"The Role of Chance" Workshop with Michael Bowdidge


This three day practical workshop seeks to explore the role of chance (and its corollary – control) in art-making and their continued relevance to contemporary creative practice.

It begins with an examination of the historical origins of chance as an acknowledged mediator (or collaborator) in the artistic process before moving on to examine the ways in which artists have incorporated chance occurrences in their work. We’ll then move on to considering the workings of chance in our own individual practices and conduct an ‘audit’ of the workings of contingency and control in our respective processes, in order to ensure that the two are functioning in a well-balanced and considered way.

We’ll also be examining the difference between chance and randomness, and exploring how ideas from physics, philosophy and art intersect and inform our understanding of these concepts. Artists and theorists who inform this workshop include William Anastasi, John Cage, Marcel Duchamp, Anthony Eagle, Max Ernst, Helen Frankethaler, Eva Hesse, Margaret Iverson, Ellsworth Kelly, Lee Krasner, Jackson Pollock, Dieter Roth, Niki de Saint Phalle, and Kazuo Shiraga

Each day consists of a longer individual or collaborative practical assignment, backed up by presentations and class discussions of relevant artworks and readings, along with shorter exercises intended to bring the implications of the readings into sharper focus.


Michael Bowdidge is an artist who works with found objects, images and sound. He received his undergraduate degree in Fine Art from Middlesex Polytechnic in 1989, and completed his doctoral research at the University of Edinburgh in 2012. His project took the form of a practice-based investigation into the relationship between the later philosophy of Wittgenstein (specifically thePhilosophical Investigations) and assemblage sculpture. This research was fueled by the same curiosity about the possibilties of object-based sculptural practice which has also driven 20 years of creative production in this medium, resulting in a substantial number of exhibitions both within the United Kingdom and internationally. The notion of the sculptural as a distinctive set of qualities and criteria (after Koed) also informs his work. Michael works in a variety of educational contexts, which include academic and community settings. All of these activities enrich his teaching practice, and by extension, his creative output – as, for him, these two areas of endeavour are fundamentally intertwined.

Visit Michael’s website