School of Arts and Cultures

Staff Profiles

Professor Vee Pollock

Director of Newcastle University Institute for Creative Arts Practice & Professor of Public Art

Background

Venda Louise is Director of Newcastle University's Institute for Creative Arts Practice and a Professor of Public Art within Fine Art at Newcastle University. Her principal roles include: researching, teaching and developing art history provision (for further information on research and teaching, click the tabs above). She also assists the Dean of Cultural Affairs and sits on the management board of Newcastle's Institute of Social Renewal, having previously been their theme lead for Arts and Cultures.

Venda Louise's research focuses on the relationship between art and place-making. Principally she has focused on the urban realm - examining both art within cities and representations of the urban environment. She has published widely in this area and is a regular contributor to international peer-reviewed conferences. Along with her colleague David Butler, Venda Louise ran a research platform called Intersections which developed projects and events related to public art practice through collaboration with the cultural sector, she now continues this through her work with NiSR and NiCAP (Newcastle University Institute for Creative Arts Practice). She is currently turning her attention toward rural contexts and developing projects related to issues of narrative, memory and place. She was a co-investigator on the AHRC funded knowledge exchange project Northumbrian Exchanges and on the AHRC networking project Inbetween: cultural regeneration in market towns, and is currently a CI on the AHRC funded project Mapping Contemporary Art in the Heritage Experience.

Within the department Venda Louise supervises a number of postgraduate PhD students (see Teaching). In 2017 she became a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. In 2012 she was awarded the Vice Chancellor's Distinguished Teacher's Award for her role in developing the art history curriculum and student support mechanism; and in 2014 & 2015 she was shortlisted for the student-led Teaching Excellence Awards in the Outstanding Feedback category.

Since 2011 Venda Louise has been on the AHRC Peer Review Council and in 2016 she joined the strategic peer-review council. She is also a regular reviewer for international journals in the fields of art history, geography and art education. She acts as an external examiner for the University of Canterbury, and has previously been the external examiner for Brighton University and Liverpool Hope University. 

Venda Louise came to Newcastle in 2006 having previously spent time as a Research Fellow in Urban Cultural Regeneration in the Department of Geography and Geosciences at Glasgow University and as a Lecturer in Visual Culture at the University of Central Lancashire.

Research

Venda Louise's research interests centre on the relationship between art and place, usually the urban environment: looking both at art in the public context and representations of cities. Recently her work has begun to take her knowledge of public and participatory art in the urban context and use this to inform consideration of art's role in remote rural areas. She was a co-investigator on the AHRC funded knowledge exchange project Northumbrian Exchanges and the AHRC networking project Inbetween: cultural regeneration in market towns and is currently a co-investigator on the AHRC funded Mapping Contemporary Art in the Heritage Experience.

She also has a strong interest in the pedagogy that surrounds the teaching of creative practice in Higher Education and has recently completed a Higher Education Academy funded project called 'Creative Difference: Feedback and Assessment in Fine Art'. See 'Publications' for further work in this area.

Previous strands of research include:

Art in the Public Context : examining the form, function and themes of permanent and temporary artworks in public spaces in urban and rural contexts. Research to date has concentrated upon issues of participation, community and collective memory, and I am developing a new body of work on nostalgia, narrative and place-making in contemporary public art.

Urban Photographic Surveys : analysing urban photographic surveys from c.1850 to the present day, focusing on British, American and European cities. Research is undertaken into the motivations and objectives underlying such surveys, the resultant images and what they reveal about the perception of the urban environment.

Visual Representations of Cities : exploring how the dynamic of change in the urban environment is represented in various forms of visual media.


Selected Papers Presented

2016 'The Angel of the Gorbals: mythologies of public art, narrating and creating the postindustrial cityscape' Mythmaking and the City European Association of Urban History, Helsinki.

