“My work explores the role of fragmentation, flux, and discontinuity in our conceptions of identity and sense of selfhood. I am interested in playing with frameworks and blurring boundaries – national, intellectual, cultural – and, through this interplay, bringing about transformations in the way we engage with the world around us. In this way, my work rethinks forms of authority, and challenges power through its critique of centres and its emphasis on peripheries.”
Richard Morgan is an artist and academic working on the ambivalence of human experience, the idea of interplay, and challenges to authority. In 2015 he completed a PhD in the History of Ideas at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London. His photographic artwork has been exhibited in London, most recently at Hoxton Arches and forthcoming at Le Dame Gallery. Richard works between London and places where he travels, including China, Russia, and the USA.
Project (Beyond the Frame: China upon London) / Object of Art:
These images are selected from my project Beyond the Frame: China upon London: an innovative street-photography project that explores the experience of travel between China and London. Working with an Olympus OM 1-n camera and 35mm film, I document the interactions, overlaps, and tensions between travel in China and life in London using a version of the double exposure method. After shooting the entire 36 frames of the film in China, I then rewind the film, reattach it within the camera (making sure that the frames are not aligned!), and shoot it through once more when I return to the UK. I then develop the double-exposed film. The final stage of the artistic process is to cut up the negative into the multi-frame images that constitute the completed pieces of my work. It is in this process – a very personal manipulation of the photographic film – that my work moves beyond the traditional photographic frame, creating art that transcends not only the boundaries of the photographic material, but of national and cultural space itself.
Through its layering of unaligned frames, my work creates images that give visual form to what I believe to be the fluctuant, fragmented, and discontinuous experience of travel. In so doing, Beyond the Frame: China upon London creates a space in which to rethink our memories of travel: how they interact, blur, and collide with one other in our minds.
Grants and Awards:
British Council China Scholarship
February 2015 – July 2015
South China University of Technology, Guangzhou
I was once of eight UK students to be selected for the British Council’s flagship scholarship to study Mandarin at a high-ranking Chinese university. The scholarship includes a maintenance grant and university fee payment for one semester.
SSEES Excellence Scholarship
The primary purpose of this scholarship is to financially support outstanding research students in the final stages of writing-up the PhD thesis. I received this departmental award based on academic excellence and excellence in the doctorial programme.
British Council Study China Scholarship
March – April 2013
Nanjing University, Nanjing
From over eleven hundred applicants, I was one of forty UK students to be selected for this prestigious academic scholarship to study Chinese language and culture in Nanjing. I was awarded A+ grades for the courses ‘Chinese Language (beginners)’ and ‘Chinese Culture and National Identity’.
Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) International Placement Scheme Fellowship
November 2012 – February 2013
Library of Congress, Washington DC
Funded by the AHRC, this unique fellowship to one of the world’s leading research institutions offered me the chance to explore the Library of Congress’s collections of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century anarchist materials, including the Paul Avrich collection.
UCL Expedition and Travel Committee Travel-Writing Grant
On the basis of my proposal to undertake an individual one-month travel-writing trip through Corsica, I was awarded one of the committee’s annual travel grants. The award supported my proposal to rehabilitate a forgotten nineteenth-century travel-writing discourse about the island of Corsica.
AHRC Doctoral Studentship Award
September 2010 – June 2013
I received full funding for my doctoral research. This award included a maintenance grant and university fee payment.
Centre for East European Language Based Area Studies MRes Studentship
September 2007 – June 2009
I received full funding for my MRes degree. This award included a maintenance grant and university fee payment.