Professor Chris White

Position: Head of Department of Media and Performing Arts

College: College of Arts, Humanities and Education

Department: Media and Performing Arts

Subject area: Art and Design

Research Centre: D-Marc

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She is Professor of Art and Design and Head of Department for Media and Performing Arts.  The subjects and programmes in the dpeartment are a vibrant area of the Creative Industries.  They are: Commercial Photography, Contemporary Theatre and Performance, Costume and Set Design, Dance, Drama, Film Production, Film Production and Photography, Film Production and Production Design, Film Production, Visual Effects & Post-Production, Media Production, Media Production and Photography, Music, Music Technology & Production, Photography, Photography and Film Production, Performing Arts, Popular Music with Music Technology, Popular Music Production Joint Honours, Production Design, Radio Production, Technical Theatre, Theatre Studies Joint Honours, Visual Effects and Post-Production.

The department has a full range of opportunities to also study these at year Zero too.

Masters can be studied in areas of Music, Writing for Performance, Film and Photography.

All of the programmes are linked to the Creative and Cultural Industries within city and region, festivals, heritage lottery projects, museums and galleries, and events.

Chris currently leads research in the College and is Director of Digital & Material Arts Centre.  She was also the leader for Research Excellence Framework Unit of Assessment 34 and she is preparing the 2017 mini-REF Audit.

Teaching responsibilities

She supervises Ph.D. students in a range of interdisciplinary projects across the Arts from Fine Art, Photography, Forensic Costume, Sculpture, Lighting, Creative Ecologies and Nature Connections, Re-Imagining the Blues.

Professional interests

Professor White is an editor, writer, designer and director working across a number of forms and media.

Research interests

Creative & Cultural Industries - design and arts practices: sustainability through design

Social Policy and the Arts - Cultural Value: museums, archives, collections and society

Arts, Health & Wellbeing: empirical evidence of the benefits for the individual

Light - exploration of light in urban and designed environments, for stage and screens and visualisations

Creative Ecologies and Nature Connections: investigating arts interventions that change behaviours

Membership of professional bodies

She is the Aurora Champion and Role Model for the University of Derby at the Leadership Foundation in Higher Education Aurora Programme.

Consultancy and Advisory Boards

2014 – present: Member of London School of Economics, Light Research project (ESRC).

2013 – present: Member of the Board of Trustees DerwentWISE.

2011 - present: Member of the Board of Trustees Déda, the Dance Centre for Derby and the East Midlands.

2010 - present:Founding Editor of Scene peer-reviewed international Journal, Intellect,

2005 - present: Reviewer for the following publishers: Palgrave, Intellect; Taylor & Francis; Routledge; Focal Press.

Editorial Board, Journal of Fashion Technology & Textile Engineering, SciTechnol International Publisher of Science, Technology and Medicine,

Reviewer for AHRC, Digital Transformations bids 2012.

Consultant for Skillset Foundation Internship degrees in media related subjects.

Reviewer for Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, Routledge, 2011 – present.

Reviewer for Medical Research Council bids 2010 – present.

Reviewer for Scottish Health Council bids 2010 – present.

2003 – 2014: Member of AHRC Peer Review College for Scenography, New Media, Multi-media and Performance, 20th Century Contemporary, UK, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Mediterranean, North America.


Education and Professional Affiliations

Ph.D. British Theatre Scenography: The Reification Of Spectacle, Goldsmith’s College, University of London, 1998. (Part-time Ph.D. sponsored by Strand Lighting)   

MA University of Kent 1984

BA Single Honours Drama and Theatre Studies, University of Kent, 1983.                                       

City & Guilds Television Production, Fosse Studios Television Production, 1992.

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, 2006 - present

Associate Designer, the Society of British Theatre Designers.

Member of the International Federation for Theatre Research.

E-moderating Online, Anglia Ruskin University, 2006.


Recent publications

Research Publications: books and major refereed publications


  • White, C.A., 2015, ‘Humming the sets’, The Oxford Handbook of the British Musical, Gordon, R. & Jubin, O., Oxford University Press.


Design and Performance

  • White, C.A., May 2015 Florence and March 2016 Bath, A Gift for Eleonora at the Cappella Dei Pazzi and the Roman Baths Baths.


Journal Editor

  • White, C.A., 2014, Co-Editor, Scene, Volumes 1 - 4 with several issues per year, Intellect.


