Personal profile

Research interests

Research Interests:

Jem Ryan is a maker who is concerned with memory, making and meaning. With a particular interest in mnemonic objects and spaces, things we think with and the semantic nature of objects, his research informs both his practice and his teaching.

His recent practice centers around notions of witnessing, testimony and memory. The premise of the work is a fascination with the sworn oath of testimony declaring how a witness will tell ‘the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth’ and the inevitable inaccuracies of the resulting testimony. When witnessing significant moments in time, witnesses will experience or perceive multiple perspectives resulting the construction of multiple memory narratives or  ‘factions’.

The work begins with an interest in the fallibility of memory and attempts to explore ways of capturing moments in time drawing on multiple information sources. The product of this thinking are three dimensional eventscapes which reference specific moments in time and attempt to act as instruments of measure providing what Bertillon refers to as a ‘God’s eye view’. The resulting work might be considered as both a three dimensional and temporal cartography of moments in time.

Previously his work has explored themes of personal spaces and contemporary reliquaries for ephemera. He has worked to commission producing both furniture and sculpture in wood and metal.

He currently developing work exploring the themes of memorial, commemoration and reenactment objects which build on these research interests and fulfil mnemonic functions.



Approach to teaching

Jem Ryan has over 20 years experience of the delivery and management and of Creative education within the FE & HE sectors from Levels 1-5 in a range of creative subjects. Before joining the University, he was the Head of School for Creative Industries at City College Brighton and prior to that led the Foundation art & Design programme for many years. He has wide experience of working with, managing and developing transition and diagnostic curricula at a range of levels. 

His specialist background is in three dimensional design, making and ideation. He has a specialist interest in design methodologies and creative processes which has been central to his pedagogy and management of curriculum throughout his educational career. He has a specific interest in using 3D modelling environments as an ideation, prototyping and development tool within creative journeys.

Curriculum innovation, revision and design is an area of expertise. As a teacher and curriculum innovator he believes in setting up a learning environment and structure where learners can begin a facilitated journey to independence of practice. His educational philosophy both as a lecturer and as a curriculum developer has therefore centered around the acquisition of a deep understanding of a creative working process and creative journey combining practical experimentation and reflective practice.

As a manager of curriculum through various roles he has been instrumental in raising the profile of the Creative Industries both locally and nationally and has made a significant contribution to shaping and developing the many creative making programmes.

Education/Academic qualification

Master, PG CPE – ILT In Art & Design Education (Elective units from MA Education), University of Brighton

1 Sept 200230 Sept 2003

Award Date: 30 Sept 2003

Master, Art & Design (PGCE), University of Brighton

1 Sept 199530 Jul 1996

Award Date: 30 Jul 1996

Bachelor, Wood, Metal, Ceramics & Plastics, University of Brighton

1 Sept 198930 Jun 1992

Award Date: 1 Jul 1992

External positions

External Examiner (2015 – 2017), University of the Arts London

1 Dec 201530 Aug 2017

Centre Approvals Consultant, University of the Arts London

1 Sept 2015 → …

Qualifications and Advisory Group (Member), University of the Arts London

1 Nov 20121 Nov 2016


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