Dawn Woolley is an artist. She is a research fellow at Leeds Arts University where she co-convenes the Thing Power Research group, and Honorary Research Fellow, Faculty Research Centre Business in Society, Coventry University. She completed an MA in Photography (2008) and PhD by project in Fine Art (2017) at the Royal College of Art. In 2017 Woolley's photograph The Substitute (holiday) was designated the world's best selfie by GQ magazine, after winning Saatchi gallery's from selfie to self-expression competition.

Woolley’s research examines contemporary consumerism and the commodified construction of gendered bodies, paying particular attention to the new mechanisms of interaction afforded by social networking sites. She examines the visual characteristics of different types of selfies posted using the hashtags #fitspiration, #thinspiration, #fatspiration, #bodypositivity, and #quantifiedself in order to understand what these types of self-representation communicate about adherence to and rejection of consumer culture ideals.

Artworks encompassing photography, performance, sculpture, painting, and video appropriate the visual language of popular and commercial culture to examine representations of gender. Woolley also creates public domain interventions in commercial advertising spaces in cities and in virtual ones on online social networking sites. Her solo exhibition Consumed: Stilled Lives (currently on display in Perth Centre for Photography, Australia) examines the contradictory imperatives characteristic of food advertising: to indulge to excess and show restraint. Professor Mark Durden describes the exhibition as ‘an adroit reprisal of the still life genre’ that ‘never seeks to speak from outside, but she often uses the vibrant, ersatz and often sweet forms of consumer culture, to mess with and spoil consumerist modes of address. The result is an unpalatable, abrasive, discordant, comic and violent art that alerts us to the fundamental contradictions and hypocrisies, as well as the obsessions and indulgencies, of our present culture’ (Consumed: Still Lives Exhibition Catalogue, p.31 & p. 34). Art works can be viewed at www.dawnwoolley.com or instagram.com/dawncwoolley.

In 2017 Woolley began a collaborative project - Hard Stop - with American artist Davin Watne. instagram.com/hard_stop

At Leeds Arts University, Dawn contributes to the institution’s research strategy and mentors research-active staff.

Articles

Broadhead, S., Bale, I., Case, K., Hussain, M., and Woolley, D. (2020) ‘Exploring the black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) student experience using a Community of Inquiry approach’, Journal of Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 22(1), pp. 112-131.

Woolley, D. (2018) ‘Critical Clickbait: Artist Interventions in Commercial Visual Culture’, InMedia: The French Journal of Media Studies, 7(1).

Woolley, D. (2017) ‘Aberrant consumers: Selfies and fat admiration websites’, Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal or Body Weight and Society, 6 (2), pp. 206-222.

Book Sections

Woolley, D. (2020) The Dissecting Gaze: Fashioned Bodies on Social Networking Sites. In: M. Laign and J. Wilson, eds., Revisiting the Gaze: Feminism, Fashion and the Female Body. I B Tauris.

Woolley, D. (2019) The Iconography of Disruptive Bodies: Social Media and Medical Identities. In: J. Melkumova and H. Muzaffar, eds., Bodies in flux: embodiments at the end of anthropocentrism. Leiden: Brill Publishing.

Book Review

Woolley, D. (2017) Review of ‘Mass Photography: Collective Histories of Everyday Life’ By Annebella Pollen, London: I B Tauris. Photography and Culture, 10 (3).

Monograph

Woolley, D. (2022) Consuming the Body: Capitalism, Social Media and Commodification. I B Tauris. Forthcoming.

Exhibition Catalogue Essays

Moore, J., and Woolley, D. (2011) Virtually Real. University of Leeds Press. Exhibition held at The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, University of Leeds. 28 February – 21 May 2011.

Woolley, D. (2010) Visual Pleasure: photography, illusion and the desire to be deceived. Ffotogallery, Cardiff.

Moore, J. and Woolley, D. (2006), Making Love to my Ego. Manchester: Cornerhouse Publishing. Exhibition held at Castlefield Gallery. 11 August – 24 September 2006.

Exhibitions

Group Exhibition. Woolley, D. (2021) Imagining Histories, Oriel y Bont, University of South Wales, Pontypridd, 1 November – 17 December 2021.

