Gareth Proskourine-Barnett & Alis Oldfield

Gareth Proskourine-Barnett, Senior Lecturer, Birmingham City University

Alis Oldfield, Lecturer, Birmingham City University

Gareth Proskourine-Barnett & Alis Oldfield

Gareth Proskourine-Barnett & Alis Oldfield

The Production Manual


Fuelled by an unwavering belief in interdisciplinary practice, the BA Art and Design course at Birmingham School of Art aims to give its students the wide toolkit of skills necessary to impact and change the world they graduate into. We look at design holistically, challenging our students to recognise the design inherent in the systems and structures that we live under. In this way, the course aims to create critical students/citizens that respond to the changing world outside the art school walls.

The ‘Production Manual’ is an initiative that has been developed for the first year students on the BA Art and Design course at BCU. Students were tasked with producing content for a collaborative publication that would act as a ‘toolkit’ or ‘guide to good practice’ that could be applied throughout their studies and into their professional careers. This manual was printed as a 315 page risograph tome, it is a manifesto for the ethos of the course and a testament to the students that collaboratively produced it.

The ‘Production Manual’ explores the potential for artists and designers to work in increasingly hybridised fashions across different disciplines. Through the project we explored the artist/designer as a shapeshifting dreamer, historian, activist, engineer and educator, setting a variety of independent and collaborative mini-projects as well as research activities around these positions to consider what it means to practice within an interdisciplinary art and design context.

This presentation will demonstrate how we applied alternative forms of pedagogy to challenge and remodel the BA Art and Design first-year program at BCU, building a framework through which the student’s contextual awareness grows along with their technical skill in various mediums and their ability to work collectively.


Gareth Proskourine-Barnett is a designer, researcher and educator based in Birmingham. His work applies design fictions to speculate on unstable landscapes and the way materials embody histories. He is currently working towards a PhD at the Royal College of Art where he is reimagining the Birmingham Central Library as a spaceship. Alongside his practice Gareth makes books as Tombstone Press and runs ‘The Reading Room’, an independent project space and library based in Stirchley. He is a senior lecturer at Birmingham City University where he teaches onto the BA Art and Design course. He is also a visiting tutor at the Royal College of Art where he contributes to the MA Visual Communication programme.

Alis Oldfield is an artist and lecturer. Her practice is inherently multidisciplinary, using varying means to immerse the viewer in constructed worlds. Focussing on willing suspensions of disbelief, her work plays with the fictions we create for ourselves. Revealing their own construction, these worlds cultivate friction between fiction and reality – examining the edges of belief.