Gaffney, Sheila Elizabeth (2019) Embodied Dreaming as a sculptural practice informed by an idea in the psychoanalytical writings of Christopher Bollas. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This thesis is written as an element of PhD research by sculpture practice, undertaken in response to the idea of ‘embodied dreaming’, a phrase originated by British psychoanalyst Christopher Bollas (1999). The investigations through practice, and the arguments made, construct a new definition of sculptural practice that embeds the psychic life of the maker in the action of making, and explores how this might contribute to existing histories of British sculpture. I use a capitalised form of Embodied Dreaming to differentiate my use from Bollas’. The concept of Artistic Research (Mika Hannula, Juha Suoranta and Tere Vadén, 2005) is used to characterise sculptural making in methodological terms and its key principle the ‘democracy of experiences’ enables the research to bring together critical and analytical practices with action based, manual processes in a way that has relevance to contemporary identity questions. The traditional processes of modelling and casting are reconfigured to encapsulate an understanding of the psychic activity of the maker when making, in relation to identity formations that have class, gender and multigenerational ethnicity in their scope. The research asks the question: how can sculpture convey what it is like to inhabit a woman’s body as the researcher knows it, which is differently positioned from the masculine contributions to the history of figuration that constitute the European and British sculptural canon from Rodin to the present day? Life writing, from a feminist perspective, is the key method used to reveal the interpretative psychoanalytical approach employed in the research, it is the way that knowledge of making is explicated, in methodological terms, from inside the practice as lived experience. The arguments made demonstrate how my proposal of Embodied Dreaming, which is the result of this research, is a way to understand what Tim Ingold has described as ‘thinking through making’, and analyse sculpture that results from such a practice (2013).

FINAL THESIS - Gaffney.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (3MB) | Preview


Downloads per month over past year

Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email