Dr Helen McGhie Senior Lecturer, Photography

Dr Helen McGhie

I am Senior Lecturer in Photography at the School of Digital Arts and teach within the BA (Hons) Photography and MA Photography programmes. I encourage students to explore enterprising approaches to creative practice, including responding to different public contexts and audiences. I encourage collaborative environments for students and support live briefs within my teaching.

My practice-based research investigates how photographic practice can foster meaningful relationships with partners and communities, as explored within my practice-based PhD, Close Encounters: A Practice-based Photography Exploration in Collaboration with a Science Communication Organisation in Northumberland International Dark Sky Park (University of Sunderland, 2024) investigated in partnership with Kielder Observatory, a dark-sky charity and visitor attraction. Funded by the National Productivity Investment Fund (AHRC), this research tested what mutual benefits emerge when a creative photographic practitioner and dark sky visitor attraction collaborate. I listened to dark-sky communities, made photographs informed by stories and displayed creative outputs catalysing new creative encounters with dark skies in Northumberland to support Kielder Observatory’s charitable vision.

I co-wrote the chapter, ‘Creative Approaches to Dark Skies Research: A Dialogue Between Two Artist-researchers’ with interdisciplinary researcher Natalie Marr, published in Dark Skies: Places, Practices, Communities, edited by Nick Dunn and Tim Edensor (Routledge, 2024). My exhibitions include Another Dimension, Kielder Forest (Kielder, 2022); Observe, Experiment, Archive, Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens (Sunderland, 2019-20); Writing Skyscapes, Nottingham Contemporary (Nottingham, 2020); 209 Women, Portcullis House (London, 2018) and Hello Future! Talent’s Archive at Onassis Cultural Centre (Athens, 2015). My photography has contributed to creative publications, including A Book for Research that is Art (Northumbria-Sunderland Centre for Doctoral Research, 2021), Monthly Photography (South Korea, 2020) and Madam and Eve: Women Portraying Women, edited by Liz Rideal and Kathleen Soriano (Laurence King Publishing, 2020).

Website: www.helenmcghie.com

Email: h.mcghie@mmu.ac.uk