Discourse lives beyond itself… in a living impulse towards the object (Mikhail Bakhtin, 1981)

The ‘Living Impulse’ exhibition springs from Lynne Cameron’s particular experiences as an artist who, in her other role as professor at the Open University, researches empathy and metaphor in discourse. Out of this interconnection come paintings that suggest fragmented landscapes of memory, where colour, layering and use of space respond to the places, data and emotions of her research.

This work began with post-conflict Northern Ireland, investigating how empathy became possible between an IRA bomber and the daughter of one of his victims. Over the last five years, her research has taken her to Kenya, Nepal, Brazil and USA, exploring the effect of uncertainties caused by violence and conflict on people’s empathy with each other. Her personal experience of watching her father’s decline through dementia brought a further dimension to understanding how empathy works across the gap of otherness, and produced a series of works on paper that concern how we communicate as life fades away.

A range of events will be held in the gallery space during the exhibition to explore these connections and to celebrate the launch of the e-book Empathy Dynamics in Conflict Transformation: A manual, produced by Lynne Cameron and Simon Weatherbed of the NGO Responding to Conflict.

The exhibition is supported by the UK Economic and Social Research Council, and The Open University.