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Steve McDade

Senior Lecturer | +44 (0)1243 816240

MA Fine Art, UWIC Institute Cardiff

PGCE Leeds University

Dip AD Fine Art, Maidstone College of Art

Senior Lecturer in Fine Art: former Head of Department [retired]

He teaches across the spectrum of undergraduate and postgraduate modules with a particular interest in critical theory and its relation to studio based practice. Steve’s research encompasses a range of activities across different media with a particular focus on painting.

For more information on Steve’s research see below or visit

Academic Roles

  • Senior Lecturer
  • Co-ordination and teaching across contextual and studio modules at undergraduate and postgraduate level
  • Contextual Module Coordinator Levels 4 & 5
  • Member of the Academic Standards Committee

Specialist Areas:

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Personal Study
  • Contextual and Critical Theory of Art

External Examining:

2010-15  Leeds College of Art Fine Art (Open University)

2009-13  BA(Hons) Drawing For Fine Art Practice Swindon College  (Oxford Brookes University)

2008-11  BA(Hons) Drawing For Fine Art Practice, University of Bath   


The performance by Steve McDade, was part of a lecture programme for second year students.

The performance, whilst being an independent  free standing ‘event’, was also used as an introduction to the theoretical framework of ‘Abjection’ and was a ‘provocation’ to the students, presenting an unfamiliar approach to constructing studio-based work. The performance owed much to the work of other artists, particularly that of Stuart Brisley who was one of Steve’s former tutors in the 1970’s .

“The term abjection literally means ‘the state of being cast off’. The abject is a complex psychological, philosophical and linguistic concept developed by Julia Kristeva in her 1980 book Powers of Horror. She was partly influenced by the earlier ideas of the French writer, thinker and dissident surrealist, Georges Bataille. Kristeva herself commented: ‘refuse and corpses show me what I permanently thrust aside in order to live’. In practice the abject covers all the bodily functions, or aspects of the body, that are deemed impure or inappropriate for public display or discussion”.(Tate website)

The performance, in the research space of the Fine Art department, introduced the concept and was followed by a formal lecture on ‘shock and abjection’  in contemporary art and cultural practices.


Tel: 01243 816 240




2017 Between Things The Otter gallery UoC and ‘Between Words Symposium with Matthew Burrows Chris McHugh, Paul Housley, Anne Ryan, Georgia Hayes, Dan Howard-Birt,Daniel Crews-Chubb

2017 Performance ‘Abjection’ Art Research Space UoC

2015 ‘Permeable Edge’. The Otter Gallery, University of Chichester

‘Permeate’ Symposium With Matthew Burrows, Biggs and  Collings, Varda Caivano Phoebe Unwin, Nicholas Byrne, Phillip Allen, Ansel Krut, Vicken Parsons, Sam Windett

2014 Presentation for ‘Performing Space Conference’ organised by Vicky Hunter

2013  ‘Liminal’ The Otter Gallery, University of Chichester

2012  ‘The Margins of the Lane’ The Otter Gallery, University of Chichester

2011  ‘Entrance to a Lane’ The Otter Gallery

2008  ‘Interventions’ Worthing Museum and Art Gallery

2007  Drawing on Research. Otter Gallery

2006  ‘Moving House’ The Otter Gallery Chichester

2006  ‘The Art of Pattern’ Southampton City Gallery

2004  Chichester Open

2004  ‘Head board’ commission by ‘aSpace gallery’ for The Dolphin Hotel, Southampton

2003  ‘Land’ Artsway Gallery                           

2003  ‘Work from Words’ Beatrice Royal Gallery

2002  ‘Corridor’. Southampton City Gallery


2004- present Various improvisations and band gigs

2011  ‘Tectonic/House’ Performance, The Research Space University of Chichester

2004   Improvisation/Performance, Reeve Foot McDade, Soul Cellar, Southampton         

1999   ‘On The Corner’ with Dick Heckstall-Smith and Ed Jones, UK Tour including The Royal Festival Hall Foyer 


2004- 2017 Head of Department of Fine Art University of Chichester

2008- 2016 External Examiner Oxford Brookes for Swindon College, Bath University, Leeds College of Art. OU external panel for approvals and validations 2010-16

1993-15  National Association for Fine Art education NAFAE (member) 

1996-04  Millais Gallery Board                                                           

1987-90  SAAC Studios Cardiff                                                         

1982-87 Spacex Studios Exeter        


External Examiner for Bath University 2007 -2008

External Examiner for Oxford Brookes University 2008-211

External Examiner for Leeds College of Art 2011-2015

External Examiner for The Open University panel member for approvals and validation 2009-2016 (approving Plymouth College of Art Fine Art, Christies of London ‘Christies EDU’ MA provision of post-grad History of Art Masters provision across 5 separate programmes. 


Steve’s research focuses on the theme of ‘Displacement’ generating the production of diverse bodies of work ranging from painting to film and performance. Displacement encompasses physical properties and the materiality of paint, the interaction of immiscible liquids and of their distribution across surfaces. There is also an association with spatial and durational such as digital recorded (screen) versus ‘live’ performance, as well as that of socio-political issues in respect of forced movement and displacement across and between national borders.

Steve has work in public and private collections and has exhibited across the UK producing work that includes painting, live music, installation and video projection. His work has featured in an on-going series of research led exhibitions including: ‘Entrance to a Lane’: ‘Margins of the Lane’:  ‘Liminal’: ‘Permeable Edge’ and ‘Between Things’ at the University of Chichester. This work focused on painting’s relationship to borders and borderlands, edges and spaces to extend the historical genre of ‘landscape painting’ towards representations of the territory between urban and ‘natural’ spaces and in relation to the vitality of painting in maintaining its position within contemporary art practices. Central to articulating the currency of painting in 21st century were the Symposia that accompanied these exhibitions and which, as a panel member, Steve shared the platforms alongside Matthew Collings, Matthew Burrows, Sacha Craddock, Sarah Dwyer, Julian Bell and others. 

A Recent Performance ‘Abject’ was created to explore the interface between text and work. The 2010 performance piece ‘Techno/House’ centred on aspects of nomadic/refugee/place/space in the Research Space of the UoC Fine Art department and further extended the notion of ‘displacement’.

An earlier installation ‘Moving House’ 2008 explored the idea of interior space as a metaphor for psychological/emotional states and involved video, painting and sculptural installation. Research paper/presentation for the Performing Space 1 Conference organised by Dr Vicky Hunter 2014 discussed the role of ‘lived space’ as a generator of visual imagery and of paintings’ ability to act as a ‘presence’ and an ‘encounter’ following both Levinas’s and Lefebvre’s  propositions about ‘face to face’ alterity and performing space  

Alongside visual artwork he performs and tours as a drummer in improvisational and experimental sound and music collaborations with jazz groups 'On The Corner' with the late Dick Heckstall-Smith, Ed Jones and Rick Foot, playing the music of Charles Mingus.