Emily Hesse

Emily Hesse, (PhD Researcher)

  • Source: Scopus
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Personal profile

Research Interests

Clay as earth and art, ceramics and the 'Anthropocene', materialism, post-humanism, artistic approaches to archaeology, the effects of landscape and earth systems on societal formations, philosophy and ontological designing, interdisciplinary contemporary art practices.


Emily Hesse is a multidisciplinary visual artist from Middlesbrough in North-East England who draws materials from her surrounding landscapes to tell stories of place, social history and the passing of time, unpacking complex narratives that define working class and rural communities. Hesse produced Blackbirds Born from Invisible Stars in 2018, a bookwork she describes as a “sculptural object” and separate from its content which is a semi-autobiographical, prose-based view of what “strategic regionalism means to an artist of [her] background, age and position.” Her 2018 solo exhibition The Taste of This History: A Church in my Mouth (Workplace Gallery, Gateshead) addressed the barriers Hesse faces as a female, working class, middle aged artist. For example, The Centre of Things (2018) played on craft traditions associated with the feminine, featuring a needle hanging on thread woven from local moorland wool and the hair of Hesse and her daughters. Hesse’s recent film work Kissing the Bees (2019), a 17-minute two channel installation shot on a mobile phone, brought together research into witchcraft of the North York Moors as an early form of matriarchal social organising.  Current practice based PhD research focuses on alternative perceptions and interpretations of landscape, specifically clay and how interpretations effect societal formations and cultural production. 

Hesse was awarded the Tetley/Jerwood Commission in 2021. A Henry Moore Foundation Awardee and runner up for The Arts Foundation Futures awards for Visual Artists in 2020 and longlisted for the Paul Hamlyn Award for Visual Arts in 2013.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

Unknown, Master, University of Sunderland

Award Date: 21 Oct 2015


  • N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
  • anthropocene studies
  • clay
  • sculpture
  • contemporary art
  • archaeology
  • cultural institutions
  • philosophy
  • Design Thinking
  • ceramics
  • environmental change


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