Andrea Liggins

Professor Andrea Liggins MA, PhD

Emeritus Professor of Photography

Tel: +44 (0) 1792 481000

Emeritus Professor of Photography

Up until 2014 I led the development of a thriving Faculty of Art and Design, with student numbers doubling over the past 8 years. I developed research and post-graduate culture in the faculty substantially increasing RAE/REF profile and funding, £1.3 million since 2001 and initiated the first Faculty European project the Swansea Centre for Innovation in Photography and Video.

This led to the development of The Creative Industries Research and Innovation Centre (CIRIC) of which I was a Director, which was established in 2005 and is a Knowledge Transfer Centre for projects that support the creative industries in Wales. Projects include Moving Image Wales 1 and 2, which offered support to the digital media industry, the Textiles Technologies Project, which offered support to the textiles and apparel industries, Interreg CIME which supported business through creative intervention, and SATnet, which provided a link between artists and businesses in the science and technology sectors, with the aim of developing new products and processes and Interreg project Advanced Communications Technologies, which helped businesses to explore social and new media.

I’ve been a member of University Council, Senate, Senior Management Committee, Academic Planning Committee, Academic Quality Committee, Research Committee, Research Strategy Group, Vice-Chair of Ethics Committee SMU, Chair of Staff Development Committee and IiP Working Party SMU, Academic lead of a successful IiP application, Chair of several Validation Panels each year as well as Chair of Unfair Practice committees. I am an experienced Chair of PhD/MPhil Examinations, across the University. Supervisor of currently 4 PhD students. supervised to successful completion 3 PhD and 1 MPhil  to date and have examined one PhD examination.

I have been an external expert on a number of committees and groups, and External Validations for a wide range of programmes and universities see a selection below. I was a QAA Subject reviewer HE in FE in England for both Art and Design and Media and Communication subject areas. External examiner for FE programmes through to Postgraduate level for a wide range of organisations.

Member of the Executive Committee of The Council for Higher Education in Art and Design 2008-12; Member of steering committee for Creative Graduates-Creative Futures 2008-10; Member of Research and Education Panel, and Distinctions Advisory Board, Royal Photographic Society 2012-present;

Member of the Creative Industries Network 2012-present; Member of WIRAD Board 2006-2014; Member of the Advisory Board of ADM -HEA 2000-08. I was the Inaugural Chair of the Association of Photography Courses in HE. 

Academic interests span my research in Photography and across Art and Design educational initiatives and research in general.

Photography in its broadest sense is the ongoing focus of my academic interest, and although until recently, I was leading an expanding Faculty and also Directing European funded projects, continuing to practice and research as a photographic artist remained of significant importance.

I am particularly interested in the field of science and art interractions, and have written and lectured on this exciting field. I am at present developing STEAM at UWTSD, an ‘arts into STEM project.

My photographic research has over the past 3 years focussed on one particular Science Art interaction, that of artists including myself working collaborately with two environmental projects Barcode Wales and its successor Barcode UK. Initiatives around the world are now DNA barcoding all living things from animals to plants, microbes to fungi and these form part of the worldwide Barcode for Life Database (BOLD) for the open access use of scientists globally. Scientists led by Dr De Vere, at the National Botanic Garden of Wales,working with partners at the National Museum Wales have DNA barcoded the entire flora of Wales, 1143 native flowering plants and conifers and over the last three years. The project has now been extended to cover the whole of the UK. Scientists in China have completed DNA extraction for 5,000 of the 35,000 flora in China.

Most recently I have started work with an application of this project, Mapping the World of the Honeybee, also based at the National Botanic Garden of Wales.

Another interest is the exploration of what constitutes a ‘creative space’, and future work will continue to research this question.

Learning and teaching primarily in the subject of photography will continue, presently I supervise 4 PhDs

The titles are:-

  • What is the role of the Facilitator and the involvement of participants in teaching and learning during practical creative workshops?
  • Landscape Aesthetics in Practice:  A critical enquiry into the development and use of an arts practice as a constructive intervention within the context of landscape change, community action, Green Infrastructure planning and delivery and Landscape Character Assessment processes.
  • Waiting for Eurydice: the Role of Patience in Contemporary Photography
  • An Investigation into the Fragmentation of the Independent Film Value Chain.

In addition I have a lasting interest in community engagement, and have initiated several community projects successfully run in the Faculty, such as Saturday Arts School, and Arts in action.