Woolley, D. (2021) Consumed: Stilled Lives, Perth Centre for Photography, Australia, 19 February – 3 April 2021.

Group Exhibition. Woolley, D. (2021) “Does GENDER really matter?”, galleria VisioniI Altre, Venice, Italy, 16 - 30 January 2021.

Group Exhibition. Woolley, D. and Watne, D. (2021) Ways of Protest, Elysium Gallery, Swansea, 28 November 2020 – 23 January 2021.

Woolley, D. and Watne, D. (2020) Dance for Good & Exercise Your Rights, solo exhibition of Hard Stop collaborative works, Public Space One gallery, Iowa City, 2 October – 4 November 2020.

Group Exhibition. Woolley, D. (2020) Beauty / ?, K.L.8 Project Space, Brussels, July 2020 (The Substitute (Holiday)), 2020.

Group Exhibition. Woolley, D. (2019) The Arcades Project, Duke Street Arcade, Cardiff, 13 November - 6 December 2019.

Woolley, D. (2019) Consumed: stilled lives. Blenheim Walk Gallery, Leeds Arts University, Leeds. 12 July – 22 August 2019.

Woolley, D. (2019) Modern nature building wrap. The Hepworth, Wakefield.

Group Exhibition. (2019) Swap Editions: BREX-Kit. Creekside Projects, London. 21 March – 24 March 2019.

Woolley, D. and Watne, D. (2018) Dreamers. The Wassaic Project, Wassaic, New York. 22 December – 29 December 2018.

Woolley, D. and Craddock, J. (2018) On Show. Curator’s Choice, Leeds Arts University, Leeds. 1 November – 31 December 2018.

Woolley, D and Herrington, K. (2018) Still Life: Things Devouring Time. The Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery, The University of Leeds. 21 November 2018 – 23 March 2019.

Woolley, D. (2018) Consumed: Stilled Lives. Blyth Gallery, London. 26 September – 2 November 2018.

Woolley, D. and Watne, D. (2018) Freedomination. 35 Chapel Walk, Sheffield. 1 March – 15 March 2018.

Woolley, D. (2018) Consumed: Stilled Lives. Ffotogallery, Cardiff. 13 January – 3 February 2018.

Woolley, D. (2017) Consumed: Stilled Lives. Ruskin Gallery, Cambridge. 21 September – 14 October 2017.

Group Exhibition. (2017) ‘The Substitute (holiday)’ in From Selfie to Self Expression. Saatchi Gallery, London. March – September 2017.

Group Exhibition. (2017) ‘The Substitute, Visual Pleasure and Interloper series’ in Self/Selfie. Ballarat International Photography Festival, Australia. 19 August – 17 September 2017.

Group Exhibition. (2017) ‘The Substituted, Visual Pleasure and Interloper series’ in “Le Féminin” Circulation(s). Voies Off, Arles, France. July 2017.

Woolley, D. (2016) Consumed: Stilled Lives. Dyson Gallery, London. 14 December – 18 December 2016.

Woolley, D. (2016) Consumer Poster Project. Various Locations in Cardiff and London. 7 November 2014 – 18 December 2016.

Group Exhibition. (2014) ‘Cut to the Measure of Desire’ installation in All Coherence Gone?. BayArts, Cardiff. 23 September -17 October 2014. Curated by Frances Woodley.

Group Exhibition. (2014) ‘The Dolls House’ series in Basically. Forever. Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. 9 August – 24 August 2014.

Group Exhibition. (2014) ‘The Substitute’ in Recollection. Ruimte Morguen Gallery, Antwerp. 14 March – 3 May 2014.

Woolley, D. (2013) Visual Pleasure. Hippolyte Photography Gallery, Helsinki. 4 July – 2 August 2013.

Group Exhibition. (2013) Wild Oats. Milkwood Art Gallery, Cardiff. 4 May – 18 May 2013.

Woolley, D. (2013) ‘The Substitute, Visual Pleasure and Interloper’ series in Wasteland. Greenlease Gallery, Kansas City.

Group Exhibition. (2013) ‘The Substitute’ series in Look Attractive. UMKC Gallery of Art, Kansas City. November 8 2012 – January 14 2013.

