Staff profile

Dr Paula McCloskey



College of Arts, Humanities and Education


School of Arts

Research centre

Digital and Material Artistic Research Centre




Markeaton Street, Derby Campus



I joined the School of Arts in 2018. I have a PhD (‘Maternal, Art and Matrixial Encounters’) which I gained in 2014 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 with 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', a research practice founded with Sam Vardy in 2010. Using art and spatial practice, we interrogate and propose within entanglements of climate, capital, technology and politics. We operate as a collective, a couple, with our children, and through collaborations with others. 

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 intrauterine maternal-encounter and its lasting imprint or impact 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 research project involving site-specific performances, sounds and experimental film practice.

Membership of professional bodies


Recent 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

See above for international talks/conferences

Recent publications