Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

FARU members

Dr Véronique Chance, Course Leader and Senior Lecturer, MA Fine Art

Véronique has a mixed-media art practice that combines print media, moving image, sculpture and performance. She has a long-term interest in the representation of the body, particularly its relationship to performance, documentation, technology and the embodied dynamics of spectatorship. This is closely aligned to the subject of her practice-led PhD research, completed in 2012, during which she developed an endurance running-based practice as part of a larger-based enquiry into the performative nature of physical activity. Another strand of her research considers the impact of technology in reproductive media and their role in the ‘expanded’ field of print media.

Véronique’s artist’s book RE:PRINT, co-edited with Duncan Ganley, was published by Marmalade Publishers of Visual Theory in 2018. Recent writing includes: 'The Great Orbital Run' (Or 'The M25 in 4,000 images') for SI: Artist's Books; 'Concept, Place and a Quiet Revolution', ed. Chris Taylor for Arts Open Access Journal (2019) and 'In the Absence of Running: from injury to medical intervention to art' in SI: Artists’ Books, Journal of Medical Humanities, Springer (2020). Following from her paper presentation at the Rethinking Repetition in a Digital Age symposium at Cambridge University, Véronique has been asked to contribute to a special issue of AI and Society Journal: Iteration as Persuasion in a Digital World, due to be published in 2020. She has also presented as part of 'RE' interdisciplinary conference 'Tacit Engagement in the Digital Age', CRASSH, University of Cambridge; Approaching Estate, Furtherfield Commons, London; 'Artists' Books Now: Place', The British Library, London; 'Touching the Périphérique, Run! Run! Run!' #r3fest2018, School of Media, University of Kent in Paris and 'IMPACT 10' International Printmaking Conference, Santander, Spain. Recent exhibitions include: International Mini Print, Cantabria, Spain; Proof/Print Exchange, Neo Gallery, Bolton; Time/ Space Residency, METAL, Southend; London to Cambridge Run Commute for Place: Relinking, Relating, Relaying curated by Art, Language, Location). Presently, Véronique is working on an AHRC Network bid for the Running Cultures Research Network (under the working title: 'Running Cultures Research Network: towards innovative and inclusive pathways') and developing Thames Run: Source to Sea, a live artwork / run planned for 2020. A pilot version has taken place across Greater London for TotallyThames 2019 Festival.

Map of Running Route by Veronique Chance


Duncan Ganley, Senior Lecturer in Photography, Printmaking and Fine Art

Duncan works in a variety of lens-based media, typically employing the format of the documentary/essay film, photographic series or institutional presentation. His practice examines the extent to which our experience of the real in informed by language of fiction. Utilising the forms of the photograph, the screen and the museum, his work investigates how our knowledge and reaction to cultural phenomena is being constantly re-framed, distorted and fragmented. His work has been exhibited at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA; Art Palace, Austin, USA; Inman Gallery, Houston, USA; Plains Art Museum, Fargo, USA; Cornerhouse, Manchester, UK, amongst other venues. Screenings of his work have taken place at ICA, London and Museo de Art Moderno, Medellin. (115)

Recent research projects include RE:PRINT, an artist book co-edited with Dr Veronique Chance. Designed in collaboration with CHK Design, London, RE: PRINT was published by Marmalade Publishers of Visual Theory (2018). It addressed concerns of reproducibility, technical developments and inter-medial approaches in contemporary art. RE:PRINT critically re-thinks the notion of 'print' as both artwork and a published multiple and it debates what is print in the 21st century. He is currently working on a new body of short films and related works that explore the life and work of Eadweard Muybridge as an intersection with an on-going fictional narrative.

Photograph of humanoid statue in a field by Duncan Ganley


Rosanna Greaves, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art

Rosanna's practice is multidisciplinary, using audio, video, text and sculpture, often working in a site-specific context, using place as material. Her research-driven approach leads to the production of multi-layered works that allow for simultaneity of different narratives and time frames, these being representations unlocked from the place of enquiry in order to reposition or subvert a hidden social or political historic context. The initial exploration of site then acts as a catalyst to develop new autonomous works, which focus on broader research interests such as temporality, environmentalism, language, deconstruction and documentary methodologies.

