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Simon Read - Associate Professor in Fine Art

Simon Read

Associate Professor in Fine Art


Simon Read is an artist who has a great deal of experience across several media. For a great many years he enjoyed considerable success working through a museum and gallery context, developing an expanded interpretation of photography, but has increasingly found that this does not allow the scope to interact with other disciplines and in other arenas.

This has led him to foster projects on a collaborative basis where the outcome might range from a public commission for an architectural site to consultancy, the medium might vary from a complex drawing or sculptural work through to something more discursive lending itself to publication. More recently he has immersed himself in the environmental debate where other kinds of collaboration on an interdisciplinary level are vital.

In 1980, he bought a seagoing barge in Holland and brought it back to Woodbridge in Suffolk to serve as a home and studio base. Since then, travelling on it annually around the East Anglian Coast, he has gained valuable insight into how estuaries and coastal dynamics work. He has ploughed this back into his work, in the first instance by building cameras to record the experience of approaching land from the sea and later to bring first hand experience to an engagement with the development by government of estuarine and shoreline strategies. From experience gained on a range of projects incorporating a level of environmental know how, he has sought ways of pursuing this on a local level working with his immediate community, academically, by proposing interdisciplinary collaborations and as a studio-based artist.

The original decision to be an artist is fundamentally important in determining the pattern of his life; the need to have an affordable living and working environment that is nonetheless stimulating informed his decision to buy a barge, his involvement in Higher Education he regards to be a duty as much as a congenial way of earning a living and more recently the level of engagement with the environment on a community level is informed by instinct as much as by judgement.

For more information , see www.simonread.info


March 2014-June 2017: “Towards Hydrocitizenship. Connecting communities with and through responses to interdependent, multiple water issues”. An AHRC funded research programme incorporating four case study partnerships, of which Middlesex University is a partner, focusing upon the Lee Valley area. The Project Leader for Middlesex University is Professor Graeme Evans, Simon Read has the role of Artist Consultant.

2014-2015  Deben Estuary Plan. Publication of an integrated management plan for the River Deben Estuary by the Deben Estuary Partnership, a syndication of National Government Agency interests including Environment Agency, Natural England and the Marine Management Organisation, Local and Regional Government , NGO’s such as Suffolk Wildlife Trust and national Trust, community stakeholders including parish councils, landowners, marine business and leisure interests. Role: part author of the document and contributor to specific aspects of the plan, including saltmarsh management, marine business sector, flood risk management and residential boats. Working as a member of the core management team designing the plan. Author of the initial consultation document, “A Portrait of the River Deben”, 2010.

7-9 October 2014, Bishop’s Palace Wells, Somerset, Westminster Hall, London, Zu Studios, Phoenix Estate, Lewes, Sussex.
“How can UK communities use flood resilience to be part of the big society-adding values along the Rivers Parrett, Thames, and Ouse from a Dutch water management perspective”. A three-day rolling conference event. Presentation: “Sense of Place for Sense, in a rural estuary” by Simon Read, 9 October, Lewes. Publication: “PaThOu Event 2014. Resilient land use in flood plains along the rivers Parrett (Somerset), Thames (London) and Ouse (Lewes)” 7th 8th 9th October 2014. Catalogue entry: “Simon Read” pp81-82

18-22 August 2014, placing of a series of structures to manage flow and sediment across Levington Saltmarsh for Suffolk Yacht Harbour. Design and Build, Simon Read and Kieran O’Mahony. Project ongoing into spring 2015, monitoring constructing and adapting structural response to the dredging operation. Project partnership funded by Suffolk Coastal District Council, Associated British Ports, Sustainable Development Fund, Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB,Suffolk County Council, Suffolk County Council, Veolia and Environment Agency. Project carried out in partnership with Suffolk Wildlife Trust, Suffolk Yacht Harbour and Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB. Total value of project including support in kind: £61,199.

October 2013-February 2014. Falkenham Saltmarsh remediation project. Design and build of a system of soft-engineered tidal management structures on Falkenham Saltmarsh on the River Deben in Suffolk. Project Leader, Simon Read, Project Manager, Kieran O’Mahony. Project funded by: East Suffolk IDB (Internal Drainage Board), Suffolk County Council, “Touching The Tide” Heritage Lottery Fund. Total fund including support in kind: £21,000.

2011-2014 “Between the Tides” a European collaboration between University of Gloucestershire and University of Groningen, to conduct a comparative exploration between the Severn Estuary, UK and the Waddensee area, Netherlands. Participant, exhibitor and presenter in Bristol, Groningen and Terschellingen over three years.

