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Personal profile

Research interests

Duncan Bullen is Deputy Head for Research and Enterprise in the School of Art at the University of Brighton.


Duncan's research interests are grounded in the materiality of manual drawing. He is particularly concerned with tactile, repetitive, reductive, non-representational drawing strategies which he aligns with the practice of mindfulness meditation. He is interested in how drawing mindfully may communicate spatially as a means to trace the immediacy of the first-person experience, one that engages in perceptual acuity and how drawing enables an intimate engagement with the world through the enactment of mind-body states and actions.

He situates his research within a comparative context that draws on a pragmatic - phenomenological perspective and the convergence of thinking from Eastern and Western philosophies and Japanese aesthetics. With this comes an increasing interest in arts-health -wellbeing and the reciprocity between practitioner and world as ameliorative development. 

Duncan places particular value on art practice as research, not only as a way of generating new knowledge but also as a means that can transform understanding and deliver impact. Duncan's practice-based-research is one, 'that does not assume the separation of subject and object, and does not observe a distance between the researcher and the practice of art. Instead, the artistic practice itself is an essential component of both the research process and the research results' (Borgdorff 2007). 


"Bullen … imposes grid-like structures upon his work... .He accepts the subjective chromatic experience of viewers, dependent on their own physiologies as well as ambient conditions, and cites colour’s distinctiveness as ‘its ability to speak to us in ways that are fluid, flexible and fleeting." Davey, Richard and Mottram, Judith, Contemporary art and colour thinking. Journal of the International Colour Association (2012) 6, 1-5.

Scholarly biography

Duncan has worked at the University since 1999, and during this time, he has held many roles within his subject area (Fine Art) and across the School of Art (SoA), previously Art, Design & Media (ADM). These included Module Leader and Course Leader (Fine Art Printmaking and Academic Programme Leader for Fine Art (FA), including an 18-month period 2014- 2015 when he was also academic programme leadership responsibility for Photography, Moving Image and Sound. Duncan is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and is External Examiner for BA(Hons) Drawing and Printmaking at the University of West of England.


Duncan's day-to-day work is as Deputy Head of School for Research and Enterprise with responsibility for providing strategic, professional and academic leadership, with a particular focus on the development and implementation of the School of Art's research and enterprise plan. Duncan chairs the Schools Research and Enterprise Committee, which supports the productive and vibrant environment for research and enterprise and for raising the Schools profile internally and externally. Duncan sits on several committees within the School and across the wider leadership of the University.


Duncan initially trained in Fine Art at Leeds Polytechnic where he gained a first-class degree in 1988. He then completed an MA in Printmaking at the Royal College of Art in 1991 after which he was the recipient of a Prix d' Rome: Printmaking Scholarship, spending 1991-92 at the British School at Rome. Duncan then undertook a series of residencies at the Eremo di Santa Caterina, a former hermitage on the Italian Island of Elba, which shaped an interest in contemplative image making and mindfulness practice. Increasing interest in Asian aesthetics and philosophy have led co-curation of recent projects such as Methodology of the Edition; an International printmaking project from three universities and three 

Education/Academic qualification

Master, Royal College of Art

25 Sep 198915 Jun 1991

External positions

External Examiner, University of the West of England

16 Oct 201630 Sep 2020


  • NC Drawing Design Illustration
  • Drawing
  • Drawing Research
  • Drawing, health, wellbeing
  • Printmaking
  • Practice-Based Research
  • Material Thinking
  • Embodied Making
  • Visual Perception
  • Mindfulness

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Research Output 2006 2018

In Line

Bullen, D., 18 Jan 2018

Research output: Non-textual outputExhibitionResearch

Open Access
Sensory Perception
Wall Paintings
Video Installation

Marks Make Meaning: Drawing across the disciplines

Lyon, P. & Bullen, D., 9 Mar 2018

Research output: Non-textual outputExhibitionResearch

Open Access
field research

Stone Letter Project: Touching a Stone to Talk: lithographic print, 50x50cm 2017

Bullen, D., 6 Nov 2017

Research output: Non-textual outputExhibitionResearch

Print Media

Drawing via Dialogue: Brighton and Nagoya

Bullen, D., Fox, J., Benn, T., Feinson, N. & Stevens, C., 9 Dec 2016

Research output: Non-textual outputExhibitionResearch

Open Access
student exchange
spoken language

Activities 2015 2017

  • 3 Invited talk
  • 2 Conference
  • 1 Exhibition, performance
  • 1 Oral presentation

Drawing Phenomenology

Duncan Bullen (Participant)
20 Sep 2017

Activity: EventsConference


4th International Visual Methods conference

Duncan Bullen (Participant), Jeremy Radvan (Participant)
17 Sep 2017

Activity: EventsConference

'Drawing: being present, making present'

Philippa Lyon (Presenter), Duncan Bullen (Presenter), Jane Fox (Presenter)
15 Jul 2016

Activity: External talk or presentationInvited talk


This is Change

Philippa Lyon (Organiser), Duncan Bullen (Organiser), Laura Coleman (Organiser), Alice Clayton (Organiser)
9 Dec 201523 Dec 2015

Activity: EventsExhibition, performance

visual and the verbal

Duncan Bullen (Presenter)
17 Jun 2015

Activity: External talk or presentationInvited talk