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Prof Sharon Morris
Slade School of Fine Art
University College London
Tel: 020 7679 2313
  • Professor of Fine Art
  • The Slade School of Fine Art
  • Faculty of Arts & Humanities

I was born in Wales and studied painting and fine art media at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, completing my PhD in 2000. While teaching at the Slade I also studied for an MA in psychoanalytic theory at Middlesex University, in 1996.

As a visual artist, poet and theorist, I am fascinated in the relation between words and images, and my work is best described as cross-disciplinary.

Research Summary

My early visual work includes drawing, photography, film, video and installation, accompanied by my written or spoken texts revolving around themes of place, subjectivity and identity: About Time, ICA, 1982; Audio Arts, Tate Gallery, 1982; Showroom Gallery, 1988; Ffotogallery, Cardiff, 1990, 1992.  My film Cylch yr Ynys, ACGB funded, 1992, is distributed by LUX.

This led to doctorate study on the relation between words and images within the act of self-reference, in particular the photomontages of surrealist Claude Cahun and the writer H.D. The theoretical framework, using the semiotics of the American philosopher C.S.Peirce to re-read Freud has formed the basis of my current research, for which I received a Leverhulme Fellowship in 2003. My recent critical papers include ‘Peirce and the Image: the Work of Art and the Sign’, Università degli Studi di Urbino, 2007; ‘Bild, Imagismus und das Kunstwerk’, Kassel University Press, 2009; and ‘Open the Page’, Inside the View: Helen Sear. ed Drake, D. (Cardiff: Ffotogallery Wales, 2012).

In recent years I have become more involved in live performance of my texts with visuals, video and film, and the development of these texts into poetry.  My first collection of poems, False Spring, Enitharmon Press, 2007, looked at the function of the image in the lyric short form, taking three locations, California, Rome, and Spain as leitmotifs.  Shortlisted for the Aldeburgh prize for a first collection, poems from this book appeared in The Forward book of Poetry, 2008; Rome: A Collection of the Poetry of Place, 2008; and several journals.

I received a Hawthornden Fellowship in 2009 to work on a new collection, Gospel Oak, which
will be published by Enitharmon in December 2012. Formally this book is more diverse and the function of the image is both metaphorical and symbolic, dealing with the site of Gospel Oak as a discursive relation between Hampstead Heath and the City of London. Poems from this collection have appeared in several journals including Poetry Review, spring, 2012.

Accompanied by video projection, I have performed a parallel version entitled ‘For the Oak’, at e-and-eye, Tate Modern; PolyPly, and Crazy Wisdom, King’s Place, London. Video works arising from these performances have been exhibited at Skylines, Ecopoetics Festival Exeter, and Chelsea School of Art, 2012.

I have just taken on the role of commissioning editor for Copy Press, a publisher specialising in books by independent thinkers and artists.

Teaching Summary

Appointed in 1995 to set up the BA in Fine Art Media at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, I am currently Head of the Slade PhD programme.

At present I am supervising 8 doctorate students whose research includes: the poetics of word and image, in particular metaphor and narrative; psychoanalysis and creativity; imagination in the work of Höch; photography and memory; the subjectile in visual art; the philosophical status of the performative event as an act of translation.  These students are co-supervised by specialists drawn across departments at UCL, creating exciting cross-disciplinary collaborations.

In 2011 I was fortunate to be awarded a Provost’s teaching award.

Academic Background
2000 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Fine Art University of London
1995 MA Master of Arts – Psychology Middlesex University
1980 HDFA Higher Diploma in Fine Art – Fine Art University College London
1978 Dip FA Diploma of Fine Arts – Fine Art University College London
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