Career path

1975 MA Fine Art, Painting, Chelsea College of Art and Design
1973 BA Hons, Fine Art, University of Leeds
1969 Foundation, Somerset College of Art and Design

Teaching Experience:

2014 Associate Professor of Fine Art, Middlesex University
2011-2014 External Examiner, MA Art and Environmnet, Falmouth University
2011 External Examiner, PhD Fine Arts, University of Northumberland
2010 External Examiner, PhD Fine Arts, University of East London
2010-2013 External Examiner, MA Contemporary Fine Art Practice, Falmouth University
2005-2006 External Examiner, PhD Fine Art, Univeristy of Gloucestershire
2001 Senior Lecturer, Fine Art, Middlesex University
1998/2002 External Examiner, MA Sculpture, Slade School of Fine Art
1996/2000 External Examiner, Fine Art, Plymouth University
1990/99 Visiting Lecturer, Sculpture, Statens, Kunstakademi, Oslo, Norway
1990/96 Visiting Lecturer, Sculpture, Vestlandets Kunstakademi, Bergen, Norway
1978/93 Part-time Lecturer, Bath College of Higher Education
1975-2007 Part-time Lecturer, Fine Art, Chelsea College of Art and Design
1975-2001 Part-time Lecturer, Fine Art, Middlesex University

Solo exhibitions

9-29 September 2011: “Immersion-drawing for a purpose” 11 Spitalfields, London. Solo show, 14 individual drawn works and one intervention. Published leaflet “Immersion” with essay by Simon Read.

2001 Odd Times, The Gallery, Southwark Park, London
2000 Time and Tide, Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich, Tour to Institute Gallery London and River and Rowing Museum, Henley on Thames
1999 Still Time, Kapil Jariwala Gallery, London
1997 Sektorer, Norsk Museum for Fotografi, Horten Norway, toured to Haugesuad, Norway
1994 Standing Wave, Design Museum and Unit 18, Butlers Wharf, London
1992 Full Circle, Jariwala, Clove Building, London
1992 Red Rags, DEGW, London
1990 Seamarks, Touring Exhibition from Southampton
1989 The Land From The Sea, Peter Pears Gallery, Aldeburgh
1986 Other Works and River Entries, National Museum of Film Photography and Television, Bradford
1984 Chelsea Art School Gallery
1984 Landmarks, Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Canada
1982 A Clean Set of Heels, Lewis Johnstone Gallery, London
1982 Terra Incognita, Camerawork, London

Group exhibitions

17 October – 9 November: Grosse Rathausgalerie im Rathaus der Stadt Landshut und Neue Galerie im Gotischen Stadel auf der Muhleninset. Touring to Hamburg 2015 (to be confirmed). A group exhibition “23 artists looking up at the sky” curated by Michael Janck. Two works by Simon Read from the series “Scaffolders can’t fly” “Storm Approaching”, “Storm Clearing”. Both works circular C Type colour photographic prints, diameter 145cm, 2000. Catalogue in German and English: “Wolkenschauen”  editor, Michael Janck. ISBN 978-3-00-046980-0. Catalogue entry: Simon Read pp76-78.

19 September – 12 October 2014 Kunstverein Passau, Bavaria: “Wolkenshauen” -23 Kuntsler betrachten den Himmel.

5 April-6 July 2014, The Royal West of England Academy, Bristol: “The Power of the Sea, making waves in British Art 1790-2014”. A group exhibition of 24 artists curated by Janette Kerr. Two works by Simon Read: “Falkenham Saltmarshes” 2011-2013 - pen and watercolour on paper – 80/40cm, “The future for Orfordness according to the Suffolk Shoreline Management Plan 2010 and some of its implications” 2010 – pen and watercolour on paper – 80/40cm. Publication and catalogue: “The Power of the Sea-making waves in British Art 1790-2014”, editors, Janette Kerr, Christiana Payne. Publisher, Sansom & Company, RWA. ISBN 978-1-908326-57-7 - Essay by Simon Read: “The Power of the Ooze” pp45-55. Catalogue entry: pp152-153.

23 March-2 June 2013: “Drawn”, Royal West of England Academy, Bristol. Guest artist at the RWA open drawing exhibition.  Two works “The Escape of the Royal George 1&2” each 2.5/1.5m, pencil on paper.

23 January-9 March 2013: The London Group Centenary Exhibition, Pitzhanger Manor Gallery and House, Ealing London. Group Exhibition, two works exhibited “Ros 1” and “Ros 2” circular C Type colour photographs 750mm diameter.

24 April-3 May 2012: “Territories & Boundaries” London Group exhibition, Kensington and Chelsea College Gallery, London, curated by Paul Tecklenberg and Jane Humphrey. 21 artists, 2 works “Sectors” from “Seamarks” series, C Type colour photographs.

19 September-2 October 2010: “Plots and Plans” coastal drawings by Simon Read at HOTHOUSE, London Fields to coincide with “Open House London” in collaboration with “The Grey Gallery” London.Ten drawn works, pencil and watercolour on paper.

2002 Forest States.org, touring exhibition
2001 Photosynkyria, Thessalonika, Greece
2001 Showcase 1, Chelsea College of art at Millbank
2000 Exploration; Out of this World, A T Kearney, Berkeley Square, London
1999 Floorgazing Sates.org, touring exhibition through to 2001
1999 Art at 100, 100 Park Lane, London
1994 Maximum Exposure, Photographers Gallery, London
1993 Landskap Sjoskap, Buskerud Kunstnercenter, Norway
1993 The Boat Show, The Cafe Gallery, London
1989 Tree of Life, Common Ground, South Bank Centre, London and Tour
1989 Tricks and Transformations, City Art Gallery, Stoke on Trent
1987 Emerging Artists, Guggenheim Museum, New York
1987 Photography Art and Image, Oldham Art Gallery
1986 Fotofest, Houston, Texas
1984 Space Complex, Third Eye Centre, Glasgow


Norsk Museum for Fotografi, Horten, Norway
A T Kearney
Guggenheim Museum, New York
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Arts Council of England, Collection
Peter Stuyvestant, Amsterdam
British Council Collection, London
Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds
National Museum of Film Photography and Television, Bradford

Simon Read's research in the University Repository

Deben Estuary

Read, Simon (2020) Deben Estuary. [Artefact] ...

