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Clare Brennan


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Personal profile

Personal profile

Curator and Lecturer in Visual Arts Practice 

I’m an artist, curator and lecturer in visual arts practice. 

As Curator at Abertay, I develop activities that engage contemporary artists, producers and researchers to inspire new collaborations and generate fresh knowledge.

Primarily this is delivered through our programme ’Weave: creativity, community, collaboration’. Weave creates a vibrant programme of cultural events that share local and global creativity, through pop-up events across the city.

Drawing upon Dundee’s Unesco City of Design accolade and connecting to other creative communities across the world, Weave gives a platform to national and international artists and designers, creating opportunities to be inspired, make new connections and discover new things. Through exhibitions, workshops, talks and performances, we'll also be sharing the talent and innovation of Abertay students and staff.

From a research perspective, I’m interested in the connecting points between digital technology, performance and community engagement.  As technology becomes increasingly imbedded in the creative process, how do we ensure that it enriches the experience of performer and audience?  How can we use technology to connect - bridging the gap between the mental and the social, between philosophy and reality?

My curatorial research explores this through interdisciplinary projects with artists, performers and technologists undertaking ground-breaking and experimental work.

I continue to explore my own art practice - figurative painting. Within my large-scale oil paintings and small-scale drawings, I explore human psychological states and seek to create performance within portraiture - using realism to portray the unreal.


I am Lecturer of Visual Arts Practice delivering modules across all levels within the BA (Hons) Computer Arts programme, and across other programmes within the School of Design and Informatics. Teaching relates to visual enquiry through drawing activities, presentation and curation and professional practice explored via engagement with exhibitions, studio practice, critical discourse with arts practitioners. 

Research interests

In my capacity as Curator at Abertay I work with contemporary and interdisciplinary cultural producers, artists and researchers from the UK and abroad to generate new knowledge and to inspire new collaborations.

I am particularly interested in the dynamic field of Digital Performance. As our knowledge and familiarity of digital tools expand we see that the use of technology within performance has become increasingly imbedded in the creative process, moving beyond the ostentatious and evolving to enrich and enhance performativity in more subtle and meaningful ways. How do we ensure that the technology serves to enrich the experience of the performer and the audience?  How can we use technology within real environments to connect; bridging the gap between the mental and the social, between philosophy and reality? And what can we learn from best practice in this area to inspire new and valuable collaborations?

My curatorial research explores this through interdisciplinary projects with artists, performers and technologists undertaking ground-breaking, experimental and playful projects; from pervasive gaming, augmented reality, narrative and abstract animation, ubiquitous computing and computer human interaction. 

As Curator I develop activities that engage researchers, academics, students and creatives in knowledge exchange and creative activity, delivering a cultural outreach programme, and supporting innovative projects which disseminate key University research. Driving the core programme is digital culture, enriched by Abertay’s world-leading success in the areas of computer games, digital media and computer arts. Our programme aims to explore the processes of creative production through technology and how the space can facilitate new work and contextualise it within a wider cultural arena. 

I also continue to develop my own art practice; figurative painting. My personal practice explores human psychological states; inspired by the sociological theory of Dramaturgy- where human actions are said to be completely dependent upon time, place, and audience; manipulating the ‘audience’ into believing and accepting the character they present. In other words; Life as a series of little performances, short stories, dramatic plays.

Within my large scale oil paintings and small scale drawings I seek to create performance within portraiture, using realism to portray the unreal. Inspired by artists such as Richards Phillips and duo Asgar and Gabriel, I find the notion of creating fantastical narratives and portraying unattainable beauty within a single image an exhilarating challenge. The process begins with a conversation between the artist and subject; a collaboration. Scenarios are discussed, their character(s) developed, environments built (physical or imaginary). The performance begins. It’s about story telling, holding the viewers attention, compelling them to unravel the tale.



NEoN Digital Arts Festival committee (ongoing)

Cultural Agency Networks group (ongoing)

Festivals and Events Strategy Group (ongoing) 

Dundee Arts Cafe committee (ongoing)

Dundee City of Culture panel 2014


Our Cultural engagment programme of events, festivals, exhibitions, workshops, screenings and performance have attracted and engaged audiences both locally and further afield.

Designed to enhance and work with the university’s cultural strategy the programme delivers exhibitions combined with other research projects, talks, events, seminars and film programme across campus and across the city. The programme is informed by the University's outstanding reputaion within computer games and creative technologies, as well as drawing upon Dundee's status as a Unesco City of Design, generating new projects and enhancing existing University work.

In contrast to this, external relationships with other cultural organisations also inform part of the programme offering more traditional ways of working, allowing the programme to give recognition to a diverse range of visual practices.   

Projects are scheduled around a year in advance; working with artists based both nationally and internationally.

The University has a commitment to the dissemination of its culture, intent on realising large scale projects and continuing research. Being a window into these activities, our cultural programme endeavours to give a platform to new work by influential and acclaimed artists/designers whilst also being a champion of exceptional, less exposed artists.

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Research Output 2013 2018

  • 4 Exhibition
  • 1 Chapter
  • 1 Conference contribution
  • 1 Performance

Lifespans: forever and ever

Brennan, C. & Mehrpouya, H., 6 Nov 2018

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

Life Span
World Wide Web
Search Engine

Dealing with disobedient objects

Brennan, C. & Holford-Lovell, D., Jun 2016, Curating the digital: space for art and interaction. England, D., Schiphorst, T. & Bryan-Kinns, N. (eds.). Switzerland: Springer International Publishing, p. 21-30 10 p. (Springer Series on Cultural Computing).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Decoding space: technology, interaction and performance

Brennan, C., Love, L. & Jola, C., 16 Mar 2015

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

Augmented reality
Ubiquitous computing
Human computer interaction
546 Downloads (Pure)

Animating dance and dancing with animation: a retrospective of forever falling nowhere

Brennan, C. & Parker, L., 1 Aug 2014, Electronic Visualisation and the Arts : EVA 2014. London: BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, p. 63-70 8 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Open Access
Contemporary Dance
Open Access
Northern Lights