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Arts and Creative Industries events

Our Arts and Creative Industries Research Seminars afford researchers with a discursive platform to present work in progress, test out ideas and seek peer input.

Current events

Publishing Art and Design Research

Online event: Wednesday, 6 July 2022, 16:00-17:00

This is an online event via Microsoft Teams, and you can register your attendance on our Eventbrite.

Book launch: Wednesday, 6 July 2022, 17:00-19:00

This will be held at the Northern Centre of Photography, David Goldman Informatics Centre, and you can register your attendance on our Eventbrite.

The University of Sunderland had significant successes in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, with Art and Design research outputs identified as a particular strength within the institution.

We are delighted to invite you to dive into a core area for Art and Design research and join our interactive seminar Publishing Art and Design Research. We invite you to consider the opportunities and challenges that new and established researchers must navigate in a rapidly evolving publishing landscape.


Emeritus Professor of New Media Art, Dr Beryl Graham and Lecturer in Digital Arts and Enterprise, Dr Suzy O’Hara will launch To Fit the New Art: 7 Years of Curating Art After New Media (2022). This co-authored, online publication celebrates seven years of collective insights and experiences from international curators, as they share emerging new media art practices and discuss how curators can best fit their practices, so that audiences can engage with this exciting art.

Associate Professor of Photography and Digital Media, Dr Alexandra Moschovi will present her monograph, A Gust of Photo-Philia: Photography in the Art Museum (2020). Published by Leuven University Press, this book—part institutional history, part account of shifting photographic theories and practices—tells the story of photography's accommodation in and as contemporary art in the art museum.

AHRC Northumbria-Sunderland Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) students, Dena Bagi,  Helen McGhie and Georgia Smithson will present the collaborative publication A Book for Research that is Art (2022). With contributions by Dena Bagi, Dr Crystal Bennes, Ben Evans James, Theo Harper, Laura Harrington, Helen McGhie, and Georgia Smithson, the publication demonstrates how artists and makers are redefining the conceptual core of their practice as they create forms, motion, and spatial emulations that are directly informed by technology.

These three short presentations will be followed by an informal discussion led by Professor of Visual Art, Dr Mike Collier.

Please note, this is part of a hybrid event. Please join us in person from 17:00 – 19:00 at the Northern Centre of Photography for a drinks reception and to pick up your free copy of the publication A Book for Research that is Art.

Past events

Research Seminar - Art and Design

'The Introduction of New Media Art Practices in Greece in the 1970s and 1980s' by Stamatis Schizakis, Curator of New Media, Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, GR; Ph.D. candidate University of Sunderland
Wednesday 16 March 2022

This presentation focuses on the discourse and practice of new media art produced and presented in Greece from the early 1970s to the early 1990s, for the first time through a new media art scope. It aims to throw light into the aims and methods of new media artists and organisations active in Greece during the period in question. The content of the presentation originates in a doctoral project with the same title and subject, which resulted in a new chronology of new media art in Greece, an evaluation of the role of institutions and public support, an account of the efforts of certain new media artists for connecting to a global network and market, as well as a mapping of common characteristics of the works produced and presented during this period.  

Pantelis Xagoraris  Computer drawing in ink

Pantelis Xagoraris
[Computer drawing in ink], 1973
Ink on paper
31 x 27 cm
National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens, Inv. No. 428/02,
donated by Zafos Xagoraris, 2002 

Research Seminar - Art and Design

From Sailing the World to Saving the World:  How bast fibres could help high street fashion become more sustainable' by Naomi Austin

Date/Time: Wednesday 29 June 2022, 4-5pm

The event will be hosted online via Teams and is internal only. For further details on how to join externally, please contact alexandra.moschovi@sunderland.ac.uk

Bast or bark is the fibrous material found inside certain plants sandwiched between the woody core and the outer layer. Bast fibres include flax (linen), hemp, kenaf and ramie, all which have been used by humans for thousands of years for everything, from building materials to sails and ropes to clothing. These fibres are known to be the most environmentally friendly out of all fibres, with a fineness, strength and flexibility which surpasses many other fibres; therefore, offering great potential as sustainable alternatives to the dominance of cotton. However, since the 1960s, consumption of garments made using bast fibres is very low compared to other textiles. This presentation will offer an insight into the reasons for this and what can be done to help increase consumers’ and manufacturers’ interest in these fibres.

