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Sarah Filmer, Associate Lecturer, Fine Art

Sarah Filmer

Associate Lecturer

Faculty of Creative Industries, Architecture and Engineering


Sarah spent many years as a veterinary surgeon before giving in to the creative drive, and gaining her BA (Hons) Fine Art from Southampton Solent University, where she is now an associate lecturer on the fine art team.

A gentle revolutionary, working with death, knitting, the human-animal relationship, and feminist perspectives, Sarah works individually and collaboratively with video, photography, drawing, and yarn-based crafts. Her work has been shown and screened locally, nationally and internationally, with recent commissions for Mottisfont Abbey gardens, National Trust, and Lux13 Critical Forum.

Sarah co-founded unitllstudios, an artists’ collective in Southampton, in 2010, and ran it until the end of 2014, when she moved out of the studios to pursue new projects, including becoming involved in medical humanities, and development of a proposal to become artist in residence at a vet school.

Taught courses

Further information

Industry experience

Solo exhibition

September 2012 - Blue Jumper – Community knitting project with video, based in the Bargate Monument Gallery.


December (2014) - Mottisfont Abbey and gardens, National Trust: ‘snow geese’ ‘snowflakes’ and ‘icicles’ outdoor installations as part of the Nutcracker Trail.

September (2012) – art to dance, Southampton city art gallery.

February (2011) – film-maker, pal lab : movement and meaning.

Group exhibitions

November (2014) – ‘Lux13 Critical Forum’ with Lux 13 Critical Forum, Enclave, London.

(2014) – A series of group exhibitions at the Mettricks Tea and Coffee House, Southampton.

October (2013): Sluice Art Fair, London.

July (2013) – Playback, London.

November (2012) to December (2012) – Zap Open Exhibition, London.

August (2012) - Babel Fiche, Manchester.

October (2011) – Mestopolojenie – site-specific group installation, BMG.

September (2011) – Salisbury Animation Festival, Salisbury Arts Centre.

July (2011) – Hijacked, Soul Cellar, Southampton.

March (2011) – Hiding Guns in my Flip Flops, Harbour Lights Gallery.

September (2010) – Group exhibition, Firestation Arts Centre, Windsor.

July (2010) – Sorted exhibition, curated by Millais off-site projects.

July (2010) – Best Of, extension of fine art degree show, Southampton.

June (2010) – Context exhibition, context arts, Somerset UK.


May (2014) to December (2014) – touring screening event with Lux13 at Cinema 6, Arcadia Missa, London; Millenium Films, New York; Castlefield Gallery, Manchester; Laban Centre, London; Southampton film Week, Southampton.

Sep (2010) – Festival de Cine Internacional de Barcelona (international screening).

(2009) to (2012) - “Short Shorts” - Art in Unusual Spaces – Leeds; Venus rising, London; Faff Film Festival, Halifax; beginning, middle and end Bargate monument gallery; Southampton film week. (national screenings).

(2010) to (2012) – NEU/NOW online festival, international streaming festival, babel fiche (online screenings).

Community projects with unit11studios

2013/14 ‘space for discussion’ ongoing discursive/research project.

2011/13/14 ‘piece of your mind,’ ‘picturing the park noisy,’ ‘paint a meadow,’ ejector seat festival.

2011/12/13 ‘the pink hoarding,’ ‘the blue hoarding,’ ‘the ribbon people’.

Industry employment

February (2015) and ongoing – visiting tutor in medical humanities, University of Southampton, Medical School.

July (2011) and ongoing – associate lecturer in fine art at Solent University.

December (2010) - December (2014) – founder/administrator unit11studios

January (2012) to December (2012) – film-maker ‘art to dance’ project for Art Asia.

May (2011) to July (2011) – film-maker jhoom! school Bollywood dance project.

October (2010) – guest lecturer at Southampton Solent University.

August (2010): curator – beginning, middle, end - Southampton Film Week.

April (2010) to June (2010): student evaluator for the cultural Olympiad.

Teaching experience

Associate Lecturer at Solent University

  • BA (Hons) Fine Art 2011- present
  • MA Visual Communication 2015-6

Visiting Lecturer at University of Southampton

  • Experimental film module, Medical Humanities, BMBS

Research interests

Sarah considers her work on the conscious, objective-led and artist-led development of the art-working infrastructure existing for artists living and working in Southampton to be an element of her art practice. Working with artists and institutions in the city, and funded by Solent University, Arts Council England and aspace arts, Sarah is currently working on ‘GHT – a reincarnation’, a project she devised and designed.

She is exploring the role of a new arts and heritage centre in Southampton and how it provides meaningful engagement for the community it will serve. Eight local artists taking part in the project are concurrently investigating how group working can inform and enrich individual practice. Within this project, her own work is concerned with female representation in history, and our human relationship with other species, taking the building as a location of hidden interaction.

Research and enterprise activities

‘GHT – a reincarnation’: conference presentation; artist’s workshop series; series of exhibitions in GHT and elsewhere; participatory projects: ‘knit the walls’ and ‘700 women’; broad range of public engagement events and workshops (death chat café, yoga sessions, street dancing session, group knitting, etc). Body of own artistic work comprising participatory works, drawing, and video; embedding art practice in the fabric of GHT, the place, thereby contributing to aspace arts’ understanding of how the building might operate in the future.

‘700 women’: public engagement workshops; ‘stroppy women’ tour and talk; one day participatory event; zine; extensive documentary material for future exhibition and publication.

Recent publications

‘How Does the Group Function?’ Lux 13 Critical Forum, Camberwell Press, London 2014ISBN: 978-1-908971-94-4.

Self-published and produced zines: 'women scream' for International Women's Day 2015; 'home' with angela chicken; 700 Women, 2016.


Solent University R&I grant: 'how do group working methodologies inform and enrich individual practice?'

Arts Council England grants for the arts for 'GHT - a reincarnation'.

Arts Council England GFTA for '700 women'.

aspacearts talent development bursaries awarded May 2014 for:

  • Sarah Filmer – individual practice
  • unit11studios – ‘what does it mean to be an artist led organisation?’

Work in progress

In a co-mentoring relationship with artist Alys Scott-Hawkins, Sarah is developing a body of work over an extended period, in tandem with other investigative works relating to mothering two teenage boys.

By way of reflection on the endeavour and frustrations of nurture, Sarah is tatting bespoke jackets for every stone on Highcliffe Beach. In a co-mentoring relationship with artist Alys Scott-Hawkins, Sarah is developing a body of work over an extended period, in tandem with other investigative works relating to mothering two teenage boys.

Ongoing is the ‘blue jumper’ – a self-initiated, community knitting work involving over one thousand people knitting onto the same piece, which invites consideration of community, recovery, connection and inclusion, and the boundaries (imagined, imposed or otherwise) between art and craft.

Sarah is collaborating with poet Angela Louise Chicken, on visual presentations of poetry through book works and videopoetry. This work is underpinned by research into current tropes in moving image, investigated via the lux critical forum.

‘Playback’ is a joint project with other members of the fine art team – the first element of the project, realised in July 2013, is a group exhibition, with a publication and dialogue opportunities to follow: ‘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.