Duncan Bullen

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Personal profile

Research interests

Duncan Bullen is an Associate Dean, in the School of Art and Media at the University of Brighton, where he has responsibility for leading Research and Enterprise. He is the Director of the Centre for Arts and Wellbeing.
Duncan's own research interests are grounded in the materiality of manual drawing. He is concerned with tactile, repetitive, reductive, non-representational drawing strategies which he aligns with the practice of mindfulness meditation. Duncan is interested in how drawing mindfully may communicate spatially and physically as a means to trace the immediacy of lived experience, through tactile, sensory and contemplative engagement with the world. With this comes an interest in arts-health and the interchange between well-being and well-doing in which the lived body, mind and environment are part of the same process of phenomenologically enacting one’s world at a transactional, integrated and visceral level.
Duncan’s research aims to contribute and build upon discussions that position drawing as phenomenology, and he situates his research within a comparative context that draws on a convergence of thinking from Eastern and Western philosophies and Japanese aesthetics. Duncan places particular value on practice-based research, which situates drawing within a first-person, experience-based methodology ‘whereby theory emerges from a reflexive practice at the same time that practice is informed by theory’ (Bolt 2007).

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 

Supervisory Interests

Duncan's supervisory interests cover a range of Fine Art and practice-based research with the use of drawing being central to his concerns. He has a particular interest in non-representational and meditative approaches to drawing and theory to research aspects of phenomenology, lived experience and arts health/wellbeing related subjects.



Approach to teaching

I currently teach at the postgraduate level on MA Fine Art as a mentor. Previous this  I taught across a number of modules on BA (Hon) Fine Art Printmaking and MA Fine Art. I am currently supervising three PhD students. The mentoring module comprises of one-to-one tutorials to discuss relevant critical and professional texts leading to suitable forms of documentation and promotion and to assist students in accessing appropriate areas of University resources.   Throughout my career, the majority of my teaching has been within my subject area - Fine Art.  It is a studio and workshop approach, based on study tasks that involve surface, deep and strategic approaches to learning. My UG teaching focuses on an artefact in various stages of production and will include an evaluative, descriptive, critical and interpretive discussion with students. The multiple strategies students might adopt to realise a specific artwork is discussed through approaches. These discussions focus on conceptual and formal analysis and contextual reference. One of the intrinsic features of students of fine arts is the plurality of approach to the subject. The range of interests from painting, printing and sculpture to performance, sound art and socially engaged practice is held to together by an interest in the processes of making and shaping materials. Experiential Learning theory, with its emphasis on experience, reflective observation, and critical thinking is a model that captures the dynamics of arts-based studio learning and teaching. It is an approach that enables learning to be located and actualised through doing. As a teacher, I am interested in experiential and reflective learning as a form of our meaningful relationship to the broader world. How as makers, we not only shape the object made but how this has the potential to shape the maker, which in turn shapes our world of work and the environment. I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Education/Academic qualification

HEA Senior Fellow, The Higher Education Academy (HEA)

25 Sept 201613 Mar 2017

Award Date: 13 Mar 2017

Master, Printmaking, Royal College of Art

25 Sept 198915 Jun 1991

Award Date: 30 Jun 1991

Bachelor, Leeds Polytechnic BA Fine Art: First Class Honours, Leeds Beckett University

25 Sept 198529 Jun 1988

Award Date: 29 Jun 1988

External positions

External Examiner, Swansea University

9 Jan 202031 Mar 2021

External Examiner, University of the West of England

16 Oct 201630 Sept 2020


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


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