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Portrait of Dr Juliet MacDonald Dr Juliet MacDonald | 01484 473520


Dr Juliet MacDonald is Research Fellow in Art in the School of Art, Design and Architecture.

Juliet has a BA (Hons) Graphic Design specialising in printmaking. She worked in the graphic design industry for ten years as an artworker, before returning to higher education to complete an MA Fine Art (awarded 2000) and re-develop an art practice centred on drawing. For several years she provided instruction to undergraduate and postgraduate students on the use of specialist art and design software, and she shared responsibility for the running of a large Mac computer lab and animation suite. During this period Juliet undertook research for a doctorate, also at Leeds Metropolitan University, and was awarded her PhD in 2010. She has since continued to develop her practice as an artist/researcher. Juliet has been appointed for ten months in 2014/15 as Leverhulme Artist in Residence with the Liddle Collection, an archive that includes letters and personal documents from the First World War, based at Leeds University Special Collections.

A Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Juliet teaches on BA Contemporary Art and Illustration courses and the School’s taught Masters programme. She has completed PG Cert in Professional Development: Research Supervision and currently supervises three PhDs.

Research and Scholarship

Juliet MacDonald’s research interests are based on questions that emerge from her art practice. The focus is drawing, not only the traditional practice of pen/pencil marks on paper, but also understood in a broader sense. Expanded definitions of drawing might include for example: any visible trace of bodily movement (human or otherwise); and any action that delineates, divides or graphically differentiates. MacDonald’s PhD thesis is an investigation of her own practice of observational drawing, located within a Western academic tradition. She examines the humanist values attributed to metaphors of ‘the hand’ and ‘the eye’ as body parts instrumental in drawing. Informed by feminist writing, she also considers the knowledge constituted by practices of drawing bodies.

Another concern has been human/animal relations. One art project has centred on a particular chimpanzee, Alpha, whose drawings were studied by Gestalt psychologists in the 1940s. The story of Alpha provided the basis for an artist’s residency Alpha #4: Scheme for a Drawing Experiment at MEANTIME, Cheltenham in 2012, discussed in a recent article in the Journal of Artistic Research 5, 2014. MacDonald’s work questions the way in which drawing practices have served both to reinforce and to disrupt distinctions between human and animal, for example the use of diagrammatic forms to position nonhuman animals as objects of knowledge. A conference paper, ‘The Art of the Diagram’, 2013, examined illustrations of apparatus found in early twentieth century textbooks of Comparative Psychology. This developed into a journal article in Tierstudien, 2014, focussing on the graphic configuration of laboratory rats in mazes.

A further research interest is the digital reproduction of drawings. In a book chapter in the SAGE Handbook of Digital Dissertations and Theses, 2012), MacDonald considered the process by which figurative outcomes of drawing are reproduced via an elaborate sequence of material contacts, in the operations of scanning, digital storage and display on screen. She has pursued this further in her work for the exhibitions Drawology (2013) and Drawology II (2014), using cracked computer tablets to explore the surfaces of drawings.

Publications and Other Research Outputs


MacDonald, J (2015) Inhalation [Show/Exhibition]


MacDonald, J (2014) ‘Alpha: the figure in the cageRelations: Beyond Anthropocentrism (Minding Animals: Part II) , 2 (2). ISSN 2283-3196

MacDonald, J (2014) ‘Running the maze: animal sentience as a variable in the psychology of early maze experiments’. In: Centre for Human Animal Studies (CfHAS) Inaugural Conference and Launch: Animals: ethics, sustainability, sentience , 25 October 2014, Edge Hill University, UK

MacDonald, J (2014) Marked Surfaces II [Show/Exhibition]

Heys, P., Temple, N., Adkins, M., Bailey, R., Tibbetts, S., Briers, D., MacDonald, J., Powell, A., Devlin, L. and Gfader, V. (2014) ‘The making of the Allure of the Archive – an index of assemblies by Art (&) Currency: Institute of Vanishing Principles and Spells, 2013–2014Journal of Writing in Creative Practice , 7 (3), pp. 511-516. ISSN 17535190

MacDonald, J (2014) ‘Drawing in the CollectiveRadar , 1 (4), pp. 31-35. ISSN 2049-4327

MacDonald, J (2014) ‘Shelf lives: Drawing out letters from World War IJournal of Writing in Creative Practice , 7 (3), pp. 359-374. ISSN 1753-5190

