A Bit About Me

I am an artist and academic. My last academic role was as Head of the Department of Fine Art University of Chichester. I retired in 2019. Previous to that I held senior positions at Southampton Solent University including course leader of Fine Art and  programme leader of Fine Art Photography and Fine Art Valuation. I have held teaching posts in various UK institutions including Falmouth School of Art (Falmouth University ) Hereford College of Art, Exeter School of Art, South Devon College and  Cardiff College of Art (uwic). I began my teaching career at Nelson and Colne College in 1973.

I have  been an external examiner at  UK Universities and Art Colleges as well as work for The Open University including  panel member for approving the MA post-graduate studies at Christies Edu. London.

I was born in 1950 in Nelson, Lancashire. After Nelson Grammar School I attended Burnley School of Art then studied at Liverpool College of Art and Maidstone College of Art between 1968 -1973. Here I rubbed shoulders with and was taught by , Stuart Brisley, Marc Chaimowicz, Fred Cumming, Mike Upton, Maurice Cockerill, Mike Knowles amongst others. In the late 1980’s I studied for my  MA at Cardiff (SGIHE: Fine Art at Howard Gardens) now University of Wales. This period saw  a decisive shift in my practice. Here I was introduced to leading artists emerging onto the national and international stage including Mona Hatoum, Cornelia Parker, Helen Sear, and Graham Crowley who were working there as academics and as senior fellows. It was a formidable experience.

Alongside my academic career I have continued to pursue my creative practice as an artist producing a range of artwork from painting to performance and musical collaborations. I have exhibited widely in galleries across the UK and the EU and have work in public and private collections.

Steve McDade
Steve McDadeArtist
Steve McDade
Steve McDade
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Following the experience in Cardiff and a research trip to Sicily, my visual and theoretical research began to focus on the relationship of language to visual practices and an abiding concern with the notion of ‘displacement’, a theme that I have been engaged with across  theoretical debates and material practices including painting, improvised music, performance, and installation.

The relationship between philosophical ideas and their connections to materials practices has been at the forefront of my role as an educator.  My work in the studio ‘on the shop-floor’ and in teaching both practical and theoretical input on the Fine Art UG & MA programmes was a fundamental and essential aspect of my leadership role.  In building the curriculum for contemporary fine art I ensured that there was a deep correspondence between ‘theory and practice’ (so called) where the relationship between practical studio based activity and the broad fields of the history of art and contextual critical theory formed an indivisible unity between creativity and interpretative discourse.

Recent Work

Recent work has been exhibited as part of ‘Between Things’ 2017 with Matthew Burrows, Anne Ryan, ‘Permeable Edge’ 2016 exhibiting alongside Bigg and Collings, Matthew Burrows, Phoebe Unwin, Varda Caivano, and others. This followed on from previous exhibitions ‘Liminal’, 2014, ‘The Margins of the Lane’ 2012 ‘Entrance to a Lane’ 2011 which focused on contemporary painting’s dialogue with space and narrative as well as the relationship to the history of paintings of British modernist works as represented through the University collections. These exhibitions were central to the development of the series of on-going symposia held by the Department of Fine Art at the University of Chichester.

The research theme of ‘Displacement’ has been the underlying ‘driver’ for the production of diverse bodies of work from painting to performance. The theoretical framework for the work circulates around some poststructuralist positions of the centrality of language and its role within visual culture. Deleuze’s interrogation of the canvas as an already ‘historically occupied field’ and image filled surface and Henri Lefebvre’s notion of space conceived as both a ‘product and producer’ of place. Displacement encompasses the actual physical properties of materials such as immiscible liquids as well as the signifying processes and associations to both spatiotemporality and the socio-political in respect of forced movement of ‘migrants’ across and between national borders.

Other work has included the use of live music and installation with video projections in the exploration of ‘displacement’ concerned with the relationship between live performance and film (Displacement installation with the Rick Foot trio). The 2010 performance piece ‘Techno/House’ centered on aspects of nomadic/refugee/homeland. ‘Moving House’ took place in the Research Space of the department and further extending the notion of ‘displacement’.

Alongside visual artwork, I have performed as a drummer in improvisational and experimental sound and music collaborations with jazz groups. (UK tours with ‘On The Corner’ with the late Dick Heckstall-Smith, Ed Jones, Rick Foot, etc, playing the music of Charles Mingus.)


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