Illuminating Bugs

Illuminating Bugs

“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 between 1979 and 1982 and the persistence with which he has shown his ability to link his art production to collaborative projects with professional artists and non-professionals.  In 1990, when he was travelling in Africa, Derek’s life was jeopardised by a bacterial infection. The trauma of that experience has been the mainspring of his work over several decades, and it found a ready response in 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 the engagement of university personnel, schools, and communities.”.

J.Millard (former manager of Newcastle and Liverpool Museums)


The collaboration with the Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology at Newcastle University began in 2015 under the title Illuminating Bugs, with the support of the former director, Professor Jeff Errington, FRS; Professor Colin Harwood; and Dr Richard Daniel. Hill worked closely with Daniels from 2016 to 2019, developing research around the behaviour patterns of certain strains of bacteria.  Since 2018, the project has evolved into Hidden Kingdoms Shifting Worlds.


Derek Hill, Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology, Newcastle University:

Hidden Kingdoms Shifting Worlds Exhibition:

Shifting Worlds Film Sketches playlist, visit:

Inside the studio playlist, visit:

Derek Hill’s Presentation to CBCB (PDF: 8 MB).