Lecturer in Fine Art
School of Arts and Media
Heather teaches across the MA/BA Fine Art courses and is a research active member of staff. She is currently undertaking a part-time practice-based PhD at Newcastle University due for completion in 2022. Her PhD research concentrates on Kurt Schwitters' 'Merz Barn Wall' (1947). More generally, Heather's research interests include: practice-based approaches to art history; re-staging events, re-performance/re-enactment; creative responses/interventions in the archive; site responsive artworks; the legacy of Kurt Schwitters' Merz; Dada and FLUXUS.
Heather's current role involves contributing to the teaching programme across the BA and MA Fine Art courses, PhD supervision and being research active (submitted to the REF 2020 and is a member of CRPA). Heather's practice is multi-disciplinary and has involved the use of print, painting, performance, moving image and sound based work. She brings this experience to her teaching role and works across various modules - for example teaching on the BA moving image and printmaking electives, to contributing to the MA research methods and professional practice talks.
Heather has been teaching at UCLan since 2015 and is a member of the Creative Practice Research Academy. Prior to her appointment at UCLan has worked as a Visiting Practitioner at Chelsea College of Art (2015-17) London, and a Lecturer in Painting at Grays School of Art (2006-12), Aberdeen. She has also taught various life drawing and painting courses privately. Heather has been a panel chair at the Sonica Festival (2015), a panel member with LUX at the Oberhausen Film Festival (2014) and has been involved in various collaborative and curatorial projects. She has a studio at The Birley, Preston.
Heather has exhibited widely nationally and internationally and recent projects include: 'The Losses' (2020), 'All The Better to Hear You With' (2019) and 'The Loud and the Soft Speakers' (2018), Hatton Gallery, Newcastle; 'Merz Women and the Daughters of DADA' (2018 with Jackie Haynes) University of Cumbria; 'The Caravan Press' (2017 with Lukas Hornby), Florence Mine, Cumbria. She has been selected for the Casablanca Biennale 2022. She often collaborates with other practitioners and is currently engaged in the creation of a Kurt Schwitters practice-based research network with artist and researcher, Jackie Haynes.
Her recently published articles include: 'The Loud and the Soft Speakers: A Contemporary Iteration of Kurt Schwitters' 'The Silence Poem' Sch...The Journal of the Kurt Schwitters Society (2020) (International); 'Towards a Gestural Archaeology of Kurt Schwitters' Pointless Collage (or how I learned about Schwitters' work through painting leftovers)' (2018) JAWS, Intellect Journal, London and 'The Caravan Press: Making Visible the Archive of Gwyneth Alban Davies' 2017 (artist book, limited edition) copies are distributed in The Sprengel Museum (Hannover); British Library (London); Glasgow Women's Library, Armitt Museum (Ambleside) St. Bride's Print Library (London).
Heather's PhD research has involved working in response to the Hatton Gallery's Archive (Newcastle) and in dialogue with Kurt Schwitters' work, disseminated through three solo exhibitions within the Hatton Gallery (2018-20). She has also undertaken research in the Manx Museum (Isle of Man), The Imperial War Museum (London) and The Kurt Schwitters archives (Germany). She represented the UK at the recent '100 Jar Merz' Symposium held at the Sprengel Museum, Hannover (Germany) in 2019, where she also screened her work 'The Loud and the Soft Speakers'.
For more info on exhibitions and publications visit:
- PhD Fine Art/Art History 'Time Past Contained in Time Present: Investigating Schwitters’ Merz Barn Wall as a Living Fragment', University of Newcastle Award pending (2017- to be submitted 2022)
- MA Fine Art, Chelsea College of Art, University of the Arts, London. Award: Distinction. 2013
- PG HELT (Higher Education Teaching and Learning), The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. 2010
- BA Honours Degree in Fine Art (Painting), Grays School of Art, The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. Award: First Class. 2005
- Pioneer Award (with Jackie Haynes), Newcastle University, 2021
- Brewtime Micro Commission (with Rob Mullender-Ross), 2020
- Northern Bridge Research and Development Grant, 2018
- AHRC Northern Bridge Consortium Studentship Award, 2017
- Heritage Lottery 'Sharing Heritage' Award, 2017
- The Dewar Arts Award, 2012
- McFarlane Charitable Trust Award, 2012
- Alistair Salvesen Traveling Scholarship to Japan, RSA, Edinburgh, 2010
- Shell Premier Award, Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museum, 2009
- Royal Scottish Academy Guthrie Award, 2007
- Royal Scottish Academy Guthrie Award, 2006
- Scottish Arts Council Artist In Residence, His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen 2006 Royal Scottish Academy Meyer Oppenheim Award, 2006
- Royal Scottish Academy John Kinross Scholarship to Florence, 2005
- Royal Scottish Academy Painting Prize and McLean Waters Medal, 2005
- Contemporary Art Practice
- CPRA Creative Practice Research Academy, UCLan
- Kurt Schwitters Society
My practice-based PhD project is focussed on generating new sensorial insights into Kurt Schwitters’ Merz Barn Wall (1947), situated in the Hatton Gallery since 1965. I’m interested in challenging the static and stable characterisation of the ‘Wall’ as a historical remnant of a past artwork, by exploring its time-based possibilities, multiple identities, materiality and ephemerality. I approach the ‘Wall’ as a porous structure to be disrupted, agitated, ruptured, manipulated, studied, re-configured and experienced anew, by using a variety of arts practice-based research methods. Re-performance is used as strategy for perceiving Kurt Schwitters’ approach to site, environment and materials; past gestures and actions are restaged and used as a reflexive device to facilitate new readings. This methodology is used to contain, distribute and to synthesise archival fragments, to articulate loss and to make visible the actions of those who have been part of the ‘Wall’s’ renovation and re-contextualisation. My project affirms the historical and continued influence of conservation practice in the surveying, movement and maintenance of the ‘Wall’ as part of its re-siting in the Hatton Gallery. I’m interested in how this largely unseen activity - if made more visible - might provide new ways of connecting to the ‘Wall’s’ current and continually evolving context. In addition, how this can be articulated within and as art objects to give greater visibility to what was lost or is currently absent from the structure. My research is funded by Northern Bridge Consortium (AHRC) and I work closely with the Hatton Gallery to create exhibitions with the intention of encouraging dialogue between exhibits, facilitating new reflections and sensory experiences of Kurt Schwitters’ Merz Barn Wall, as a time based and expansive ‘living’ fragment.
Use the links below to view their profiles:
- Creative Practice Research Academy Hannover Project Research Group Centre for History and Public Engagement with the Past
- PhD project: Time Past Contained in Time Present: Investigating Kurt Schwitters’ Merz Barn Wall as a Living Fragment, due for completion 2022. Fully funded by Northern Bridge Consortium (AHRC). Statement of Intent 'S.O.I', due for completion 2022. Funded by Newcastle University Pioneer Award. Making Visible The Archive of Gwyneth Alban Davis, completed 2017. Funded by Heritage Lottery.