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Ben McDonnell

Ben McDonnell is a Senior Lecturer on Fine Art at Norwich University of the Arts

His background as a musician informs his visual arts practice that materially questions how we work together — raising questions around stability, support, and structure. His BA was in music composition and performance at Leeds College of Music and his MA was in Photography from the Royal College of Art. Ben is currently a PhD candidate at Goldsmiths UoL, where his work forms relationships between sound image and pedagogy.

I am a visual artist, researcher and composer. I have a background in Jazz music composition and he worked as an improvising musician for ten years before studying photography at the Royal College of Art. As such, my background as a musician informs my visual practice, developing a cyclical relationship between sound, photography and sculpture to think about how we work together – raising questions around stability, support and structure. My work often uses found material and cheap low impact repurposable materials to propose musical performances that function as a perfect architecture, one that is light, compatible but stable enough to support those within it for as long as it is needed.

I have broad range of art and other creative BA and MA courses and consider teaching a key component of my practice. My current PhD research uses graphic notation as a method for looking at (and listening to) pedagogic events.


  • 2024 – The Drawing Journal – Editing Special issue; Drawing Sound
  • 2024 – Open sound – Exhibition at Outpost Gallery selected by Ashley Holmes
  • 2024 –‘Sound of Space’ book Chapter published by Routledge
  • 2024 – ‘Ecologies of Practice’ book chapter published by Palgrave MacMillan
  • 2023 – Hmmn – performance, selected by Anne Tallentire & Chris Fite-Wassilak
  • 2023 – University of the Arts London – Education Conference
  • 2022 – Goldsmiths UoL Ecologies of Practice Symposium
  • 2022 Then-There-Here-Now Exhibition at Bankley Gallery, Manchester
  • 2021 – ELIA Academy, Conference paper
  • 2020 – SUIC Bangkok, Conference paper
  • 2020 – Royal College of Art, Pedagogy Conference paper
  • 2019 – UCL Bartlett ‘Sound of Space’ Conference
  • 2017 – University of Greenwich, Sound/Image Colloquium

Other academic activities

  • 2024 – Wrexham University – Course validation panel BA Fine Art, MA Painting, BA and MA Photography
  • 2023 – Falmouth University -Course Validation MA Photography
  • 2022 – Goldsmiths UoL – Course Validation Media BA and MA
Ben’s website (opens in a new window)