Artist at the CBCB: 2016-2020

Artist at the CBCB: Work from 2016-2020

“The art practice that the artist Derek Hill has set up with scientists at the University of Newcastle is remarkable for how it represents an unfaltering stream of exceptional work that Derek has produced since his time at the Royal College in the 1970s and the persistence that he has shown in linking his art production to collaborative projects with professional artists and non-professionals.

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When he left the Royal College and was travelling in Africa, Derek’s life was jeopardised by a bacterial infection. The experience has been the mainspring of his work over several decades, and it found a ready response from the university scientists. The link between computer imaging and the organic nature of Derek’s art practice presents a remarkable opportunity for creating new and exciting artwork and engaging university personnel, schools, and communities.”

John Millard, 2019 (former museum manager in Newcastle and Liverpool)

“Hill’s work has provided a uniquely different perspective on the interaction between microorganisms. This has somehow bridged the gap between our research into the complex interactions that occur at the molecular level in a cell or a specific strain, how they impact bacterial cell morphology and viability, and how they are visually altered in nature. Both aspects are well documented in the scientific literature but are not easily conveyed to the general public. As such, our collaboration with Hill is an ideal platform on which to develop public engagement in an area of biology that has significance to all aspects of life. “
Dr. Richard Daniel, CBCB

“I can’t speak highly enough of Derek and his passion and commitment to melding the contrasting approaches of art and science in the context of microbiology.” Science is too often a highly regimented mission aimed at understanding fundamental mechanisms of life, while Derek’s art relieves us of that rigid discipline and takes us into a world just as passionate but vivid and unfettered by the logical framework in which we scientists are normally trapped! “
Professor Jeff Errington, FRS, Director of CBCB

Work 2017-2020:

Hidden Kingdoms Shifting Worlds Exhibition 2022:

Current Work:

Video shorts playlist: Sequences of film studies of microbial action for future artwork:


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Below is a selection of images by Kaveh Emami from the exhibition opening of Shifting Worlds in 2019. There are also photographic studies of labwork from 2016–18 with paintings from the same period:


Work 2017-2020

Illuminating Bugs

Shifting Worlds 2016-2019

Shifting Worlds

Shifting Worlds 2016-2019

Shifting Worlds 2016-2019

Shifting Worlds 2016-2019

Shifting Worlds 2016-2019

Shifting Worlds 2016-2019

Shifting Worlds 2016-2022

Shifting Worlds 2016-2022