Karen Brett

Job title
Photography Lecturer
Email
karen.brett@falmouth.ac.uk
Telephone
01326 259390

I have been lecturing at Falmouth University since 2007, my role as a lecturer is to create a platform to enable students to question themselves in a way that challenges their own visual perception, encouraging them to push their ability as photographers/artists and represent the world they encounter in a more dynamic way.

Qualifications

YearQualificationAwarding body
2005
Master of Arts
London College of Communication
1998
Bachelor of Arts (1st Class Honours)
University of Wales, Newport

Honours and awards

YearDescription
2004

Small Wonders Award (Picture This, Bristol)

2001

Melhuish Fine Art Award

2000

European Woman Photographer of the Year

Research interests

Research interests and expertise

My research and practice encompasses photography, moving image and sound to examine the psychological and neurological representation of the human condition in relation to mental health, domestic abuse and the ageing body. These mediums allow me to translate a ‘lived experience’ through a more personal and sensitive artistic language and to establish a working process that is unique to each piece of work. 

I am currently creating a series of pieces that encompass ‘everyday’ living with mental health, my completed pieces so far are:

‘Conversations with Myself’ portrays a woman living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The complexity of the work revolves around the psychological tension that the subject creates in and around her physical space. At first glance, it seems like a ‘fly on the wall’ documentary, it is very telling in the way the piece unfolds. However, the voiceover disrupts the realism of the work and pushes it into a more profound area of representation by portraying the subject in a more conscious and intriguing way. The poignancy of the work is the fusion between the tension of the inner voice and the rhythm of the physical movements of the subject whilst moving around within their ‘own’ reality. A reality that does not exist for the majority of those outside it, looking in.

‘Horses Warped on an Altering Canvas’ is a ‘moving’ portrait of a young woman engaging in her everyday ritual of ‘mirror checking’ - a common symptom associated with Body Dysmorphia (BDD). The psychology behind the work evolves around the tension that can build up internally when one looks in the mirror. Therefore, the mirror acts like a switch and ‘turns on’ an obsession that is magnified by the mind's eye. Recurrent thoughts whilst this process is taking place will cause distress to the sufferer and will hinder their everyday function due to their preoccupation. Body Dysmorphia causes an inaccurate view of reality, with the ‘imperfection’ being non-existent or slight.  

Research centre and group affiliations

BlackBox

Research topics

Fine Art Practice
Mental Health
Neuroscience
Photography
Psychology
Video

Research outputs

Publications and research outputs

Exhibition

 

Brett, Karen (2009) Three. [Exhibition] 

 

Externally funded research grants information

Year startingYear endingProject titleFunderValueCollaboratorsHESA Category
2006
Horses Warped on a Altering Canvas
The Arts Council of England
5,000
2003
Conversations with Myself
The Arts Council of England
5,000
2001
The Myth of Sexual Loss
The Arts Council of England
5,000
GBP

Teaching

Areas of teaching

Photography

Courses taught

BA(Hons) Photography

Professional engagement

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