Dialogue: Emma Bennett

We talk with Middlesbrough-based painter Emma Bennett about her background and process, about unjustly forgotten buildings, and the perceived evils of masking tape.

ANNE: You grew up in Redcar, studied mostly in Middlesbrough and have exhibited extensively in and around the town. Something that I feel I should ask everyone who wasn’t already here is… why did you stay? What made it a place you could start off a career as an artist?

Emma Bennett: I did grow up in Redcar and went to Cleveland College of Art & Design (CCAD) to study general art and design. When I was 20, I did a HND at Berkshire College of Art & Design in Maidenhead, which doesn’t exist any more, and went on to study footwear design. 

I spent a couple of years in the south, living close to London. I was still interested in art but I never imagined I’d be an artist: it was more about design for me. But I really liked making, using my hands: that was one of my strengths, I’d say. 

Then I moved to Leeds. I didn’t want to come back to the North East – you know, you’re young, you don’t want to go straight back home. I wanted to see what opportunities there would be closer to home, but living in Leeds. I stayed there for about eight years, and ended up moving into footwear manufacture, making orthopaedic shoes, and that sustained my creative side. I was pattern-cutting, reworking alterations and closing, which is sewing the uppers together. But then after five years or so, I was ready to move on, so in 2001  I moved back to Middlesbrough — which, coming from Redcar, seemed different. It was somewhere that as a teenager I’d come. I’d go to see bands at the town hall — The Smiths, among others! But I just wanted to explore Middlesbrough, really. 

In 2003, I decided to study for a fine art degree part-time, then in 2009 I got a studio, and with that I felt I could say ‘I am now an artist.’ That’s how I viewed it.

ANNE: Did you feel you had to get that qualification in order to be able to say that?

EB: I needed the qualification because although I could do the basics – working drawings and so on – I hadn’t been into fine art at college; more design and graphics. People now tell me that they can tell I like graphic design. 

I didn’t really have a solid background in fine art. I think I needed the knowledge, and I loved learning about the schools of artists and movements, from Modernism onwards. That was really how I decided I wanted to be an artist. And I think I had the confidence: I was in my late thirties, and I thought, this is what I want to do. I’d found my thing. And I feel like I’ve really worked hard to get where I am now. It’s still a great struggle, as I think it is for everybody.

ANNE: Just maintaining your practice…

EB: Yes, and covering the costs of a studio if you need one. I prefer to go somewhere to work, and it feels like a job: I treat it as though I’m going to work. In Covid, I worked from home, and it was OK, but I’m glad I’m back in my studio. 

I find I might go for six months without any opportunities coming up, but I don’t let that stop my work, which is more about the continuous development of my interests; my language. And then all of a sudden things come up. I don’t really stress now: I just think, something will come up in a few months’ time, and it usually does. Usually a few things together!

I have a philosophy of sorts that I’m not going to make work to sell. I know some people have to do that, but to me that would be a separate practice. My practice, my main concern, is really about developing my ideas around colour, and architecture obviously. Since about 2018, when I went back to do an MA at Teesside, I introduced pattern, and now I use it – mainly in black and white – in my work most of the time.

It takes a long time to realise, these are the things I’m interested in. They come round again, and I repeat myself! I think some people think it’s very boring, and I’ve had comments over the years, more or less along the lines of ‘move on now.’ I’ve had some mentoring, and was advised to work in series, and since that, I’ve continued to do so, and it really works for me. 

ANNE: The difference between working to sell and working as you do, is clear the way you characterise it. You’d be knocking out the same things again and again if you were forced to make work to sell, whereas I can see that the alternative is about foregrounding development and ideas. Going back to the question of location, was it something around your practice that made you come back to the North East, or was it just happenstance? 

EB: It was a mixture of things. But I was living in West Yorkshire, so I sold my house, and came back and thought, actually, I’m going to go back to CCAD and see if they offer a fine art degree. They did, and the fact they offered it part-time worked for me, because it meant I could still have another job. 

I wasn’t very good at first! Although I got a 2.1 for my degree, I didn’t put as much energy into my BA as I did in my MA later on. By then I’d realised that in the last couple of years of my BA I’d improved, and knew that this was what I wanted to do. It was six years of study — a long time! But it was much more affordable, coming back here. The cost of living is much lower, especially compared to the south. It was extortionate — and that was the 90s. 

