Dr Joe Sheehan


MA Animation - Course Leader

Dr Joe Sheehan is Postgraduate Course Leader on the MA Animation course. He completed his Ph.D. in Animation at The Arts University Bournemouth in 2016, having previously attained a BA in Fine Art at Hull School of Art and Design, and an MA in Animation at the AUB. Sheehan primarily uses stop-frame animation in his work, experimenting with narrative, documentary, and the boundaries between stillness and movement.

He has a wide background in teaching at HE, lecturing and supervising at undergraduate and postgraduate level in Animation, Fine Art, Film, Graphic Design, Creative Practice, and Animation. Practice-led research, thinking critically about ideas and processes, and pushing the boundaries of practice are central to his educational approach.

His PhD research and practice explored links between animation and Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology, arguing that the process of making stop-frame animation could be employed as a practical equivalent of Husserl’s theoretical exploration of consciousness. In this study, Sheehan performed a phenomenological examination of the stop-frame process itself, before using the medium to explore the relationship between objectivity and subjectivity in our lived experiences.

His current research and practice is concerned with screens, specifically, significant historical events as seen through screens; the mediating lens through which most of us, experience such events. Sheehan is examining wider cultural issues around screens and interactions with media – thinking about what is newsworthy, who has access to technology, and the significance of historical events. This work will employ combinations of animation, film, photography, time-lapse, AI, and 3D projection, to recreate key historical and cultural events as experienced through screens.

Key areas of practice and research:

  • Phenomenology – stop-frame process as a practical means to perform philosophical enquiry.

  • Ritual – relationships between animation and ritual practices.

  • Animated Documentary – how animation can be used to observe the world and explore real events and subjects.

  • Movement and stillness - questioning narrative, exploring what constitutes animation.


Sheehan’s work has been exhibited across the U.K. and Europe at: Gladstone Pottery Museum, SIA Gallery, Anifest - Puppets in British Animation in Teplice, Holland Animated Film Festival, Glimmer Film Festival, Compass Film Festival, and Mivart Gallery, amongst others.


His animation work has been included in publications such as:

Motion[less] Pictures. The Cinema of Stasis by Justin Remes.

The Crafty Animator. Handmade, Craft-Based Animation and Cultural Value edited By Caroline Ruddell and Paul Ward.

Sketching for Animation. Developing Ideas, Characters and Layouts in your Sketchbook by Peter Parr.

Making it (Un)Real: Contemporary Theories and Practices in Documentary Animation edited by Jeffrey Skoller.


He was awarded a RTS Undergraduate Award for Scenes of Intimate Life, and was selected as one of the most promising stop-frame animators in Britain at Anifest, Puppets in British Animation.

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