Ms Inés Rae

Ms Inés Rae

Lecturer in Media Arts

School of Art, Design and Architecture (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)



Lecturer in Creative Media (Photography)


MA Social History of Art, University of Leeds
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
BA Fine Art, Brighton Polytechnic

Professional membership

Member of the Higher Education Academy 
Association for Photographers in Higher Education

Roles on external bodies

2015-19 External Examiner, BA Photojournalism, Southampton Solent University 
2011-15 Member and studio holder at Karst Gallery, Plymouth
2008-12 External Examiner, BA Photography, UCCA Rochester
2010 Member of Editorial Board XCP-Streetnotes Journal of Urban Culture,UC Davis
2007-9 Steering Committee Rogue Studios, Manchester
2005-6 Mentor at Patrick Studios, Leeds. Artists Professional Development
2004 Independent Evaluator AHRB
1998 Project Co-ordinator, Leeds City Art Gallery for Photo98
1997 Selection Panel, North West Arts Photography Awards
1997 Judge, Leeds College of Technology Photography Awards
1994-6 Management Committee, Pavilion Photography Centre, Leeds


Teaching interests

Teaching and research is in the area of contemporary photographic practice. I have a particular interest in the role of women within representation. Ines contributes to the BA (Hons) Creative Media programme in the areas of Collaborative Practice, Narratives and Social Context and contributes to the Critical Theory programme and Dissertation Supervision.
She has also supervised postgraduate students with interests in feminist art practice, class cultures and documentary photography practices. 

Staff serving as external examiners

External Examiner for BA(Hons)Photojournalism at Southampton Solent University 2015-2019 
External Examiner for BA(Hons) Photography University of the Creative Arts, Rochester 2008-2012


Research interests

Awarded a place on Literature Works WordSpace talent development programme for 2024-2025 for creative non fiction and photography project Searching for Leo
Research around memory, archives and autoethnographic practice impacts on how we think about therelationship between the past and now. This has a wider influence on strategies for health and well-being. Some of the content I am dealing with relates specifically to the traumas of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), as a personal history,but also in relation to the nation state and its ability to process that trauma. The methodologies adopted have a significance which go beyond the immediate reference of the project and might be utilised in other communities and civic groups to address how we experience personal and collective history through the examination and interpretation of archive material.
Taking as a starting point the discovery that my grandfather was a photographer for the Nationalist Propaganda division during the civil war, and my great-uncle fought for the Republicans, the work aims to broaden the understanding of how families and communities come to terms with these tensions in a context where forgetting has been the main impulse. Given the prevalence of absence, gaps and silence in many of these stories, alternate truths have sometimes replaced and reconstructed memories from the past.
Work from the Searching for Leo project will be exhibited at Photomuseum, Zarautz, Donostia-San Sebastián in September 2025
Awarded Arts Council England funding from Developing your Creative Practice scheme May 2021 for Portrait of a Woman
Current work in progress is Portrait of a Woman. At my mothers death I inherited photographs and letters which pointed to an interesting family history. At the work’s centre are the memories of life in Basque Spain in the 1930s embedded in particular stories passed down to me by my mother. 
Work was shown in 2021 as part of Family Ties 10th anniversary exhibition at UCA Farnham

Trained in Fine Art, Rae’s work uses photography and text to explore representation, consumer culture and the everyday. 

Rae's research aims to analyse the labour of femininity in a contemporary photographic culture where this still remains largely invisible. A Real Work of Artuses a model of image-making which is largely dialogic and interactive in its involvement of participants. This piece established a lot of the groundwork for subsequent research, especially in terms of methodology. central to this is the relationship between photographer and subject. A Real Work of Artexplores the business of surface appearances through portraits of women whose job it is to crete a facade. The work visually describes a number of retail sites as consisting of both consumption and production.
Publications include Kurl up n Dye, a monograph published by Wild Pansy Press with an introduction by Simon Grennan and incorporating photographs and typography investigating the vernacular in British high street culture. A feature on the book was recently on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour. The research has led to a number of conference papers and articles exploring the photographic image in terms of the vernacular, cultural anthropology and material culture.

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

2008 MA by Research, Sean Cousin Pentimento: A re-evaluation of the integral polaroid

Grants & contracts

2024-25 Literature Works Word Space talent development programme
2021 Arts Council England Developing Your Creative Practice for Portrait of a Woman £10,000
2008 Sandbox Sabbatical (internal Uclan award) £7858
2007 Arts Council England £11482 for In-between Spaces
2005 Arts Council England £9043 for Settling In
2005 Arts and Humanities Research Council, Small Grants in the Creative and Performing Arts 
2001 Arts and Humanities Research Council, Small Grants in the Creative and Performing Arts 

Creative practice & artistic projects

Research Projects
A Portrait of a Woman/Retrato de mujer - work in progress
The project takes its name from a photograph of an unknown woman.
I inherited photographs and letters which pointed to an interesting family history 
At the work’s centre are the memories of life in Basque Spain in the 1930s embedded in particular stories passed down to me by my mother. 