Woolley, D. (2012) Short Lived Pleasure. Bloc Projects, Sheffield. September – October 2012.

Woolley, D. (2012) Visual Pleasure. Vilniaus Fotografijos Galerija, Lithuania. July – August 2012.

Group Exhibition. (2011) ‘The Doll’s House’ series in Worldwide @ Young Portfolio. Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, Yamanshi, Japan. 22 October 2011 – 29 January 2012.

Woolley, D. (2011) Visual Pleasure. Ffotogallery, Cardiff. 21 July – 6 August 2011.

Group Exhibition. (2011) ‘Cut the Measure of Desire’ video in Objects of Desire. Freud Museum, London.

Group Exhibition. (2011) ‘The Substitute’ series in Time After. MCK Gallery, Split, Croatia.

Group Exhibition. (2011) ‘The Substitute’ series in Expo et Reflexions ser les Stereotypes Sexistes. College de Bourg Mestre et Echevins de Schaerbeek, Brussels.

Woolley, D. (2010) The Substitute. Murray Edwards College, Cambridge University. February – April 2010.

Group Exhibition. (2010) ‘The Substitute’ series in My World: Visions of 21st Century Feminism. European Women’s Lobby, Brussels.

Group Exhibition (2009) ‘Interloper video’ in Cream International Festival for Arts and Media. Tokyo University of the Arts, Yokohama, Japan. 31 October – 29 November 2009.

Group Exhibition (2009) ‘Interloper video’ in Abandon Normal Devices Festival. Fact Centre, Liverpool. 23 September – 27 September 2009.

Group Exhibition (2009) ‘Interloper video’ in Evolution Media Arts Festival. Hyde Park Picture House and Burton Art Gallery, Leeds.

Group Exhibition. (2009) ‘The Substitute’ series in The Human Canvas. The Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA.

Group Exhibition. (2009) ‘The Substitute’ series in Transfixed Motion/Transitory Still. Sheffield Hallam University. 3 April – 18 April 2009.

Group Exhibition. (2009) ‘Interloper video’ in Art vs. Film. University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA.

Woolley, D. (2006) The Other Woman. The Lighthouse, Wolverhampton. February – April 2006.

Curatorial Projects

Woolley, D. and McAra, C. (2021) Curative Things advertising poster commissions, Various locations, Leeds, Supported by Leeds Arts University, February 2021. 

Consumer with Peter Kennard, David Watne and Ellie Harrison. (2015) Commercial advertising spaces, Cardiff. March – May 2015.

Create, Observe, Perform, [Video exhibition]. (2012) Alkovi Gallery, Helsinki. October – December 2012. Funded by The Arts Council of Helsinki. (Co-curated with James Moore).

Virtually Real, [Group show – touring]. (2010-2011) Blyth Gallery, London and Burton Gallery, Leeds. 24 November – 17 December 2010 and 28 February – 21 May 2011. (Co-curated with James Moore).

Failure/Success. (2009) Tactile Bosch Gallery, Cardiff. July 18th – August 15th 2009. (RCA Photography graduates).

Making Love to My Ego Group Show [publication]. (2007) Castlefield Gallery, Manchester. Funded by the Arts Council of England (NW), The Royal Netherlands Cultural Attache and Castlefield Gallery. (Co-curated with James Moore).

Another Product @ Cornerhouse [Group Installation]. (2006) Cornerhouse Art Centre. January – April 2006. (Co-curated with James Moore).

Performances

Woolley, D. (2019) ‘The Mystical Scientist: In Search for the Fountain of Youth’ performance paper, Creative Research Methods in Ageing Studies Symposium, Centre for Women, Ageing and Media, University of Gloucester, 24 July 2019.

Woolley, D. (2018) ‘The Mystical Scientist: In Search for the Fountain of Youth’, performance paper. Performance and Public Engagement conference. The Hepworth Art Gallery, Wakefield 15 March 2018.

Woolley, D. and Watne, D. (2018) Freedomination Soapbox Performance (with Davin Watne), Fighting Talk: Feminist Art, Group exhibition, Shefest, 35 Chapel Walk, Sheffield. 1 March – 15 March 2018. Performance 6 March 2018.

