Academic Work & Lectures                                                                 Index︎       


Caitlin Shepherd

“To lose yourself: a voluptuous surrender, lost in your arms, lost to the world, utterly immersed in what is present so that its surroundings fade away. In Benjamin’s terms, to be lost is to be fully present, and to be fully present is to be capable of being in uncertainty and mystery.”
︎ Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

“The more radically I get it wrong when imaging the analog of your inner state in myself, the less I succeed in understanding yours. The less I succeed in understanding yours, the more the coordination of our actions must depend on convention or force or detailed verbal agreement”

︎ Adrian Piper, 1991, p.726

“The most Gothic description of Capital is also the most accurate. Capital is an abstract parasite, an insatiable vampire and zombie- maker; but the living flesh it converts into dead labor is ours, and the zombies it makes are us.”

︎ Mark Fisher, 2009, p.19

“It seems that there are at least two ways of thinking of listening in terms of political action: listening together with others in order to become aware of your own conditions…and listening as a willingness to change them through collective effort. The willingness can be actualised in terms of political organising, protesting or simply getting involved in some kind of social struggle…”

︎ Lucia Farinati & Claudia Firth, 2017,p.21

Hello reader, welcome! Thank you for taking the time to find out a little more - for being curious. So, a little bit about me.

I’m a queer woman from a low-income single mother family. One half of a twin, I was conceived in San Francisco. My absent father’s name is Randy. Life is weird. I have always felt as though I’m from unconventional and strange roots. The feeling of being a misfit, on the edges, feeling often out of place amongst more conventional family stories and constellations, runs through and informs my academic and artistic work. I’ve lived all over the place, in a range of low rent set ups from boats to cabins, to squats, old libraries, vans and more normal spare rooms. I counted all the places I’ve lived a few years ago, and it turns out I’ve lived in over 32 different housing set ups since I left University in 2006. I’m now in the slightly more stable position of small terraced home owner. 

In terms of my work, I'm an artist, researcher, and educator. I’ve been practicing as an artist, activist, and educator since 2006. I work in mixed media and amongst other things, use print design, photography, sound and écriture féminine (Cixous) to explore and listen to personal stories of everyday life, with particular interest in listening into lived experiences of multi-ethnic working-class identity, the working conditions in the creative and cultural industries (CCI’s), precarity and socio-economic inequality.  I have a background in socially engaged art and activism. I’ve co-founded and directed award winning campaigns at This is Rubbish (2010 - 2015) and worked as a campaigner at Oxfam (2012 - 14). I’ve been awarded numerous awards and residencies for my socially engaged art practice. See list of awards and residencies here.

I’m deeply interested in how money, work, our bodies, education and health shapes access to secure and equitable employment, and everything that is enabled (or not) through secure and fairly paid work. My PhD (2015 - 2023) examined how intersectional working-class experience is excluded from socially engaged art (and the creative industries at large) and studied how convivial listening practices might help to better understand and challenge such inequities and exclusions. I’m interested in how we listen together, and how this might offer a form of giving attention, a form of listening to stories often erased, played down, or muted. I’m currently prototyping listening-rituals, using a range of listening practices and processes. I’m interested in listening as a radical act of giving attention and platforming stories of disquiet, breakdown, refusal, and resistance; especially from precarious and revolting bodies - bodies no longer able to take compounded and complex pressures of systemic inequity.

I see teaching as an integral part of my creative praxis. I like the term artist-teacher, though I often find new and different ways to think and talk about what teaching is, how I do it, to what affect. It’s a space where I get to explore new ideas and enter dialogue with and learn from students and peers. I draw on slow design and participatory learning principles, using teaching and learning methods such as critical and engaged pedagogy (Freire & hooks), object-based learning, and sharing stories of everyday life. I am committed to a liberatory (hooks, 1994) and inclusive teaching practice, and work to decolonize my own teaching practice. I have a PgCert distinction in Academic Practice in Art, Design and Communication (2021).

Alongside my praxis, I teach fine art and design at BA and MA level. Between 2016 - 23 I was lecturer / senior lecturer in contextual and theoretical studies at LCC, University of the Arts London.Between 2020 - 23 I was module lead and tutor on the Falmouth MA Fine Art (online) course. Between 2019 - 23 I was tutor on the Interaction Design Communication MA at LCC, UAL. I was academic lead on the Shared Campus Summer School, Hacking Global Pop Icons (2020 - 2022). I’m currently (2023 -24) working part time as lecturer in Creative Arts at Aberystwyth University and as a Post Doctoral Researcher on the Public Map Platform project in the faculty of Architecture and Art History at the University of Cambridge. My Linkedin profile can be found here. 

If you want to get in touch and discuss / collaborate on any of the above - feel free to contact me :)