Ms Sophie Hayes

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  • Qualifications:Senior Fellow of The Higher Education Academy (SFHEA), 2018; Foundation Certificate in Counselling Skills and Attitudes, (year 1 of BACP Diploma), Wessex Counselling, 2014; UWE Academic Development Programme (ADP) 2004; MA Fine Art, Winchester School of Art in Barcelona, Spain, 1997; BA (Hons) Fine Art, Nottingham Trent University, 1995.
  • Position:Senior Lecturer: Fine Art
  • Department:ACE - Art and Design
  • Telephone:+4411732 85812

About me

Sophie Hayes' art practice explores how ideas of temporality and transience relate to location. Using photography and moving image, the work often exists within the guise of the document, but things are not what they seem. Hayes is compelled to explore where a site or idea slips from being one thing to another, pushing and pulling the viewer into new states within the seemingly familiar.

Hayes' ongoing project Storage explores the secret life and unintentional narratives of the non-public spaces of major museums across Europe, including the Natural History archival collections from the National Museum in Prague and the labyrinthine archival departments of the Natural History Museum, London. The composition of Hayes' images, their peculiar lighting and juxtapositions, conspire to make us question whether her images are purely documentary in nature or contrived stagings composed for the camera.

Recently, Hayes has been investigating a number of locations in the South West of England including Imber, an abandoned village located 6 miles within military territory of Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire; and Albion Quarry, located in the Isle of Portland.

The quarries of Portland evoke for Hayes a form of 'catastrophic drama': stone that has slowly formed over the last 150 million years goes through a process of irretrievable change by being extracted by human engineering and formed to human need. It is a place with its insides torn out.

On the edge of Imber, within a rural military landscape dotted with rusting tanks, is an army-constructed estate of modest two-up, two-downs that imitate a typical housing estate but used soley for military practice. They appear as dwellings yet they are the antithesis of house/home and reveal themselves to be folly.

The developing body of work from these investigations consists of large format analogue photography, film and installation.

Hayes has exhibited internationally, showing work in solo and group exhibitions in public venues in the UK, Czech Republic, France, Iceland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and USA. Hayes has also undertaken major residencies in Europe including at the Centre of Contemporary Arts, Prague, Czech Republic; Staranzano, Italy; and Edsvik Konsthall, Sweden.

Works can be viewed at

Document and Location Research Group:

Hayes is a member of Document + Location, a new research group developed by academics at the University of the West of England working across multiple disciplines. 

Document and Location investigates how our understanding of place is directly formed through how locations are recorded and subsequently narrated by different disciplines. 

The group utilize practice-led research to re-animate and re-contextualise the document and to explore specific locations, the way in which these locations are communicated and consequently how the identity of place is created through its representation.

Area of expertise

Contemporary art practice including video, photography, installation.

Development of professional practice and career structures within higher education teaching in relation to contemporary art and design.

Psychoanalytic thinking in relation to creativity and art.

Pastoral support for undergraduate students.


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