Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Currently Supervising – Eleanor Field – Mess as Method

I’m interested in supporting PhDs in the following areas:

Media and climate change, render farms, media infrastructure, geopolitics of GPUs, media materiality, critical approaches to AI image generation, environmental cost of AI, satellite imagery, critical approaches to VFX and CGI, simulation, simulated environments, assemblage theory, media ontologies, New media Art, Theory informed practice, practice based research.

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Personal profile

Research interests

The environmental impact of virtual culture –I am interested in the operational and physical impact of computer simulations and digital media on the physical environment. How can media materialist approaches impact public understanding of ‘the cost of digital production’? What areas of digital production are not seen?

The ontology of computer simulations – I use the term computer simulations to mean animation, videogames and VFX processes across commercial and artistic contexts. I am interested in the ontological form and behaviour of computer simulations – what they are, how they work, and what impact they have on contemporary life. This is informed by theories of ontogenesis and theories of becoming in Giles Delueze and Gilbert Simondon.

How digitally produced time impacts our lives – I am interested in how time is constructed in real-time computer simulations. My research challenges the simplicity of the term ‘real-time’ and offers an Assemblage Theory-based approach to understanding heterogenous temporalities that cut across human, non-human, physical and virtual domains. I am interested in Sarah Sharma’s term ‘power chronography’ and how temporal agency and structures impact our lives.

Cosmotechnical approaches to sustainable technologies

What might a cosmotechnics for the UK look like? What technological myths and cosmologies play into technology production and usage? How might we overcome the negative impacts of globalization to renegotiate locally constituted forms of technology? How can we challenge ubiquitous and dominant forms of technology?


I am an artist and Assistant Professor in the Arts at Northumbria University with 20 years of working in a range of arts and education contexts. My research adopts a critical approach to digital technologies and environment, using a combination of practice-based, social science and fieldwork-based methods. I am part of the Cultural Negotiation of Science research group, Cosmotechnics artists group and since 2020 have produced interdisciplinary research with political ecologist Dr Pete Howson, Northumbria University.


My doctoral thesis In Silico: A practice-based exploration of computer simulations in art  explored the material and temporal relationships between computer generated and natural environments. I used philosophy from media materiality and assemblage theory alongside an art practice rooted in new media and contemporary art.


What are the material costs of digital image production? Since 2020 I have researched the relationship between data centres and the production of computer-generated images (CGI) via render farms – networked computer hardware systems for mass producing frames of animation and cinema. This started with The Cloud In the Sea (2020)- a simulated reconstruction of an experimental Microsoft data centre placed under the sea off the coast of the Orkney Isles, to keep the computer hardware at operating temperature. The following two years of fieldwork and interviews led to a photobook of data centre architecture entitled Colocation (2022), a journal article, exhibitions and a co-authored ethnographic film Tributary (2023).  As part of this research I interviewed companies that re-circulate heat from data centres to grow crops and beer in Amsterdam, and use datacentre infrastructure within apartment blocks to generate heating for Parisians. In Upstream Image (2022) I created an expanded simulation, in which the playback of a 3D-modelled Icelandic data centre site generated enough heat to grow basil seeds in a customised greenhouse.


In 2023 I was commissioned by Colab Sunderland and South Tyneside Council to produce a new work in response to two new energy projects that use water from the River Tyne and an abandoned mine to heat nearby homes.


I am currently working on a project that explores the impact of NewSpace technologies on the environment and global indigenous communities. This is a continuation of thinking through the impacts and underlying ideologies of the hyper capitalist technology sector on the people and places of the Global South. I am interested in using forms of assemblage theory and Yuk Hui’s Cosmotechnics project to understand how technology might be constituted in more sustainable, harmonic and socially beneficial ways.

Education/Academic qualification

Arts (general), PhD, In Silico: A Practice-based exploration of computer simulations in art., Northumbria University

1 Sept 20134 Jul 2019

Award Date: 4 Jul 2019

Teaching & Learning, PGCE

1 Sept 200431 Dec 2099

Award Date: 1 Sept 2004


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