I’m a practice-based researcher who creates artists' books and zines under the brand Damp Flat Books. My serial zine Future Fantasteek! (ISSN 2399-3022) visually explores anxiety through satirical social commentary. I created the University's Zineopolis art-zine collection and have transitioned from illustrator to academic practitioner-researcher via a practice-based PhD. I have sought to extend the academic rigor in the field of illustration by showing how this practice can have its own agency. My research methods include drawing and creating visual narratives to engage in social issues. My illustrative practice includes artist’s books, zines, animation, and interactive ‘deep drawings’. I was awarded a ‘Developing Your Creative Practice’ Arts Council Grant called ‘Future Fantasteek in Motion’. This is to explore the space between animation/illustration, challenging the passivity of the still image through motion, and Augmented Reality. My work in developing innovative responses using new technologies during the pandemic, was recognized with a Vice Chancellor’s Recognition Award (2021). Most recently (2022) I delivered a keynote talk ‘Click-Other’ about Arts Practice Research for ASWARA, Malaysia.

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Research interests

Future Fantasteek!

I have submitted for RAE (2008); RAE (2014) and REF (2021). Zineopolis which also includes my own practice-research Future Fantasteek! was selected as an IMPACT case (UoA32) ‘Contemporary creative practice research: securing the future for ‘art-zines’. This extensive research includes twenty visual artefacts, papers, chapters, exhibitions, and presentations. It seeks to mobilise illustration practice to engage in critical dialogues using methods such as authorial illustration and visual social commentary. My main research method is through peer-reviewed exhibitions with Future Fantasteek! exhibited internationally regularly since 2005 e.g. recent curated shows: Museum A.M.Gorky, Russia; Paul Robeson Galleries, USA; Shchedrin Museum, Russia; The Rise, Vietnam and my practice-research film was screened at 'BABE International’ Book event (2021). My illustration practice has been recognised internationally; I was invited to show at the Royal Academy to promote artists’ books and selected (1 of 6 UK artists) by the V&A to promote bookarts.
My work is actively collected by over eighty public museums including, the Yale Collection of British Art, USA; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, USA; Tate Britain, UK; Institute of International Visual Arts, UK; Joan Flasch Collection, USA; Bedeteca de Lisboa, Portugal and the Sheridan Zine Library, Canada. My research blog is now being archived by the British Library, ‘UK Web Archive’ as a resource that offers “value to researchers now and in the future”.


Zineopolis Collection of Artzines

Zineopolis (2007) was the first specifically ‘art-zine’ collection anywhere, now regarded as an area of expertise in visual narratives. I represent the University on both 'UK & Ireland Zine Collections' and ‘Zinelibraries Collective’ (USA) networks that promote the use of zines as academic research. These collectives directly engage with makers and academics, and I am on the organising committee of the 'Zine Librarians Unconference' (USA). This engagement is about supporting the underrepresented, to find a voice. The Zineopolis blog registers 2K global viewers monthly, this promotes practice-based research at the UoP and is also a dynamic network of practitioners/academics. This blog is archived by the Library of Congress (USA) in recognition of its international significance as a cultural record and resource for future researchers.

A theme running through my practice-research is visualisations of mental health. Post COVID anxiety issues have become prominent and to explore this I am a zine scholar and illustrator on a collaborative Wellcome project ‘Crafting Contention: The role of Zines in contesting mental health knowledge and practice’ led by UCLan. I’m in a unique position to contribute as an authorial illustrator and zine scholar, this project is seeking to define new territories within mental health/visual narratives.

My international journal paper on this theme, ‘Are You Okay?; identifying mental health narratives in zines’ won the Common Ground Research Network ‘Award for Excellence’(2020) highest rated paper in the Journal of the Book, Common Ground Publishing, USA.