Woolley, D. (2017) Plenary paper: ‘Selfie Vanitas’, performance Paper, Talking Bodies conference, University of Chester, 21 April 2017.

Woolley, D. and Watne, D. (2017) Freedomination billboard and soapbox performance.

Woolley, D. (2015) Hysterical Selfies and Docile Bodies. Experimentica International Performance Art Festival, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff. October 2015.

Woolley, D. (2012) Short Lived Pleasure. Bloc Projects, Sheffield. September 2012.

Woolley, D. (2012) Short Lived Pleasure. Vilniaus Fotografijos Galerija, Lithuania. June 2012.

Woolley, D. (2011) Foolish Passion. Portmanteau, Halle14, Spinnerei, Leipzig. May 2011. Commissioned by G39, Cardiff.

Woolley, D. (2010) Cut to the Measure of Desire. Park Conservative Club, Cardiff. April 2010.

Conferences, Talks & Presentations

Woolley, D. Artist Talk, Contemporary Arts Society for Wales, 19 October 2021.

Woolley, D. Artist Talk, Inside Out Symposium, The Royal Photographic Society, Bristol, November 2019.

Woolley, D. and Worth, Z. ‘God-shaped hole’, DigitalPaintingPhotography symposium, University of Derby, 21-22 October 2021.

Luger, J. and Woolley, D. ‘The Deviant Leisure of Gym Bodies, Militaritarized Branding and Fascistic Creeps’ in collaboration with Jason Luger (University of Northumbria), Masculinity in Times of Change symposium, Masculinity, Sex and Popular Culture Research Network in collaboration with Men in Movement V: Masculinities and Feasible Futures, Monday 20th to Wednesday 22nd September 2021.

Davidson, A. and Woolley, D. ‘Bois of Isolation – queering gender binaries in the confines of pandemic workshop’, Interactive Digital Poster, in collaboration with AC Davidson (University of Huddersfield), Queer Representation: Pasts, Presents, Futures conference, The Institute for Advances Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, 11–14 May 2021.

Davidson, A. and Woolley, D. ‘Bois of Isolation – queering gender binaries in the confines of pandemic workshop’, in collaboration with AC Davidson (University of Huddersfield), Society of Artistic Research Conference, Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, 7–9 March 2021.

Davidson, A. and Woolley, D. ‘Bois of Isolation – queering gender binaries in the confines of pandemic’, in collaboration with AC Davidson (University of Huddersfield), Reclaiming Futures – Gender Studies Conference 2020 Tampere University, 12–13 November 2020.

Davidson, A. and Woolley, D. ‘Bois of Isolation – queering gender binaries in the confines of pandemic’, in collaboration with AC Davidson (University of Huddersfield), The International Conference on Arts, Culture and Education 2020, Sichuan Fine Arts Institute 27­–29 November 2020.

Woolley, D. ‘Neoliberal Subjectivities, The Quantified Self, and Fat Male Bodies’, Viral Masculinities, University of Exeter, September 2020.

Woolley, D. and Worth, Z. ‘The Politics of Food Culture on Instagram’, Island Dynamics Research Group, Copenhagen, November 2019.

Woolley, D. and Worth, Z. ‘The Politics of Food on Instagram’, Visual Intersections 4 Workshop of the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture, University of Durham, July 2019.

Woolley, D. and Worth, Z. ‘[Im]moral and [Im]famous: Food, morality and celebrity of Instagram’, New Reflections on fashioning Identities: Lifestyle, Emotions and Celebrity Culture, University of Roehampton, June 2019.

Woolley, D. ‘Aberrant Consumers: Eating Disorders and Anti-Capitalist Identities’, VII Congresso Associação Portuguesa de Antropologia, Lisbon, June 2019.

Herrington, K., Woolley, D., Velis, C., Hooper, S. and McCarthy, C. ‘Still-Life, Vanitas and Commodity Culture’, Still Life: Things Devouring Time symposium, in conversation and panel discussion, February 2019.

Woolley, D. ‘Aberrant Consumers: Eating Disorders and Anti-Capitalist Identities’, The Body Productive: Capitalism, Work and the Body, Birkbeck, University of London, December 2018.

