Hello I’m Valerie Oliver. I am originally from Philadelphia, PA and am a practicing conceptual artist, producing installations using video amongst mixed media materials which are significant to an idea. Use of photography becomes part of the documented work. Most of my work is site-specific. My process encompasses a variety of subjects, which displacement and space are key elements. The intention behind the work allows the viewer to engage in private thoughts in public places. Enabling viewers to think of their existence and question their actions within their own social structure.
My art career consists of combining my practice with working in various educational and community institutions including managing and leading socially inclusion community partnership funded projects with diverse groups. The experience of working out in the community has introduced me to challenging situations to which I have been able to use my range of skills as a conceptual artist including my teaching skills that continue to evolve.
I hold a PhD in Creativity and Culture from the awarding body of Brunel University (2016). My thesis explored how and if using contemporary art education and practices can help to reintegrate marginalised youth and to raise their sense of self-efficacy. The framework of theory involving Sartre (2003), Foucault (1977), and Bandura (1994) informed the research activity in the action research undertaken. The research design involved selected research methods incorporating contemporary ‘art-based’ practices and case studies. At present, I have submitted two journal articles for review; 1) of my findings and 2) regarding change in social and penal arts programmes.
I wanted to further enhance my higher education (obtained in the US) within the visual arts. I attended Winchester School of Art where I earned a BA (Hon’s) Visual Art (2004) and MA Fine Art by Project (2005). This is when I had undergone change within the way I worked and developed my theoretical context within my practice. My practice supports and interlinks my research interest which remains within the field of fine arts and the framework of theory of ‘the self’, transcendence, responsibility, and self-efficacy. This provides an analysis towards the effectiveness of contemporary art practices as a valid tool (approach) in the contexts of education and its role in social exclusion environments. It includes the fine arts significance as a broader approach in core education settings and external organisations.
I continue to advance my skill set. In 2014, I completed a City and Guilds Level 3 Award in Education and Training. Recently in 2016, I completed a Chair Governors course from the National College for Teaching & Leadership.
With regards to my research I am interested to develop further research into the key elements found present in the treatment of the participants in the action research project which were; 1) separation that is used as a function and 2) space that is used for placement.