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James Swinson

Research Students Tutor
Central Saint Martins
Email address
Researcher Research
James  Swinson


I am an artist and writer whose practice has involved documentary filmmaking, site-specific installation, art video and television script/camera/edit/directing. I have both a science and fine art background, which is reflected in my research interests.

My primary practice has been as a film and video maker producing a wide range of work from art videos, TV programmes, fiction and documentaries. My current work includes critical writing and audio-visual installation focusing on the city, architecture and urban consciousness. My current writing, research and artwork production centres on the city: streets, architecture, space, place, time and identity. This includes Urban Poetics a project that sets out to navigate the current contours of creative practice mapping the shifting relationship between the artist, technology and urban existence, defining the emergent field of new media theory against the confines of current theories of visual culture.

A trans-disciplinary investigation of theory and practice cutting across creative disciplines and media including urban development, visual arts, moving image, photography, literature, music, digital, data-based and network art. Phases of technological development from mechanical to electronic to digital are explored giving voice to creative practices, a poetics located in the flux of the modern city.

Research Outputs

Art/Design item

Book Section

Conference, Symposium or Workshop item


Current research students

  • Gillian Addison, Something to hold onto: The re-materialisation of research in moving image practice. (Lead supervisor)
  • Sara Buoso, "What Does Light Frame? Investigating the Material and Practices of Light in Contemporary Arts." (Lead supervisor)
  • Carla Capeto, Space Dramaturgies; Performative Environments in Interactive Art. (Lead supervisor)
  • Amy Congdon, "Tissue Engineered Textiles; ‘Can the integration of textile craft with tissue-engineering techniques lead to the development of a new materiality for future design applications?’" (Lead supervisor)
  • Fahad Ali Hamid Dhawi, How can Arabic typography and graphic communication technologies help Arabic and non-Arabic speakers in bilingual (Arabic-Latin) communication design? (Lead supervisor)
  • Sarah Diamond, Endurance, Performance, Surveillance and Creative Collaboration. (Lead supervisor)
  • Maja Grakalic, Critical and Progressive Design in former Yugoslavia. (Lead supervisor)
  • Catherine Greenhalgh, To be confirmed (Lead supervisor)
  • Melodie Holliday, Being The Only One In The Room: An interdisciplinary exploration of an Alternative Black culture establishing the creative contribution in music, art and design of being a Black Punk or Black Goth. (Lead supervisor)
  • Annice Hsueh, Looking for Magnolias: the Poetics of Living in a New City (Lead supervisor)
  • Daniella Jenkins, Creating new policy perspectives of female retirement in the UK : using design research to explore ways that women imagine and anticipate their financial futures (Joint supervisor)
  • Nicola Kirkham, J18: Movements towards an ethico-aesthetic paradigm. (Lead supervisor)
  • Genevieve Mc Gill, ‘Ireland on Screen: the development of a critical documentary practice exploring identity through the archiving of the mediated image’. (Lead supervisor)
  • Oonagh O'Hagan, The Never-Ending Object: considering theories on desire, could anti-counterfeiting techniques and related technologies influence the design of fashion objects and develop our relationship with them? (Lead supervisor)
  • Colin Richard Perry, Into the mainstream: radical independent documentaries and television in Britain 1974-1990. (Lead supervisor)
  • Alev Adil Reid, Drifting in the Dead Zone in Cyprus: the mediation of memory through expanded life writing. (Lead supervisor)
  • Marin Sawa, A design-led investigation at the intersection of algal biotechnology and design. (Lead supervisor)
  • Tommaso Speretta, Alternative AIDS Video: the representation of the AIDS crisis in independent art video and film in the 1980s and 1990s London–New York. (Lead supervisor)
  • Gina Franca Tornatore, Appropriation, Gesture and Detournement: An Interpretative Schema of Art Film Process tracing the Significance of Scratch Video from the Perspective of Contemporary Artists' Film and Video Practice in a Gallery Context
  • Tamara Tyrer, Of Space and Time: Film and the Female Performer (Lead supervisor)