Personal profile

Research interests

Holly Birtles’ photographic practice incorporates performance, prop production and digital and analogue techniques and is informed by multi-disciplinary collaborations with writers and musicians. Birtles' work is concerned with sensorial discrepancies between the suggested experience and the flat surface of the image. She seeks to play with experiential loss via two-dimensional documentation of often bulbous and tactile objects, along with sound-based performances. Subsequently, these props function as ephemeral wearable environments, choreographed to highlight somatic sensations. Props and performances often incorporate operatic song, spoken word and tactile drawings; all elements are silenced and flattened through the process of photographic documentation. The imagery embraces the implication of tactility and sound. 

Birtles exhibits internationally and continues to work with musicians, artists and writers in London, Berlin and New York. These collaborations have enabled significant contributions to her developing practice and prompted commissions beyond the gallery context.

Approach to teaching

Birtles has worked as a lecturer across a range of institutions contributing to courses in Further and Higher Education. Her exploratory practice provides research into practice-based and theoretical associated subjects including: photography and materiality, photography and phenomenology, process-based research, contemporary fashion photography and fashion moving image, the conceptual image and performance and photography. Research completed has informed module construction, practice and dissertation supervision, industrial placement organisation and theoretical and practice focused lecturers.

Scholarly biography


Selected SOLO

2022 CCA Dorset Place, Brighton, Volcano Mother, Performance and sound by Johanna Bramli

2021 UP TO YOUR NECK IN MUD, XXijra Hii, Estuary Festival (online), Deptford, London

2020 UP TO YOUR NECK IN MUD, XXijra Hii, Deptford, London 

2018 LAZY BOY Spannocchi Jazz Event and Exhibition, Blank 100, De Beauvoir Town, London

2018 Luna Elaine 'LAZY BOY’, Bermondsey,  London 

2017 Sharks in the Lake, Depford Cinema, London

2016 I keep my Expression in my nose, Doomed Gallery, Dalston, London

2014 Dr Feel Bad, Doomed Gallery, Dalston, London

Selected GROUP

2023  Hypha Studios, Seismic Mother, Stratford, London

2023 Recreational Grounds, Elephant and Castle, London (including performance collaboration with Hannah Grasskamp)

2023 Hercules Road, Blake’s Old Haunt, London 

2022 Safe House Peckham, Holly Birtles/Molly Grad/David Micheaud, Peckham, London

2022 Magic Sponge, Hercules Road, London 

2022 Telling Pictures, Photography Research GroupEdward Street Galleries, University of Brighton

2022 Baaad Press, Book event,  Birmingham School of Art 

2022 Bergen Art Book Fair, Bergen, Norway, book Launch; On Growth and Form Edition 3

2022  Mother Lode, Holly Birtles/Natalia Janula, XXijra Hii Gallery, Deptford, London

2022 Photographic Exploration Project, Kommunale Galerie, Berlin

2021  Way Out East, University of East London, London 

2021 When Was the Last Time You Saw the Sea? Youkobo Art Space, The Garden, Ai mi Tagai Showspace, Tokyo, Japan 

2021 Bristol Artist’s Book Event (BABE), Arnolfini Bristol

2020/2021 Bergen Art Book Fair, Bergen, Norway

2020 Photo Book Fair, Impressions Gallery, Bradford 

2020 Paradox Amusements (Holly Birtles and Lucinda Metcalfe, Lewisham Art House (12 - 15th March 2020)

2020 Conscious Isolation, Online  @consciousisolation

2019 Open Salon 35, CGP Gallery, London

2019 Bermondsey Artist Group show CGP Gallery, London 

2019 Sheffield Artists Book Fair Artist's Book Centre, Sheffield

2019 PROD 3, Deptford Does Art, London

2019 Jazz and Visuals Spannocchi Trio/Holly Birtles, Agile Rabbit, Brixton, London

2019 Research work in progress, University Centre Farnborough, Hampshire

2019 Baltic Self Publishing Artists market, Baltic Gallery, Newcastle 