2013 (with Sandy Alden) 'The creative compendium: inclusive arts education' Storyville, The Higher Education Academy: Arts and Humanities. Brighton. (invited paper - competitive) 

2012 (with Sandy Alden) 'Feeding back to Feedforward: feedback and assessment in Fine Art' Ireland International Conference on Education, ICEE-2012, Dublin (invited paper - competitive) 

2012 (with Sandy Alden) 'Creative Differences: individuality and Learning in Practice Based Disciplines', ELSIN XII, Cardiff (invited paper - competitive) 

2010    ‘Philosophers and Fools: policy, process and public practice in changing contexts’ Creativity and Place. School of Geography. University of Exeter. (invited paper – competitive)

2010    ‘The Afterlife of Artworks: memory and place-identity in changing urban contexts’ RX Cities, Barber Institute of Fine Art, University of Birmingham. (invited paper –competitive)

2009    ‘Cultural Democracy and the Democratisation of Culture: Participative Practice and Changing Public Spaces’, Regulated Liberties: Negotiating Freedom in Art, Culture and Media. University of Turku, Finland (invited paper – competitive).

2009    ‘Northern Consciousness and National Identity: Edvard Munch in Scotland’ Northernness: Ideas and Images of the North in Visual Culture, Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne (invited paper-competitive)

2007    “Cultivating the Past for a Changing Present: public art and memory in urban regenerationPast in the Present, International Conference, Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow (invited paper-competitive).

2007    “From Gethsemane to Lanark: the problem of representing Glasgow” Glasgow 1918-1980: What Happened? Research Symposium, University of Glasgow (invited paper - competitive)

2006    “Dismembering and Remembering the Gorbals: Collective Memory in the Photography of Oscar Marzaroli” Photography and the City, International Conference, Clinton Institute of American Studies, University College Dublin (invited paper - competitive).

2006    “Cultivating the Past for a Changing Present: Public Art in Urban Regeneration” Art and the City, International Conference, Institute of Art History, University of Amsterdam, 2006 (invited paper - competitive).

2005    “Public Art, Social Inclusion and the Reconstructed City”, Securing the Urban Renaissance: Policing, Community and Disorder, International Conference, Department of Urban Studies, University of Glasgow (invited paper - competitive).

2005    “Translating the City: Social Change in Glasgow in Poetry and Photography of the 1960s and 1970s “, Built Environments: Places, Constructions and Mindscapes, International Conference, Scottish Word & Image Group, University of Dundee (invited paper - competitive).

2004    “The City without an identity? Rediscovering Postwar Glasgow”, The City in Art, International Conference, Institute of Art, Polish Academy and Institute of Art History, Jagellonian University (invited paper - competitive). 

Teaching

Venda Louise's teaching is currently focused on supporting PhD students and developing bespoke research methods training for practice-led research. In 2017 she became a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, having previously been a Fellow. In 2012 she was awarded the Vice Chancellor's Distinguished Teacher Award for her contribution to developing the art history curriculum and role in supporting students and in 2014 and 2015 she was shortlisted for the student-led TEA prize in the outstanding feedback category, and in 2015 she was also nominated for her Research Supervision. She has a strong interest in creative arts pedagogy and practice-led research, and has carried out research projects funded by the Higher Education Academy.

Venda Louise also supervises the following PhD students:

Alexia Mellor, AHRC Northern Bridge Studentship (principal, with John Bowers and Fiona Whitehirst)

Rebecca Farley, AHRC studentship (co-supervisor; with Chris Whitehead (principal) and Areti Galani)

Melanie Stephenson, AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award (principal; with Catrin Huber)

Hannah Marsden, AHRC Northern Bridge Studentship (co-supervisor with Chris Whitehead (principal) and Andrew Newman)

Toby Lloyd, REA Studentship with Helix Arts (principal, with Irene Brown and Catherine Hearne (Helix Arts))


and has supervised the following students to completion:

John MacLean (AHRC funded; completion within 4 years) (principal; with Will Edmondes)

Matthew Smith (AHRC funded; completion within 4 years) (co-supervisor; with Chris Jones)

Annie O'Donnell (AHRC studentship; completed within 3 years) (principal supervisor; with Catrin Huber and John Tomaney) 

Anthony Schrag (AHRC studentship; completed within 3 years)(principal supervisor with David Butler and Giles Bailey)

Jane Dudman (RCUK studentship; completed within 4 years)(principal supervisor with John Bowers and Pete Wright)

Peter Merrington (AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award with AV Festival; completed within 4 years) (principal supervisor; with Rhiannon Mason and Rebecca Shatwell - Director: AV Festival)

Publications