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Alexa de Ferranti

Associate Lecturer

Faculty of Creative Industries, Architecture and Engineering


Alexa de Ferranti is an associate lecturer on the BA (Hons) Fine Art studio units at Solent University and is the level 2 leader. After a BA in Japanese studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) she went on to complete her fine art degree at Goldsmiths College.

Alexa has exhibited her work in the UK and in New York, Tokyo and Kyoto.

She currently lives and works at Lower Hewood Farm, a small-holding producing meat, vegetables and preserves for sale locally. An ongoing programme of arts-related events, projects and artist residencies take place in parallel with the everyday functioning of the farm which is run by a team of people with backgrounds in farming and the arts. Lower Hewood Farm is open to visitors on Thursdays via the farm kiosk or The Survival Library, a collection of material relating to art, philosophy and farming.

Alexa de Ferranti is part of Peacock Projects, an artist-run studio and project space in Pullens Yard, Elephant & Castle, London, alongside Julie Clarke and Emma Tod.

Taught courses

Further information


Industry experience

Solo exhibitions

October (2008). 'LOVE AND THE DSM IV' 
- digital projections with music composed and performed by Sarah Sarhandi - Peacock Projects, Pullen’s Yard, London.

March (2008). 'The Encyclopedia of Insanity', Five Year Gallery, Luton.

September (2003) 'Transformation', Fukugan Gallery, Osaka (with Rieko Akatsuka).

Selected group exhibitions

May (2014) Farm Open, Lower Hewood Farm, Dorset.

July (2013) Playback, Southampton Solent University staff group show at Peacock Projects, Pullen’s Yard, London.

July (2009) R.I.P. 19 April 2009, Artists respond to J.G. Ballard's work, , Artists respond to J.G. Ballard's work, Peacock Projects, London (curated by Iben la Cour).

November (2004) Take One: Kaleidoscope, Royal Festival Hall installation with Hayward Gallery Education Department.

July (2004) Tempered Ground, The Museum of Garden History (diascope project in collaboration with Paul Farnell, Head Gardener at Waddesdon Manor) curated by Danielle Arnaud Gallery, London.

November (2003) Kaleidoscope, The Project Space, Firstsite Arts Centre, The Minories, Colchester.

October (2003) 'The Entangled Eye', Gallery Speak For, Tokyo, funded by The British Council.

May (2003) 'The Entangled Eye', Danielle Arnaud Gallery, London (collaboration with Rieko Akatsuka) catalogue essay by Simon Grant.

March (2002) 'To Restore Silence is the Role of Objects', Plus Ultra Gallery, NYC (with Sara MacKillop).

Teaching experience

September 2006 – 2008. BA (Hons) Fine Art – University of Hertfordshire, visiting lecturer.

September 2004 - 2006. foundation course – University of Hertfordshire, visiting lecturer.

Research interests

Since 2006, Alexa de Ferranti has been creating a visual companion to The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders (DSM IV and V). Informed by personal experience, the approximately 150 works on paper are an attempt to explore and mediate the implications of clinical language in relation to the mind and imagination. They form part of an ongoing body of work.

The drawings are made predominantly with ink, pencil and pen on paper, sometimes using collage, cut-outs and stencils.

The first edition of the DSM, published in 1952, contained diagnostic criteria for 106 mental disorders and evolved from collecting census and psychiatric hospital statistics and from a US Army manual. Recently published in its fifth edition and containing over 300 disorders, the DSM is one of the most frequently used and cited clinical reference manuals for mental health professionals worldwide.

Alexa de Ferranti is director of Lower Hewood Farm, a 45 acre certified organic small-holding producing meat, vegetables and fruit for sale locally and for the farm’s permanent residents and visitors. A residency program and programme of events for artists, writers, researchers, farmers, and members of the public interested in exploring the relationship between farming and the wider culture. Lower Hewood Farm is accessible to the public every Thursday via the farm kiosk and The Survival Library, The Survival Library, a project developed by Standart Thinking contains material ranging from historical agriculture textbooks, to psychoanalysis, to artists books. The library is open to the public every Thursday afternoon or by appointment.

Alexa de Ferranti is a member of Playback (Research Environment) – consisting of members of the Solent BA (Hons) Fine Art staff team who meet regularly throughout the year to discuss aspects of practice and the institutional experience. The term ‘playback’ came from discussions around the feedback loop of teaching and pedagogy, by inverting the usual student-tutor roles in order to explore the notion that for all of us, learning is an integral part of creative practice. As tutors we encourage risk-taking, experimentation, vulnerability and playfulness, to celebrate failure as an integral part of process, and to expand definitions of work and play – and as artists, we aim to put ourselves in the position we ask of our students.

Playback will act in part as an arena for discussion about Fine Art education and our place within it, drawing attention to the diversity of disciplines practiced by the team, and the variety of ways in which such work intersects with wider contemporary practice. As well as being a platform for staff development, the show aims to ignite interest in the Fine Art course and more generally in Southampton Solent University as a centre for creative enterprise and originality.

Playbackprojects on Tumblr

Alexa de Ferranti is a founder member of Peacock Projects, an artist-run studio and project space at Pullen’s Yard, a group of Victorian live-work yards in Elephant and Castle in London, along with Jules Clarke, Iben la Cour, Dafna Talmor and Emma Tod. We curate group shows, host talks and workshops and take part in the Pullen’s Yard Open Studios events twice a year.

Work in progress

- Lower Hewood Farm. - 'The Illustrated DSM V' - publication.