Shirley Chubb lives and works in Brighton and is Emerita Reader in Interdisciplinary Art at the University of Chichester and an Honorary Fellow in the School of Health Sciences at the University of Brighton. She was awarded the 2021 AUT Creative Physiotherapy Scholarship where she is working with Professor David Nicholls in the Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences at Auckland University of Technology. She supervises PhD by practice candidates at the University of Chichester (UoC) and the University of Brighton (UoB) and has examined PhDs at the UoC, UoB, UCA Farnham and the University of Ulster. Shirley has acted as External Examiner for BA (Hons) Fine Art & Crafts at Doncaster College, University of Hull, BA in Combined Studies at Edinburgh College of Art and is currently examiner for the BA (Hons) Fine Art, Birmingham City University (BCU), the Shape Provision Hong Kong (BCU) and the MA Fine Art programme at the University of Chester. During her teaching career she co-ordinated the BA (Hons) and MA Fine Art programmes at UoC.
She was awarded a practice-based PhD by publication at the School of Arts & Communication, University of Brighton in 2007 with her thesis titled Intervention, location and cultural positioning: Working as a contemporary artist curator in British museums.
Shirley’s practice focuses on broadening the reach, impact and communicative potential of the visual arts where she works across disciplines to find common territories of thinking and practice. Within museums and archives her approach to site specific locations involves significant collaboration and negotiation with curators and conservators in order to push at the boundaries of representation within exhibition environments. Her work within the Health Sciences has involved interactive arts and health projects developed in collaboration with physiotherapists and academics.
Her work has been shown at museums and arts venues including Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, The Royal Engineers Museum Chatham, and the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts where she was an Artist Fellow, Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery and the Weald & Downland Living Museum. She has exhibited internationally, and her work is held in the Arts Council England and other public and private collections. Catalogues documenting her work have attracted critical contributions from a range of associated fields including social history, arts discourse, ethnography and the history of architecture. Shirley has contributed papers and presentations to a range of conferences within the visual arts research environment as well as to the fields of Photography and Archive Research, Museum Studies, Narrative Research and the Philosophy and History of Science.
Her exhibition Thinking Path considered Charles Darwin as a cipher for synchronic knowledge. Focusing on the resonance of site as a carrier of meaning, the exhibition took it's inspiration from Darwin's daily ritual of walking the same path at Down House in Kent, his family home for 40 years. The tour of Thinking Path within four museums linked to Darwin enabled further layers of synchronic interpretation in response to the accumulation of artefacts, artwork and site.
Thinking Path was commissioned by Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery and toured to four venues throughout the UK. The exhibition was funded by the Arts Council England National Touring Programme, the Arts & Humanities Research Board and Education Through Art.
The visual material generated for the Thinking Path prompted an interest in the mechanics of motion and Shirley’s current work explores the significance of movement through particular environments. In 2011 this work led to her inclusion in a successful Arts Council England Grants for the Arts supporting a series of commissions by artists contributing to the major Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery redevelopment project. Her commission, Pen Rest, consisted of a series of micro interventions within the refurbished museum corresponding to one minute fixed camera structural films recording specific locations related to Darwin’s closely documented childhood in the region.
Shirley was principal researcher on Significant Walks, a Wellcome Trust funded collaborative research project. Growing from her work on Darwin the research team included Professor Ann Moore (CBE), then Director of the Clinical Research Centre for Health Professions, University of Brighton and Director of The Council for Allied Health Professions (CAHPR); Dr Kambiz Saber-Sheikh, then Coordinator of the Human Movement Laboratory, CRC at the University of Brighton and video artist, Neil Bryant then Digital Media Specialist and now Senior Technical Demonstrator in Multimedia at the University of Chichester. Significant Walks dealt with the emerging research area of proprioception and explored the reality of walking for individuals with chronic lower back pain. The project investigated the use of inertial sensors, an emerging area in the biomedical sciences, in external environments synthesised with site specific video documentation of participant walks and explored how experiential interpretation can add resonance to the understanding of core clinical data in participant's site-specific locations. The resulting immersive video artwork was exhibited in in the UK and presented at a range of international arts and health related conferences.