Staff profile

Dr Paula McCloskey

Post Doctoral Researcher


College of Arts, Humanities and Education


School of Arts


Markeaton Street, Derby Campus



I joined the School of Arts in 2018. I have a PhD (‘Maternal, Art and Matrixial Encounters’) which gained in 2013 from the University of Sheffield. Before my PhD research I worked in Family Therapy. From 2013 to 2015 I worked as a Research Assistant on the AHRC Connected Communities, The Birth Project, at the University of Derby. In 2015 I became a Research Fellow at University of Nottingham working as a researcher on several arts and health projects. I started working at Site Gallery, Sheffield in 2015 as an Associate Researcher before taking on the role Participation and Engagement Lead in 2016 until 2018.

Teaching responsibilities

Research interests

A major strand of my research is 'a place, of their own' which I co-founded in 2010 with Sam Vardy.

'A place of their own' is an experimental contemporary art and spatial practice. We exploit the meeting of these fields to investigate contemporary conditions and create new spaces, imaginaries and subjectivities. We make performances, spatial interventions and audio-visual art and research. From here stems an important element of my research related to the idea of the family and kinship, and how these might be generative of new thinking, knowledge, through arts and spatial practice. 

Following on from my PhD research, a strand of research that runs through my practice research is that of the maternal, and more particularly maternal subjectivity, especially how this intra-acts with arts practice, ethics and the concept of encounter. I have a particular interest in the intra-uterine maternal-encounter and its lasting imprint or impact on humanness and the possible ethical and political implications of this.

More recently my research has focussed on borders. I was born in Dublin, Ireland and my family is from Ballyshannon, a border town in County Donegal. I was brought up between Ireland and the UK and regularly travelled across the border. In 2016 as 'A place, of their own' we started The Eile Project, an ongoing research project which develops the practice of border-fictioning focussing on the UK/Irish border scene. This is a multimedia project involving site-specific performances, sounds and experimental film practice.

Membership of professional bodies


Recent conferences

I have spoken at many national and international conferences.


Experience in industry

I have worked as a Family Therapist before my PhD and thereafter in various roles in contemporay arts. Most recently as the Participation and Engagement Lead at Site Gallery, Sheffield.

International experience

I have spoken at internaional events and conferences.

Recent publications