Current Staff

Mary McIntyre
Dan Shipsides
Dougal McKenzie
Suzanna Chan
Cherie Driver

Wille Doherty
Aisling O’Beirn

Mary McIntyre – Course Director

Mary McIntyre’s photographs often present spaces and places that have been forgotten and overlooked. The atmosphere of each location resonates from the image. With this in mind she depicts the transformation that occurs to these locations at specific times of day, when for a fleeting moment, the play of light can transform the mundane, urban environment. When photographed at night and artificially lit, these spaces begin to take on a cinematic quality, imbuing them with a heightened psychological charge.

The Picturesque and Romantic movements in European landscape painting play an important role in McIntyre’s work. She is interested in making links between painting and photography, adopting the formal qualities of painting long associated with artists such as Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot and Jacob Van Ruisdael, to re-interpret them within a contemporary context. Her work recognises that our ways of ‘seeing’ the landscape are conditioned through our knowledge of its historical depictions in painting and that both painting and photography not only portray but also construct ‘the landscape’. McIntyre’s landscape images do not seek to represent traditional rural idylls, instead they depict vistas that are in themselves constructed and man-made so that each scene is interrupted with evidence of urban activity.

McIntyre is also interested in locating contemporary photography in relation to art-historical ideas of the sublime, through images that explore elements of natural phenomena. These photographs fix the most transient conditions of the landscape, the ‘elements’ themselves, in representation. By photographing in very specific weathers, particularly mist and fog, she produces documents of that which is intangible; in these images, the landscape itself, the supposed ‘site’ of the work, is rendered unknowable and becomes an absent subject.

Interested in the photograph’s object quality, McIntyre uses installation as a means of activating the spaces that her photographs inhabit and in doing so makes the viewer aware of the act of ‘looking’.

Veil II. Colour lightjet photographic print 80 cm x 100 cm; Mary McIntyre, 2006

Dan Shipsides

Dan Shipsides, an artist based in Belfast since 1995, is a lecturer and researcher at UU where he also co-directs the MA Art in Public (from June 2008 – 2013). He has received several art and research awards including; AHRC Landscape and Environment Award (Echo Valley / a Guiding Dilemma, 2006 – climbing with a blind man), ACNI Major Artist Award (2004), AHRC Fellowship Award (Lateral practice and climbing, 2001 – testing climbing as art), the Nissan Art Award, IMMA (Bamboo Support, 2000 – public intervention with Bamboo scaffold and Chinese scaffold workers) and OBG Perspective Award (The Stone Bridge, 1998 – performance and installation). Dan has been involved in running several artist run organisations such as Catalyst Arts, Bbeyond and Orchid Studios. He has a wide ranging multidisciplinary art practice dealing with experiential and participatory narratives of place and is perhaps best known for his projects which merge and combine the worlds of art and outdoor pursuits – presenting artworks to those audiences and particular contexts.  It seeks to draw from, document, reflect an experience of a particular moment of “being there” whilst also linking to social, political, environmental and historical contexts – articulating a societal engagement with place. This practice is at times irreverent, quickly made and fun and other times involves extended processes of research and is very sincere… Since 2003 several projects have been co-authored in an ongoing creative partnership with Neal Beggs (Shipsides and Beggs Projects) another artist-climber based in northern France.

‘YUPA STAR’ Video projection installation – still image. 2012. Dan Shipsides

Dougal McKenzie

Dougal McKenzie was born in Edinburgh in 1968. He completed a BA in Fine Art Painting at Gray’s School of Art in 1990 and an MA at the University of Ulster in 1991. Exhibitions since 1995 include venues in the USA, Iceland, Poland, Germany, Slovenia, the Liverpool Biennial 2004, Kilkenny Arts Festival 2008 and the John Moores Contemporary Painting Retrospective in Seongnam, South Korea 2010. McKenzie was a prize winner at the John Moores 23 Exhibition of Contemporary Painting, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool (selected by Callum Innes, Gavin Turk, Ann Bukantas, Gill Hedley and Jarvis Cocker.) McKenzie received a Major Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in 2005.

