Rebecca Howard, Metamorphic

We Are Nothing Without Stories

Photography is well known for its ubiquity, now more so than ever before. In so being it might seem that specialist research into and using photography is somehow superfluous, that due to its wide access it has ceased to become specialist. However, it is just this populist quality of the medium that lends it such richness and opportunity for enquiry across so many themes of living. Since its inception in the middle of the nineteenth century it has become the key medium for memory forming, identity asserting, ecology recovering, and storytelling. With this photography has become increasingly mobile, but not just in the physical sense of its camera object. It is also mobile as a means of communication across social fabric, global location, nationality, age, and gender.

Research is innate to the activities of universities. Research allows for exploration and expansion of the nature of the media employed. It is also essential that research makes positive and constructive social impact. Such contribution to the praxis of everyday life requires active, visible, and respectful participation by academics and their institutions. In turn, this facilitates and empowers communities to realise, communicate, and disseminate their own values and identities. Photography (with film and video its close relations) is an ideal medium to explore, challenge, articulate the complexities of living since it allows such excellent opportunities for wider participation and contribution.

Visual research in the School of Arts at the University of Derby is determined to make impact both beyond as well as within the institution. Not only does our research contribute to others’ lives outside the institution, it also presents models of creative and social interaction for our students to learn from, empowering them to model their own future activities. The outcome is that the “walls” of the university become porous to the wider social environment with the university being intrinsic to the cultural life of the city, the county, and the country.

This exhibition presents a selection of just some of the visual research being undertaken in the School of Arts at the University of Derby. The scope is broad, with highly diverse and innovative applications of photographic media, whilst each body of work presents a refined and intense creative focus on vital themes within the wider world. What is consistent among the work is that the narratives of living are explored with this wonderfully flexible and mutable thing we call photography.


Dr. Philip M Harris, Curator



Adrian Andrei, Associate Lecturer in Film and Video

Philip Ranjit Basi, Senior Lecturer in Media

Marc Bosward, Senior Lecturer in Design

Huw Davies, Professor of Lens Media

Philip M Harris, Senior Lecturer in Photography

Susan Hogan, Professor of Arts in Health

Clive Holmwood, Associate Professor in Therapeutic Arts

Rebecca Howard, Derby Scholar, Creative Industries

Daithi McMahon, Senior Lecturer in Media Production

Casey Orr, Associate lecturer in Photography, independent photographer

Stuart Poynton, Senior Lecturer in Design

Carl Robinson, Senior Lecturer in Art

Stephanie Rushton, Senior Lecturer in Photography

Victoria Sharples, Derby Scholar, Creative Industries