Staff Profiles

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Dr Barbara Brownie

Barbara directs the professional doctorates, DFA and DDes, and leads online MAs in Graphic Design and Illustration in the School of Creative Arts at UH. She began her career as a multimedia developer, then undertook a PhD in kinetic typography. Her current research spans graphic design, typography, film, costume and fashion, about which she has written for The Guardian and Bloomsbury. She is currently researching design for weightless environments.

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Michael Biggs

Prof Michael Biggs

Michael is Emeritus Professor of Aesthetics at UH. He studied Fine Art in London and Manchester and exhibited sculpture for the first 20 years of his career. He then undertook a PhD and postdoctoral studies in philosophy. He is well known as a theorist of research in the arts. As a research manager and supervisor he is very experienced at organising ideas into research projects, applying for funding, and the evaluation of arts research. He now works as a consultant to the Australian Research Council and the Belgian Research Council and has published nearly 100 papers that have been influential in identifying the conditions under which studio practice can function as research. He is currently working on projects involving classification (of Wittgenstein’s diagrams), discourse analysis (of how poets talk about poetry) and research evaluation (ensuring that the emerging theory of arts research has the capacity to generate outcomes that have impact in the professional world of art production and exhibition). He is particularly interested in developing a theory of arts-based research that facilitates comparison – both similarities and differences – with methods and paradigms in other disciplines. As such he describes himself as a meta-theoretician: a theoretician of theories.

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steven adams

Dr Steven Adams

Steven is the Head of Research Degrees for the Social Sciences Arts and Humanities Research Institute, and Associate Dean of Research in the School of Creative Arts at UH. His research interests centre around the visual and material culture of the French Revolution and the early nineteenth century, and the construction of artists’ professional identities in early nineteenth-century France. He has also written widely on landscape painting, landscape and gender and the formation of the art market in early nineteenth century France, and the art market’s relation to to the formation of modernist conceptions of art. Steven has also written extensively on shifting concepts of spatiality in Revolutionary France and the Empire. He is also interested in critical methodologies in the fine arts and in the ideas underpinning practice-led research.

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Dr Grace Lees-Maffei

Grace Lees Maffei

Grace is Reader in Design History in the School of Creative Arts at UH where she coordinates the TVAD Research Group. Her research as a design historian centres upon objects and the things people say, and write, about them. She is interested in the discourse surrounding design, including the dissemination or mediation of ideas about design through channels including domestic advice literature, corporate literature, magazines and advertising. Grace has a sustained interest in design historical methodology and historiography, shown in her publications. Grace’s research is organised into three projects: Writing Design, which considers relationships between words and objects; Designing Domesticity, which looks in detail at domestic advice books as design discourse; and Dangerous Liaisons, a completed project which considered the intersections of design, craft and art.

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Dr Ivan Phillips

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Dr Pat Simpson


Pat is a reader in Social History of Art, and Research Tutor in the School of Creative Arts.

Prof Marty St. James


Marty St.James is the Professor of Fine Art, Head of Post Graduate Studies, a research supervisor and examiner at the School of Creative Arts. A Wingate Scholar, Paul Hamlyn award winner, Gulbenkian and AHRB recipient with awards from the British Council and Arts Council (28 awards in total) St.James has travelled and exhibited extensively worldwide. He is a practicing fine artist with an international and national reputation particularly in the area of time-based medai artwork.


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