Born in Haymarket, Edinburgh, to a Scottish father and Scottish - Irish mother, as a young child I emigrated with my original family, for economic reasons, to England, to the working-class midlands mining town named Mansfield. My practice remains informed by an enduring sense of displacement and non-belonging, and related experiences which led to and stem from my embodiment of the category of pathologised working class single mother. I was awarded a PhD Art and a distinction in my MFA Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, and a first-class BA hons Fine Art at Manchester Metropolitan University, for my sculptural work and written research to map my own and other women artists’ lived experiences of inequality and marginalisation and making as a form of overcoming.
Since 2011, in response to my research findings surrounding the longstanding, normalised structural oppression of working-class single mothers and the corresponding patriarchal absenting of their different and diverse gazes from art and cultural space, I have sought to bring visibility to invisible labour and its effects on them as a marginalised, fragmented group. I do this by building my sculptural series ‘New Model Army’, working with discarded objects and materials found in London streets. I take these materials to my studio, working with them to create sculptures that critically address art historical notions of figuration, including by temporarily returning them to the urban landscape and documenting this moment through photography and film. This process, which I term ‘Morphological Activism’, generates working diagrams, collages, architectural and other photographs and different kinds of written documents. I exhibit and publish these elements as single works or in multi-layered combinations known as ‘Fieldworks’.
Currently, with support from the Arts Council England, DCMS and ACME studios, I am developing a new Fieldwork ‘New Model Army as New Model Healers’.
My art and research are increasingly presented in a variety of contexts internationally including in connection with The Foundling Museum (2022), SFK International, Beijing, China (2021), Tate Modern (2020), Credit-Suisse London (2019), Glasgow University with Girlhood Gang (2019), APT London (2018), MAAT Lisbon (2017), V22 London (2016), Women’s Art Library, Goldsmiths (2016), Deptford Lounge (2015), Sir John Soanes’ Museum (2011), CCCB Barcelona (2009), Art Village, Sabuk-Gohan, South Korea (2009) and more.
At Central Saint Martins, I am Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead and I lecture in Fine Art Critical Studies. I also lecture in postgraduate Academic Practice for University of the Arts London, in postgraduate and undergraduate Fine Art at SFK International, Beijing, China and I am an Access Steering Group member for Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge.
Telephone+44 (0)20 7514 7444