Dr Tim O'Riley

Research Supervisor

Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon


Tim O’Riley studied at Farnham, Leicester and Chelsea College of Art and Design. He has been central to the development of practice-based research in relation to art practice and completed UAL’s first PhD in July 1998. He was awarded an AHRC fellowship in the Creative and Performing Arts based at Chelsea from 2004 - 2008.

Much of O’Riley’s thinking, practice and technical skills are located in the realm of technological media in relation to fine art. The computer is central to his thinking both as a communication device, a creative tool and a medium in itself, albeit one that has a tendency to absorb other media.

Research interests

Serendipity, representation, imaginary journeys, moving image/animation, photography, computation, publishing, space, physics, cosmology, quantum mechanics.

Research statement

Research (with a lowercase 'r') is a means of thinking, of generating a pool of knowledge or experience that can be drawn on, a structure that can enable new ways of thinking and doing. It is a process of looking for something outside of one's everyday orbit, whether that thing is an idea, a place, a phenomenon, a process etc.

Growing up in the space age and an emerging computerised world, the speed with which things become obsolescent, call it the redundancy of progress, remains startling. With this in mind and as a kind of antidote to a prevailing theory of achievement, curiosity and serendipity are of fundamental importance.

Science is embedded in every aspect of life, practically and philosophically. Through accident or invention, he has found himself looking at science as a subject, its impenetrability often leading him to focus on its human aspects. Over the past decade, for example, he has visited various astronomical observatories around the world. These sites are intriguing in both a cultural sense (the life that surrounds them, what they seem to embody) and for what they signify in terms of theoretical and practical approaches to reality. Experiences like this have remained a touchstone for thinking and generating ideas about the world and for artworks: the connectedness of the large and small; inner space; incompleteness; serendipity as a means to develop or generate work.


Current students and thesis titles

Sam Burford, Journey to the Image - Searching for Traces of the Indexical within Synthetically Rendered Imagery

James Lander, Storeys/stories of Ernö Goldfinger's Balfron Tower: archival investigations from a contested site

Completed students and thesis titles

Gabriela Vaz-Pinheiro, Art from place: the expression of cultural memory in the urban environment and in place-specific art interventions.

Aaron McPeake, Nibbling at Clouds: The Visual Artist Encounters Adventitious Blindness.

Katrine Hjelde, Constructing a Reflective Site: Practice between art and pedagogy in the art school.

Chanya Hetayothin, Thai Shadow Puppets: Nang Talung Animated Adaptation.

Christian Edwardes, Peregrinations with Maps and Landscapes: Narrating the Spaces of Practice in Fine Art.

Charlotte Webb, Noodle, noodle, cat: extra-subjective authorship in web-based art practice

Selected research outputs

  • BookMare project 2: of average sunlight

    Johanknecht, Susan and Taylor, Finlay and Douglas, Helen and Van Horn, Erica and Meynell, Katharine and Hawrysio, Denise and Bicknell, Les and Scrivener, Kate and Matthews, Bob and Sackett, Colin and Coutts, Nicky and Grimes, Oona and Olsen, Redell and Milne, Drew and O'Riley, Tim (2017) BookMare project 2: of average sunlight. [Show/Exhibition]

  • M.C Escher

    O'Riley, Tim (2017) M.C Escher. Print Quarterly, XXXIV (1). ISSN 0265-8305 (In Press)

  • against Nature

    O'Riley, Tim (2014) against Nature. [Show/Exhibition]

  • Twenty-Seven Kilometres

    O'Riley, Tim (2013) Twenty-Seven Kilometres. Revolver, Berlin. ISBN 9783868952940

  • Exactitude and Uncertainty

    O'Riley, Tim (2013) Exactitude and Uncertainty. In: Impact 8 Conference - Borders and Crossings: the artist as explorer, 23rd August – 1st September 2013, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee.

  • The Art of Research II, Process, Results and Contribution

    Mäkelä, Maarit and O'Riley, Tim (2011) The Art of Research II, Process, Results and Contribution. Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland. ISBN 978-952-60-4863-5

  • Flusser Studies (Chance and Improbability)

    O'Riley, Tim (2011) Flusser Studies (Chance and Improbability). Flusser Studies (12). ISSN 1661-5719

  • Accidental Journey

    O'Riley, Tim (2011) Accidental Journey. In: Intersections and Counterpoints: Proceedings of Impact 7, 
an International Multi-Disciplinary Printmaking Conference. Melbourne: Monash University Press. ISBN 978-1-921867-56-9

  • A farmer’s almanac

    O'Riley, Tim (2011) A farmer’s almanac. Ponsonby Press, London, UK. ISBN 9780956228697

  • Accidental journey

    O'Riley, Tim (2010) Accidental journey. Ponsonby Press, London, UK. ISBN 9780956228604