The Grammar of Glamour
explores the business of surface appearances through the use of imagery within independently owned businesses concerned with the manufacture of glamour. The intention is to ask how the spell of glamour can be broken. And at the same time how the power of material objects can transform the identity and status of those who own them. We cannot now begin to imagine what non-photographic glamour might be like, but we can ask what it represents within an economic, political, even philosophical, system. 
“…the fashion object …reveals how far we, as consumers, are from perfection. Fashion’s reminder of fragile mortality is perhaps shard with art, both manifesting fatality – their own failures to endure and to satisfy our desires – in the circulation of common tropes and shared lifestyles.” Chris Townsend Rapture: Arts Seduction by Fashion p8

Remembering the City; On memory, experience and the urban landscape
My interest in memory work has developed from a smallproject called ‘Memory City’. The project investigates the relationshipsbetween personal memory, everyday experience and public space. Its focus is on narratives of security andinsecurity, anxiety and confidence, and belonging and alienation in the urbanlandscape. Using a sequence of themed workshops the project focuses on: thepleasures, risks and dangers of city life; mobility and the cosmopolitan city;and cultural landscapes of the city. The aim is to see how people use theirmemories to construct their understandings of public space in the present.
Funded by Sandbox/Uclan 2009. 

With Claire Corrin and Daniella Watson ‘Inbetween Spaces’ Funded by Arts Council England (£13,000) Completed 2007 (Lead Applicant: Rae)
Inbetween Spaces (2007), explores ideas of marginality on several billboard sites around Manchester and Salford. The bus tour explored the marginal and overlooked in the urban fabric through the rehearsed performance of a tour guide.
With Simon Grennan and Alan Ward ‘Kurl up n Dye; an exploration of the vernacular in British high street culture’ Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council (£5000) and UCLan (match funding) Completed November 2006 (Lead Applicant: Rae)

In Kurl up n Dye there is a nod to the motifs and pictorial strategies from which other photographers work: There is a long tradition in using photography to document and explore aspects of British popular culture and sometimes with a nostalgia for disappearing worlds. But there is a point to be made here about the stories that don’t get told, or that need a differently skewed vision. Perhaps as Diane Arbus felt when she made the image of an interior of a barber shop there is always another way of seeing a place.
The shop names and typefaces signal economic status,class and taste beyond the frame. The humour in the shop names is self-directed, belonging entirely to the independent trader – to the lower rent, non-corporate, “other mainstream” undertaste that laughs at the aspiring by making deprecating laughter part of the pleasure of aspiration itself. The people and places in Kurl up n Dye understand the operation of glamour’s oxymoron in their lives, making use of the knife-edge between image and reality.
In 'Kurl up 'n' Dye', I think we are squarely in the sights of glamour.Or perhaps, Rae has her sights set on glamour. Either way, we seem more than anything to be looking down the barrel of a gun, which is curious, seeing as the images in ''Kurl up 'n' Dye' ' have been made within the pleasure industry,at the salon. Nobody seems to be having much fun in the peopled interiors that contribute to the work. The salon facades also appear either dreary or shabby.The conventions of documentary photography are assaulted by Rae in 'Kurl up 'n'Dye', not discarded or ignored, so that the private views, the intimate views and the set-up images still seem motivated by a desire to reveal social relationships…
Simon Grennan in Kurl up n Dye2006 

With Jo Lansley, Manchester Metropolitan University ‘Settling InFunded by Arts Council England (£11,000) Completed April 2006 (Lead Applicant: Rae)
Settling Inexplores ideas of home and performativity.Using a tradition of artist-led initiatives the research aimed to reassess the diversity of artistic practice funded by the Arts Council in Manchester and to introduce new artists and work to the region, particularly female practitioners. The exhibition was intended as a comment on the corporate extravaganza that is the British Art Show.
Taking home as it’s starting point Settling Inexplores how we move within and experience this most intimate of spaces – the home becomes a metaphor for the creative process, a locus for female activity, as well as a place of secrets and self, of rituals and routine. 
Talks and Conference Presentations

