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News article

York St John gets a satirical version of Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth

Published: 24 January 2020

Academics standing either side of glass fronted display case

A small unit with a glass door has been temporarily installed in the YSJU Arts Foyer entitled The Satire Unit.   The unit is the brainchild of Dr Claire Hind who’s inviting staff and students from across the University to contribute their own objects of satire to go on display inside it.   

Claire says the inspiration for the project was three fold: the title of the soon-to-be-launched York Research Unit for the Study of Satire; Robert Daniels’ Tiny Live Art  Exhibition and the Fourth Plinth  Commission.  

She’s now keen for more submissions from across the University: “The unit is an exhibition space for us all to enjoy, a provocation in turbulent times,” she says. “Each object in the year-long project will be documented in a research paper.  This will examine the various different objects chosen, or made and displayed, the satirical topics they relate to, and how each contributor creatively deals with the term satire.” 

The first exhibitor is Human Geography lecturer Dr Ben Garlick with his take on the love / hate political debate: “In the wake of Brexit, fraught elections, and increasingly reductive debate, ‘Marmite Politics’ seeks to satirise the binary nature of contemporary discourse, the cult of political personality, and the absence of critical thought and reflection from society and politics. Also, I thought it would be funny. Plus it was very easy to make.”  

This physical unit heralds the launch of the York Research Unit for the Study of Satire. A Research Unit which seeks to draw together researchers and practitioners from within YSJU who are already working on projects which variously historicize, problematize, theorize, teach, and perform satire and satirical material. This will be launched at Fairfax House as part of the York Literature Festival in March. 

If you fancy submitting your own object to be considered for inclusion in the ‘unit’, please contact Dr Claire Hind.

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