Deborah Gardner

Deborah Gardner


I am an artist, researcher and lecturer within Art and Design. I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Sculptors and a member of the Yorkshire Sculptors Group and Crafts Council.  I am also a member of  LAND2, a network of artists/lecturers and research students with an interest in landscape/place-orientated. I studied Fine Art at Winchester School of Art ( Arts Foundation Course), Canterbury College of Art ( BA (Hons) Fine Art), and the University of Newcastle upon Tyne ( MFA degree).  

My research considers uncertainty and flux between process and outcome, employing craft traditions, body architecture and sculptural assemblage as modes of making to perplex set categories of art disciplines and their material form. Networks, adaptation and connectives are structural devices in this practice, which are inspired by such things as the study of plant structures, energy conductive systems, the growth patterns of physical phenomema and futuristic transformative human imaginings.

Repurposed materials, such as electrical waste and cardboard, are frequently used in the exhibition to explore the generative power of materials to create new meanings. Colour is pivotal and often adds an unspecified or more frantic element to the narrative of these works. Each colour has a physical or compositional role in determining the final systems and structures.

My specialism is sculpture pratice and 3D design and construction. My work is regularly exhibited in the UK and internationally, at galleries, museums, libraries, cemeteries, hospitals, regeneration sites and public art projects, such as science fairs. Resdiencies, projects and exhibitions planned within the next year include: Phantasmagoria, Tension Fine Art Gallery, London,  Threads of Resilience, Dalgart Artists Residency, Dâlga, Romania, Materials and Substance experimental installation project, APT gallery, London, Plant Power, Groundwork Gallery, Kings Lynn. Selected past exhibitions of work include: Inbetweens, Ex Libirs Gallery, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Monument at the Musee des Beaux Artes, Calais, Interweave at the Leeds Biomedical Research Centre, Landscape and Uncertainty, Southampton Art Gallery, Conway Actants, Conway Hall, London, More in Common, APT gallery, London, Textures of Place, Galeria Strefa Erasmusa, Strzemiński Academy of Art Łódź, Texturen des Orten, Inselgalerie, Berlin, New Doggerland, Thamesside Galleries and Lumen Galleries, London.

Funded commissions and projects include: Art Council funded Yorkshire Year of the Textile commission and research at the Leeds Biomedical Centre,  Leeds Galleries and Museum Innovation Fund project, Leeds Discovery Centre, Arts Council funded residency, Conway Hall, London, Zoological Society of London funded Leeds Light Night Science and Art Platform, Disease and Cellularity event, Otley Science Fair, funded by the Biomedical Society and science and art collaboration funded by the Integrated Biological Imaging Network ( Kings College, London).


  • Sustainability Architect
  • Art and Design Year in Industry rep

Research interests

The focus of my practice-led research centres on  the transformative and generative processes of matter and sculpture process. Agency and unpredictability between process and outcomes provide opportunities  for imagining or re-imagining new possibilities for material relations which can lead directly or indirectly to unexpected and/or innovative research outcomes.  Most current research include ecological practices, approaches to reclaiming and reworking repurposed materials, the employment of of craft and sculptural assemblage as modes of making and how science and arts come into a relational conversation. 

Visioning cellular structures and behaviours and a consideration of the processual in both laboratory and artistic practice have been the basis of my most recent art science collaborations, funded by the Zoological Society, London, the Integrated Biological Imaging Network (Kings College London) and the Biochemical Society.  Another strand of current research reappraises our ongoing, precarious relationship with plants and the environments we inhabit through sculptural modes of assembly and instability, which imagine plants in shifting environments, from the local to the alien. Research is guided by microscopy, botanical encoded structural principles and the consideration of adaptability, agency and mutability in sculptural form.  Most recently, this has extended to ideas of human plant hybridity or mutualism through the use of body architecture, inspired by ideas of ritualism, mutation and adaptability

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • BA ( Hons) Fine Art
  • MFA Degree Fine Art

Professional memberships

  • Royal Society of Sculptors Fellow
  • LAND2 creative practice-led network
  • Yorkshire Sculptors Organisation
  • Craft Council

Student education

I am a lecturer in Art and Design and the year in industry representative for the UG Art and Design programme.  I am a University Sustainability Architect, promoting sustainable practice within the school.

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>