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The HAT Project 2006/07 is supporting 20 exchange fellowships between England, South Asia and Australia

Johnny Magee

Residency at MIRIAD

The following is the original proposal submitted for the documentation of HAT International Research Fellowships for the Contemporary Crafts – South Asia and Australia.

The 'over arching' aim for the documentation artist is to 'visualise the project'


Documentation of the HAT International Fellowships, provides opportunities to further establish ‘documentation practice’ as contemporary art. Building on the previous HAT Australia/UK project, this research will find innovative and imaginative ways of involving and supporting resident fellows and hosts towards the creation of a documentation archive. The presentation of results will be different to the more usual quantitative evaluations seen at this level of research activity. The resulting body of documentation will form an archive, which will contribute towards a ‘legacy document’ such as: exhibition(s) and/or publication.

Documenting international research projects can be complex and expensive. Working as an artist in a ‘global’ context, opens up a new palette of media - based around internet technologies. This will enable the gathering and subsequent dissemination of material in new and more immediate ways. Furthermore the proposed Discussion Forum, will provide this global community with a stage for sharing ideas and debates.

The project is enhanced through a partnership between MIRIAD and A Fine Line.

My practice (historically) has been located within an area somewhere between ‘documentary’ and ‘documentation’. This has been developed through investigating a range of organisations: such as the Police, NHS, Orchestras Business communities.

Principle Documentation Aims

  • Create a body of dynamic ‘visual arts’ documentation as an alternative representation to that revealed by quantitative evaluation.
  • To place the artist, their work and the hosts at the heart of the project - drawing together outcomes and creating networks.
  • Find effective and engaging means of sharing documentation outcomes to external audiences through the management of the HAT Web site
  • Contribute to an archive/legacy which will support future advocacy

Additional Aims (related to my specific interests)

  • To establish documentation practice as a contemporary art form.
  • To consider HAT project work within an ‘institutional context’ where artists are associated (where appropriate) with institutional and organisational frameworks.
  • Seek ‘real’ alternatives to traditional documentation practices.

The Documentation

The process of the documentation will involve:

  • Making original responses through my practice as a film maker and photographer.
  • Supporting artists and hosts in the development of their own documentation archive.
  • Contributing to, and managing the development of a web based archive/blog and discussion forum.

Preliminary Work

To project manage the development of the HAT web site to ensure it functions as a selection tool. Once selection is complete, the site will change its architecture to act as a communication hub and developing archive of documentation practice.

Each of the selected Artists will agree a documentation strategy which is tailored to their preferred method of recording. Where feasible I shall visit artists in ‘the field’ to make direct responses myself. However, it is intended to use internet based technologies, (such as this web site) to encourage artists to compile their own log/journal in the form of web blogs, images and news of daily activity.


The methodology is intended to have an ‘open’ structure - allowing it to be tailored to each particular artist and their work.Therefore, the following methodology can be adapted to each artist

  • Establish contact and determine access arrangements.
  • Determine Artists own documentation strategy and agree an appropriate response.
  • Determine Artists IT Skills, and provide support/training
  • Introduce the Discussion Forum and encourage engagement
  • Create a unique web space for each artist
  • Visit artist and host in the field (where practical)


This aspect of the documentation presents the greatest challenge. The following elements will provide a familiar architecture

  • A ‘discussion forum’ will remain throughout the documentation period and beyond. Participants and external bodies will be encouraged to contribute to emerging discussion and debates relating the General Projects Aims.
  • It is envisaged that Documentation will be viewable through the HAT web site as it emerges. The site is being promoted as the central hub for communication and will be interactive, enabling each fellow and host to add and update their own web pages…. Before, during and after.

As the work emerges, it will be become developing archive of material with an ambition to it being accessed via an on-line resource. There will be opportunities to present findings at seminar, symposia and conferences.


The documentation of HAT is being undertaken in Partnership with MIRIAD (Manchester Institute for Research and Innovation in Art & Design).

The partnership brings the following benefits:

  • MIRIAD’s standing in the sector (Nationally & Internationally)
  • Knowledge Base (library, and staff expertise)
  • IT facilities (ability to house and serve high end web based facilities)
  • Administration
  • Accommodation for meetings
  • Conference facilities
  • Communications systems


Johnny Magee talks to conference during cHAT week at Sanskriti, Delhi, India. March 2007

Click on image to open QuickTime movie