ANNE: Your work is intimately connected with site and place, and invariably circles Modernist architecture — echoing, complementing, interrogating its forms. What drew you to this as a subject?

EB: I always say post-war actually, as where I grew up in Redcar there were many post-war buildings, particularly one which influenced me to make the work for In the Castle of My Skin at MIMA was the library, which had been demolished in 2011. There was a ‘sister’ library in Maidenhead, designed by the same architects, but it wasn’t as good as Redcar’s. I suppose for me it’s about nostalgia, too. I’d spent a lot of time there, so to be able to include that as part of my practice was great. 

Coming out of my BA, I had a studio at the old Crafts Centre in the centre of Middlesbrough, over the road from my current studio, and I used to look out of the windows. I could see the bus station and this structure, and I started making paintings around them. They looked Modernist; a bit like the St. Ives School. I’ve always liked Ben Nichholson’s work. I think at the time I was trying to capture a 3D image within a 2D plane. 

If I looked right over to the Hills Street Shopping Centre, there was a weird structure which protruded from the front of the centre. It was blue: it’s still there but I think it’s brown or red now. It just caught my eye. I took loads of photographs of it. I don’t know why I didn’t go closer; it was all from my studio window. I started making loads of collages at first, then paintings. I was painting on aluminium, and I know at the time that was a bit of a trend. Gary Hume was doing it; and I was very influenced by Michael Craig-Martin, who was and is one of my favourite artists. 

The painting of the structure is called Vent. I don’t know why I loved it. It reminded me of a Modernist structure, even though it wasn’t, because it would be from the 70s or 80s. Then I started looking at the bus station and making studies of that; and a selection of rooftops. These were all out of my studio window, so I wasn’t really going up close to them; just viewing them from afar, taking photographs, and I could look out of my window and see them in the distance while I was making my work. It was quite handy, really! That kept me going for about two years, being interested in just a couple of things.

ANNE: And you didn’t know quite what to do with it? You knew you were interested, but you weren’t quite sure where to take it?

Well, at that point I wasn’t working in series, but just trying it out. Or rather, I probably was working in series and didn’t realise: trying to make an image and then moving onto another image, until someone said, why don’t you just try that image again but in different colour formats? That was really helpful, as I hadn’t been working that way. 

These little snippets of advice, you don’t always take them straight away — but then a couple of months later, you think, actually, I’m going to have a go at what that person suggested. You can read texts to help as well, of course: I’ve read quite a bit of Bridget Riley’s and Joseph Albers’ theories, such as Albers’ Homage to a Square, testing out lots of different colour combinations. Really, then, it was colour and architecture fighting for prominence in my work. 

After that, I started walking about a little more. Do you remember that scheme, Artists’ Access to Art Colleges (AA2A)?

ANNE: Yes, and it still exists.

EB: It still exists, but Teesside University dropped it. I managed to do it twice there while it still ran. It was brilliant. I first started walking over to the university campus when I was on the AA2A scheme in 2015 or 2016. I was getting out and about a little more, and noticing more buildings like the registry office, a 1970s building which closed down just as I started working on a piece about it. It’s since been knocked down. And I became a bit obsessed with certain university buildings for three or four years. Constantine College – now the Constantine Building – is a 1930s block where my mam had been to study on a typing course, so I felt a bit of a connection to it. In the 60s, Middlesbrough Tower was added on. When I was working at Teesside University, I felt that those two buildings, although they were very different, had a connection, and I started making work on their interior spaces. When I went on to study for an MA, I concentrated on the exteriors.

I like to spend a lot of time working on one particular building: even now, I’m tempted to go back and do some more work on those buildings! I don’t feel I’ve completed everything I want to do. I suppose in a way it’s a little obsessive.

ANNE: I think you need to be a little obsessive, because many of these buildings are getting old, and being forgotten about. They’re hidden in plain sight. 

I wanted to go back to what you said about nostalgia in part being your motivation. I hadn’t really considered that before: I thought you were approaching these buildings purely from the point of view of form, but nostalgia is a powerful impulse, and I wondered if you could say something about it. Does it arise from a purely personal nostalgia – your connection with particular buildings, as with the Constantine Building where your mum had been to college – or is it about a nostalgia in part for what they represent? I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but they represent a sense of the civic which doesn’t exist any more: they wouldn’t get built now, basically.