Woolley, D. Still Life, Vanitas and Commodity Culture. Expanding Communities of Sustainable Practice Symposium, Leeds Arts University. 16 November 2018.

Woolley, D. In Conversation with David Drake, Gallery Director. Ffotogallery, Cardiff. January 2018.

Woolley, D. ‘The Dissecting Gaze of the “Cutting Scalpel Eye”: Fashioned Bodies on Social Networking Sites’, The Gaze Revisited: Feminism, Fashion and the Female Body Conference. Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London. June 2017.

Woolley, D. ‘Selfies, Attention Economy Workers and a Dissecting Way of Seeing’, Ways of Machine Seeing Conference.

Woolley, D. ‘Selfie Vanitas Performance’, Talking Bodies Conference. University of Chester. April 2017.

Woolley, D. ‘Hysterical Selfies and the Commercial Construction of Identity on Social Networking Sites’, Visualizing Consumer Culture, Commodifying Visual Culture in the English-speaking World Conference. Sorbonne University, Paris. October 2016.

Woolley, D. ‘Selfies: Still Life or Nature Morte’, (Dis)Connected Forms: Narratives on the Fractured Self Conference. Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation, University of Hull. September 2016.

Woolley, D. ‘Hysterical Selfies and the Commercial Construction of Identity on Social Networking Sites’, The Seventh International Conference of Image. John Moore University, Liverpool. June 2016.

Woolley, D. ‘Hysterical Selfies’, “Let’s Hear it for the Girls”: Girlhood, Media and Popular Culture 1990-Present. University of Warwick. March 2016.

Woolley, D. ‘Aberrant Consumers’, The Body’s Transformations Conference. The Body Horror Project, Inter-Disciplinary.Net, Mansfield College, Oxford University. August 2015.

Woolley, D. ‘The Iconography of Social Media’, Twenty First Century Photography: Art, Philosophy, Technique Conference. Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. June 2015.

Woolley, D. ‘Disruptive Bodies’, Femininities, Masculinities and the Posthuman Conference. The Femininities and Masculinities Project, Inter-disciplinary.Net., Dubrovnik, Croatia. April 2015.

Woolley, D. ‘Bodies that Shout’, Talking Bodies: Identity Sexuality and Representation Conference. University of Chester. April 2015.

Woolley, D. ‘Commodity-Body-Fetish’ and panel discussion with Esther Teichmann and Alison Bancroft’, Surface and Boundaries: The Legacy of Guy Bourdin event. Somerset House, London. March 2015.

Woolley, D. Curb Your Enthusiasm: Art, Philosophy and Censorship, in conversation with Professor Stephen Mumford, Philosopher, University of Nottingham. Nottingham Contemporary Art Gallery. November 2014.

Woolley, D. In Conversation with Dr Paul Cabuts, Photographer and Head of Photography, University of South Wales. Ffotogallery, Cardiff. October 2014.

Woolley, D. Food, Photography and the Eating Disordered Body. Eating Disorder and Neuropsychology Research Department, Kings College London. October 2014.

Wolley, D. ‘Spectacular Bodies in the Nineteenth Century’ [Talk and Exhibition], Gender, Generation and the Body Conference. West of England and South Wales Women’s History Network, Cardiff University. June 2014.

Woolley, D. ‘Food is Love Gallery’, Milkwood Gallery/Diffusion Photography Festival. Cardiff. May 2013.

Woolley, D. ‘The Pleasure of the Enigma’, Visual Pleasure, Photography and Performance Symposium. University of Newport. April 2012.

Woolley, D. In Conversation with Dr. Jo Longhurst, Artist and Leverhulme Fellow, European Centre for Photographic Research, University of Wales, Newport. Ffotogallery. June 2011.

Other

Woolley, D. and Worth, Z. (2019) ‘[Im]moral Food’, In Media Res [online].

Woolley, D. (2017) The Commands of the Sadistic Capitalist. May 2017.

Woolley, D. (2015) Wishbook. Site specific Instagram project. Ongoing.

Woolley, D. (2015) 12 Days Infomercials. Site specific Facebook project. December 2015 – January 2016.