Gail Flockhart

Contemporary Arts Practitioner-Researcher


My arts research draws on subjective experience to investigate the performance of self and construction of identity in embodied and conceptual modes of self-representation. Using visual metaphor to negotiate who I am, and who I am in relation to the world, I create performance-to-camera works in photographic, film and digital media. At the microscale, we observe the multiple types and textures of ‘skins we live in’; at the macroscale, this corresponds to the multiple identities or roles we inhabit and the diversity of skins that comprise our collective humanity.

Working behind the lens as photographer and performing in front of the lens as subject, opens an opportunity for dialogue for understanding the relationship between our sense of self and other - reconnecting the personal to the universal. Arts research is therefore vital for grasping the socio-cultural implications of creative and democratic modes of self-imaging.

The Skins I Live In #1 (2019)

The Skins I Live In #2 (2019)

The Skins I Live In #3 (2019)

Images of Research Exhibition
University of Plymouth, January 2020
DSLR photographic image/s

In an age of perfectionism and competitive individualism with increasing pressure to be ‘liked’, my research considers an emerging digital ‘aesthetics of self’. In Self-Portrait from a Previous Selfie (2018), the democratisation of self-portraiture in popular culture (via the selfie), is linked to self-representation in contemporary women’s art. I use diverse forms of photographic and moving-image media, including Smartphones, to investigate how the curation and comparison of ideal versions of oneself impact on acceptance of the real, unedited self.

My MPhil/PhD project explores what the selfie says and why through issues of identity, performance, the self and other, alongside the potential impact on socio-cultural attitudes. In using myself as both subject and object in an embodied arts practice, I seek to define a new cultural metaphor and question why we seem so keen to ‘shoot ourselves’ for public consumption?

Diversity & Wellbeing Calendar (2019/20)

Images/s selected/published for Calendar representing
November 2019 Self-Portrait of a Previous Selfie (2018) and
Self-Portrait of a Selfie (2018) DSLR photographic image/s

Gail Flockhart © 2020