Rosanna's research activities include curating, filmmaking and publishing projects. Realized in 2014, Heavy Sentience was a research project and site responsive group exhibition at Block 336, London. Testing a new, collaborative model for artist-led exhibition production. Instead of a traditional curator-led model, the five artists involved produced new works in direct response to the gallery and to each other's practices, creating inter-dependent works that were in-extractable from each other and from the site of exhibition. In 2018 Rosanna received a £15000 grant from the Arts Council England to complete a new film The Flaming Rage of the Sea and to curate the group exhibition Liquid Land. Both were commissioned by Debating Natures Value Network, an academic network that explores the concept of 'natural capital', the idea that nature should be conceived of as a form of capital and valued in monetary terms. Rosanna's poetic film explored the constructed landscape of Cambridgeshire Fenlands and offered alternative relational value systems to those driven by financial imperatives. Screenings of The Flaming Rage of the Sea have taken place as part of Aesthetica Film Festival, York (2018) and Dumbo Film Festival, New York (2019) where it was awarded Certificate Excellence for Best Experimental Film. Rosanna's current research project, ROAR, is a curated artists' book-work exploring key ideas arising from practice-based research in relation to sustainability issues, such as experience of time, mutability, adaptability, energy and the problematics of quantifying nature. ROAR is due to be published by art.earth in 2019.

Film poster for 'The Flaming Rage of the Sea' by Rosanna Greaves


Neil Henderson, Deputy Head of Cambridge School of Creative Industries (Film/Media)

Neil is a practising filmmaker with a background in experimental, independent film practice. His work involves varied ways of mapping and exploring site, strata, and landscape. With static long takes, he uses the landscape as a formal structure, reflecting on presence and place, repetitive variations of similar subjects/objects. His work has been shown nationally and internationally, with screenings at Diversions Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival Centre, Rodina Cinema, St Petersburg, the Onion City Film Festival, Chicago, Kettle's Yard Cambridge, The Whitechapel Gallery London, and Anthology Film Archive, New York. In 2014 and 2015 he was nominated for the Jarman Prize for film.

Presented at Whitstable Biennial, his film Tidal Island (2014) explored a circular man-made island on the Lincolnshire coast through live action and time-lapse filming. Images of deep space, close ups of maps, and electronic sounds re-imagine the island as a work of science fiction. Other recent screenings of his work have taken place at Tate Britain, as part of Assembly: A Survey of Artists' Film and Video in Britain 2008–2013 (2014); Stephen Lawrence Gallery, University of Greenwich, as part of the Drawing Towards Sound exhibition (2015); Microscope Gallery, New York (2015); Forumdoc Festival, Santa Efigênia, Brazil (2017); Bridget Donahue Gallery, New York (2017); 24th Media City Film Festival, Detroit/Windsor (2018) and Cinema Galeries, Brussels, Belgium as part of Cinema Parenthèse (2018).

Film still of a crater caused by an explosion


Rob Holyhead, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art

Rob makes abstract paintings (oil on canvas) in relation to small watercolour studies that initiate possibilities or act as starting points for new works. His work attempts to gather and to clear; gather in the sense of bringing things into view, then clearing through a process of reducing and refining the surface. This method allows each painting to suggest an autonomous centre, ultimately resisting the tradition of compositional outcome (each new work being informed by the previous) and hopefully allowing the activity and language to remain precarious and the surface convincing.

In 2018 Rob was awarded the prestigious 25th Anniversary Visual Arts Award from the Arts Foundation. His works are held in the Tate Collection, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Arts Council Collection of Great Britain and the Government Art Collection, U.K.

He recently contributed to the virtual project Skelf.

Robert Holyhead's paintings hanging in a gallery


Dr Simon Payne, Reader in Film and Media

Simon is a video artist working in the tradition of experimental cinema. His work typically involves hard-edge colour-fields, bold transitions and highly structured frame-based sequences. It spans single-screen, multi-projector and 'sculptural' pieces and has been shown in various contexts, including: Anthology Film Archives, New York; the Edinburgh, London and Rotterdam film festivals; the Hermitage Museum; Tate Britain and Tate Modern. His videos are distributed by LUX (London), Lightcone (Paris) and are also kept at the British Artists' Film and Video Study Collection at Central St. Martins. Simon has also written widely on experimental film and video for numerous publications.

Recent Video works include NOT AND OR (2014), Reason’s Code (2016) and Set Theory I-IV (2018), which have each shown in a variety of international festivals and venues. A new DVD of selected works will be available soon through the BFI, LUX and other outlets. Recent writing projects include the book Kurt Kren: Structural Films (2016) co-edited with Nicky Hamlyn and A.L. Rees, the first English language book devoted to this seminal Austrian filmmaker, whose career spanned the late 1950s to the 1990s. Simon's essay 'Lines and Interruptions in Experimental Film and Video' appears in the book Experimental and Expanded Animation, (2018) edited by Nicky Hamlyn and Vicky Smith. Presently, he is editing a manuscript left behind by the pre-eminent historian of experimental film and video, A.L. Rees, who died in 2014. This will be published as Fields of View: Art, Film and Spectatorship, by the BFI/Bloomsbury in 2020.