MacDonald, J (2014) ‘Spuren im LabyrinthTierstudien (6), pp. 28-40. ISSN 2193-8504

MacDonald, J (2014) ‘AlphaJournal for Artistic Research (5). ISSN 2235-0225

Emmanouil, S., Lycett, R. and MacDonald, J.(2014) trace.[insctructions for mapping space] ,Exhibition, Huddersfield Art Gallery, Rotor, University of Huddersfield,2014 [Show/Exhibition]

Lycett, R., Emmanouil , S. and MacDonald, J.(2014) trace.[instructions for mapping space] [Show/Exhibition]

MacDonald, J (2014) ‘In PassingTRACEY , pp. 1-11. ISSN 1742-3570

Bailey, R., MacDonald, J. and Beverley, K. (2014) ‘Interdisciplinary Imaginations: Using Creative Methodologies to Solve 'Wicked Problems' ’. In: Interdisciplinary Imaginations: Using Creative Methodologies to solve ‘Wicked Problems’., 14th January 2014, University of Huddersfield, UK

MacDonald, J (2014) ‘Drawing Methods as Tools for the Interdisciplinary Imagination’. In: Interdisciplinary Imaginations: using creative methodologies to solve 'wicked problems', 14 January 2014, University of Huddersfield

Lycett, R., MacDonald, J. and Emmanouil , S. (2014) Horizons [Artefact]


MacDonald, J (2013) ‘The Art of the Diagram: modes of depicting apparatus used in Comparative Psychology experiments’. In: Technoscientific developments and Critical Animal Studies, 3rd EU conference for Critical Animal Studies, 28-30 November 2013, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, Germany

MacDonald, J (2013) Marked Surfaces [Show/Exhibition]


MacDonald, J (2012) Alpha # 4: scheme for a drawing experiment [Show/Exhibition]

MacDonald, J (2012) ‘Creative activism found locallyRadar , 1 (3), pp. 22-25. ISSN 2049-4327

MacDonald, J (2012) ‘The Distinguishing Mark’. In: Minding Animals Conference 2012, 4 to 6 July 2012, Utrecht University, the Netherlands

MacDonald, J (2012) ‘Alpha: the figure in the cage’. In: Minding Animals Conference 2012, 4 to 6 July 2012, Utrecht University, the Netherlands

MacDonald, J (2012) ‘Digits and Figures: a manual drawing practice and its modes of reproduction’. In: SAGE Handbook of Digital Dissertations and Theses. : SAGE Publications Ltd. . ISBN 9780857027399

MacDonald, J (2012) ‘Bus station’. In: INDA 6: International Drawing Annual. : Manifest Creative Research Gallery and Drawing Center. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-9837302-3-1


MacDonald, J (2011) ‘Lines of movement, points of stillness: drawing and the figuration of bodies’. In: Bodies in Movement: Intersecting Discourses of Materiality in the Sciences and the Arts, 28-29 May 2011, University of Edinburgh


MacDonald, J (2010) ‘Drawing as a form of enquiry: paradoxical aspects’. In: Observation : Mapping : Dialogue, Drawing Research Network Annual Conference, 14 Sep 2010, University of Brighton, UK

MacDonald, J (2010) The Drawing Shed: Inverted Garden [Show/Exhibition]

MacDonald, J (2010) Drawing around the body: the manual and visual practice of drawing and the embodiment of knowledge Doctoral thesis, Leeds Metropolitan University.


MacDonald, J (2009) ‘Drawing as Embodied Knowledge’. In: Creative Practice Creative Research, 15th - 17th April 2009, York St John University, UK


MacDonald, J (2008) De-Skill, Re-Skill [Show/Exhibition]


MacDonald, J (2007) Drawn Over [Show/Exhibition]

Tsegmid, T. and MacDonald, J.(2007) Odoo/Current [Show/Exhibition]

MacDonald, J (2007) Delineate: an exhibition exploring line [Show/Exhibition]


Co-editor of TRACEY | journal

Peer reviewer for Journal for Artistic Research

Artist's talks at the University of Lancaster and University of Leeds

Research Degree Supervision

• Art practice as enquiry
• Drawing as reflective process
• Traditional skills and techniques in drawing
• Performative aspects of drawing

Last updated Monday 12 October 2015
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