Senior Lecturer in Visual Communication, Contextual & Theoretical Studies Lead, and PhD supervisor

  • Academic
  • Research
Dr Sara Andersdotter

Dr Sara Andersdotter is an academic, artist, researcher and Senior Lecturer in Visual Communication at UCA’s Canterbury campus. She teaches and oversees the contextual & theoretical delivery on the Visual Communication courses and supervises PhD students. Her expertise and research interests include photographic practice and theory, memory, philosophy and fine art.


As a practice-based researcher, Sara’s research activities centre on relationships between photography and memory; research interests that have defined her practice since the early 2000s. Originally from Sweden, she undertook an undergraduate degree in Fine Art from the University of Newcastle, Australia, followed by a postgraduate degree in Fine Art from Norwich University of the Arts. Sara is also an Advance HE Fellow (FHEA).

In 2015, Sara completed a PhD in Fine Art at the University of the Arts London. Her practice-based thesis challenges existing metaphors of memory, especially those relating to photography, while putting forward an alternative framework for exploring the experience of memory in art practice. This framework draws on Deleuzoguattarian and Bergsonian theories, and is explored and tested through her lens-based installation art practice.

In 2023, Sara’s research interests in photography and memory led to co-editing the book The Handbook of Research on the Relationship between Autobiographical Memory and Photography with academics at two other institutions; a substantial publication of current research by key practitioners and academics in the field. This book has fuelled the organisation of a subsequent, UCA funded research symposium, Vestiges of Memory: an Exploration of Intersections between Photography and Autobiographical Memory (2024).

As a practicing artist, Sara has exhibited nationally and internationally since 1999. Her art practice is primarily image and installation based, using a range of different media, from photography, video and projections of still and moving images, to growing matter, bait camera footage, smell, heat, and the use of text-to-speech software.

Sara started working in Higher Education in 2005, when she taught photography and fine art. She has taught and led practical, theoretical and research modules across both undergraduate and postgraduate courses at different institutions in the UK, and has served as an External Examiner at numerous institutions. In 2016, she took on a programme director role to lead a large contextual and theoretical studies department with over 30 members of staff, delivering into over 20 different art, design and media courses.

Sara joined UCA as a Senior Lecturer in Visual Communication in 2020, where she teaches and leads units on the programme’s undergraduate and postgraduate courses. She takes an inclusive and collaborative approach to teaching and learning, and has worked on multiple projects where students have been invited to become active participants and collaborators, including curriculum design, development of new processes in the practices of teaching and learning, student-led publications, and a non-hierarchical journal of research.

Further information:

Research statement

The majority of Sara’s research is situated in practice; a territory in which she uses photography, moving image and installations to explore recurring themes of memory, time, and the fleeting and undocumented. She often uses materials such as bait camera footage, archive materials and projections. Her research interests also include archives, non-human – human relationships, gender, becomings, minoritarian/fringe groups, literature, voice as material, non-human photography, autobiographical memory, and philosophy – in particular, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, and Henri Bergson.

Research supervision

Sara is interested in hearing from research degree applicants whose proposals relate to any of her areas of research interest.

Research degree students (current):

  • Yue Leng
  • Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy/Advance HE (FHEA)
  • Experimental Pedagogies Research Group, University of the Arts London
  • Association for Photography in Higher Education
  • External Examiner, 2023 – Currently, MA Photography, University of Salford
  • External Examiner, 2022. ArtEZ, Arnhem, The Netherlands
  • Validation Advisor – MA Creative Design Enterprise, 2020, Northern School of Art (validated via the Arts University Bournemouth)
  • Chief Examiner, 2018-2023. Manchester Fashion Institute, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • External Examiner, 2018-2022. Pre-Masters in Art & Design, The University of Hertfordshire
  • External Examiner, 2017-2019. BA (Hons) Fine Art, Teesside University
  • 2023 – Internal research funding from University for the Creative Arts
  • 2015 – Internal funding from Ravensbourne University London
  • 2014 – Internal funding from Ravensbourne University London
Dr Sara Andersdotter