Our research

Elam School of Fine Arts staff and students pose challenging questions about how we engage with the world.

Elam staff are nationally recognised leaders in research and research policy in the creative arts and industries. They regularly present their research in New Zealand and abroad, in art galleries, at professional conventions and at prestigious events such as the Venice Biennale.

Every year, Elam students have the opportunity to showcase their work and research in our annual graduate exhibition. The Elam Artists website serves as an archive of our students' creative practice research and provides an ongoing connection to communities local and international. Browse student projects on Elam Artists

Discover our staff

Jon Bywater

Jon Bywater is active as a curator, and as a writer on art, music, and theory. His publications cover contemporary visual art, music, poetry, theory, and education for creative practice, and he has delivered presentations at international events in these fields.

Areas of expertise: theorisation of cultural production and the role of theory in creative practice, adult teaching and learning, colonisation and settler culture, genre and value, activism and social change

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Joyce Campbell

Associate Professor Joyce Campbell is an interdisciplinary artist whose recent work utilises anachronistic photographic techniques such as daguerreotype and ambrotype, as well as conventional analogue and digital photography, video, film and sculptural installation to examine the collision of natural and cultural systems.

Areas of expertise: photography from antiquarian to digital, sculptural installation, landscape and the politics of place, ecologies in crisis

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James Cousins

James Cousins’ work pivots around questions of how a painting might function, including how we understand the status of an image, what visual systems guide our understanding and what processes could be used to disrupt our assumptions. A substantial survey of his work entitled Restless Idiom was presented at Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery in 2015.

Areas of expertise: modern and contemporary painting, contemporary art, art theory

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Lisa Crowley

Lisa Crowley works in photography and moving image. Her practice draws on diverse lineages of feminist practice. These different strands of thought, spanning the scientific, the mystic and the creative, share an understanding of the natural world through embodied and speculative orientations. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally.

Areas of expertise: lens-based practices, feminist practices, embodied methodologies

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Nuala Gregory

Professor Nuala Gregory is an exhibiting artist predominantly in the medium of painting, but also in printmaking and drawing. Her work has been shown in Ireland, the US, New Zealand, Mexico, China and Japan. Gregory is also known for her writings on contemporary art and art education.

Areas of expertise: fine arts, painting, studio, pedagogy

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Gavin Hipkins

Associate Professor Gavin Hipkins specialises in the fields of landscape and postcolonial theory; digital montage and discourses of hybridity; photo and filmic experimental narrative structures. He has exhibited widely in New Zealand and internationally over the last three decades, working in expanded photographic series and experimental moving image.

Areas of expertise: contemporary art, photography, experimental film, landscape theory, digital culture and image

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Lucille Holmes

Dr Lucille Holmes has published on the topics of art education, social theory, psychoanalysis, artistic research and new media. She held the role of ethics advisor for the Elam School of Fine Arts and the Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries for five years, during which time she developed modifications relating to artistic research for the guidelines of the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee. 

Areas of expertise: art education, social theory, new media, ethics of artistic research 

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Simon Ingram

Simon Ingram’s practice creates a conversation between art and technology. His work explores boundaries between art and science and he has been exhibiting nationally and internationally for many years. He cultivates an experimental art practice across disciplines including robotics, computer science and radio astronomy. 

Areas of expertise: art and technology, painting 

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Fiona Jack

Fiona Jack has a long history of making artworks for public space using billboards, posters and banners to present text works that respond to the context or epoch in which they reside. In the past decade, she has also developed a pottery practice focused on the production of wood-fired domestic ware.

Areas of expertise: contemporary art, social and community art practices, ceramics, public art, social change, activism, text, design, politics

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Sean Kerr

Associate Professor Sean Kerr’s research is distinguished by a sustained engagement with new and emergent technologies, documenting this research predominantly through public exhibitions. He investigates the emerging area of new media technologies from the perspective of their interactive potential and incorporates his findings into a series of creative practice projects.

Areas of expertise: interactive art, realtime 3D VR and AR, mixed realities, physical computing, electronic art, installation, internet art, video art, film, sound art, performance art

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Alex Monteith

Associate Professor Alex Monteith is a leading video artist whose work explores situated moments of action and performance. Her works often reflect on the politics, limits and freedoms of contemporary human activity at the threshold of geographical or territorial extremes. Her work is interested in cultures whose activity-base is sensitive to the physicality of larger landscapes.

Areas of expertise: digital media, new media, video and film

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Peter Robinson

Associate Professor Peter Robinson’s work bridges formalist, conceptual and relational art modalities to generate work that interrogates notions of encounter and the inhabitation of space. His work has been shown in exhibitions including Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art, Venice Biennale, 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, 16th Jakarta Biennale, Nouveau Festival, and the 13th Istanbul Biennale.

Areas of expertise: drawing, sculpture, relational art and installation, contemporary Māori art, painting, 3D computer-aided-design drawing and output systems

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Peter Shand

Associate Professor Peter Shand’s research is primarily focused on contemporary creative practices, principally art and fashion, and the inter-relationship of art and law, notably issues in copyright and cultural heritage. His writing includes articles, book chapters and catalogue essays and he has curated exhibitions for public galleries and museums including the Auckland War Memorial Museum, Tauranga Art Gallery and the Gus Fisher Art Gallery.

Areas of expertise: contemporary art, fashion theory and practice, creativity and the law

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Jim Speers

Jim Speers is an artist and filmmaker who in recent years has made documentary films for cinema and art contexts. His feature film Ayukawa: The Weight of a Life, about whaling in Japan, had its first showing at the Vancouver International Film Festival in 2021 and was subsequently included in the Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival.

Areas of expertise: film, documentary practices, community engagement, new media, sculpture, installation, art education theory and practice

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Ruth Watson

Dr Ruth Watson is a multidisciplinary artist working across sculpture, video, installation, photography and painting as well as publishing creative and academic writing for a variety of books and catalogues. She has held over 30 solo exhibitions, curated thematic exhibitions and participated in multiple group exhibitions in Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, Germany and the US. 

Areas of expertise: contemporary art, fine art, sculpture, installation, moving image, photography, history of cartography 

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Tara Winters

Tara’s research interests include art and design pedagogy, design criticism and art and design an interface between different fields of knowledge. She has written about the pedagogies of creative practice, student well-being, the integration of digital pedagogies into studio-based teaching and the contemporary university as a studio. She acts as principal editor for the International Journal of Education Through Art.  

Areas of expertise: art and design pedagogy, studio teaching and learning, visual communication design, interactive media design, art education theory and practice. 

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