Film still by Simon Payne


Dr David Ryan, Associate Professor, Fine Art

David's practice incorporates painting, video, music and critical texts. His work explores issues around sound and image, the histories of modernism, and possibilities of cross-disciplinarity. He has performed and broadcast for Danish Radio, UNAM Mexico, BBC Radio 3, Resonance FM, Glasgow CCA, Radio Slovenia, Sky Italia Classica TV, and numerous Festivals, including Nuova Consonanza, Rome; Sonic Illuminations, British Film Institute, London and Namusica, Naples, Italy. He has also participated in the Venice Biennale (2015), with a collaboration with Italian composer Nicola Sani. Screenings of his video works have taken place at Konzerthaus, Berlin; Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatoire; Issue Project Space, New York; Darmastadt Ferienkurse for Neue Musik; AngelikA, Bologna and Qo2 in Brussels, Belgium. He has taken part in various ensembles performing works by John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Christian Wolff, Michael Pisaro, Catherine Lamb, Michael Parsons, Cornelius Cardew, and many others, including premieres of pieces by Christian Wolff, Earle Brown, Ennio Morricone, Christophe Guiraud, and Phill Niblock, amongst many others.

David’s chapter on the avant-garde composer Earle Brown appeared in a monograph Beyond Notation: The Music of Earle Brown, edited by Dr Rebecca Y. Kim and published by University of Minnesota Press (2017). Performances of his recent intermedia work Recitativo – Fragments after Lucretius and Negri have taken place in the UK and abroad, including the British School at Rome (2016); Museum of Classical Archaeology, University of Cambridge (2018); and University of Greenwich, in association with the exhibition GRANULAR: The Material Properties of Noise (2018). In 2016 David was an Abbey Fellow in Painting at the British School at Rome where he was featured in June Mostra 2016. In 2018 he delivered a keynote speech for the British Abstract Painting in the 1980s Symposium co-hosted by Visual Arts Research Group at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry. Recent curatorial projects include At the Point of Gesture presented at the Lion and Lamb Gallery, London and University of Wimbledon (2014/15) and Drawing Towards Sound, a large-scale exhibition looking at the relationship between drawing and musical notation at the Stephen Lawrence Gallery, University of Greenwich (2015). As part of 'Réseau Peinture', an international research network dedicated to contemporary painting, David has co-curated (with Benet Spencer of FARU) a series of group exhibitions investigating the relationship between art and architecture: Phase I at Ruskin Gallery, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge (2016) and Phase II: Imagining Architecture (2018) at isdaT, Toulouse, FR, with further group exhibitions forthcoming at Hors Le Murs, Marseilles, FR (2019) and University of Greenwich (2020).

David Ryan playing clarinet during a performance


Benet Spencer, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art and Course Leader, BA (Hons) Fine Art

Benet’s current practice concerns architecture as an emblematic form. His work addresses questions around how architectural language can be used in painting and drawing as part of a methodology for representing form and space. Benet works with a specific range of architectural forms and interior spaces, which embody archetypes that relate closely to the Modernist ideal and its influence on contemporary design, such as the open-plan interior/exterior space created in modern kitchen extensions, the museum or gallery space, or the designer café interior. Using Photoshop as a design tool, found images are combined to form imaginary spaces, made up of patterned surfaces, modernist furniture, and cultural artifacts such as sculptures or paintings. The resulting canvases are usually large scale and built up in layers. Paintings are allowed to adopt varying forms, in terms of the degree of illusionism and the nature of objects described, but also spatially, where the descriptive nature of the architectural form is complimented by contrasting use of flatness, decorative surfaces or perspective. Benet has exhibited widely in the UK, Europe and Australia. His work is split between his position in Cambridge as BA Fine Art course leader, his studio practice, which is based in Tulse Hill, South London.

Recent curatorial projects include Collision Drive, a series of two-person and group exhibitions co-curated with Steven Rendall presented at Wimbledon College of Arts, UAL; University of Lincoln; and RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia (all 2019). Collision Drive addressed the relationship between collage and painting by exploring sampling, artistic identity and hybridity. An accompanying catalogue has been published by Wimbledon Space / UAL, with an essay by Phil King and a forward by Geraint Evans. Since 2016 Benet has been co-curating (with David Ryan) Phase I: painting, drawing architecture, a series of international group exhibitions investigating the relationship between art and architecture. Developed as part of 'Réseau Peinture,' a research project and collaboration between European, US and UK art schools, Phase I was presented at Ruskin Gallery, ARU, Cambridge (2016) and Phase II: Imagining Architecture at isdaT, Toulouse, FR (2018), with further exhibitions planned as: Phase III: Le Modulor at Hors-le-Murs, Marseilles, FR (2019) and Phase IV at Stephen Lawrence Gallery, University of Greenwich (2020).

Two paintings by Benet Spencer hanging in gallery