Published Works


  • White, C.A., editor, 2013, 2014, Emmanuel Cooper Retrospective, ISBN 978-1-905865-25-3
  • White, C.A., 2009, Directors and Designers, Intellect Books.
  • White, C.A., & Oddey, A., co-editors, 2009, Modes of Spectating, Intellect Books.
  • White, C.A., & Oddey, A., co-editors, 2006, The Potentials of Spaces: International Scenography and Performance for the 21st Century, Intellect Books.
  • White, C.A., & Carver, G.P., 2003, Computer Visualisations: 3D Modelling for Theatre Designers, Focal Press.
  • White, C.A., 2001, Technical Theatre, Arnold Press.


  • White, C.A., (2013), Co-Editor, Scene, Volume 1, Issue 3, Intellect. ISSN2044-3714,
  • Co-author with Di Benedetto, S., Oddey, A., ‘Linking Languages: Re-aligning design vocabularies’. Editorial.
  • White, C., (2012), Co-Editor, Scene, Volume 1, Issue 2, Intellect. ISSN2044-3714,
  • - Co-author with Di Benedetto, S., Oddey, A., ‘Capturing Attention in the Epoch of the Media Savvy’. Editorial.
  • White, C., (2013), Co-Editor, Scene, Volume 1, Issue 1, Intellect. ISSN2044-3714, pp.154.
  • - Co-author with Oddey, A., ‘A Poetics of Imagineering: scene to screen, designing for edutainment and entertainment’. Editorial.
  • White, C.A., Founding Editor, 2012, Scene, Intellect.
  • White, C.A., Editor of Scenography International, ISSN 1743-6117 (Online), 1999-2009.


  • White, C.A., 2013, 2014, ‘The Thinking Potter and the Politics of Pots’, Emmanuel Cooper Retrospective,Ruthin Craft Centre, ISBN 978-1-905865-25-3

Journal Papers – Peer reviewed

  • White, C.A., 2013, ‘Lighting – a part of a changing aesthetic and text for The Stage is Set – or is it?’ – Production of performed research by Chris White, Derby Theatre, 20 March 2013, Scene, Volume 1.2, Intellect.
  • White, C.A., International Conference Cinema – Art, Technology, Communication, ‘Changing Cinematic Spaces’, Portugal, 20th-24th July, 2011 in conference proceedings, 2012.

Recent conferences

Conference presentations for National & International Conferences & Exhibitions

White, C.A., Convenor for FORMAT International Photography & Film Conference, Quad and University of Derby, 10th April 2015.

White, C.A., Fourth International Conference on Health, Wellness & Society, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, ‘Creativity Cure’, 14-15 March 2014.

White, C.A., Convenor, Contemporary Ceramics Conference, Derby Museum & Art Gallery, Royal Crown Derby, University of Derby, February 21st 2014.

White, C.A., curator, ‘Emmanuel Cooper Retrospective’, in collaboration with Ruthin Craft Centre, Derby Museum & Art Gallery, Royal Crown Derby and the University of Derby, February 20th-March 28th 2014.

White, C.A., ‘The Stage is Set’, an exhibition of theatre stage lighting, by Chris White Markeaton Gallery, University of Derby, November 2013 –January 2014

Additional interests and activities

She would like to hear from you if you have work to publish in Scene. 

This is a peer-reviewed journal explores all aspects of design contexts for live and recorded performance, giving special attention to the shaping of artistic vision, aesthetic sophistication, critical thinking and craft.  The journal covers the following: Cinema, Television, Commercials, Theatre, Opera, Musical, Interior Design, Lighting Design, Costume Design, Theme Parks, Scenography, Architecture, Visual Special Effects, Visual Arts, Virtual Sets, Multivision, Location sets, Games Design and Virtual Environments, Modes of Spectating. 



Experience in industry

She has worked as a designer for the creative and cultural industries in live and recorded environments.

She has been a curator of a range of exhibitions.

She has been a Business Fellow for the London Technology Network and works with government and non-government organisations, SMEs, charities and Trusts.

International experience

She is an external examiner for the University of Wales in Wuhan Technology University.


She has published on creative arts in China:

White, C.A., Oddey, A., Fan Xia, Lu Ping, Sarah McNicoll, ‘Entrepreneurship for the Creative and Media Arts’, in Employability: Insights from Chinese and UK Universities, edited by Troy Heffernan, China Agricultural University Press, 2011.

Has worked with colleagues on topics for international collaboration:

£25,000 Prime Ministers Initiative - Employability and Entrepreneurship project with Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts, Fudan University, Shanghai, - January 2010-Jaunary 2011.

£17,000 Continuation funding Prime Ministers Initiative January 2011-December 2011, Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts, Fudan University, Shanghai.

She has been an external examiner in India and China and regularly works with research colleagues in Qatar, Canada and Europe.

In the media

She has given interviews for television, radio and media in general. 

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