Research Methodologies in the Arts and Creative Industries

Postgraduate Research Symposium - Art and Design
Wednesday 9 February 2022

13:00   Introduction, Dr Alexandra Moschovi, Associate Professor of Photography and Digital Media and Dr Kevin Yuill, Associate Professor of American History

13:30   Welcome, Prof. Kevin Petrie, Head of the School of Art and Design

13:10   HOME, Janine Sykes

13:30   Casting Self Reflection: Three-Dimensional Mirrors within Contemporary Glass Art Practice, Joanna Manousis

13:50   Don’t Deny Your Past, Andy Mellors

14:10   Discussion

14:20   Preview of the research publication A Book for Research that is Art, Dena Bagi and Helen McGhie

Abstracts and biographies

Research Seminar - Art and Design

'Sustainable Ceramics: An Exploration of Some Conceptual and Professional Factors' by Visiting Professor Dr Wendy Gers
Wednesday 16 February 2022

What are the issues behind developing ethical and sustainable ceramics practices? Who are the pioneers in this field? What are the milestones involved in becoming a more sustainable ceramics artist? Is it enough to develop an engaged practice, with an environmental policy and action plan? This presentation surveys international art practices that have moved beyond environmental advocacy and are actively engaged in reducing their environmental impact. 

Dr Wendy Gers, Visiting Professor

Gaming Festival - Media and Culture

Date/Time: Friday 24 June 2022, 12pm-9pm

The University of Sunderland is to host its first Gaming festival at the Prospect Building on St Peter's Campus.

The festival will be a chance to connect the community of Sunderland with the amazing work happening locally in the games industry.

Students will showcase their work, visitors will be able to see and play on exclusive footage of games currently in development, and local developers will be able to connect with the local community and upcoming stars in games development.

With the announcement that Sunderland will be home to a multi-million pound esports centre, it is time to connect the local community and our students with a booming industry. 

The University of Sunderland's Esports network will be hosting a tournament throughout the day. There will also be a raffle with prizes including games, and merchandise.

Developers and games artists from across the North East will take part in our festival, giving students and the public a chance to network and learn about our growing games industry. There will be chance to speak to developers, see exclusive content and ask questions of the leading games industry experts. Taking part are:

Tanglewood Games - an established games development studio based in the north-east of England. ​ As a friendly team of Unreal Engine experts with long careers based at the forefront of this technology, we have a proven track record working with well-known AAA publishers on some of the biggest Unreal Engine titles to date, such as Fortnite, Sea of Thieves, and Paragon.

Atom Hawk - Since 2009 Atom Hawk  been working with movie studios, game developers and product designers to help realise their visions and bring ideas to life through world class visual development and design. 

Cardboard Sword - a growing independent games company that has worked on games such as Forza Horizon 3. 

Radical Forgehave pushed, grown and succeeded since their formation to become an established name within the game development industry as a place of creativity, innovation and adventure. Handling many projects across multiple platforms including PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Oculus Quest, iOS, Android and Nintendo Switch. They have several years of experience on a vast range of indie and externally published titles as well as tirelessly working away on our first original IP “Bright Paw”. 

Nosebleed Interactive - a multi-​award-winning independent studio based in Newcastle upon Tyne, in the heart of the North East of England. Nosebleed have worked with some of the world’s biggest companies, brands and content providers such as Channel 4 and Sony Interactive Entertainment. At our core, we're all gamers, passionate about playing and making great games and entertainment software. Named as one of the Top 50 creative companies in the country by Creative England. Nosebleed Interactive also won the PlayStation Mobile Pioneers competition, as well as best small to medium business in the Newcastle Business Awards. Alongside this the company was one of the first handful of companies to receive support from the prestigious UK Games Fund.

The festival will provide an opportunity to speak to some of the biggest names in the game industry, and to see the wonderful media work being created in our region. 

Register via Eventbrite

Professorial Lecture Series

‘Songs of Time and Place’ by Professor Mike Collier
Wednesday 2 February 2022

Front cover of book 'Songs of Time and Place'

Games, Culture, and Identity: The MultiPlay Conference 2022 - Media and Culture
Wednesday 19 January 2022

Games, Culture, and Identity: The MultiPlay Conference 2022 is a multi-disciplinary conference which brought together a range of academics and practitioners across different fields. It also launched the new academic network MultiPlay, committed to a multidisciplinary approach to video games. The conference was hosted online.

