Film & Visual Culture

Film & Visual Culture

We are currently accepting PhD applications in this area. Find out more about staff's research interests here.

Ashleigh Black

Thesis topic: George Washington Wilson Pioneer of Photography: A Study in Photographic Panopticism 

Supervisor: Alan Marcus & Neil Curtis 

Educational background: MA History & Religious Studies, University of Aberdeen; MLitt Museum Studies with Distinction, University of Aberdeen.

Research interests: my research is centred on the University's George Washington Wilson photographic collection which houses over 38,000 glass plate negatives from c.1850-1908. I am specifically working with images from the Victorian period. I recently co-curated the online exhibition "Envisioning Women's Places: Photographs from the George Washington Wilson Collection" I am also in the process of curating my own exhibition as part of my PhD project.

Hobbies/interests: I love to read, particularly Stephen King novels. I like to travel and visit new places and countries. I am also an avid collector of carte de visite photographs and enjoy amateur photography.

Why did you choose Aberdeen: As a child of a naval officer I was used to moving around. When I was younger I lived in Gibraltar and also in the United States, so Aberdeen has become a base for me to call home.

Favourite part of studying in Aberdeen: the beach is one of my favourite places in Aberdeen. I like how there are also so many hidden beauty spots.

How do you think your experience in Aberdeen will prepare you for the future: I feel that I have developed my academic voice through my PhD research which has given me confidence in my own abilities as a scholar.

Daegyeom Heo

Thesis Topic: Intertextual Study as Visual Representation of Historical Memory

Supervisor: Alan Marcus

Educational background (BA, MA, etc.): M.F.A THE SCHOOL OF THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO

What are your research interests/what are you currently working on? I am studying use of Virtual Reality as a means of intertextual visual representation of historical space. Currently, I am conducting the field research on the subject of Cold War trauma in Southeast Asia.

Brian Keeley

Thesis Topic:  Representations of heart transplantation and donation in contemporary art and visual culture.

Supervisor: Prof. Alan Marcus

Educational background (BA, MA, etc.): BA (Hons) Fine Art - Glasgow School of Art; MA (postgraduate) Video Production and Media Studies - Bournemouth University; PGDE Art & Design (postgraduate teaching qualification) - University of the West of Scotland

What are your research interests/what are you currently working on? My PhD research examines the ways in which heart transplantation, and wider issues surrounding organ donation and transplantation, are portrayed in contemporary visual art and across other visual media.  

A key area of my research focusses on drawing comparisons between the approaches to the subject in the creative media, which can range from the romanticised, science-fiction, horror, or philosophical - and the realities and lived experiences of those who are affected by it. I am interested in the extent to which such representations might propagate preconceptions and misconceptions of heart transplantation in particular, which is a unique and relatively recent development in medical science.

As a visual artist who underwent a heart transplant in 2013, my practice since then has been informed by personal experience,and this ongoing work is also an important aspect of my research.


A CHANCE TO SWIM - Solo exhibition Hosted by  Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences,  November 2018

SEE LEARN SHARE –  Creative Scotland award recipient: Creative Learning Fund,  February 2019

Invited Conference Speaker: CAIPE  UK (Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education), Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen September 2019

Invited Conference Speaker: European Extracorporeal Life Support Organisation (EuroELSO), Clyde Auditoriam, Glasgow, June 2016

BBC SCOTLAND News featuring my contribution to EuroELSO:

RENAISSANCE - artwork created for the exhibition ‘Being & Becoming’ at The University of Aberdeen MacRobert ArtSpace, 2016 - 2017


Why did you choose to study in Aberdeen? I have lived in Aberdeen for many years, and have attended numerous events and activities at the University, such as talks, screenings, workshops, etc. so the familiarity with the campus and the faculty made it the natural place to want come to do my PhD research.

