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Professor Lucy Orta

Chair of Art and the Environment
London College of Fashion
Researcher Research
Lucy  Orta


Lucy Orta's visual arts practice investigates the boundaries between the body and architecture, exploring their common social factors, communication and identity. She uses the mediums of drawing, sculpturing and performing to realise singular bodies of work that include: 'Refuge Wear' and 'Body Architecture', portable, lightweight and autonomous structures that question issues of mobility and survival; 'Nexus Architecture', structures in which participants connect together to shape modular and collective bodies and the social link; and 'Life Guards', a reflection on the body as a metaphorical supportive framework.

She co-founded the Studio Orta with her partner the Argentine artist Jorge Orta, in 1992. They have collaborated since 2005 under the co-authorship Lucy + Jorge Orta. Collaborative bodies of work include: 'HortiRecycling' and '70 x 7 The Meal', interrogating the local and global food chain and the ritual of community dining; 'OrtaWater' and 'Clouds', visualising water scarcity and the problems arising from pollution and corporate control; 'Antarctica', considering the effects of climate change on migration; and 'Amazonia' that explores interwoven ecosystems and their value to our natural environment.

Lucy Orta's work has been the focus of major shows at the Musée d'art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1994); Johannesburg Biennial (1997); Weiner Secession; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (1999); USF Contemporary Art Museum, Florida for which she received the Visual Arts Award from the Andy Warhol Foundation (2001); Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice Biennale (2005); Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2006); Biennial of the End of the World, Ushuaia; Antarctic Peninsula (2007); Hangar Bicocca spazio d'arte, Milan (2008); Natural History Museum, London (2010); Shanghai Biennale; MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts, Rome (2012); Terrace Wires, St Pancras International, London; The Johnson Museum, Cornell; Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield (2013); Parc de la Villette, Paris; Nuit Blanche Calgary (2014); London Museum Ontario, Canada (2015); Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester and City Gallery and Museum, Peterborough (2016); Humber Street Gallery, Hull and Frieze Projects, London (2017) Ikon Gallery, Birmingham; Fountains Abbey Studley Royal, Ripon and the European Cultural Capital Leeuwarden-Fryslân (2018).

Lucy Orta is the youngest female artist to be the focus of the Phaidon Press contemporary artist collection (2003). In acknowledgement of her innovative socially driven practice, she was nominated as Head of Man & Humanity, a pioneering master program that stimulates socially driven and sustainable design, which she cofounded with Li Edelkoort at the Design Academy in Eindhoven (2002). She has been a Professor at London College of Fashion since 2002, and is currently the Chair of Art and the Environment and a member of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at the University of the Arts London. In recognition of her academic contribution to the visual arts, she has received an honorary Master of Arts from Nottingham Trent University and an honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of Brighton.


Grants and awards

(Figures indicate amount awarded to UAL)

Research Outputs

Art/Design item



Current research students

  • Eldina Begic, How to wear utopia: a dress manual for the socialist future. (Joint supervisor)
  • Bevan Bevan, Photographic Practice and the Place of Superposition: Status, Observation, Event (Lead supervisor)

Past research students

  • M Cook-Obregon, MA Fashion Futures
  • Matina Kousidi, Architecture sur Mesure: Habitat | Abito - Habitus, Associate Research Degree Student, University of Rome Sapienza, Completed July 2013 (Joint supervisor)
  • Christina Lodahl Haxholm, MA Fashion Futures (Joint supervisor)
  • Ania Zoltkowski, MA Fashion Futures (Joint supervisor)


Fine art