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

Born in west Wales I studied painting and fine art media at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, completing my PhD at the Slade in 2000. While teaching I also studied for an MA in psychoanalytic theory at Middlesex University, graduating in1996.

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

Research Summary

My visual work includes drawing, photography, film, video and audio-visual installation, accompanied by written or spoken texts revolving around themes of place, subjectivity and identity. Early exhibitions include: About Time, ICA, 1982; Audio Arts, Tate Gallery, 1982; Showroom Gallery, 1988; Ffotogallery, Cardiff, 1990, 1992.  My 16mm film Cylch yr Ynys, ACGB funded, 1992, is distributed by LUX.

This led to doctoral study on the relation between words and images within the act of self-reference, in particular the photomontages of surrealist Claude Cahun and the prose and poetry of author 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 continuing research, for which I received a Leverhulme Fellowship in 2003. My 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); and ‘Peirce and the Image: Re-staging the Sign’, RS•SI Recherches sémiotiques / Semiotic Inquiry, 2015.

My first collection of poems, False Spring, Enitharmon Press, 2007, was shortlisted for the Aldeburgh prize for a first collection and anthologised in The Forward book of Poetry, 2008; Rome: A Collection of the Poetry of Place, 2008. I received a Hawthornden Fellowship in 2009 to work on a further collection, Gospel Oak, Enitharmon Press, 2013. An artist’s book of poetry and images, The Moon is Shining on my Mother, commissioned by the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, for the exhibition The Moon and a Smile, and published by Enitharmon Editions, 2017, is held in various public collections including the V&A and the British Library. Readings of poems from these collections are available on The Archive of Now.

Performances of poetry with visuals and video include ‘For the Oak’, e-and-eye, Tate Modern, 2006; and Crazy Wisdom, King’s Place, London, 2009; PolyPly, 2010; Camden Arts Centre, 2013. Readings include Other Words.  3rd San Francisco International Poetry Festival, 2003; Starting at Zero, Kettle’s Yard Gallery, Cambridge, 2006; Poetry International, South Bank, 2014; a collaboration with Sampurna Chatterji, Gelynion – The Enemies Project: Wales, 2015; Multilingual World Literature, Swansea, 2017.

The research on the relation between words and images is currently focussing on the concept of the ‘macaronic’ as the juxtaposition of languages and images within the framework of the same poem, or artwork, as a means of questioning translation. Essays that articulate this concept exemplified in The Moon is Shining on my Mother include a review of macaronic pamphlets, Poetry Wales, 2016, vol. 52, no.3; and ‘Possibilities of The Macaronic’, in, Critical Creativity: Artistic Form and Cultural Agency in Comparative Literature, forthcoming, 2021.

With Prof. Clare Lees, director of the Institute of English Studies, SAS, University of London, and 5 Slade colleagues, I have established MiCA (Medieval in Contemporary Art) bringing together artists, writers, medievalists, and curators to realise research into medieval artefacts as a resource for contemporary art and poetry.

Teaching Summary

Appointed in 1995 to set up the BA in Fine Art Media at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, I have worked on several programmes across the Slade and UCL, including UCL Film Studies. I am currently Head of the Slade PhD programme.

I have supervised 15 PhD students to completion and am currently supervising 7, including Bunting-Branch writing on sci-fi fiction and Irigaray, Ciriciate working on small press publications and artists books, and Prazmari researching the 1001 Nights.

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

Academic Background
2000   Doctor of Philosophy University of London
1995   Master of Arts Middlesex University
1980   Higher Diploma in Fine Art University College London
1978   Diploma of Fine Arts University College London
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