What is your favourite part of studying and living in Aberdeen? Aberdeen’s geographical location is the most important factor for me.  It is unique in that the city is so close to its own beach, it is within easy reach of the Highlands, as well as some of the most spectacular coastline in the country.  I believe that being close to nature and the sea in particular cannot be overestimated in terms of benefits to health and well-being

How do you think your experience in Aberdeen will prepare you for the future? I don’t prepare for or think too much about the future.  Life exists today.

Eimear Kinsella

Thesis Topic:  A semiotic approach to the contemporary display of bio-art to contribute to the practical and theoretical discourse of the art form within the gallery space

Supervisor: Dr. Silvia Casini

Educational background (BA, MA, etc.): BDes Textile Design (1.1)

What are your research interests/what are you currently working on? I am currently looking at how living and semi-living artwork can best be communicated to the public. I am taking a semiotic approach to the research in order to avail of what we know as being familiar and comfortable (signs, symbols, connotations) in order to efficiently communicate the unknown and uncomfortable. My interests in the semiotics of bio-art come from my own experience in working as an artist faced with display challenges and tackling the discourse of where bio-art situates itself between nature and culture.

What do you do outside of academia (hobbies, personal interests, etc.)? Outside of any academic studies, I love to swim, hike, and paint and drink coffee. I swim nearly every single day for the exercise and the headspace it offers me. I have been able to hold a paintbrush for as long as I have held a pencil. I have painted as a commissioned artist since I was 14 years old, but have always seen it as more of a hobby. Being completely honest, I am at my happiest when I am painting a portrait for hours on end. Hiking is a hobby that has enriched my experiences in many countries and allows me to work for views and adventures. I have climbed many big mountains in Canada and Central America and I am looking forward to tackling some of Scotland’s greatest heights.

Why did you choose to study in Aberdeen? I chose to study in Aberdeen as it allowed me to base myself in a University that is quite diverse. As my study involves merging fine arts and curatorship with Science and Biology, It was important to locate myself where the crossover would be possible. Aberdeen also provided me with a fantastic supervisor that I could see as being very helpful in my research.  Being in the UK and Europe again was also important to me so I could access many relevant galleries and professionals working in the area.

What is your favourite part of studying and living in Aberdeen? I enjoy how small the city is and how easy it is to walk anywhere within 30 minutes. It is also close to the ocean and the mountains so it is easy to escape to the countryside for a day or two. There is plenty of opportunity to get involved with other artists and with upcoming festivals. There are many libraries and galleries to explore and some lovely cafes to go and read a book or just watch the world go by.

How do you think your experience in Aberdeen will prepare you for the future? My reason for moving to Aberdeen was for the University and my research. I think that having that focus and being here will allow me to achieve that to the best of my ability an in doing so strengthen my work for the future. My research is niche and I will have to learn how to communicate that work effectively to a public that is very new to this type of artwork and research. Aberdeen will be my first challenge in learning and trialling effective bio-art communication with the public.


Alison Metoudi

Thesis Topic: Wild Places: Screenwriting Creative Practice.

Supervisors: Professor Ali Lumsden, Professor Alan Marcus.

Educational background (BA, MA, etc.): BA (hons) Theatre, BDes (hons) Production Design Film, Television and Theatre and MA Film and Visual Studies.

What are your research interests/what are you currently working on? My PhD project concerns the interconnections between humans and non-humans including nature and the technology of the North Sea off Scotland, with an emphasis on the offshore oil industry and marine animals.

What do you do outside of academia (hobbies, personal interests, etc.)? Art, photography and keep fit.

Why did you choose to study in Aberdeen? Aberdeen is a great location providing easy access to transport links and is within reach to other destinations related to my research topic.

What is your favourite part of studying and living in Aberdeen? Reconnecting to Scottish cultural roots is exciting as is getting to know more about the North to North East of Scotland, wild life, the sea, islands, marine animals, industry and meeting people.

How do you think your experience in Aberdeen will prepare you for the future? My research and creative practice combined link a number of areas within Physical Sciences, literature, writing and creative media of which I am becoming conversant. I hope that this collaborative approach to research and creative practice will help to prepare me for other areas of cross-disciplinary work and travel, as there is opportunity in future.