Biography

Photo © Jessica Lennan, 2019

Liz Wells writer, curator, and lecturer on photographic practices, edited and co-wrote Photography: A Critical Introduction (2021, 6th ed. 7th ed. due 2026), and is editor for The Photography Reader and The Photography Culture Reader (2019), London: Routledge. She co-founded and co-edits photographies, Routledge journals. She is series editor for Photography, Place, Environment, Routledge. (Bloomsbury Academic 2016 – 2021/Routledge, from March 2021).

She is Professor Emeritus in Photographic Culture, Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business, University of Plymouth, UK, and remains active in the Faculty’s international Environmental Arts research networks.

In 2017 she received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2021, she was awarded Honored Educator, Society for Photographic Education (USA), and in 2022, The Royal Photographic Society, J Dudley Johnston Award for research in photographic culture that focusses on land, landscape, place and environment, as well as on photographic theory and practices.

Teaching and Learning

She worked in Higher Education for over 41 years. It follows that she has considerable experience in facilitating student learning at all levels, from undergraduate to doctoral studies, taking a participatory approach to teaching, learning and research thereby fostering student critical thinking and independent learning abilities. She has extensive experience in programme development, module leadership, and was a MA programme leader for six years.

Having retired from University of Plymouth, UK, in July 2020, she continues to run a seminar on photography, land and environment at Universidad-Politècnica de Valencia for their MA Fine Art (Photography), and in Autumn 2020 led an (online) module on photography and writing for MA Photography, University of Gothenburg.

Recent Professional Activities

2023 saw two publications, both of which draw on several years of research. Photography, Curation, Criticism: an anthology includes previously published essays from the last two decades, with an extended introduction and an ‘in conversation’ with Canadian photography historian, Professor Martha Langford. ‘Scene and Unseen: (Re-)envisioning the Arctic Imaginary through Photography’, was commissioned for Darcy White, Julia Peck & Chris Goldie (eds.) Disturbed Ecologies: Photography, Geopolitics and the Northern Landscape in the Era of Environmental Crisis.

In 2021 she curated Sea, Sand and Soil: Plastics in our Environment for Pingyao International Photography Festival, Sept. 2021. (Photographers: Mandy Barker, Gina Glover, Andy Hughes). Her guest-curated exhibition, Seedscapes: Future-proofing Nature was commissioned by Impressions Gallery, Yorks. (Tour, Impressions Gallery, Bradford, Sept – Dec 2020; RAMM, Exeter, July– Sept 2021; Dick Institute, Kilmarnock, Autumn 2021). (Photographers: Dornith Doherty, Sant Khalsa, Chrystel Lebas, Heidi Morstang, Liz Orton). See www.impressions-gallery.com/seedscapes.

Background

Born and schooled in central London, she worked in theatre lighting for several years before studying sociology at the University in Bristol where she was based for 19 years. Following 6 years back in London, in 2000 she returned to the south-west where she lives near the coast in East Devon.

Photo © Adam Van Gilder