Researcher blog: Introducing Maud Haya-Baviera
This is the first in a series of blog posts where we introduce some newer members of research staff from the Art, Design and Media Research Centre (ADMRC). Kirsty Christer met up with multimedia artist Maud Haya-Baviera this week to find out more about her practice, teaching and some current research projects.
You joined SHU quite recently – why were you interested in coming to Hallam, and what is your role?
Before joining Sheffield Hallam University, I was an Associate Lecturer at The University of Derby and at the University of Sheffield. At the start of my contract at SHU I was also working on a major group exhibition at Site Gallery. I had undertaken the first six months of my MA, here, which I later finished in France, but apart from that, I was new to Sheffield Hallam. Research is crucial to me, and I wanted a part-time post in order to have enough time for research.
What was it like to join a new organisation just as the UK was entering lockdown?
It took a long time to get to know colleagues, since all contact was online, but I was welcomed by the Photographic team. We discovered a resilience within us that we might not have expected; we made it work.
In terms of research, I feel most close to the Repositioning of Archives cluster, which is really gathering momentum. The group mainly contains staff from the Media Arts and Communication department, but there are some overlaps with staff in other areas. I would love to work with SHU colleagues who have similar research interests.
How do you see your research and teaching impacting each other?
I try to integrate research into my teaching; I feel it is important for students to see that we practice what we preach. I teach on some of the professional modules and my own practice feeds through. Also, I have done some mentoring for artists undertaking practice-based PhDs.
Maud seeks to understand how artefacts and archival materials can be translated into digital medium. She uses the archive to grow an understanding of the past but also create an emotional response. Her research also seeks to ask if digital mediums can be part of a strategy to question cultural objects and if this can lead to developing an audience sensibility so that one can see themselves implicated in a variety of political realities and complex histories. She currently has two main strands of enquiry:
Heavy Water Collective
Together with artists Joanna Whittle and Victoria Lucas, Maud has formed the Heavy Water Collective. The Heavy Water Collective focuses on the reclamation of narratives in a contemporary context, in response to artefacts and remnants associated with human activity. They pair with galleries and museums and local archives to create exhibitions in response to their collections. Collaborations so far include G39 in Cardiff, University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) and Künstlerhaus in Dortmund, Germany, as well as Sheffield General Cemetery and the Site Gallery. These pairings aim to bring new life or understanding; a reframing or repositioning of existing work.
In their newest project, the Collective has a group show at Graves Gallery, Sheffield centred around JMW Turner’s painting The Festival of the Opening of the Vintage at Mâcon. PostNatures opened in March 2023 and invites us to rethink and further explore ideas of the feminine in nature.
Post-Traumatic Landscapes at La Cité de la Muette, Drancy
The second current strand of Maud’s work explores themes of war and the emotional aspects of war. Maud is collaborating with Dr Amanda Crawley Jackson (UAL) at the Imperial War Museum on a research project on La Cité de la Muette, a location where histories related to World War II, the Holocaust and forced migrations converge. La Cité de la Muette is an innovative 1930s ‘Grand ensemble’ public housing development in France which was co-oped as a prisoner of war camp during World War II and held thousands of French Jewish prisoners, later transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The Imperial War Museum holds a vast array of pre-1960 archives on La Cité de la Muette. Maud will study specific archival materials at the Imperial War Museum and in Drancy, and make artworks in response to these materials.
About the artist
Maud Haya-Baviera is a Lecturer in Photography at Sheffield Hallam University and a multimedia artist and researcher in ADMRC. She works with a variety of media and methods including video, photography, sculpture and installation employing the strategies of appropriation, performance and participation. She uses literature, cinema and any other material able to convey narratives, which she then playfully subverts to provoke new meanings. Her current work applies visual experiments to test, reveal and challenge harmful social and political constructs.