EB: Growing up in the 70s and 80s, there were a lot of public buildings that were so well-designed but didn’t get looked after: they were and are neglected. Next to where my studio is, Broadcasting House, I’ve made a work responding to that. I feel so angry when I pass it and think, I know it’s money, but they make it look worse than it needs to. Even painting it would help. Isn’t it worth looking after something unique? 

Someone decided to include bright pink shutters around it: that’s not a design choice; they’ve not thought about how that works with the building. There’s a lot of that around: they’re not thinking the whole thing through.

ANNE: Or wait for it to gradually fall to bits so that they can pull it down. I do wonder if many of these former civic buildings are an embarrassment to local authorities, because they speak of a time where civic structures existed – and where they could  exist – that no longer do, and to be constantly reminded of that: the possibility of a great public library or free higher education is something that it’s perhaps not desirable to be reminded about.

EB: But I do think though that if a building is Victorian, they tend to keep hold of it. It’s a kind of snobbery.

ANNE: It’s about historical distance, isn’t it? The Victorians were the same, though: they were snobbish about buildings that had immediately preceded them – they couldn’t care less about Georgian buildings – but had a romance for Gothic architecture from the distant past and wanted to reinterpret that. When the Modernist buildings you circle were constructed, we had no time for Victorian architecture, but now rush to preserve it. It happens again and again: given a certain historical distance, people start to think, actually, that was quite good. The trouble now is that they’re being pulled down just as that distance is achieved: look at Sunderland Civic Centre.

EB: I know that in Redcar, they pulled the Regent Cinema down. I know people wanted a cinema, but I feel as though they’re just ruining it, personally. It probably wouldn’t happen in the south.

ANNE: I guess much of the time it’s more expensive – or at least requires more thought – to renovate something than to pull it down and sell it to a developer.

EB: So yes, I do work because I feel a nostalgic pull towards some of the buildings. I’ve been in Middlesbrough over 20 years now, and didn’t know the Teesside University buildings before I moved back, but I’ve become attached to them. I don’t really walk much now because I’ve got a car, but I used to do a lot of walking, and I’d think, I’ll just walk through there to see if anything’s changed…

ANNE: It’s important to try to walk, because you notice things at that speed, position and perspective that you don’t from a car, even a bike. So do you feel there’s still plenty of material — thinking into the future, are there all sorts of buildings you haven’t yet engaged with?

EB: I do. Some places I’ve tried to study just haven’t worked out. Much of the time it’s because I haven’t a connection to them. Even though I might like a building architecturally.

What I find now in my practice is that I’m starting to look for different types of challenges. I’m going on a residency at VARC with The Auxiliary in August. That’s going to be a bit of a challenge for me.

ANNE: It’s outside of your comfort zone in terms of subject material, presumably.

EB: Yes. I went to VARC’s last exhibition open day and had a look around, and yes, it’s out of my comfort zone — but, to be fair, I sometimes work with the outline of buildings, and at VARC the outlines are really interesting, so I think I’ll be fine! 

I was talking to VARC’s Project Director Helen Pailing about wanting to just look at the colours there: when you look at some of the stable doors, you can see colours coming through that have been painted over. I’m quite interested in that sense of history. I’m going to try to use a new colour palette; a combination of colours that I might not have used before. So that will be a challenge, actually, and I only have a week.

ANNE: Your work is so visually seductive and immediate that I wonder if you’ve ever been asked to take on commissions which are more instrumentalised — ‘can you produce some colourful pieces to brighten up this area of town?’, for instance. Has this happened in the past, and if so, how do you navigate this, balancing the need to work with the integrity of your practice?

EB: I’m always up for making giant wall paintings, but only if I can use my own images. I’m not interested otherwise. I’ve had people pass on opportunities, saying that they’re looking for a mural or similar. I can usually tell from the start that they’re not going to pay properly:  they think that you can work more or less for free. They’re also not going to prepare the surfaces beforehand, and I like my walls prepared. It’s about just getting an artist in to decorate, effectively, and I don’t do that.

ANNE: But staying with that, thinking about those public art pieces: how much of the time, if ever, have you been able to choose or be involved in choosing a site — or is it just a case of sites being available and you’ve had to respond to something that’s given to you?