There are three main strands to the research. Primarily, research is through photographic practice, which together with papers/publications concerns the inter-relationship between the value attributed to landscape and its photographic representation. My research and photographic practice, explores the cultural complexities of the values applied to landscape photography and the absorption of keywords of wilderness, sublime and picturesque into the language of photography.

The research, primarily through practice, has been focused upon the application of alternative photographic aesthetics, technologies and processes of making, to the representation of the diversity of landscape. A particular focus was and continues to be on how issues of both technology and composition in photographic transformations affect the creation of meaning, which in turn influence the values ascribed to a range of landscapes.

Secondly, recent photographic practice has explored representation through low-tech portraiture and this work has strong connections with the landscape photography. Using low tech plastic cameras for both the landscape and portraiture photography the aim is to counter the prevalent Cartesian Scopic regime, and replace the ‘gaze’ with the ‘glance’. This approach explores the capacity of ‘low-tech’ to lose fine detail and technical sophistication and replaces it with a sense of the image having its ‘own world’. For example, the loss of detail and blurring create a passing glance rather than the complete, detailed, frozen view permitted by the contrasting digital photography.

This encourages a sensation of place rather than its description. Recent portraiture of this kind has been used to enter the world of two contemporary artists both living in Wales Shani Rhys –Davies and Bedwyr Williams, and has been published in the arts journal Culture Colony Quarterly.

Thirdly, the relationship of science and art, is an ongoing interest, forming the subject of a recent journal article, and based upon both practice and the funded European funded project SATnet (Science-Art-Technology network). Continuing collaborative research of the botanist Natasha De Vere, lead scientist in the Barcode Wales and now the Barcode UK projects, has resulted to date in exhibitions in China and the National Botanic Garden of Wales and leading to two further exhibitions in 2014. In addition ongoing pedagogical research has investigated ‘creative spaces’, this was funded by the Interreg Project CIME (Creativity and Innovation in Micro-Enterprises).

  • Photography
  • Art and Design pedagogy, and educational management
  • Art and Design and the Community
  • Science- Art interractions
  • The role of aesthetics in the value placed upon landscape and also upon environmental decision making
  • Project Management
  • External panel member re. Employment of Head of School at Plymouth University;
  • University of Wales validation of BA Photography at Accademia Italiana, Florence;
  • External Examiner, MA Photography, Brighton University;
  • Mentor for the Women in Universities Mentoring project run by Glamorgan University;
  • External member of validation panel for FD Photography Bridgewater College, Plymouth University;
  • Public talk for the launch of the Swansea Bay Business Women’s’ Lunch Group in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce;
  • Member of steering committee Creative Graduates – Creative Futures Member of the Welsh Assembly Governments Panel considering the Creative industries in Wales and the Cox Review Art, Design and Media – Higher Education Academy Project fund assessor.
  • Consultant for NESTA/ CHEAD/ HEA - ADC on ‘Entrepreneurialism in Art and Design’ External reviewer for quinquennial review of Media and Photography BA/MA Plymouth University
  • Research proposal reviewer for ADM-HEA Subject Reviewer for the QAA. Higher Education in Further Education, England;
  • National Advisor to the Arts Council For Wales;
  • The Swansea International Salon of Photography, advisor and judge;
  • External Examiner Foundation Degree and BA in Photography and Video, Derby University;
  • Advisor to the City and Guilds re. Digital Imagery, and Fine Art Photography;
  • Member of selection panel for Subject Benchmark working party for Art and Design through CHEAD;
  • RPS International Awards Judge;
  • External Validator, MA Digital Media, External Examiner BA (Hons) Photography, Staffordshire University;
  • External Examiner BA (Hons) Photography, Cleveland College of Art and Design Plymouth University;
  • National spokesperson for photographic education at CHEAD & CoSaaD;

Exhibitions and Publications from 2003 (starting with most recent)

Exhibition of large prints Barcode UK – Beyond the Visible at the National Eisteddfod, Llanelli in the Science Pavilion.

Arts in Society 8th International Conference in Budapest, Barcode UK – Moving Beyond the Visible, A collaboration of art and science. Paper published 2013 in the International Journal of  New Media, Technology, and the Arts, Volume 8, Common Ground Publishing, Illinois, U.S.A. - ISSN: 2326-9987 (print), 2327-1787 (online).

