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Fine Arts and Design academic staff have a wealth of experience and expertise in their research.

Design staff

Dr Diana Albarrán González

Learn more about Diana Albarrán González

Dr Gabriela Baron

Gabriela is a lecturer at the Design Programme. Her supervisory and research expertise is in the field of strategic design for environmental sustainability, environmental conservation and social innovation. 

Areas of research

  • Design for environmental conservation
  • Design for resilient, circular and regenerative human-environment systems
  • Sustainable transportation and accessibility in the urban environment
  • Methodologies for impact planning and assessment

Recent projects/research

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Dr Angus Campbell

Angus Donald Campbell is the Leader of the Design Programmes and Senior Lecturer at the Elam School of Fine Arts, Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries. His university lecturing, practice-based research and freelance design experience is passionately focused on local and sustainable innovation at the complex nexus of social, technological and ecological systems. For more information please visit:

Areas of research

  • Practice-based design research with specific focus on sustainable innovation to regenerate complex social, technical and ecological systems.
  • Pluriversal design with interest in Development, the Global South, inequality, indigenous knowledge and decolonisation.
  • Local futures, including appropriate technology, circular economies, and food systems.
  • Socio-technical innovation for industrial design.

Recent projects/research

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Dr Allan Fowler

Allan is a senior lecturer in Design. Allan’s research interests are in game development, and understanding the user experience. He has also undertaken considerable work in increasing the representation of minorities in STEM.

Areas of research

  • Game Design & Development
  • Augmented and Virtual Reality
  • User Experience
  • Human Computer Interaction
  • Increasing underrepresented minorities participation in STEM
  • Game jams & hackathons for teaching and learning

Recent projects/research

  • A Fowler, K Nesbitt and A Canossa, Identifying Cognitive Load in a Computer Game: An exploratory study of young children, 2019 IEEE Conference on Games (CoG), London, United Kingdom, 2019, pp. 1-6, doi: 10.1109/CIG.2019.8848064
  • A Fowler (2016, March). Informal stem learning in game jams, hackathons and game creation events. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Game Jams, Hackathons, and Game Creation Events (pp. 38-41)
  • A Fowler and I Schreiber (2017, February). Engaging under-represented minorities in STEM through game jams. In Proceedings of the second International Conference on Game Jams, Hackathons, and Game Creation Events (pp. 1-5)

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Aaron Fry

Dr Barbara Ribeiro

Fine Arts staff

Jon Bywater

Jon is a Pākehā critic who writes about art and music with a particular interest in politics and place. His writing has addressed contemporary art in a broad range of media and artistic modes appearing in journals including Afterall, art-agenda, Artforum, Art New Zealand, Contemporary​​ HUM, Frieze and Reading Room, and several monographs and exhibition catalogues.

Areas of research

  • Contemporary art
  • Art criticism
  • Artist-run initiatives
  • Large-scale periodic exhibitions
  • Art identified with Aotearoa New Zealand in a globalising art world
  • Tino rangatiratanga / Indigenous sovereignty
  • Theory for creative practice

Recent projects/research

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Lisa Crowley

Lisa is a lecturer whose practice concentrates on both photography and moving image. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally. Lisa’s 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. 

Areas of Work and Research:

  • Photography
  • Film
  • Video
  • Installation
  • Feminist new materialisms
  • Analogue / film based materialities and their relationship to materialist subjectivities

Recent projects/research

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James Cousins

James works to prise open new sets of critical possibilities for painting. Unique to his approach is a practice that builds upon processes connected to post-minimalism and contemporary painting, mapping a convergence of figurative and abstract modes of representation.

Recent ideas exploring forming of painting as a space of transmission have opened new terrains - spaces that seek to demonstrate a new phenomenology of information transfer via a re-enactment and relocation of recycled images in different places and times.

Recent projects/research

  • Conceptual and material links to fields of practice emerging in contemporary painting, dealing with topics influenced by forms of information transfer.

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Gavin Hipkins

Gavin has exhibited widely in New Zealand and internationally over the last two decades, working primarily in expanded photographic series.

Areas of research

  • contemporary fine arts
  • photography and experimental film, including landscape traditions and postcolonial theory
  • digital montage and discourses of hybridity
  • photo and filmic experimental narrative structures

Recent projects/research 

  • This Fine Island, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2011, and Armory Film, New York, 2012
  •  Envisioning Buildings: Reflecting Architecture in Contemporary Art Photography, Austrian Museum of Applied Art and Contemporary Art (MAK), Vienna, 2011
  • Unnerved: The New Zealand Project, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, 2010

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Dr Lucille Holmes

Lucille Holmes, PhD, is a cultural theorist, writer, psychoanalyst and senior lecturer with long-term experience in doctoral supervision. She currently supervisors PhD and Doctor of Fine Arts projects in a diverse range of artistic and theoretical frameworks.