2018 Jazz and Visuals Spannocchi Trio/Holly Birtles, Deptford Cinema 

2018 OPEN18 SOLO HUB ONCA Gallery, Brighton Fringe (Shortlisted)

2018 GET OUT MY GALLERY,  Holly Birtles/Nicky Carvell, Doomed Gallery, London 

2018 Open Salon 34, CGP Gallery, London

2018 Lazy Boy performance, Chalton Gallery, London

2018 BBB Books, Baltic Self Publishing Artists market, Baltic Gallery, Newcastle

2018 Metro Auditorio, Chalton Gallery, Mexico City

2017 Creekside Open, Selected by Alison Wilding, APT Gallery, Deptford, London

2017 Book Art Far, BBB Book Collective, Baltic Gallery, Newcastle

2017 London Brain Project with Great Ormand Street, collaboration project, Menier Gallery, London 

2017 Research work in progress, University Centre Farnborough, Hampshire 

2017 Plymouth Art Book Fair, Counter, Davy Building Plymouth University, Plymouth

2016 Baltic Self Publishing Artists market, Baltic Gallery, Newcastle

2016 London Brain Project, Link gallery at Institute of child Health, London 

2016 PROD 2, Unit 3 Projects, Bow, London 

2016 Art Shorts, The Valletta Film Festival, Malta 

2016 Baltic Self Publishing Artists market, Baltic Gallery, Newcastle

2016 Uncover Festival, Bower Ashton Library, Bristol

2016 Uncover Festival Liverpool library, Liverpool

2016 Uncover Festival, Falmouth, USA

2016 Uncover Festival, Middleton Library, Manchester 

2015 Group Show, Chalton Gallery, London

2016 PROD, Unit 3 Projects, London

2015 BBB Books Collective, Bergen Art Book Fair, Bergen, Norway

2015 600 Miles West of Mexico, The Store, London

2015 Material Light, Cultural Centre Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia

2015 Baltic Self Publishing Artists market, Baltic Gallery, Newcastle

2013 Material Light, Westminster University Gallery, Photography Department, London 

2013 Vibe Gallery, Bermondsey, London

2013 Bind your heart in my hair (or) We'll have no trouble/no disturbance here, Husk Gallery,Lime House London

2013 The Laying on of Hands, 5th Base Gallery, Brick Lane, London

2012 Scratch the Surface, East Gallery, London

2011 Artist in Residence Show, The Slade School of Art, London

2011 MA/MFA Show, The Slade School of Art, London 

2011 10 Gales Prize, 10 Gales Gallery, Bethnal Green, London

2011  Ordinary Time, St Barnabas Church, Dalston, London

2010 The Slade Interim Show, Woburn Research Centre, London 

2010 Transfer, UCL Art Collection, The Strang Print Room, London 

2010 Artist Books, Galerie Ute Parduh, KaiserswertherMarkt 6a 404 Düsseldorf, Germany 

2010 Life on the Island, Cheltenham Art Gallery, The Brewery, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire 

2009 A Thing about Machines, Arts Festival, Coventry 

2008 The University of Westminster Photography Degree Show, The Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London,

2008 The University of Westminster Photography Degree Show P3 Gallery, Marylebone Road, London

2008 Pin-Yin, Gallery West, Harrow, Middlesex 

2008 Terra Incognita The Foundry, London 

2007 Same Light: Different View, Nanjing Normal University Gallery, Nanjing, China

2007 When the Sky Turns Purple, The Nolias Gallery, London

2004 I Am, The Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London

Supervisory Interests

I am interested in supervising PhD students in the following areas: performance and photographic practices and theories, process-led photographic research, photography and phenomenology, photography and place, photography environment and catastrophe, dark room and cross disciplinary practices.

Education/Academic qualification

Post Graduate Certificate of Education, University of Greenwich

1 Sept 201530 Jun 2017

Award Date: 30 Jun 2017

Master, Fine Art , Slade School of Fine Art, University College London

1 Oct 200930 Jun 2011

Award Date: 30 Jun 2011

Bachelor, BA Hons Photographic Arts, University of Westminster

25 Sept 200530 Jun 2008

Award Date: 30 Jun 2008

External positions

External Examiner BA Hons Photography, Sheffield Hallam University


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