My other work is research - I am an applied linguist, so I collect and examine the words that people say. For the last three years, I have been researching empathy, that's the connection that happens when we see another human being and understand how it is to be them. I have become intrigued by what blocks empathy between people, as much as how empathy works successfully.
Interestingly, the original idea of empathy first related to art, as German Einfühlung -- feeling into -- to describe how a viewer makes sense emotionally of a painting by feeling into it. There's lots about the research project on The Empathy Blog and technical detail on the project website. What I want to write about here is my increasing need to bring this research closer to my art. The paintings of Kenyan landscapes, for example, are not just landscapes but also memories of the research visit that took me to Kenya and the people I met there, their struggles to stop conflict and live in peace with neighbouring tribes. For me, the images echo with stories and the symbolic distances that violence creates. I am working out ways to communicate these echoes to viewers of the pictures, and also to use the images to make the research more striking.
Below you can see a leaflet that puts images together with words from the data. I'd love to hear your comments and to learn about other ways to do ART + RESEARCH