Dr Alexa Wright

As an artist I use a wide range of media, including photography, video, sound, interactive installation, performance, objects and books. I originally studied fine art (painting), but am now primarily interested in photography, video and sound installation and participatory work. My projects usually require a long period of research, and are often collaborative, negotiating the boundaries between science and art. Since creating the award-winning After Image (portrait photographs made with people who experience phantom limbs, funded by The Wellcome Trust, 1997) I have regularly worked with people affected by disabilities, life-changing medical conditions and, more recently, mental health issues. In 2012, funded by an AHRC Fellowship, I made photographic portraits with people who experience psychosis. From 2007-20 I participated in an interdisciplinary study into the psycho-social effects of heart transplant led by cardiologist, Dr Heather Ross at Toronto General Hospital. In response to this scientific research, I created the interactive audio installation, 'Heart of the Matter', (2014) and a number of other works. In 2017 I was awarded an AHRC Network grant to bring the project to the UK and organised events at University of Westminster Harrow Campus and Winchester School of Art. This was followed by an exhibition and symposium at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada in 2019. 

Another recent project is 'Piecing it Together', a participatory project involving people with mental health difficulties. I am currently making a series of video works that interpret the experiences of some of the project participants.

My single authored book, Monstrosity: the Human Monster in Visual Culture, was published by IB Tauris in June, 2013. The first chapter of this book was reprinted in The Monster Theory Reader ed. Jeffrey Weinstock, University of Minnesota Press, (2019). While my research is interdisciplinary and is expressed in a variety of forms, the theme of human identity is key to all the different projects.

Since the mid-1990s I have successfully raised and managed a substantial amount of research funding I have recruited and project-managed interdisciplinary teams working on several large projects. In relation to each of the large-scale projects I have undertaken I have conducted extensive literature searches and established links with other academic institutions, both nationally and internationally, and have presented my research at conferences internationally. I have successfully managed research budgets of up to £100,000. I have assisted and advised students and recent graduates to write successful project proposals and funding applications. I have been a regular referee for the Wellcome Trust Arts Awards, and have also been a referee for the AHRC.

My artworks have work has been shown nationally and internationally, exhibitions include: Hybrid Bodies, Hybrid Minds, Concordia University Gallery, Montreal (2019); Visions in The Nunnery, Bow Arts, London (2016); Hybrid Bodies, KunstKraftWerk, Leipzig, Germany (2016); Piecing it Together, St Pancras Hospital, London (participatory project), (2016); Phantom Limb Victoria Museum & Gallery, Liverpool (2016); The Flesh of The World, Justina M Barnicke Gallery/University of Toronto Art Centre (2015); Slippage, The Unstable Nature of Difference, Chester University Gallery (2015); NordArt2015, Büdelsdorf, Germany, (2015); Crafting Anatomies, Bonnington Gallery, Nottingham (2015); Hybrid Bodies, PHI Centre, Montreal (2014); Jersey Arts Centre, St Helier, Jersey (2013); Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston (2012); Photographer’s Gallery, London (2012); The Definition of Self, 21_21 Design Sight Gallery, Tokyo (2010); Kunstraum Kreuzberg Bethanien, Berlin, (2010); ISEA, Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast (2009); Amber 08, BM Suma Gallery, Istanbul, (2008); ‘El cuerpo (con)sentido’, Centro de Historia, Zaragoza, Spain (2008); FILE ‘07, SESI Art Gallery, Sao Paolo (2007); International Women Artists’ Biennale, Incheon Arts Centre, Korea (2007); Powerhouse Museum, Sydney (2006); Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh (2006).

From 2007-2019 I was part of an interdisciplinary team of researchers based at University of Toronto studying the psychosocial effects of heart transplant. The initial results of this project were shown at the PHI Centre in Montreal in January 2014. 

In June 2021 I was awarded an Arts Council grant to carry out a participatory project at two prisons in the North West, creating a series of video works in collaboration with (self) selected prisoners.

At Westminster, I am part of the CREAM research group, which brings together the disciplines of ceramics, visual arts, photography, film, experimental media, music and fashion. CREAM runs a lively programme of seminars and visiting speakers, and has organised ground-breaking conferences and symposia in collaboration with other institutions. 



  • Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media
  • Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture

In brief

Research areas

photography, video, art and health and participatory art

Skills / expertise

visual art, photography, art and science and art and health

Supervision interests

visual arts, photography and monstrosity