EB: I’m really fortunate, though maybe it’s not so much about ‘being fortunate’ and more something particular to the art organisations in Middlesbrough, but I can honestly say that with every wall painting project I’ve done, they’ve absolutely trusted me to come up with my own work. Even for the show at MIMA, I had a few meetings to show the curators and Sonia Boyce my work and came up with the concept I wanted to follow, and they were happy for me to do that. I feel like trust is a big thing: you’re taking a risk; you’ve got to be able to deliver it.

ANNE: At the same time, the curator has to let you get on with the work, and has to trust you, so for them, the skill is in ensuring that they set the scene as accurately as possible for you – and choose the right artist in the first place – but then, crucially, to stand back and let you get on with it, because over-curating or micro-managing it doesn’t allow good work to be produced. 

Thinking specifically about site, though: at MIMA you were working in the gallery, of course, not in the public realm. Sure, they were trusting you to do what you needed to do in the way you wanted to do it, but it’s a different proposition to working in public space. With he car park, for instance: did you have that in mind as a site that you wanted to work with, or did it just happen that that site became available? How much agency do you have, effectively, when choosing those public sites?

EB: Well, the Car Park Stairway and Broadcasting House Reimagined pieces were responses to call-outs by Creative Factory (Gordon Dalton). He commissioned ten or so artists. I submitted ideas…

ANNE: …but the call was to work with public space, and then you could choose where you did it?

EB: They were looking for public art. It was a national call. They wanted people to work within Middlesbrough, but artists from anywhere in the UK could submit ideas as long as it was in some way relevant to Middlesbrough. My proposal was to use buildings around town, and I was shortlisted. When I submitted my work, I had the stairway on the corner; Broadcasting House; Cleveland College of Art & Design; the back of Dundas House; and I think one with Church House — the tower block next to the staircase, opposite the Cleveland Centre. It’s a dark concrete or stone brutalist building. It’s where Stuart Langley’s Beating Heart is now, in fact.

My process involves painting directly onto walls, but when they gave me the commission, they explained that they wanted it digitally printed onto aluminium panels. So I made a little painting series, basically. All my work is made small, A4 or thereabouts. I seem to like working with that scale better — and then anything that will become a wall painting is scaled up. 

I made the painting series. It could have been any of the five buildings, but the two that were chosen, in my and their opinion, were the strongest. I originally wanted the Stairway piece to be in a different position on the Cleveland Centre, but when the centre’s management was approached, the management said no straight away. Then Covid happened, it all went quiet.

I got paid, but it took about a year and a half for it to come to completion. Navigator North had taken the project on in the meantime. It wasn’t a normal situation because normally the people who had commissioned it would deliver it, but Gordon had finished his contract at Creative Factory. We found a new location for it, but there were various issues with it, because it was high up, and so on. During this period, Middlesbrough Council had bought the Cleveland Centre, and I said, can we not use the Cleveland Centre now? Navigator North asked the question and were told yes, they could! Something so complicated became simple once again.

I would have preferred to paint onto the wall – it has a more authentic feeling – but it wasn’t to be. 

ANNE: Because you’d still perceive the fabric of the building that way?

EB: Paint is everything to me. A painted surface is better than a printed surface.

ANNE: And it’s not your work,  in some senses. It’s at a remove.

EB: It’s a reproduction, yes.

ANNE: I can see that that’s a shame. But at the same time, the way that it points to the architecture of the building, it must be a talking point, and I imagine what is interesting is that it must cut through, from passers-by, incidental viewers, as well as those interested in seeking it out as art. Has anyone tracked you down to ask you about the work, or commented on it — or have you noticed any conversation around this? Is it possible to capture what people make of it? Because it is out there in public.

EB: It’s a bit hard to know what the reaction is. I’ve had quite a few people from the art world comment. An art collector wanted to come and see it. 

At MIMA, I do have a piece on display on the first floor. Rosemary Stubbs, who used to be Gallery Assistant there, did a little piece last summer about the Middlesbrough Collection, and she said that one of the visitors had said it was their favourite piece in the display, so she had signposted them to Carpark Stairway.

Grace Redpath has also written about my work for North East Statues; a really nice piece. It’s interesting to hear somebody else’s take on my work. It’s often very different to how I see it: she’d even referenced Elmer the Elephant when discussing my Broadcasting House piece! 

ANNE: Haha, that is fascinating! Thinking about your practice, it’s tempting to see your use of plane, form and colour as an exercise in abstraction at first glance, but in fact all of your work is representational to one degree or another.