2022 Storytelling and Trauma
   Athens 9th and 10th July 2022
2022 A Right to Roam   International Conference of Auto Ethnography Bristol 18th and 19th July 2022
2022 Past, Present, Future  BSA Auto/Biography Conference Oxford 13th - 15th July 2022
2018 Visual cultures, consumerism and the grammar of glamour, Sociology Research Seminar Series at Plymouth University, Feb 21 2018
2018 Undertaking Effective Community Engagement Through Community-Led Research: The Maker Memories Project, Guildhall, Plymouth
2017 (Our) Generations and (Expanded) Geographies: Living Feminist Lives for A Feminist Space at Leeds; Looking back to Think forwardDecember 16-17 2017, University of Leeds
2016 The Grammar of Glamour Part 2, Helsinki Photomedia: Materialities
2013 Remembering the City, Contemphoto'13, Istanbul
2012 The Grammar of Glamour, Helsinki Photomedia Conference, Aalto University
2010 Memory City; Remembering the City. MAPACA 2010, Alexandria VA. Urban Culture Panel
2009 Kurl up n Dye; the vernacular in British High Street culture. Northernness; Ideas and Images of the North in Visual Culture, University of Northumbria
2009 Shear Class; an ethnographic study of the British hair salon. MAPACA , Boston. Urban Culture Panel
2008 Some will pay (for what others will pay to avoid): Vernacular typography and the irreverence of popular culture. Networks of Design, University College, Falmouth
2008 Kurl up n Dye; the vernacular in British High Street culture. The Street, University of California at Irvine
2006 Towards an Ethics of Gnerosity in Contemporary Photographic Practice. North West Art and Design Research Seminar, Liverpool John Moores University
2004 AHRB and A Real Work of Art; Practice as Research.North West Art and Design Research Seminar, Cumbria Institute of the Arts, Carlisle.


Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

Rae, I. (2009) ‘Shear Class: a visual ethnography of the British hair salon’ in X-cp Streetnotes

Momchedjikova B, Rae I & Milbrandt T (2015) 'Capturing the City' Antropolítica:Revista Contemporânea de Antropologia (n38) 17-25 Author Site Publisher Site Open access
Rae I (2011) 'The Grammar of Glamour - a work in progress' The Issues in Contemporary Culture and Aesthetics (4) Open access
Rae I (2009) 'Shear Class: a visual ethnography of the British hair salon' XCP Streetnotes Publisher Site Open access
Rae I 'Searching for Leo; creative uses of the archive in a place of remembering and forgetting' Auto/biography Review
Rae, I (2013) Memory-Images in Momchedjikova ,B, ed, (2013) Captured by the City: New Perspectives in Urban Culture Studies, Cambridge Scholars Publishing 978-1443842891

Rae, I. & Grennan, S. (2006) Kurl up n Dye, Leeds, Wild Pansy Press

Rae I, Corrin C & Watson D (2007) Inbetween Spaces. Uclan Dept of Historical and Theoretical Studies Open access
Rae I & Grennan S (2006) Kurl up 'n' dye. Wild Pansy Press, Leeds Open access
Rae I, Lansley J & Tormey J (2006) Settling In. Arts Council England Open access
Beech D & Rae I (2003) A Real Work of Art. Axis Graphic Design, Manchester Folly Gallery, Lancaster
Rae I (2013)Remembering the City-Memory Images in Momchedjikova, B (ed) 2013 Captured by the City : Perspectives in Urban Culture Studies, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Cambridge UK

Rae, I. (2008) ‘Some will pay (for what others will pay to avoid): Vernacular typography and the irreverence of popular culture’ in F. Hackney, J. Glynne & V. Minton, eds, Networks of Design, Brown Walker Press

Rae I (2010) 'Some will pay for what others will pay to avoid): Vernacular typography and popular culture' in Hackney F; Glynne J; Minton VIV Networks of Design: Proceedings of the 2008 Annual International Conference of the Design History Society (UK) University College Falmouth, 3-6 September Universal Publishers 254-259 Author Site Publisher Site Open access
Conference Papers
Rae I (2016) 'The Grammar of Glamour part 2' Helsinki Photomedia 2016 Aalto University School of Arts Design and Architecture Publisher Site Open access
Rae I (2013) 'Remembering the City: Memory-Images' in Atak O; Duyan E Contemphoto '13 Istanbul, Turkey 6-/-0/20136-/-0/2013Dakam Publishing Open access
Rae I (2012) 'The Grammar of Glamour' in Lichtman S Parsons School of Design 0-/-1/20120-/-1/2012Open access
Rae I (2012) 'The Grammar of Glamour:Shooting the High Street' Helsinki Photomedia 2012 Images in Circulation Aalto University, Helsinki 3-/-0/20123-/-0/2012Publisher Site
Rae I 'Leopoldo Savignac and Basque Photography in the first half of the 20th century: an autoethnographic investigation' Storytelling: Trauma, Resistance, and Remembering 2nd Global Inclusive Interdisciplinary Conference 7-/-0/20227-/-0/2022Publisher Site Open access
Exhibition Catalogues

Corrin, C., Rae, I., Watson, D. (2007) Inbetween Spaces, Manchester, Look07/Redeye