What we know offers clues to what we must guess: a drawing of the Three Rivers Estuary

Read, Simon (2020) What we know offers clues to what we must guess: a drawing of the Three Rivers Estuary. [Artefact] ...

Wild Goose Chase, Kyson Point

Read, Simon (2019) Wild Goose Chase, Kyson Point. [Artefact] ...

Wild Goose Chase, Waldringfield

Read, Simon (2019) Wild Goose Chase, Waldringfield. [Artefact] ...

Mapping as a tool for imagining change landscapes in transition

Read, Simon (2019) Mapping as a tool for imagining change landscapes in transition. [Artefact] ...

EFG London Jazz Festival: Illegal Crowns + Sam Leak

Halvorson, Mary and Ho Bynum, Taylor and Delbecq, Benoît and Fujiwara, Tomas and Leak, Samuel and Read, Simon and Storey, David (2017) EFG London Jazz Festival: Illegal Crowns + Sam Leak. ...

EFG London Jazz Festival: Sam Leak Trio "The Craft of Sound"

Leak, Samuel and Read, Simon and Glaser, Will (2019) EFG London Jazz Festival: Sam Leak Trio "The Craft of Sound". [Performance] ...

Cambridge International Jazz Festival: Elliot Galvin Trio + Sam Leak Trio

Leak, Samuel and Read, Simon and Davis, Jay and Galvin, Elliot and McCredie, Tom and Dick, Corrie (2019) Cambridge International Jazz Festival: Elliot Galvin Trio + Sam Leak Trio. [Performan...

Birmingham International Piano Festival: Sam Leak Trio

Leak, Samuel and Read, Simon and Glaser, Will (2019) Birmingham International Piano Festival: Sam Leak Trio. [Performance] ...

A framework linking ecosystem services and human well‐being: Saltmarsh as a case study

Rendón, Olivia R. and Garbutt, Angus and Skov, Martin and Möller, Iris and Alexander, Meghan and Ballinger, Rhoda and Wyles, Kayleigh and Smith, Greg and McKinley, Emma and Griffin, John ...

The amateur on the beach

Read, Simon (2016) The amateur on the beach. In: 6th Nordic Geographers Meeting 2015: Geographical Imagination: Interpretations of Nature, Art and Politics, 15-19 June 2015, Tallin and Tartu, Est...

The Deben Estuary Plan: April 2015

Allam, Simon and Astley-Reid, Trazar and Block, Christine and Henderson, Graham and Judge, Adrian and Read, Simon and Thomas, Karen and Thomas, Michael and Whittle, Robin and Youngs, Peter ...

Beyond dreaming

Read, Simon (2016) Beyond dreaming. In: Landscape Values, Place and Praxis, 29 Jun - 02 Jul 2016, NUI Galway, Ireland. ...

The power of the Ooze

Read, Simon (2014) The power of the Ooze. In: The Power of the Sea: Making Waves in British Art 1790-2014. Kerr, Janette and Payne, Christiana , eds. Sansom & Company Ltd, Bristol, UK, pp. 4...

Suffolk Yacht Harbour and the Stour and Orwell Estuaries Management Group. Saltmarsh Management Scheme 2014/15

Read, Simon (2015) Suffolk Yacht Harbour and the Stour and Orwell Estuaries Management Group. Saltmarsh Management Scheme 2014/15. Project Report. Middlesex University. ...

Cinderella River: The evolving narrative of the River Lee

Read, Simon (2017) Cinderella River: The evolving narrative of the River Lee. http://hydrocitizenship.com, London, pp. 1-163. ...

Falkenham Saltmarsh tidal management scheme

Read, Simon and O'Mahony, Kieran (2013) Falkenham Saltmarsh tidal management scheme. [Artefact] ...

Imagining change; coastal conversations

Daniels, Stephen and Veale, Lucie and Pearson, Mike and De Silvey, Caitlin and Read, Simon (2012) Imagining change; coastal conversations. [Artefact] ...

Wolkenschauen 23 Kunstler betrachten den Himmel

Read, Simon and Jank, Michael and Hormann, Emmerich and Benning, Kurt and Verena, Von Gagern and Jan, Van Gosler and Jung, Katharina-Klara and Keiper, Elke and Schierz, Kai Uwe and Sudbeck,...

Chapter: The power of the Ooze

Read, Simon (2014) Chapter: The power of the Ooze. In: The power of the sea, making waves in British art 1790-2014. Kerr, Janette and Payne, Christiana , eds. Sansom & Company Ltd, Bristol, ...