EB: Yes, I don’t view my work as abstract.

ANNE: Yes, it’s certainly not pure abstraction, but some is more abstracted than others: the perspective and scale you choose determines how abstracted it appears, whether a detail or a wide view. Are you playing with that consciously — to what extent you can pull things apart while still retaining a relationship with the source?

EB: I find when I’m looking at a building, I have two ways to go: either a more 3D, realistic route – an architectural image, I guess – and I wouldn’t say I always use the same formula, but I like to have the building floating. The other route is something very flat, like Car Park Stairway. Some people have said in the past that it looks like a design for a rug, which I hadn’t imagined. But I like this flatness, and for it to reach right to the edges. So I have these two conflicting ideas. When I’m making a series, I’ll work with both. I might get hooked on one more than the other, depending on how it’s going, but I try and explain it as the real versus the imagined: I imagine something, and am not trying to replicate it, but I have this sense of trying to place my idea, with the back-story being the building but reimagined by me. So you could say I’ve taken it apart and put it back together with colour and pattern. 

People have different ideas about how I work: some think I’ve produced work on a computer, which I’ve never done. I can’t even use computers properly. They also sometimes think it’s all pre-planned. Working from my reference photographs, I tend to look at the outline of the building: what makes it unique? Broadcasting House and the registry office had very unique outlines. That’s a starting point, but I wouldn’t necessarily work with an outline and then fill it in. Instead I’ll pick an angle that feels like a strong starting point, and then it becomes a process of building it up.

ANNE: That’s the impression I had: that this is a process of construction.

EB: Yes. I also test out colours. I’ll work them out beforehand: black, white and maybe three or four colours. It’s not set in stone, but that’s usually how I work. So I don’t have to think too much about whether I introduce a new colour, because I’ve already decided on the palette. From there it’s a process of laying them on next to each other. In the past I’d make mistakes, bringing in a colour that just didn’t work, and I’d have to go over it, because I use tape. That’s another thing: people say, oh, you use tape! As if it’s so wrong.

ANNE: But you have to in order to get sharp lines.

EB: Well, yes, and that’s my challenge: I want to make it look as perfect as possible, as though it hasn’t been hand-made. But I like to use a brush, so you can see brush marks. I have these little things that I like to develop.

So anyway, I have these two conflicting ideas, and the way it goes depends on how I’m feeling at the time. I’ve been doing a lot of flat window paintings, based on windows around Middlesbrough, but that’s finished now, so I might try something new. I’ve undertaken some tapestry weaving lessons recently. I like it. It’s very hard to learn, and at first I thought, this isn’t for me, but now that I’m getting better at it, I feel that I’m going to continue with it.

ANNE: It’s a process which is also about construction. 

EB: It is, yeah.

ANNE: Ironically, it’s a little like computer-based processes, in that way, because it’s an additive process, putting blocks next to other blocks.

EB: Yes, and it’s a challenge. It’s really hard to master. I’m not great at it – I’ve only completed a few pieces.

You might look at my website and think, oh, this is the sum of Emma’s work, but to be honest, I’ve a whole body of work that has never been on the website. I work a lot in paper, producing cut-out books using a scalpel. I tend to put things like that, and test pieces, on Instagram more. But it’s all in line with an idea around painting.

I’ve only had a website for a year. That’s disgusting! I should’ve had it long ago, but these things, when you’re not a techie, are hard. Using a computer is one of my weaknesses; I find it difficult photographing my work, even.

ANNE: Yes, that’s a skill in its own right. And it does seem daft that everyone is having to go off and figure out how to do that themselves, unless they can afford to pay for it to be produced professionally. 

EB: I’ve been banging on about this for a long time! I find it really hard. I’ve a hoard of work that needs documenting, but I just don’t know where to start. 

ANNE: You need an assistant, or a curatorial eye to cast over things, or a cataloguer of some sort.

EB: Even just a decent camera!

ANNE: Yes, and it’s not just about ‘photography’: it’s a particular skill and a particular photographic specialism, documenting work.

EB: Well, this is something I need to do. I have paintings that might have been in a show once, but nobody will remember, because it was probably somewhere out of the region. I just think I should be documenting my work more.

