the field of contemporary jewellery practice in Australia, there is an elevation of the importance to look to nature and repurposed materials. This runs parallel to my experiences of working alongside Indigenous artists, particularly at Buku-Larrnggay Mulka in Yirrkala where an understanding of the importance of place to material choices and narratives is coupled with the imperative that materials should come from place, from the land. My experiences of working as a guest on Country have heightened my sensitivity and awareness about the importance of Country and place, and raised questions in my research around how displacement is experienced in the work of artists with migrant backgrounds.


My Teaching

I have been teaching in the tertiary sector and community education for 20 years. My teaching career has focussed on contemporary jewellery, craft and design practice. I have experience in studio-based teaching as well as underpinning technique, history, theory, conceptual and professional practice. My teaching practice is built on a foundation of openness, curiosity, kindness and the importance of creating a respectful, inclusive community of practice that embraces diversity. 

Since 2015, my teaching and research practice has extended to working with Indigenous artists on Country at Art & Cultural Centres around Australia as part of The Indigenous Jewellery Project, this is a nation-wide jewellery project managed by curator, writer and gallerist Emily McCulloch-Childs. I was invited to work on the project due to the use of natural materials and environmental narratives in my studio-based research practice. My involvement with the Indigenous Jewellery Project over the past 5 years has certainly had an effect on my broader teaching and research practice. Within the field of contemporary jewellery practice in Australia, there is an elevation of the importance to look to nature and repurposed materials. This runs parallel to my experiences of working alongside Indigenous artists, particularly at Buku-Larrnggay Mulka in Yirrkala where an understanding of the importance of place to material choices and narratives is coupled with the imperative that materials should come from place, from the land. My experiences of working as a guest on Country have heightened my sensitivity and awareness about the importance of Country and place, and raised questions in my research around how displacement is experienced in the work of artists with migrant backgrounds.

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by Ms Melinda Young

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