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Norwich University of the Arts features in national campaign to highlight value of university research

Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) is featuring in a UK-wide campaign this week to highlight the value and importance of university research to our everyday lives.

NUA is highlighting its work to the local public on its website where visitors can view Proem, a short animated film by Professor Suzie Hanna, Chair of Animation Education at the University. Proem is an animated representation of Hart Crane’s iconic Proem, a short lyrical ode to the Brooklyn Bridge and New York City from his epic long poem The Bridge, published in 1930. The work is part of an ongoing collaboration with Dr Sally Bayley of the University of Oxford and Tom Simmons of the Royal College of Art researching into representation of poetic metaphor.

Still from Proem

Still from Proem

Professor Hanna animated the film using hand cut stencils imitating some graphic aspects of contemporaneous 1920s New York artists who were in Hart Crane’s coterie, such as Joseph Stella and Marsden Hartley. She also referenced Vorticism to capture vertiginous aspects of the verse. The voice of Tennessee Williams, who was an ardent admirer of Crane, is taken from a 1960 recording.

Proem has been selected for screenings at the Laugharne Castle Poetry and Film Festival Wales, the Filmpoem Festival in Antwerp, Belgium and the Liberated Words Poetry Film Festival and conference in Bristol. In March Professor Hanna and Dr Bayley gave a masterclass titled ‘Poetry in the Making’ at the Oxford Literary Festival.

An article on ‘Thinking Metaphorically and Allegorically: A Conversation between the fields of Poetry, Animation and Sound’ by Professor Hanna, Tom Simmons and Dr Bayley was published in 2013 in the Journal of American Studies, and a further installment has been commissioned for publication in 2014.

Still from Proem

Still from Proem

Professor John Last, Vice-Chancellor of NUA, says: “The research activity going on in our universities makes a huge contribution to the quality of teaching and learning experienced by students and is is vital to maintaining and driving forward the creative community at Norwich University of the Arts. We’re proud that 100% of our staff research is recognised as nationally recognised and NUA is ranked third among art and design communities in the UK in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise.”

Universities Week 2014 was launched officially on Monday 9 June by the Universities and Science Minister David Willetts MP at the Natural History Museum. A week-long public event is showcasing some of the best of UK university research. The event will feature 45 universities, including research stations, pop-up performances, debates and live research demonstrations, all covering a range of research themes.

Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: “The aim of Universities Week is to inspire the public about the world-leading research taking place in our universities.

“Led by some of the top researchers in the UK, the event at the Natural History Museum will be a fantastic showcase event for UK higher education. By hosting this free-to-attend and high-profile event, we hope that members of the public will be inspired and will leave having learned something new about how universities are helping to solve some of the UK’s, and world’s biggest challenges.”

Proem can be viewed online at www.nua.ac.uk/universities-week.

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