The Gesture of Thinking: Embodied cognition in creative practice

“It is not pictures as objects of perception, that can teach us about perceiving; rather, it is making pictures – that is, the skilful construction of pictures – that can illuminate experience, or rather the making or enacting of experience.” Alva Noë

hand on canvas

This installation explored processes of embodied cognition through painting.  It aimed to understand creative practice as an agential, corporeal activity performed by a body moving through its environment.  Through gesture, materiality and the use of tools, visual knowledge emerges in a process of artistic labour.  Painting, in this laborious process, is thinking – “in that instant when his vision becomes gesture, when, in Cézanne’s words, he ‘thinks in painting’”.  Merleau-Ponty

Thursday 9th May 2013, 11-3 (drop-in).  Alec Clegg studio, stage@leeds, School of Performance and Cultural Industries.

This event is documented here.


Feeling a way through …

feel your way

  • to judge where you are going by touching with your hands instead of looking
  • to act slowly and carefully because you are not certain how to do something

Cambridge Dictionaries Online

Feeling a way through … was an invitation to participate in the work of art.  In a shared exploration of paintings and video made during the artist’s ongoing project of making sense of climate change responsibility, participants were invited to share their readings and responses to the artwork – through reflection, conversation, and dialogue. 

Hand feeling painting

Tuesday 17th December 2013 at 12-1pm and 2-3pm, Alec Clegg studio, stage@leeds.
School of Performance and Cultural Industries, University of Leeds.

The event is documented here.


The Garden of Earthly Delights


‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’ was an inquiry into the feelings that arise from being affected by climate change – and from knowing that we are affecting climate.  It was an invitation to an inquiry into making sense of climate change responsibility.  In a shared exploration of paintings and video made during the artist’s PhD research, participants were invited to participate in making the art work through reflection and dialogue.


Thursday 18th May 2017, 11am to 1pm. Alec Clegg studio, stage@leeds.

The event is documented here.



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