Photographic portraits of Bedwyr Williams and Shani Rhys James, published in Culture Colony Quarterly Autumn and Winter Issues. ISSN2053-68887

Uncertain Terrain – The Garden, Exhibition at Jaipur Arts Centre, India touring to the British Council Delhi, in collaboration with Sarah Tierney. Funded in part by the British Council, and series of lectures. Published in Culture Colony Quarterly, series of six photographs and article. ISSN2053-68887

Barcode Wales –Beyond the Visible Solo Exhibition of 52 large scale photographic prints at the Nanshan Botanic Garden, Chongqing China, 27/02/12 -31/05/12 with catalogue ISBN 978-0-9561003 -4- 4. Supplementary images printed onto textiles and shown on exterior cinema size screen as a DVD. Further prints and artwork displayed across the city. In collaboration and supported by the Welsh Government, the National Botanic Gardens of Wales, The China Foreign Office and Nanshan Botanic Garden.

Featured in Liz Wells, Land Matters –Landscape Photography, Culture and Identity

Photographic Portraits for the book Making Great Illustration, Derek Brazell and Jo Davies, A.C.Black ISBN 978-1-4081-2453-6 pp.223 (2011), p. 214 gives a description of the photographic research.  Blog -, I.B.Taurus .A series of portraits of well-renowned illustrators including Quentin Blake, Ronald Searle and Brad Holland from the U.S.A., Canada, China and Europe, together with photographs of their studio spaces. Exhibition of alternative portraits at Plymouth University as part of the International Festival of Literature and University Gallery, Nanjing, China,

Symposium, public lectures and catalogue supporting Unreliable Truths: Transformations and illusion in contemporary photographic practice, Glynn Vivian Gallery and Swansea Metropolitan University

Association of photography in HE Annual Conference, Shifting Perspectives: Photography, Education and the Future. Paper, The Changing climate in HE, at UWE

Conference paper at Things that Move, The Material World of Tourism and Travel, Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change, Leeds Metropolitan University, Title- ‘From Observation to Participation – Re-locating the Tourist Photography and View of Landscape’. ISBN 978-0-9555017-6-0

Research and production for 2 audio loops for The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and Museum

Marking Space Group Show Exhibit of Digital Film, Creative Industries Research and Innovation Centre, Dynevor Centre for Art, Design and Media, Swansea

Uncertain Terrain, Moscow exhibition and accompanying catalogue ISBN 0-9545600-7-8, exhibition at the Gallery of Arts, Moscow State Regional University, resulting from funded artist in residence programme Wales Arts International

Article and images in Source, Summer Edition.  Alternative landscapes - a Baroque approach.

Inadmissible Evidence, National Conference, Swansea Institute, Paper.  A new documentary perspective and situation. 

Still visions- Changing Lives, Tourism and Photography. International Conference at Sheffield Hallam University, Paper.   Towards and understanding of the role of photography in the preservation and destruction of the rural environment.

Re-Locations, Centre for Lens Arts at Swansea Institute, Symposium held at Swansea in conjunction with University of Plymouth. Re-Locations Curator and Exhibitor of group show held as part of symposium at University of Plymouth, Research Centre for Land/Water and the Visual Arts, titled Landscape Fictions.

Tempered Ground, Exhibition of the work of 23 artists at the   National Museum of Garden history London, linked with Tate Britain and The National Museum of Photography, Film and Television.  A 'live' show over a period of 2 months of mobile phone camera photography that interrogated notions of the Baroque, the decisive moment and performativity.  The subject of this work was the National Botanical Gardens of Wales.

Group shows in West Wales Conversations with the Landscape.  A live show of one weeks duration of mobile phone photography concerned with the re-evaluation of 18th century tour of Wales and the picturesque, re-siting the viewer from a position of spectator to within the enclave.

Conversations with the Landscape Swansea Museum.  A live show of mobile phone photography concerned with the re-evaluation of 18th century tour of Wales and the picturesque.

Work selected for WEST Welsh photographic show plus  publication.  Touring galleries in Wales inc.  Ffoto Gallery, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and Mostyn Gallery.   On going alternative landscape photographic work.

Work selected for Paradise Park, book of photography edited  published by Seren.

Exhibition of same name at Glyn Vivian Gallery, Swansea.  New documentary photography re-siting the documentarian to within the space of observation.

From Without - London Photographic Awards.  Publication and exhibition at the following venues -

  • London - Imagination Gallery
    • Photofusion Gallery
    • Alcherry Gallery
  • Amsterdam - Melweg Gallery
  • New York - Barbara Green Fine Art Gallery
  • Glasgow - Streetlevel Gallery
  • Frankfurt - Bates Gallery

Photographic works that explored outside of the frame in time and space, interrogating the decisive moment. 

Awarded Swansea Bay Woman of the Year, both Management Category and Overall Winner 2007