The MultiPlay Conference 2022 is a conference supported by the University of Sunderland’s Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies and the Participations Interdisciplinary research Network.


Dr. Rob Gallagher (Manchester Metropolitan University) Rob Gallaher’s research specialises in examining the relationship between video games and identity, with focus on personal data and posthuman subjectivity, and life narrative games. He is author of Videogames, Identity, and Digital Subjectivity,( Routledge 2019)

“In right-wing NPC memes gaming jargon is deployed to articulate a reactionary critique of liberal democracy, one that contends only some identities should be recognised as valid and only some subjects as fully human; in ludobiographical games by creators like Cassie McQuater and Tabitha Nikolai materials poached from retro videogames and 90s gaming magazines are repurposed in the service of more radical and progressive explorations of identity and subjectivity. Putting these forms in dialogue, this keynote considers how terms, images, concepts and characters drawn from gaming culture are being used to contest and reformulate liberal conceptions of personhood and politics.”

Confirmed speakers

Dr. Poppy Wilde (Birmingham University School of Media) presented research on posthuman subjectivity at play. Wilde is an expert on the use of avatars and the relationship they have to the posthuman. She has published multiple academic articles on the posthuman, from death and resurrection in the online game to the lived experience of gaming.

Daz Skubich is one of the driving forces behind the popular streaming channel Game Assist, a channel dedicated to creating video essays on accessibility and liberation in video games. Their work poses new questions and considerations for academics about our approaches to video game analysis.

Javier Rayón is The Director for the upcoming Dream of Darkness game which explores the true history of Mexico before colonialism whitewashed the nation’s heritage. A leading content creator in the games industry, Rayón also supports the efforts of academics to address history ethically through video games.

Benjamin Carpenter is a visiting Fellow in the School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communications Study at the University of East Anglia. He completed his PhD in 2021, writing on philosophical critiques and solutions to the problems of contemporary identity politics. Benjamin’s current research interests are in contemporary online media and identity, with a particular interest in bringing these into dialogue with phenomenology and existentialism.

Adam Jerrett is a lecturer and PhD student in the School of Creative Technologies at the University of Portsmouth. As a games studies researcher, he is particularly interested in pervasive games, and the way games can break out of their “magic circles” to truly affect the lives of their players. His ongoing PhD work explores values like empathy, identity and reflection in order to create games that have personal and social impact.

Stephanie Farnsworth is a PhD candidate at the University of Sunderland. Her research focuses on examining the mutants of Mass Effect, as well as the wider themes of biological manipulation and exploitation in science fiction. Farnsworth is a co-founder of MultiPlay.

Imo Kaufman is a Midlands 4 Cities Researcher in collaboration with the British Games Institute Videogame History: Department of Cultural, Media and Visual Studies University of Nottingham

Dr Ayisi is an early-stage academic researcher and a member of the faculty of the Communication Studies Department of the University of Ghana. Prior to joining the University of Ghana, she taught in several higher education institutions both in the United Kingdom and in Ghana. Her research interests are in the fields of gender and new media, popular culture and digital cultures. Her focus is on issues around identity and participatory cultures and online activism.

Eyram is the co-founder and CEO of Leti Arts. As an experienced game developer, Eyram believes that Africa can make a salient contribution to the world of game development and preserve culture through this. He has pioneered developing the gaming industry in Africa with Leti Arts. Eyram believes preserving cultural diversity through gaming and entertainment is very important and aims to prove this by creating world-class games and comics using African talent. Eyram is an experienced game developer who designs and implements games in most programming languages based on the platform. He's won several awards for his work in the African video game development space, is a frequent speaker at game conferences globally and is an author of the book Uncompromising Passion documenting his Journey as an African video game developer.

Lisa Meek completed her MA in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Sunderland in 2020. She completed a dissertation researching the creation of space and place in the videogame Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Nintendo EPD, 2020). She hopes to complete a PhD which will continue this research and develop the use of phenomenological geography within media studies, as well as contribute to ongoing discussions surrounding videogame theory. 

Conference schedule

Logo of Multi Play Conference 2022, capital letters M P

Research seminar - Art and Design

'Curating Participation, Curating New Media Art'  by Prof Beryl Graham
Wednesday 15 December 2021

This illustrated presentation showed how artists using net art, interactive video, software art and other 'things that plug in', are changing the ways in which audiences (or is it users, participants and prosumers?) relate to art. Prof. Graham explored how curators and cultural organisations can show this exciting artwork in meaningful ways.

