Joan Alexander studied Philosophy at Queens University of Belfast and the Institute of Philosophy KU Leuven, before completing her Masters in photography at University of Brighton.  She uses philosophy, photography and drawing in equal measure for her work. Each work here is a Shadow Dial Study, these are investigations of time and finitude through shadow detail. Joan now works between UK and Ireland.

Artist Statement

“The sharp sunshine of early summer dappled the surface of the alley with the hard shadows of the branches that stretched over head. Without wind to move the branches, the shadows looked like permanent stains, destined to remain imprinted on the pavement for ever”.
Murakami,The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, p12-13

My work stems from an engagement with moving light and cast shadows, as quiet markers of time their movement implies a rightful passing through space. It is based on experiments in shadow catching and light tracing to interrupt, imprint and record layers of time. These experiments attempt to solidify passing light and lift shadows in various ways, to chart and duplicate their ethereality, to futilely preserve an ever receding tide line.

Chalk, dust and photography are central elements in my process . Chalk and dust are natural indicies of passing time. Chalk here is used to trace shadow lines and dust to draw lines of light in the air. Photography, projection, video and darkroom spaces are apt mediums , as apparatuses they capture , hold and project the work.

In these ways it resonates the ontology of photography in a metaphorical and literal way, echoing the early realisation of Fox Talbot that photography shifted the essence of light and turned time into space. By its nature the process and projection of the work is durational.



2009-2011 MA Photography, University of Brighton

2003-2005 Diploma in Foundation Art studies , Belfast Metropolitan College

1998-2001 BA Hons Scholastic Philosophy, Queens University Belfast

Selected Group Exhibitions

2019 Through the Looking Glass; Lumen Collective; Ugly Duck, London

2019 FastSlowFast; Joan Alexander, Catriona Leahy, Daren Nixon; Centre for Contemporary Art, Derry/LDerry

2018 Over Land & Sea, Regency Town House, Brighton Photo Fringe, Brighton

2017 Inside the Shadow, Arthouse, London

2015 Light, Line and Lore, Cork Photo HQ 2015, Cork

2015 Expanded Territories, Harnessing Creativity, Leitrim Sculpture Centre & Catalyst Arts, Belfast

2014  Night Contact, Brighton Photo Biennial, Brighton

2014  A Natural Process; Joan Alexander,Martin Seeds, Alison Stolwood; BPF 2014 Collective Showcase, Brighton

2013 Art in Romney Marsh, site specific, Ivy Church, Visual Arts Festival, Kent

2012 Origins of Encounter, Phoenix Gallery, Brighton

2012 Films by Photographers, Protein Gallery, East London Film Festival, London

2011 Made: MA Photography, University of Brighton Gallery, Brighton

2010 Interim , Lotte Avenuel, Seoul, Korea

2009 Home Front, PS 2 Gallery,  Belfast

2007 Royal Academy of Arts, Annual show, Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2022 Proof of Ghosts; Brighton Photo Fringe, Brighton

2022 Proof of Ghosts; Belfast Exposed, Belfast

2015 Dear Serge, site specific, commission, De La Warr Pavillion, Bexhill on Sea

2014 Shadow Maps Installation, site specific, Embassy Court, Brighton

2009 Home Front, Place Gallery, Belfast

2008 Time Portraits, Black Box,Belfast

2007 Shadow Castings, Space Gallery, Conway Mill, Belfast

Awards, Selections & Collections

2021 Arts Council Northern Ireland Individuals Emergency Resilience Programme

202o Creative Practitioner Bursary award, Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council