ISBN 978 1 901922 63 2

Lansley, J., Rae, I., Tormey, J. (2006) Settling In, Arts Council England

ISBN 9781901922 65 3

Beech, D. & Rae, I. (2003) A Real Work of Art, Lancaster, Folly Gallery
ISBN 1 901922 49 9

Solo Exhibitions

2015 The Grammar of Glamour,Aronson Gallery, New York

2013 Memory City, Plymouth University

2006 Kurl up n Dye, Cube, Manchester

2003 A Real Work of Art, Folly Gallery, Lancaster

2000 Perm-u-tations, Installation as part of YOTA, New Image Salon, Preston

1999 RemoteImago-Lucis Gallery, Porto, Portugal and Culture House, Estarreja, Portugal

Sponsored by The British Council, Lisbon

1996 Ideal Home, Site Gallery, Sheffield

Sponsored by CPL, Yorkshire and Humberside Arts

1994 Spaces of Difference/Memories of PlaceLanchester Gallery, Coventry

Sponsored by Geonex UK. Catalogue essay by Griselda Pollock

1993 Project 10 00 22 Selen-Oldenstrand, Stockholm

1993 Voices of Fury, Pavilion Photography Centre, Leeds

Group Exhibitions

2016 Brighton Photo Biennial Fringe Festival, Lock In Gallery, Brighton

2016 Plymouth Art Weekender September

2014 Karst Open Studios, Plymouth

2013 Textually Active 2, Athenaeum, Plymouth

2007 Inbetween SpacesBillboard bus tour , Cube Manchester

2006 Settling In,338 Great Western St, Manchester

2005 Mind Where You Look, Gallery Oldham

2004 Joy, International 3, Manchester

2003 Thermo 03, The Lowry, Manchester

2003 PureScreen 2at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester

2001 VentureYear of the Artist Celebration, BBC Manchester

2001 AnOtherPlace, Storey Gallery, Lancaster

2000 Regional Launch of Year of the Artist, North West

National Launch of Year of the Artist,The Lux, Hoxton Square

1999 Travel Bag, University Of Central Lancashire Research Centre, Preston

1997 Domus:North and South, Art Gallery Too: a nomadic artspace for NEW ART

Private residencies in York and London

1997 I dont want to play house, Zone Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne

1995 Imagining the unimaginable, Pankhurst Centre, Manchester

1994 Indications, Impressions Gallery, York Commissioned by Impressions

1993 Absent Bodies/ Present Lives, Leeds City Art Gallery Catalogue available

1992 BT New Contemporaries Manchester, Belfast, ICA London.

The Grammar of Glamour: Shooting the High Street. Aronson Gallery, Sheila Johnson Design Center, New York 01/09/20176
Kurl up n Dye. Cube Manchester 01/11/20061 Open access
Family and Other Ties. University of the Creative Arts, Farnham 27/10/20223 Open access
Work + Play, Brighton Photo Biennial 2016. 28/09/201610 Publisher Site Open access
Textually Active 2, Athenaeum, Plymouth 2013. Athenaeum, Plymouth 01/04/2013Open access
Searching for Leo. Photomuseum, Zarautz, San Sebastian 01/09/202540+
Presentations and posters
Rae I Rae I 'In search of my grandfather: Leopoldo Savignac and Basque Photography in the first half of the 20th century'
Rae I Rae I 'In search of my grandfather: Leopoldo Savignac and Basque Photography in the first half of the 20th century BSA Auto/Biography Study Group Summer Conference Past, Present and Future: Celebrating 30 Years of the Auto/Biography Study Group 13-15th July 2022 Wolfson College, Oxford' Open access


Conferences organised

Place Culture and Identity, Arts Research seminar, University of Plymouth February 2024 with Dr Kayla Parker and Dr Mary Pearson 
About Place, Arts Research symposium, University of Plymouth June 2023 co-convened with Dr Kayla Parker and Dr Mary Pearson 
Mapping; The Land/Water Summer Symposium, University of Plymouth July 2013 co convened with Dr Heidi Morstang

Other academic activities

2015 Visiting Scholar, New York University, Tisch School of the Arts
2012-19 Faculty of Arts and Humanities Ethics Committee, Plymouth University
2012-19 Faculty of Arts and Humanities Equality and Diversity Committee, Plymouth University
2003-2010 Pathway Leader in Photography in MA Fine Art, University of Central Lancashire
2000-03 Course Leader MA Fine Art in Print, Photographic and Time-based Media, University of Central Lancashire
1997-00 Photography Pathway Leader MA Art and Design, University of Derby

Additional information

2024 Joya-AIR artist in residence


Personal website
Interview on Radio 4 Womans Hour
Visiting Lecturer Parsons School of Design