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Dr Sandra Johnston

Senior Lecturer

Department: Arts

The performance actions are experiential in nature, developed from the direct revelations of a body inhabiting space, light, motion and often being stimulated by the behaviour of random audiences. Each work is developed from carefully observing the tensions that exist between the history of locations, set in dialogue with the vibrancy and insistence of the passing moment.

Johnston has presented work internationally since 1992 in a diverse range of contexts and interdisciplinary forms, often with a particular emphasis on projects within ‘contested spaces’. Between 2002/05 as an AHRC Research Fellow based at the University Of Ulster in Belfast, she developed a practice-based investigation into issues of ‘trauma of place’. This research explored how aspects of collective memory connected to specific locations can become altered after violent events, creating layers of stigmatisation, or conversely, commemoration. From 2009/ 2012 this research extended as a PhD project entitled - Beyond Reasonable Doubt: An Investigation of Doubt, Risk and Testimony Through Performance Art Processes in Relation to Systems of Legal Justice.

Throughout her career Johnston has collaborated extensively with other artists, occasionally through participation in international performance laboratories, and also as a co-founder and committee member of various artist-run collectives in Belfast, namely: CATALYST ARTS, BBEYOND, and AGENCY.

Exhibitions & Publications


  • Fine Art PhD September 01 2012
  • Fine Art MA September 01 1991

PGR Supervision

  • Laurel Carpenter This Is She: Tracing Potentials of the Alterself Experience in Durational Visual Art Performance Start: 01/10/2016
  • Jasper Llewellyn Start: 01/10/2019
  • Denys Blacker Interconnection, Synchronicity and Consciousness in Improvised Performance Art Practices Start: 17/02/2016
  • Francesca Steele Improvisatory action: the unpredictable and the unforeseen in site-responsive performance art. Start: 15/02/2017

Professional Activity

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Invited talk: Ephemerality and Gaps in Evidencing Embodied Practices 2019
  • Invited talk: Haptic Intelligence: Understanding Touch in Performative Practices 2019
  • Invited talk: ArtasFoundation Public talk responding to theme: Art as a Source in Fragile Contexts 2019
  • Invited talk: Public lecture: Think, Feel, Move 2019

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