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Mr Paul Dolan

Senior Lecturer – Animation

Department: Arts

I graduated from Northumbria University with a 1st in Media Production in 2004, specialising in animation. I then completed a PGCE in Art and Design. Since then my career has symbiotically involved art and education. Early in my career I worked as an art teacher and started one of the only GCSE level animation qualifications in the region. I worked for Creative Partnerships, project managing animation and new media-based projects in schools in the region. In 2009 I became a Teaching Fellow in Educational Technology at Newcastle University and worked with Sugata Mitra researching Self Organised Learning Environments and digital tabletops. In parallel with my career in education, I worked as an animator since graduation, in commercial and artistic contexts. More recently I have begun to exhibit my work in galleries and undertake commissions.


Describe your current teaching?

I teach 3D Games Design which involves building the inside of contemporary artist’s heads inside a game engine. I teach Compositing for Animation, which aims to help students improve their 2D and 3D animation practice by merging visual elements from different sources.  I support the final year undergraduates with their final project across two modules. I also teach on the Experimental Animation 1 module alongside Hugo Glover at MA level.


Describe your research and practice?

I am currently finishing a practice-based PhD that explores changing notions of materiality within computer simulation-related contemporary art. I am interested in the materiality of media and how it relates to ideas of the natural and environment. My research incorporates theory from contemporary art, new media art, post-photography, software studies and videogame theory.


Why are you interested in animation?

I like the hybridity and flux of animation. It’s constantly changing and elusive. It’s the perfect field to work in if you like moving image and thinking about visual culture.


What advice would you give to someone who wanted to study animation?

Get stuck in with the tools you have available. Don’t wait until you have a better computer, software or camera. Ideas are what make animation interesting so take an interest in the world. Read books, watch films, listen to music, draw, take photographs as well as make animation.


What are you currently making / reading / breaking?

Making - A computer simulation of a silicon mine / A recording studio / Earl Grey tea

Reading – A Geology of Media by Jussi Parikka and Screen Ecologies: Art, Media and the Environment in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Breaking- Software 


BA(Hns) in Media Production – 1st PGCE Art and Design PhD (in progress)

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

Paul is currently undertaking a PhD exploring computer simulations as fine-art practice and continues to make and exhibit work alongside teaching on the Animation BA (Hons) programme. Research themes include simulation theory, new media art, virtual environments and software tools. 

Professional Activity

An overview of the modules I currently teach on:

MI4013 Introduction to Motion Graphics

DE1212 Motion Graphics

DE1168 3D Games Design

DE1167 VFX

DE0996 Final Project: Research and Development

De1002 Final Project: Production and Realisation 


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