Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Staff Profile

Erika Servin

Lecturer in Fine Art / Printmaking Technician

Background

Introduction

I am a committed, enthusiastic and passionate artist and educator with over 15 years of working within HEIs whilst maintaining a national and international exhibiting profile. My work is socially focused, and in content and process, works toward expressing the reality of human nature often intercultural.

Background

Born in Mexico City in 1972 and lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. In 2000 obtained her Master of Arts degree in New York University. In 1998 received a Fulbright-Garcia Robles grant to study her MA.

Roles and Responsibilities

Working within Newcastle University’s Fine Art Department, I have specialized in printmaking, delivering tuition to students throughout the four stages of the degree programme on both conceptual and technical aspects of their work. I also regularly work with M-Level and PhD students on their research, and have worked with several colleagues from other departments on interdisciplinary projects. I have highly developed printmaking skills and am up-to-date with recent technologies and programs, as well as a range of printmaking techniques, orthodox and non-toxic. I am well versed in Health and Safety procedures, risk assessments and in my current role have to undertake considerable administration and organization.

Qualifications

Master of Arts New York University

Memberships

Edinburgh Printmakers
Trustee for Northern Print

CLACS

Honours and Awards

Fulbright Scholar

Languages

Spanish
Finnish
English

Informal Interests

Design

 Google Scholar: Click here.


Research

Research Interests

Printmaking is my primary source of practice, not only I am interested due to its well known historic, political relationship with Mexican popular prints but also owing to its unique qualities of reproduction and graphic possibilities. Through my artwork I translate the concept of Mexican popular culture from symbols into narratives. There is a political aspect contained within printmaking and it has an important role in societal changes. 

Other Expertise

Painting and drawing.

Current Work

MUXE NOW

Research context: The Zapotec term ‘Muxe’ (or ‘muxhe’) refers to people

who are assigned male at birth but who identify as female. Juchitan is

home to a sizable group of ‘Muxes’ and the community dates back at least

 to the 1950’s and probably much further. The Muxe tradition is local and indigenous. They may take on traditional female roles within the household, including cooking, housework and childcare. Now a day they are taking

important roles in political life. Muxe’ have a vibrant visual culture which is specific to the Zapotec people of Southern Mexico. Here the ‘Muxe’ are

regarded not as transsexual but as a ‘third gender’.


Research Aims: MUXE NOW is a fine art practice-based research project

that explores the distinctive visual identity of the ‘Muxe’ and its relation to contemporary globalised culture. The project will provide new perspectives

on gender identities and visual and media culture and race in Mexico. The research context for the project starts locally in Juchitan, in the Mexican

 state of Oaxaca, but makes connections between local and global

concerns in relation to gender/visual identities, race and specifically to

the idea of a ‘third gender’.

Objectives

1) To work collaboratively with members of the local ‘Muxe’ community in Juchitan to create a new contemporary art installation that explores the

visual traditions of the ‘Muxe’ in relation to global visual and media culture.

2) To publicly exhibit this new artwork in Mexico (La Curtiduria, Oaxaca;

Museo de Culturas Populares, Mexico City).

3) Through these creative and public-facing activities, to focus new

attention on Zapotec culture and to generate cross-disciplinary discussion

(e.g. between sociologists, geographers, media studies and the

contemporary arts) on gender identity and visual culture and to issues of

societal change and to economic development in Mexico.


Methodology

MUXE NOW is a fine-art practice-based research project. At the heart of the project is the production and public presentation of a new mixed-media large-scale artwork installation (by Erika Servin) developed in collaboration with members of the ‘Muxe’ community. The creation of this artwork will develop from local fieldwork on visual cultures conducted in Juchitan and through cross-disciplinary research dialogues with Co-Investigators in gender studies and sociology at Newcastle University and Cambridge University and with Mexico-based academic and arts sector collaborators.

Micro Macro Photo Litho

I was awarded the Institute of Creative Arts Award for a collaborative project: ”Interdisciplinary exchange in technical process of photo-lithography”, with Dr. Enrique Escobedo-Cousin a Research Associate from the Institute of Neuroscience/School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. The main objective of this collaboration was to produce a collection of macro and micro scale images which was exhibited July 2017 in Newcastle Upon Tyne and in Mexico City at the Galeria Taller de Arte Contemporaneo (T.A.C.O) in November 2017, which shares conceptual approaches and to exchange technical processes and which will also be accompanied by a seminar.

In March of 2017 I was awarded the School of Arts and Cultures Strategic Research Fund, for the project: “Lithography development for Excellence in Print”. This application seeks support to develop new skills and networks in printmaking, specifically in sustainable lithography methods and techniques, and to enhance the printmaking research (and teaching) environment at Newcastle University.

In September 2018 had an exhibition at the Biblioteca Central of Cantabria and delivered an Academic Paper for Impact 10 conference in Santander, Spain. 

In November 2018 exhibited new work related to Micro Macro at Fig!8 Bilbao International Print and Paper Fair. Where I gave a talk and judge the work for the award of Young Creatives. 


At the same time I am working on a project called Pulque:

Pulque

It is a project that investigates an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the maguey plant. It is traditional to central Mexico, where it has been produced for millennia. I am interested in the revival of this drink and its relation to the community and social traditions as well as the visual symbols that are contained in old and new culture. The mix of pre-Columbian and contemporary identity and the interest of the visual significance and historical importance are the centre of my research interests. 

The project compromises:

  • a series of prints taken from a photographic and video source of the “pulquerias”
  • an intervention of those public space (Pulqueria Insurgentes)
  • interaction of artists, art students and the consumers of the drink.


Teaching

Currently I am teaching 7 second year undergraduate students.

And I also work with all undergraduates and graduates that sign up to different Printmaking workshops, courses and events.

Through a Staff Developing course I produced a new video-based learning resource for students through documentation of first year workshops led by painter/printmaker Gavin Robson. This is now an on-line resource readily available to students.

The City and Guilds highlighted this project as being a useful 24-hour online teaching and learning resource. This Staff Development course in Leadership and Management also developed my capacity for evaluating and reflecting on my own practice.


Publications

  • Servin E, Escobedo-Cousin E. Micro Macro Photo Litho Prints. Newcastle and Mexico City: Newcastle University UK and T.A.C.O. Mexico City, 2017.
  • Servin E. Brewing Prints. 2015. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Ex Libris Gallery, Newcastle University, 2.
  • Servin E. Essays and Defective Materials. 2015. Veracruz, Mexico: Galeria AP, 2.
  • Servin E. Foreign Encounter. 2015. Munich, Germany: FOE Galerie, 1.
  • Servin E. Mujeres en la Grafica. 2015. Mexico City, Mexico: Museum of History of Tlalpan, 1. In Preparation.
  • Servin E. Mujeres Mexicanas. 2015. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: 36 Lime Street Gallery, 2.