 2019 A&L Goodbody, Belfast Exposed temporary collection

2018 Belfast Exposed, Futures Artist 

2018 Artist Career Enhancement Scheme, Arts Council Northern Ireland

2018 MexIndex moving image representation 

2015 Harnessing Creativity Innovation grant recipient

2015 University of Brighton, Bright Spark Award 

2015 Santander, Innovation award 2015

2015 Drawing Room Bursary Award, nomination for De La Warr Pavillion, UK

2014 Format Exposure Festival, shortlisted

2012 The Danny Wilson Award 2012, Brighton Photo Fringe Festival, winner

2012 Magenta Flash Forward 2012 Emerging Photographers,  UK winner section

2011 Source Photographic Review, Graduate Curators Selection

2011 Photoworks UK, Magazine Showcase Graduate selection

2009 Arts Council Northern Ireland, Support for Individual Artist Program Award

Publications & Conferences

2018 Arts Council Northern Ireland, Arts & Older Peoples Programme publication; My Blue Shoes

2015 Arts Council Northern Ireland, Arts & Older Peoples Programme publication; Not So Cut Off

2012 Reading University conference   Journeys Across Media; Shadow Dial Studies

2012 Magenta Flash Forward 2012 Emerging Photographers,  UK winner section

2009 British Society of Gerontology Generations Review journal article, July 2009


2015-2018 Sonrisa Solutions; Public Health research & consultation; Arts & Older People Program/ACNI NI 

2014 Expanded Territories; Creative Lab Masterclass; Harnessing Creativity, Strule Arts, Tyrone & Fermanagh

2014 Is this a place….; Asylum Seekers research collaboration, Motion Spiel,Therese Mc Kenna, Limerick  

2013 Over the Hill; photographic collaboration with Tim Andrews in association with Parkinsons, UK

2012 A-Z, Brighton Photo Fringe Festival, artist and business collaboration, Blind Field Collaboration, Brighton

2009 No Smoke; Arts Care NI, Mater Hospital, Belfast

2008-9 Home Front ; Arts Council NI photographic project in partnership with Changing Age Partnership and Age Concern, NI


March 2015  Fabrica Gallery, Making Space residency, Brighton

2008-2009 Performing Artists Forum, Saint Erme, France


2015 Guest lecture, Belfast Metropolitan College, Belfast

2013 In Conversation with Rebecca Drew,  Artist Talk,  Brighton Photo Fringe, Brighton

2013 Guest Lecture, South Bank University, London

2012 Artist Talk, Origin of Encounters exhibition,  Blind Field Collective, Brighton

Selected Workshop Facilitation Clients

2022 Leitrim Womens Centre & Jo sachs Eldridge Lifecoaching; Creative Ireland , Leitrim

2020 Artsekta; Belfast

2019-20 Education Authority Youth Leaders skillset

2020 Re-Wired Festival: Shadow Studio

Enniskillen Model School, Shadow Studio schools

Ardhowen Theatre, Overhead projector shadow course

Ican Festival, Shadow Studio tasters

2018 Strule Arts Centre, Omagh, Halloween Shadow Studio

Roe Valley Arts Centre, Limavady, Children’s Art Month; Shadow Studio

2017 Brighton & Hove Museums; schools workshop facilitation

Brighton Science Festival;  Shadow Studio family

Steyning Primary School; Summer festival; Shadow Studio schools

2016 Photoworks UK, Brighton Photo Biennial; Arts award

Photoworks UK, Together the People festival; Shadow Sudio family

Arts Council NI Age Awareness shadow; Shadow Studio facilitator taster workshops 

2015 Cork Photo Festival, family workshops

Harnessing Creativity, Leitrim Sculpture Centre, Shadow Studio workshops

2014-15 Shadow Workshops,Feel Good Fortnight, Buncrana; children workshops

Brighton Science Festival;  Shadow Studio family workshops

2014 De La Warr Pavillion, Bexhill on Sea, Shadow Craft in response to Roy Geesin,  Blackbird installation

Chapter Arts, Cardiff, Shadow Workshops

2013 Workshops For Schools and Nurseries, Birmingham, Shadow Workshops, Inset Training

2011-2012 Photoworks UK, Workshop Assistant, Edge in Experience

2008-9 Project artist, Arts Care NI, Northern Ireland 

Shadow Dial Study Inventory

For details of shadow workshops and commercial portfolio click here.