Dr Sarah Bennett

School: School of Art and Architecture
Position: Head of School of Art and Architecture


Sarah Bennett studied Fine Art at undergraduate level at Exeter College of Art and Design before establishing her artistic practice at Spacex Studios in the 1980s with regular exhibitions across the UK and Europe. Alongside her arts practice she has a proven academic career in Higher Arts Education with a range of academic leadership roles including MA Fine Art Course Director at Exeter School of Art, and Head of Fine Art at Plymouth University, where she was also Head of the School of Art and Media before joining Kingston.

At Plymouth she established a creative partners network to support and work with arts organisations and foster the cultural ecology of the city. Bennett has also worked with internationally renowned Transart Institute to develop a practice based PhD programme as well as leading on the validation of their MFA Creative Practice. She has a practice based PhD from Plymouth University (2010) and now supervises students with Transart and at Kingston.

Bennett has undertaken external examiner and adviser roles at: Wimbledon College of Art (UAL); Birmingham City University; Gray's School of Art, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen; UWIC; and Kingston University. She is currently a Board member of Effervescent Social Alchemy and EQ Arts.

Related links

Research expertise

In Bennett's artistic research she investigates institutional sites, both historical and contemporary through embodied actions and digital recording methods (Institutional Traits 2012). Former psychiatric hospital sites and their archives provide the source material for much of her artistic enquiry (Reformations 2010, Safe-keeping/Custodia 2014). She has collaborated in a number of interdisciplinary and international research projects (Geographies of Memory and Affect at the Museo Laboratorio della Mente, Rome 2012, Window Sills: Art of Locality 2000) and has published journal papers on her own research practice ('Re-forming the institution: the wall as memory archive' in Journal of Media Practice Volume 11 Number 3, 2010).

Bennett has edited a book (Locality, Regeneration and Diversities, Art and Urban Futures Vol 1, Bristol and Portland, USA: Intellect 2000 with Butler) and published chapters on socially engaged practice ('Window Sills: Art of Locality' in Szijártó Zsolt (ed) Public/Space: Concepts, perspectives and approaches, Budapest: Gondolat 2010 with Melling), and on pedagogy in Fine Art ('Crossing the Line' in Coutts, G and Jokela, T (Eds) Art, Community and Environment: Educational Perspectives (Readings in Art and Design Education) Bristol: Intellect 2008).

Bennett has given papers relating to art and cultural geography, visual anthropology, and museology in the UK and internationally (Association of American Geographers, Washington DC 2010; American Anthropological Association, Montreal 2011; Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa, Wellington 2010).

Teaching areas & responsibilities

Postgraduate Research supervision

PG: MA Fine Art, MA Contemporary Art Practice, MFA Fine Art
UG: BA Fine Art, BA Fine Art and Art History, BA Fine Art Contextual Practice

Educational and professional qualifications

  • 2014Senior Fellow Higher Education Academy (SFHEA)
  • 2010PhD 'Traces, Boundaries, Surfaces: an investigation through art practice of institutional sites with particular reference to a former lunatic asylum', Plymouth University. Supervisors: Dr Malcolm Miles and Dr Tim Brennan. External Examiners: Prof Jane Rendell, UCL, and Joanna Greenhill, Central St Martins
  • 1980BA (Hons) Fine Art Exeter College of Art and Design (CNAA)
  • 1976Diploma in Foundation Studies WSM College of Art

Research groups & programmes

External research supervision

  • 2015Baugh, T.
    An Investigation of an Artistic Equivalence of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • 2014Ismail, K.
    Pudu Jail's Graffiti: Beyond the Prison Cells