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Rachel Johnston

Senior Lecturer | +44 (0)1243 816261

Rachel Johnston

Senior Lecturer (part time)

BA Hons Fine Art, Norwich School of Art

MA Fine Art, Royal College of Art

Rachel teaches across undergraduate and postgraduate modules. She has special responsibility for Fine Art external projects – working to build links with local organizations and setting up projects for Fine Art students. Her research includes residencies and commission with an ongoing focus on ‘Arts in Health’.

Visit Rachel's research page for more information.

Academic Roles:

  • Teaching across contextual and studio modules at undergraduate and postgraduate level
  • Level 5 External Projects Coordinator

Specialist Areas :

  • Textiles
  • Mixed Media
  • Vocational development
  • Critical and Contextual Study


Tel: (01243) 816 261

Visit Rachel's website here.




2012  ‘One Kilogramme of Red Wool’, Gallery Art Space, Portsmouth

2001 ‘Journey’.  Hall Place, Bexley, Kent

2013 ‘Liminal’, Fine Art staff show at the Otter Gallery, University of Chichester

2011 National Trust: Mottisfont House, Romsey. Open exhibition

2008-09  ‘Unpacking the Past’, Central Gallery, City of Portsmouth Museum and Records Office & then at  Portsea Library, John Pounds Community Centre, Portsmouth

2007 ‘Techne’, Otter Gallery, University of Chichester.  ‘Fresh Air’, The Quenington Sculpture Trust, Gloucs, with Emily Lawlor.

2005  ‘England Expects’, City Museum, Portsmouth.

2004  Staff show, Otter Gallery, University College Chichester

2002  ‘Land’.  Artsway, Sway, Hampshire.  ‘Latitude’.  Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

2001  ‘Key Works’.  City Museum, Portsmouth.  Interpreting the Museum collection.  ‘2001 An Odyssey’, Minories Gallery Colchester. Essex Millennium Project.  ‘Fleeting Visions’, Dover Museum, Kent.  Mappa, ‘Maps for Life’ final exhibition.

2000  ‘Body Language’.  Trinity Arts Centre, Tunbridge Wells.

1999  Ione Gallery, Bepton, West Sussex.  ‘Vessel’, Hamphire Sculpture Trust at Portsmouth Cathedral.  ‘Artists in Architecture’, a travelling exhibition to Essex libraries.  ‘Shift 2’, Hampshire Sculpture Trust, Winchester.

1998  ‘Shift’, curated by Michael Kenny, Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth.


NAFAE: National Association of Fine Art Educators

Member and studio holder at Art Space Portsmouth

2013   Chichester Festival Theatre ‘Pass It On’ project

2003-06  ‘Pallant House Gallery Community Artwork’ 

2005-06  Project Evaluator ‘Identity’ project, Friendship Centre, Portsmouth  Member of Steering Group and project evaluator for ‘Identity’ project (Art Projects for Asylum Seekers and Refugees).



2014  ‘Narrative Cloth’, with Danae Tankard, University of Chichester.  Research and Scholarship Conference 2014.  ‘Fine Art External Projects’, NAFAE conference, ‘45 Years of Fine Art Education: drawing the line?’, The Swedenborg Society, London

2013  ‘Fine Art External Projects’, presentation at University of Chichester Learning and Teaching conference.  ‘One Kilogramme of Red Wool’, exploring the relationship between studio practice and socially engaged art work, presentation at University of Chichester Research and Scholarship Conference.   ‘Making Stories’, presentation of paper at Plymouth College of Art ‘Making Futures’ conference.  ‘Fine Art External Projects’, NAFAE conference London

2012 ‘The Art of Community Engagement’ GUILDHE conference, Coin Street Community Centre, London.  ‘The Art of Community Engagement’ at University of Chichester Research and Scholarship Conference

2011  ‘Fine Art Beyond the Studio’ at University of Chichester Research and Scholarship Conference


2014  ‘Making Stories’, published in Plymouth College of Art e-journal ‘Making Futures 3’

2008  Johnston, Lawlor and Neville  ‘Unpacking the Past’ (ISBN978-0-9542216-6-9) brought together stories and images from the project. 


Rachel’s research consists of two distinct, but related, strands.  Her studio based work involves an intense focus on material and process, making textile-based sculptural pieces in relation to specific places. Rachel’s exhibited One Kilogramme of Red Wool at Mottisfont House (2011) and GASP, Portsmouth in (2012), she also exhibited new work in Liminal at the Otter Gallery in 2013.

The themes of place and narrative which arise from this work are also central to the socially engaged art projects that Rachel has been involved in over many years.  Working collaboratively with other artists and community groups, she explores the relationship between image-making and real world experience as a starting point in understanding personal history.

Most recently through 2014-15, Rachel has been working as lead artist with the Pallant House Gallery Creative Team on the Graylingwell Heritage Project, a community arts and heritage project funded by HLF. A partnership of organisations has worked together to explore the cultural and social history of the former Victorian asylum in Chichester and to reflect the experiences of current patients and those in the community who are living with mental health difficulties. Exhibitions at The University of Chichester’s Otter Gallery and ‘Case Study 2’ and ‘Therapeutic Endeavours?’ at Pallant House Gallery showed work generated during the project, accompanied by a number of talks from the team and an illustrated booklet ‘Under the Water Tower’.

In 2013 she worked with Chichester Festival Theatre and local community organization PACSO to produce artwork for hoardings during the redevelopment of the theatre.

Since 2008 Rachel has worked with partner organisations to set up a range of external projects for Fine Art students at the University of Chichester. She is now engaged in creating research outcomes from this work focusing particularly on the meaning and value of making in a socially engaged art context. During 2014- 2015 Rachel has worked with Laura Kidner from the Otter Gallery to support a Graduate On project, with a focus on arts, mental health and wellbeing. Collaborating with Coastal West Sussex Mind, the project ‘Art in Mind’ has concluded with an exhibition of participants’ work.  The project was supported with funds from RFF.

‘Narrative Cloth’ is a project in which Rachel has used a variety of approaches based on textile techniques to interpret research by historian Danae Tankard. Based at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, Danae’s research focusses on the clothing of the 17th century rural poor. Working with Fine Art colleagues Shirley Chubb and Vicki Brown an exhibition of the work produced is being held at the Museum in September 2015. Supported with RFF funding from the University of Chichester.

Rachel is a member and studio holder at Art Space Portsmouth, participating in community events and Open Studio days.

Please visit Rachel's research page for more information.

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