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Dr Wiebke Leister

Course Leader - MA Photography
London College of Communication
Email address
Researcher Research
Wiebke  Leister


Dr Wiebke Leister is a German artist, writer and researcher. Wiebke studied photography, typography and art theory at the University in Essen and gained a PhD from the Royal College of Art in London. She has exhibited and published her award-winning work internationally.

She's been teaching on MA Photography at LCC since 2004, taking over as Course Leader from Anne Williams in 2013. She also taught fine art photography, integration of theory & practice, and artistic research at Fachhochschule Bielefeld, Folkwang Universität der Künste in Essen and The Photographers' Gallery in London. 2018-19 she was DAAD Professor of Photography in Bielefeld, funded by the German government as part of an ongoing internationalisation programme.

She is a co-organiser of the Photography and the Contemporary Imaginary Research Hub and a core member of the Photography and the Archive Research Centre at University of the Arts London. Ongoing research groups include the Theatre of Photography research network and the Writing Photographs teaching and research project. Wiebke has also worked in museums, organising conferences and exhibitions.

Her work investigates the conditions of photographic non-likeness by focusing on representations of faciality and the photographic presentation of expressive signs of the face in relation to its facial canvas. Actively involving the viewer in the promises and failures of visual representation, her work engages with the interfacing of human boundaries and explores how we encounter ourselves in others. As an artist she works with photography, drawing and collage; her writing is in English and German and her written practice spans from academic papers and reviews to fiction, including text-based installations for the gallery.

Grants and awards

(Figures indicate amount awarded to UAL)

  • German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD Visiting Professorship
  • Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences, Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung
  • Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, CAST- Noh theatre, death masks, life casts and photographic performance (Sasakawa), £1,600.00, (2018-2018)
  • The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, Hoshi's Mask, £1,600.00, (2018-2018)
  • German Academic Exchange Service London Office, PhD scholarship
  • German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD scholarship

Research Outputs

Art/Design item





Current research students

  • Paul Bevan, Photography performed: what are the possibilities when photography becomes an act of its own investigation and does this embody the void between image and event. (Joint supervisor)
  • Rachel Cherry, How do you experience being photographed? A practice-based approach to photography from the perspective of the subject. (Joint supervisor)
  • Sinead Evans, Critiquing documentarism in illustration: the image of water as an intruding force
  • Maria Kheirkhah, Another Emerging: Re-constructing the Islamo-Orientalised Female Other in Contemporary Western Visual Culture. (Joint supervisor)
  • Sunduz Cemre Yesil, The photographic embodiment of an embrace: the mother-child constellation as a paradigm to explore the nature of the photographic double-portrait and how it manifests both the physical and mental relationship between self and other (Lead supervisor)

Past research students

  • Ope Lori, The oppositional gaze: Contemporary image-making practice and the implications of skin colour ideals. (TrAIN) (Lead supervisor)
  • Sukey Parnell, Hagging the Image – the role of photographic images in contemporary narratives of ageing and 'femininity' with Anglo American society. (Joint supervisor)