Areas of research

  • Artistic research
  • Relationships of ethics and aesthetics
  • Applications of psychoanalytic theory to visual art practices

Recent projects/research

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Dr Simon Ingram

Since 2008 Simon has developed a way to build on and collaborate with abstract problems inherent to both painting history and science's attempts to plot living systems and cosmic radiation.

More recently he has extended this by disrupting the technical-aesthetic framework central to his approach.

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Dr Sean Kerr

Dr Sean Kerr is a Senior Lecturer at Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland. He leads the Fine Arts Doctoral Programmes, and is a practicing artist specialising in Real-time 3d, VR and interactive technologies. Sean has produced two books: Bruce is in the Garden, So Someone is in the Garden, and Pop. Both were published by Clouds publishing.

Areas of research

  • Investigating the emerging area of new media technologies from the perspective of their interactive potential
  • Creative practice projects including real-time 3d,  VR, MR and AR, physical computing, internet art, installation and sonic works
  • These projects pursue interactive relationships that occur as audience, artist and technology interfaced in a complex dynamic

Recent projects/research

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Alex Monteith

Areas of research

  • Aotearoa surfing culture
  • acrobatic/stunt flight
  • helicopter alpine search and rescue flight
  • motorcycle culture

Performance art issues are explored in relationship to contemporary cultural activities that are radically sensitive to geography. Within adrenalin and speed sports-genres, relationships of technology to the body, technology to territory and action to site are explored, including implications of on-board video culture.

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Associate Professor Peter Robinson

Peter is an internationally acclaimed artist whose research interests include installation, sculpture, painting and art education theory and practice.

His recent work investigates both the materiality and metaphoric potential of his chosen medium. Whether it is the massive weightless volume of polystyrene forms or the densely contracted materiality of felt, Peter's sculptural propositions play out various oppositions such as density and lightness, dispersion and compression.

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Associate Professor Peter Shand

Peter is an Associate Professor in Fine Arts and Head of Elam. He has wide experience in public service in the creative sector as well as a long-standing record of publication and curation in his areas of research.

Areas of research

  • Contemporary art
  • Contemporary fashion theory
  • Art and law
  • Cultural Heritage
  • Copyright

Recent projects/research

  • Untitled essay for Judy Millar: Untitled 2005, Robert Heald Gallery, Wellington, 2019
  • Accumulating Subtractions: Judy Millar in Switzerland, Art New Zealand, #171, Spring 2019, pp. 76-79 fol.
  • Painting and the In-Between, China National Arts Fund Chinese Academy of Art Symposium, Shenyang Academy of Art, China, July 2019
  • Walls & Mist: Patrick Lundberg’s Paintings, Art New Zealand, #170, Winter 2019, pp. 74-78
  • Pretty Good Privacy: China Academy of Art Inter-Youth Exhibition (curator New Zealand; lead curator Jing Shi-Jian), China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, December 2018-January 2019

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Allan Smith

Allan Smith is a writer whose research links languages of making and object ensembles with modes of subjectivity and ways of being in the world.

Allan is particularly interested in following accented, emergent and improvisational materiality in the 19th century, the modern and contemporary eras through art, literature, technology and philosophy. This includes forms of urban alliteration; the geological imaginary; and temporalities of the sonic and visual fields.

He has worked as a curator of contemporary art in City Gallery, Wellington and Auckland Art Gallery, and written about photography, painting, and installational practices.

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Jim Speers

Jim Speers is a lecturer in the Fine Arts. As a researcher his work involves documentary filmmaking. Most recently Jim directed a documentary focused on rural Japan. Through his Field Recordings project, Jim has also worked with a collective of Chinese and New Zealand artists who produce Chinese language documentary artworks which are exhibited internationally. Jim's ongoing interest lies in the presentation of culture within everyday life, and the difficulties generated by cross-cultural communication.

Areas of research

  • Documentary filmmaking
  • Sculpture and installation

Recent projects/research

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Dr Ruth Watson

Ruth Watson’s research focuses on the relations of place and representation, especially the image of the world as constructed by cartography.

Areas of research

  • work in video installation
  • sculpture
  • painting
  • published articles in the history of cartography relating to cordiform maps of the sixteenth century. 

Recent projects/research

  • The Sydney Biennale
  • Frankfurter Kunstverein and Aktionsforum (Germany)
  • The Asia Society Museum (USA)
  • Gallery of Modern Art, Museum of Sydney and Museum of Contemporary Art, (Australia)
  • Akademie der Bildenden Künste (Vienna)
  • Institute for Contemporary Art, Newtown (Sydney)

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Tara Winters

Tara has a background in graphic design and has worked as a freelance designer for many years in the areas of print and interactive media. Tara's work takes a critical gaze over the various forms of teaching and learning practices occurring in contemporary art and design education.Recent work includes the development of a structure for facilitating meta-learning in art and design education, and a system for helping international students in the creative arts with orienting to a new academic context.

Areas of research

  • the study of the more fluid and dynamic forms of representation offered by digital technologies
  •  active engagement with art and design pedagogy

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