I am an artist and Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University.
I have a MA in Sculpture from Chelsea College of Art, London (1994), and a BA in Fine Art from the University of Reading (1987). I have exhibited widely nationally and internationally, including three international biennials (Istanbul Biennial, Mardin Biennial and the British Ceramics Biennial).
From 1995 to 2013, I was a member of The Research Group for Artists Publications (RGAP) and in 2015 I was made a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA).
I am an artist and Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University. I have an MA in Sculpture from Chelsea College of Art, London (1994), and a BA in Fine Art from the University of Reading (1987) and have exhibited widely in Europe, the UK and the USA.
Using a range of media including film, sculpture, taxidermy, book works, and drawing, I explore various strands of research. In recent years I have been working on a series of what I term 'Soft Rebellions' in post-industrial cities, first in Stoke-on-Trent, then in Detroit and most recently in Sheffield. These take the form of a film or an event posing the question: ‘what happens when the economic engines of a city slow down but the people don’t?’ So far these 'Soft Rebellions' have involved dancing, eating, meeting and applauding in places where it is unusual to do so.
In the past I have developed research that focuses on animals and how they interact with humans, and vice versa, considering specifically the representation of animals in society and culturally. This led me to interrogate ideas of ‘the (extreme) North’, in particular in relation to the mythical place called Hyperborea, which further developed into work that questions the notion of the industrial ruin, architecture and extinction.
Finally, I have a longstanding connection to the field of artist’s publications and was a member of the Research Group for Artists Publications (RGAP) until 2013.
- Specialist areas of interest
- Participatory practice
- Northern Soul
- Animal/ Human Studies
Specialist areas of interest
Animal/ Human Studies
Department of Art and Design
Science, Technology and Arts
Fine Art BA
Fine Art Studio 3
- Art and Design Research Centre
- Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute
A Soft Rebellion in Paradise (2018)
This short film is the result of a period of enquiry into the strong history of activism in Sheffield and became particularly focused on two elements: the importance of Paradise Square in the city as the site of political activism historically, and the loss, even silencing, of women’s voices both historically and contemporarily. The film seeks to directly highlight the silencing of women through an approach that is exclusively female (only women and people who identify as women took part in the filming and the production). On September 2nd 2018 a crowd of approx. 250 women gathered in Paradise Square to perform a number of ‘Soft Rebellions’, filmed by an all-female film crew.
A Soft Rebellion in Paradise was commissioned by Making Ways, a three-year initiative, developed and led by Sheffield Culture Consortium and funded by Arts Council England, to support visual artists in Sheffield. The brief was to develop and make a piece of public art for the city using a non-traditional approach and to work in a way that is participatory with the citizens of Sheffield.
The project explores connections between the post-industrial cities of Stoke-on-Trent and Detroit, and asks what happens when the economic engines of a city slow down, but the people don’t? It aims to articulate an emotional response to post-industrial ruins and by bringing together seemingly unconnected things: people, places, music, and dance, it creates a friction that leads to new readings that have optimism, not despondency, at their core.
Returns – since 2012
This is part of an on-going collaboration between Nottingham Trent University (NTU) and Sheffield Hallam University (SHU). Established in 2012, it formed out of an International Research Project titled 'Topographies of the Obsolete', initiated by Bergen Academy of Art and Design, Norway; and initially focused on the disused Spode ceramics factory in Stoke-on-Trent.
The aim of the research is to question the notion of the post-industrial. What began as a response to the ruins of industry has developed into a series of approaches that consider the remnants of industry in both Sheffield, Nottingham and beyond.
Topographies of the Obsolete – since 2012
This is a collaborative project that both deepens and develops understanding of the post-industrial landscape with reference to the industrial ruin.
The project emphasises the use of site as ‘raw material’ through which participants organically develop individual approaches via experimentation and dialogue.
Via a series of initial workshops and with the participation of cross-disciplinary artists/educators from a range of international institutions, the socio-economic histories, industrial architecture, and production remnants of the former historic Spode site at Stoke-on-Trent were explored.
This strand of research considers the representation of animals in society and culturally.
This strand of research considers the representation of animals in society and culturally. Through the work I ask how do humans interact with animals, how are animals displayed and how does our relationship with animals shape our understanding of them philosophically, culturally and socially? Using video and audio field recordings, I observe particular groups of animals in specific culturally loaded circumstances and edit the footage to create films that highlight my concerns.
This strand of my research investigates a particular use of animals as substitutes for human experience, questioning notions of anthropomorphism and through this, narrative fictions. The resulting work makes specific references to animal characters found in children’s narratives, cartoons and films highlighting the use of the animal as a signifier of human emotion and experience. Through practice-based research using film, sound and sculptural approaches, I question the role of the animal in this exchange both ethically and morally, often employing taxidermy as a way of using the actual body of the animal to generate a narrative, engaging with specific ethical debates that surround this issue within the context of contemporary art and beyond.
Looking For Hyperborea (a search for a mythical North)
This strand of my research considers notions of ‘Northerness’, specifically that found in the most Northern parts of Norway above the Arctic Circle and revolves around Hyperborea, a place in Greek mythology behind the north wind, where the sun never sets.
I have long been involved in the field of artists’ publications and I am particularly interested in the impact that Sol LeWitt has had on the field. I was a member of the Research Group for Artists Publications (RGAP) from 1995 to 2013 supporting the publication of artists book works and editions, disseminating these works, and pursuing debates relating to this area of practice through publications, symposia, conferences, workshops, and the annual Small Publishers Fair run by RGAP in Conway Hall, London each Autumn.
Dancing in the Boardroom
The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD)
Fine Art researchers at Nottingham Trent University: Andrew Brown, Joanne Lee, Danica Maier, Debra Swann and Christine Stevens.
Topographies of the Obsolete
The key collaborators are Bergen Academy of Art and Design, Norway (KHiB), the British Ceramics Biennial, and researchers from art academies from Norway, Denmark, Germany, USA, and UK (The Royal Academy of Art in Copenhagen, Denmark, Muthesius Kunsthochschule, Germany and Art and Design Departments at Nottingham Trent University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne University, Bucks New University, and Sheffield Hallam University).
External examiner at
Oxford Brookes University – Fine Art BA (Hons)
Solihull College - Fine Art BA (Hons)
Hereford College of Art - Fine Art BA (Hons)
- Reiterative Drawing as Translation: Making, Resistance, and the Negotiated Encounter
- The neuroaesthetic uncanny: a filmic investigation of twenty-first century hauntology