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Gill Bliss

PhD Researcher, Loughborough University

Gill has been making and exhibiting her own ceramic design and sculptural work for over 30 yrs, alongside working freelance in the animation industry and part-time lecturing work. Notable freelance contracts have include working as a model-maker and specialist mould maker on film and TV projects including 'Chicken Run', 'Wallace and Gromit and the Curse of the Were Rabbit', 'Creature Comforts', and 'Timmy Time' for Aardman Animations (1997 – 2010): and 'Gogs', 'Tales of the World and 'Canterbury Tales' for Aaargh Animations (1996 – 2000).

Part-time lecturing work and Visiting Lecturer projects has included working on BA and MA courses in Animation, Illustration and 3D Design at Worcester University, UWCN (Newport), PCAD (Plymouth), Wolverhampton University. In recent years she has been involved with ‘Animated Exeter’, running workshops in model making and stop motion animation, particularly for ‘First Light’ schemes for 16-25 yr olds wishing to take a first step into media industries. As an independent animator, Gill made two short animation films with a grant from S4C, under their ‘Short-Shorts’ scheme: ‘Child’s Play’ (2000) and ‘In the Garden’(2001). Education: BA (1978) and MA (1995) in 3D Design – Ceramics undertaken at UWIC. Gill was awarded a studentship by the School of Art at Loughborough University and began full time PHD research in 2011.



‘How might a redefining of anthropomorphic and zoomorphic representation
bring a new impetus to the use of animal imagery in present day animation?’
The history of animation is interlaced with the use of anthropomorphism and zoomorphism as a device for creating popular characters and narratives. In the 'post-modern' critique of animal representation in art, there has been a largely negative debate surrounding anthropomorphism and the symbolic use of animal forms; echoing theories formulated for scientific studies in biosciences, social anthropology and social geography. How, then, can animation be understood as a relevant creative medium for investigating relationships between humans and non-human animals in the modern world?

In this practice based research I am bringing together my experience in animation and my interests in nature and ecology. Initial theoretical research has looked at ways of defining anthropomorphism and zoomorphism in animation, largely through design of character and narrative. I have been able to find a cross disciplinary platform by making use of descriptive terms found in Animal Sciences.

Moving into practical work, my own animation explorations are looking to take an experimental approach, combining animal and human form, texture, movement and sound in 'blended metaphors' as a response to experiencing interactions with living creatures.



Bliss, G., 2012 ‘Animals with Attitude’, Critical Perspectives on Animals in Society Conference, Exeter University. Conference proceedings pp37 - 44: https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/bitstream/handle/10871/8582/critical-perspectives-on-animals-in-society-2012-conference-proceedings.pdf?sequence=1

Bliss, G., 2008. ‘The Potters’ Question and Answer Book’. London: A&C Black.

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