“McKenzie recognises the implications of new media on the working process of the contemporary painter, utilising photography, film and the internet as artist’s materials. But there is an inherent separation between the image that is illuminated on-screen and the image that is painted onto canvas, and McKenzie embraces the conflict between these means of communication as a rich area of exploration in his work. The diverse historical references seen in his work reflect the fragmented nature of media consumption in the age of Google… he takes images of the Franco-Prussian War, Woody Allen films or Belfast Zoo (among others) as source material if they provide him with the right image for his paintings.”

Alas, snow white (2010), oil on linen with garment, 55x110cm. Dougal McKenzie

Dr. Suzanna Chan

Having initially trained as a painter, Suzanna practiced as an artist and exhibited in one person and group exhibitions during the 1990s. From 2002-2003 she worked as Research Assistant at the School of Art and Design, on the successful bid to the Support Programme for University Research to establish Interface. Since 2003, she has been a Research Associate in Feminist Art Theory at the School of Art and Design and is a member of the Art and Design Research Institute. She is also a member of the Association of Art Historians (AAH), International Association of Art Critics (AICA), Women on Ireland Research Network (WOIRN) and an Editorial Board Member and peer-reviewer for Translocations: Irish Migration, Race and Social Transformation Review, an inter-university open-access e-journal which will be launched in Autumn 2006.

Her main research areas are issues and representations of gender, ‘race’ and place in art, visual culture, and cultural discourses. She also researches feminist critical theories, migrant and diasporan cultural productions, and is currently working on a book on migration and contemporary art by women.

Dr. Cherie Driver

Dr Chérie Driver studied Fine Art in Waterford Institute of Technology and worked as an events organizer and arts facilitator in Dublin. In 1998 she came to live in Belfast to undertake a Degree in Fine Art (Painting) at the University of Ulster. From 2001-2005 she studied for a Masters in Social Anthropology at Queens University Belfast and worked on a full-text PhD at the University of Ulster under the supervision of Prof. Hilary Robinson while working with a number of arts organizations in Belfast including Orchid Studios, Queen street Studios and Catalyst Arts where she was a co-director. From 2005-2007 she worked as Research Assistant within the ‘art and its locations’ strand of Interface, Research in Art, Technologies and Design under the thematically focused area of Art in Contested Spaces. In 2007 she worked as a Research Associate in Interface with a team of researchers under Professor Declan McGonigle on a DSD commissioned report on A Public Arts Strategy for West Belfast and the Greater Shankill Area and then on a project for the ARTS Research Group, consisting of academics across the Faculty of Art, Design and the Built Environment and titled, Your Space or Mine? Realising Integrated Sustainable Communities in Deconstructed Interface Environments, a research project that concerns the neighbourhood communities that live near the Fountain and Bishop Street Interface in the city of Derry/Londonderry. Currently she is Research Assistant to Professor Kerstin Mey and is on the organizing committee for ISEA 2009 Northern Ireland, she is also a member of the Healthy Urban Planning Working Group of Belfast Healthy Cities and is working collaboratively with two artists form Glasgow School of Art, Peter McCaughey and Roderick Buchanan, on the Art and Regeneration Program for Derry City Council in the Hazelbank area of the city.

Research areas: Feminist theory and practice in visual arts, the writings of Griselda Pollock and critical feminist psychoanalytical theory (in the post-Lacanian mode). Contemporary Irish art history, theory and practices with a particular interest in the writings of S.B Kennedy and his work on the painter Paul Henry.

Art in public/contested spaces, Art and Regeneration; communities, communality and context, engagement methodologies and policy development, museums, monuments and memorials in post-conflict societies.

Associated Staff:


Previous Staff / History:

Tony Hill
Alastair Wilson
Slavka Sverakova
Alastair MacLennan
Mark Ainsworth
David Campbell


more to be included soon