Dr John Darwell, PhD

  • Reader/ Associate Professor in Photography
  • Institute of the Arts
  • Arts Research Initiative (ARI)
  • Art and Design
Dr John Darwell, PhD


John Darwell is an independent photographer working on long-term projects that reflect his interest in social and industrial change, concern for the environment and issues around the depiction of mental health.

To date he has had seventeen books of his work published, of which the most recent are: 'Sheffield: In Transition' (Cafe Royal Books 2014) 'Chernobyl' volumes 1 and 2 (the Velvet Cell 2014) 'Things Seen Whilst Wandering Around Attercliffe' (Cafe Royal 2014),  'Desert States', images from the South West United States (the Velvet Cell 2014) and 'Grangemouth and the Forth Estuary' (Cafe Royal Books 2014). Other recent books include: 'Sheffield: Hyde Park, Meadowhall and Ponds Forge (Cafe Royal Books 2013) 'DDSBs' (mynewtpress 2013) and 'Sheffield: Tinsley Viaduct' (Cafe Royal Books 2013).  Previous books include ‘Dark Days’ (Dewi Lewis Publishing 2007) documenting the impact of foot and mouth disease around his home in north Cumbria, and a twenty five year retrospective ‘Committed to Memory’ (Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery 2007),  ‘Legacy’ (Dewi Lewis 2001) an exploration of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, and ‘Jimmy Jock, Albert & the Six Sided Clock’ on the Port of Liverpool (Cornerhouse 1993).

His work has been exhibited, and published, widely both nationally and internationally, including numerous exhibitions in the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, the USA, (Houston Foto Fest, New York and San Francisco) Mexico, South America and the Canary Islands, and is featured in a number of important collections including the National Museum of Media/Sun Life Collection, Bradford; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

In 2008 he gained his PhD for research into the visualisation of depression for his work entitled ‘A Black Dog Came Calling’. He is currently Reader in Photography at the University of Cumbria in Carlisle.

Qualifications and memberships


Academic and research interests

Ongoing developments and debates within contemporary photographic philosophies and practice.

Depiction of the post-industrial landscape. Depiction of mental health.

Environmental issues and how the individual can influence their surroundings. Most recently via projects featuring discarded dog poo bags and subsequently dog walkers.

Research supervision

Pat Walton - Chronic Pain & Photography


The Dark River. Five volume box set of photographs based on the River Irwell. Cafe Royal Books(CRB books)

Sheffield: In Transition. CRB Books

Things Seen Whilst Wandering Around Attercliffe. CRB Books

Meadowhall. CRB books

Forth Estuary. CRB books

Some Buildings in the Don Valley. CRB books

Photographers and Research. Read.S, Simmons. M. Routledge

Expanding Ecocritism. Manchester University Press

After Schwitters. Tracing the echoes of the German artist Kurt Schwitters across Europe from Hannover to Norway to the Isle of Man and Ambleside.

1000 Yards; Or So. Tracing the course of the River Petteril as it borders Carlisle.

DDSB's. On the phenomenon of the discarded dog poo bag.

The Mail Keeps Coming. Looking at the demise of the high street shop.

An Allotted Space. Ongoing project exploring allotment gardens in the UK and internationally.

The Mail Keeps Coming. Published as photo essay in The International Journal of Epidemiology (Oxford Press). October 2012. Exhibition 'DDSB's' Format Festival, Derby, 2011.

Committed to Memory. Tullie House Publications 2007

Dark Days. Dewi Lewis Publications. 2007

Legacy. Inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Dewi Lewis Publications 2001

Jimmy Jock, Albert & the Six-Sided Clock. Cornerhouse Publications.

Working Lives. Stockport Art Gallery.

The Dig Ditch. Countryside Publications.

Recent external roles

External Examiner University of Ulster

External Examiner University of Chester

Visiting lecturer/speaker both nationally and internationally inc recently Helsinki Photomedia Conference and Sheffield Hallam Northern Narratives conference.