CRUMB logo 

Research Seminar - Media and Culture

Organised by FACI Research group and Participations Interdisciplinary Research Network

'How Women can Save the Planet' by Dr Anne Karpf (Professor of Life Writing and Culture at London Metropolitan University)
Wednesday 17 November 2021 

Writer and academic Dr Anne Karpf talked about her recent book's themes: activism, climate, gender and racial justice.
How might practitioners/researchers in the arts and creative industries incorporate such themes in their work? What kind of collaboration between researchers from different disciplines is possible?

Research seminar - Art and Design

'Airs, Phrases and Notes in Neon: The Language of Birds' by Professor Mike Collier
Wednesday 20 October 2021

A short talk about the research behind an exhibition staged for the research gallery at the National Glass Centre in November 2021.
Prof Mike Collier has been assisted in this work by gladd artist Dr Ayako Tani and neon craftworker Bryn Reeves.

As the world went silent in lockdown March 2020, something else happened; for the first time, many people became more aware of the spring sounds of the birds around us.

This talk explored the background and research process involved in creating six circular large-scale neon birdsong pieces that foreground the value of our acoustic environment and will be displayed in an exhibition from November 2021 to April 2022 at the National Glass Centre.

The form of each piece has been drawn from Geoff Sample's sonograms of each bird (Wren; Great Tit; Spotted Flycatcher; Mistle Thrush; Goldcrest and Nuhatch). The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of six poems (called airs) by acclaimed Scottish comtemporary poet, Gerrry Loose. 

Digital drawing of Spotted Flycatcher

Mike Collier, Spotted Flycatcher, digital drawing, 30 inches square 

spotted flycatcher
by Gerry Loose

singer not song
only here here note
now not song now
only singer now not
song now now note
now fly

Launch of Interactive Film - Media and Culture

'Jessica’s Story - Young Parents and Perinatal Mental Health'
Wednesday 13 October 2021

David Puttnam Media Centre Cinema

The Film was followed by Q and A from health educators, actors, Trylife film director and project researchers

The NENC ICS’s Child Health and Wellbeing Network’s (CHWN) have commissioned this Interactive film. You can view the trailer here. Developed by our local phenonium, Trylife, a true CHWN partnership project, the ICS Mental Health funding for this work was secured in partnership with the Perinatal MH Network and was commissioned by the William Howard School in Cumbria.  Clinicians and Youth workers across mental health, Maternity and Perinatal mental health have contributed to this work and a programme board have managed its progress throughout the pandemic. The CHWN has evolved from the ICS and promotes partnership working to enable all children to thrive.  Our episode has been filmed on location in the NENC and focuses on pregnancy in young parents, Mental Health and Perinatal mental health.

University of Sunderland researchers Drs. Rick Bowler, Floor Christie and Amina Razak who have followed and researched the process of the partnership and production will be present at the launch as will Laura North Laura Northmore University of Sunderland Media production student who advised on storylines and acted in the film.

Once launched this resource will be freely available to both children and young people (from 13yrs and above) and professionals supporting them to ‘try life’ and see the impact of their choices in these interactive films on a range of hard hitting topics:

  • Episode 1 Sophie’s Story -  Substance Misuse, Sexual Health and Consent
  • Episode 2 Aaliyah’s Story-  Knife Crime and Drug Misuse
  • Episode 3 Jacob’s Story  - Mental Health and Relationships
  • Episode 4 Avani’s Story - Grooming
  • Episode 5 Shane’s Story - Isolation and loneliness & Covid
  • Episode 6 Jessica’s Story - Young Parents and Perinatal Mental Health

Research Symposium

Wednesday 6 October 2021

This symposium involved advanced postgraduate students doing 10 minute presentations on their projects, the challenges they have faced, and their experiences of prosecuting a PhD.

The purpose of the symposium was to get PhD students used to presenting their ideas in succinct and understandable form, to expose their research to questions and challenges from their academic peers, to inspire and instruct new research students, and to enhance the research culture in our faculty through participation of our academic staff.


1:00   Introduction - Kevin Yuill
1:05   Siouxsie Barber
1:20   Elizabeth Waugh
1:35   Steph Farnsworth
1:50   Dena Bagi

Art and Design Past events

 Art and Design events 2020/21

 Art and Design events 2019/20


CRMCS Past research seminars

 Research seminars 2000-2017