ANNE: It’s anxiety-inducing, isn’t it, to know that stuff is happening but it’s not being documented. It’s a matter of having the time and money. Anyway, that’s interesting to hear. For me, seeing it through the lens of the few pieces I’ve seen alongside your website, I can see that it’s very much just scratching the surface in a way that a studio visit, a proper excavation of your practice, would turn up all sorts of other things.

EB: Navigator North (Vicky Holbrough, Nicola Golightly and James Lowther) offered me the solo show at The Masham last year, and I made a wall painting as part of the commission. They totally let me do what I wanted, but they came to my studio and selected the other pieces for the show. It wasn’t exactly a retrospective but an overview of the last 10 years of my work. I let them pick because I’m not actually very good at it. I find that people often prefer other works to those I like. You have to be open to letting the curator choose.

I’ve also spent quite a long time producing drawings on maps, about personal and imagined journeys around areas I’d been in the past or had a connection to in some way.

ANNE: It’s also interesting to think about when and if you’re able to get round to documenting more of your work and putting it online, people who’ve never seen it before will see it for the first time, and in a way that old work will become new work: new work in terms of a new audience, but also something that perhaps you’d then choose to return to, conceivably? If you uploaded the map drawings and had all sorts of requests to show them, they become current again in a way.

EB: I think as well with some of my paintings, even where they’ve been made five years ago, they’re still relevant to me. I never have enough time to develop all my ideas. I could go back again to most of my series and have another go!

ANNE: So you don’t suffer from that feeling that all past work of yours is rubbish; that only current work is valid?

EB: No, not always. I have a lot of rubbish too that I’d never show anyone, because, you know, you have to get from here to there, and have things you know you want to improve on. With some of the series, I could look at the buildings again, and try them in a different colourway, or something similar.

ANNE: Well, they’ll always be there, until they get knocked down…

EB: Yeah. And everything I’ve worked on I’ve documented with photographs. Ten years on, those photographs start to look quite interesting.

ANNE: Ah, so no longer just as reference. Anyway, a slightly naff question: do you have favourite Modernist buildings in the North East?

EB: I love a lot of buildings. I’ve already talked about the Teesside University building. There’s one in particular in Middlesbrough which was Binns, and then House of Fraser. I made a painting series called Department Store which is a response to it.

Just looking through the windows, you can see the staircases (more staircases!), and it makes me feel nostalgic, because I used to visit the shop. It was a grand building and is now fading away.

ANNE: But you mean you can see the interiors but can’t access them, so they’re all there in the darkness?

EB: As the years have gone on, and it closed, and it feels like a pattern that’s happening. It’s such a grand building, I think. The side entrance feels quite dramatic, as well.

ANNE: And finally, what are you working on at the moment? Is there something new you’re investigating now — and if so, where do you think it will lead?

EB: Well, I’ve just drawn a line under the windows painting series. I’m leading up to the VARC residency from 5 August. I’ve made some concrete panels, so whatever I make at VARC, the final few images will go onto them. Everything from the residencies will be shown at Middlesbrough Art Week, so there’s the goal of an exhibition at the end of it. There’s an open day on the last day of my residency on 12 August.

ANNE: I wonder if you’ll find inspiration in the Tarset Bastle Houses nearby. They’re ruined 16th century fortified houses, and you can follow a walk linking several of them. They’re quite striking, architecturally. They feature sturdy stone blockwork and a similar form with narrow windows and an outside staircase.

EB: Ah, more staircases! Thanks for the tip: I’ll have to look them up!

ANNE: Make sure you do! Thanks for talking with us, Emma, and good luck with your upcoming residency. 

Middlesbrough Art Week returns from 28 September to 7 October, at venues across town. The  VARC open day took place on 12 August 2023, before this interview was published.

About the contributor

Emma Bennett (b. 1972, Guisborough) lives and works in Middlesbrough. She produces paintings, drawings and site-specific wall paintings. By using colour and pattern in conjunction with her personal connections and memories to Modernist and post-war architecture, she examines our localised social histories. Many of her paintings reference a nostalgic attachment to places and structures that are often overlooked, neglected or under threat of demolition. Her work declares the architectural beauty and social importance of these places and buildings.

Emma graduated from MIMA School of Art and Design in 2019 with a MA (Distinction) in Fine Art. Her work, which has exhibited locally and nationally, was acquired for MIMA’s Middlesbrough Collection in 2020, and she has recently produced two works for a public art project in Middlesbrough. Emma is an Associate Artist with Platform A Gallery.