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Research in Contemporary Arts and Practice

Research in the Swansea College of Art fits into three broad themes: collaborative research with healthcare professions to promote health and welling (especially sexual identity and sexual health); socio-geographic themes of identity, community and belonging; and theoretically informed work on perceptions and readings. 

Fine artists from Swansea College of Art have an outstanding record of achievement and are recognised internationally for example Professor Tim Davies at the Venice Biennale and both Professor Sue Williams and Prof Tim Davies have both been recognised in the Artes Mundi Awards.

Health and wellbeing research is demonstrated for example in Professor Sue Williams’ work Throb, a collaboration with Professor Nick Ossei-Gerning (Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, University Hospital of Wales) regarding vasculogenic erectile dysfunction and also in her response to the Covid pandemic through Bear Red.  Dr Julia Lockheart’s DreamsID continues this theme, in collaboration with Professor Mark Blagrove (Director of Swansea University Sleep Lab), working on new approaches to dreaming and empathy.  Questions of wellbeing are central to the second theme of identity and belonging. Franks’ work on youth participatory theatre practices explores issues of sexual consent in teen-cultures. These are strong themes in the work of Professor Catrin Webster and Roy Efrat. Both Pansy and Passing create new thinking around painting while exploring contemporary LGBTQ issues. 

Broadly socio-geographic themes of community and belonging, and their exploration through creative practice have seen significant development in the College. Professor Tim Davies’ site responsive pieces Figures on the Foreshore commissioned for the major Thames Tideway infrastructure project, explores and connects people to local history and locality, as does his work for the Vancouver Biennale Figures in Stanley Park while Craig Wood’s interrogates definitions and categories of scale and the complex matrix of interconnectivity between the banal and the profound and the local and the global in his Chongqing, Tbilisi and Dear Olivia projects.

The broadly semiotic and affective or phenomenological relationship between people and their environments are extended at a different scale in the readings and perception theme.  Alex Duncan’s work, Blow In explores our haptic engagement with objects, while Ryan Moule’s Latent Frequencies and Vessels & Vestiges solicits audience engagement in the collective responsibility of viewing photographic images.

These themes exploring the value of creative practice, and the relationships between theory and practice are explored in different ways in Professor Emeritus Howard Riley’s, Dr Julia Lockheart’s and Dr Marilyn Allen’s research, ranging from the pedagogical enquiry psychosocial approaches to drawing, semiotics, Deleuzian and deconstructive approaches to writing and literary criticism.

The Fine Art Hub embraces the widest pedagogical and research activities from pre-degree foundation through the portfolio of Master’s degrees and culminating in the research degrees of MPhil and PhD. We fully advocate the symbiotic relationship between research activities and pedagogy and fully comply with the UK Professional Standards Framework which sets out the professional values monitored by the Higher Education Academy.