Dr. Damian Sutton

Professor of Photography Theory and Culture

Biography

At Coventry I lead research support and development in the School of Media and Performing Arts, working with researchers and research practitioners in media production, photography, theatre, music and dance. This includes developing research profiles and research grants, doctoral applications, and the supporting the staff to develop and enhance the research and practice they undertake in their duties at Coventry.

I learnt my trade in research development at Glasgow School of Art and Middlesex University, and have acted as a research application reviewer of photography, film and visual culture applications for the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK), the Australian Research Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. I sit on the editorial board of Film-Philosophy (OHP).  

Areas of expertise
  • Photography history and theory.
  • Art & design history and theory.
  • Film, cinema and television studies.
  • Visual Arts and philosophy.
  • Practice-led research.
  • Research support.
Qualifications
  • PhD (Cinema and Photography), University of Glasgow, 2002.
  • Film Studies MA, University of Southampton, 1997.
  • Media Studies BA (Hons), De Montfort University, 1993.
Research

Time and memory: My principle work has explored the potential for a new philosophy of time and memory in the photograph, based on the work of Gilles Deleuze and Henri Bergson. This work also followed the writing of Bruno Latour, Vilém Flusser and others in order to investigate memory in photography and new media. The research led my book Photography, Cinema, Memory (2009) and The State of the Real (2007, co-edited with Ray McKenzie and Susan Brind). 

Creativity in cinema production: After developing an undergraduate short course on cinema design, I began to explore creative decision-making in the film industry. This research focused on production design and design-led approaches to creative industry studies, which was funded by the AHRC to conduct a project – ‘Form Follows Fiction’ – on design decisions in 1930s Hollywood, specifically the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musical series. The research is influenced by Actor-Network theory and service design theory, and has led to publications and presentations in the US and the UK, including a contribution to Guy Julier and Liz Moor’s Design and Creativity: Policy, Management and Practice (2009), and in the Journal of Popular Film and Television (2015).

Photography – portraiture, authorship, process: After invitations to speak on philosophy and on photography practice, including The Athens Dialogues, I began to explore creative decision-making, tacit knowledge and authorship in photography practice and reception. This research is influenced by the writing of Alain Badiou, Bruno Latour and Nigel Thrift, and has engaged with both artistic and commercial practice. This has developed into twin projects – one looking at the masculinization of humanist photography, and another exploring our relationship to the photographic portrait before and after digital through the philosophy of Kant and Levinas.

Other writing: I have also written for scholarly texts, journals and magazines. This includes co-authoring the primer Deleuze Reframed with David Martin-Jones (Glasgow) as well as writing for Screen Methods (Wallflower, 2005), the encyclopedia Transatlantic Relations: France and the Americas, and the journals film-philosophy, Scope, Source, Visual Culture in Britain, and Screen. My research interests also include ethical consumption and popular culture, for which I received AHRC funding with my colleague Karen Wenell (Birmingham).

Recent outputs and publications

Books

  • Sutton, D. (2009) Photography, Cinema, Memory: The Crystal-image of Time. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. 

Turkish translation of chapter (2012) ‘ISTANBUL FOTOĞRAF ve SİNEMA AMATÖRLERİ DERNEĞİ’. [Photographic Memory, Photographic Time]. IFSAK Photography and Cinema Magazine. 

  • Sutton, D., and Martin-Jones, D. (2008) Deleuze Reframed: A Guide for the Arts Student. London: I. B. Tauris.

Turkish: 2015 - Kolektif Kitap Bilişim ve Tasarım, Turkey.
Farsi: 2016 - University of Isfahan, Iran.
Chinese: 2016 - Chong Qing University Press, China.

  • Sutton, D., Brind, S., and McKenzie, R. (eds.) (2007) The State of the Real: Aesthetics in the Digital Age. London: I. B. Tauris.

Articles and Chapters

  • Sutton, D. (2015) ‘“Let the dancefloor feel your leather”: set design, dance and the articulation of audiences in RKO Radio’s Astaire-Rogers series’. Journal of Popular Film and Television 43 (1), 2-13.
  • Sutton, D. (2012) ‘Philosophy, politics and homage in Wisit Sasanatieng’s Fa Thalai Jone (Tears of the Black Tiger)’ in Deleuze and Film. Ed. by Martin-Jones, D. and Brown, W. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 37-53.
  • Sutton, D. (2010) ‘Delay: Notes on Photography as Non-Representational Thinking’. in PhotoEspaña: Time Expanded. Ed. by Mah, S. Madrid: La Fabrica 

Finnish. 2012 - Lundström, J. and Rajakari, P. eds. Knowing Photographs. Helsinki: Like Kustannus.

Also in Lundström, J., and Stoltz, L. (eds.) Thinking Photography – Using Photography. Stockholm: Centrum för Fotografi/Konst-Ig. 

  • Sutton, D. (2009) ‘Immanent Images: Photography After Mobility’. In Afterimages of Gilles Deleuze’s Film Philosophy. Ed. by Rodowick, D. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. 
  • Sutton, D. (2009) ‘Cinema by Design: Hollywood as Network Neighbourhood’. In Design and Creativity: Policy, Management and Practice. Ed. by Julier, G., and Moor, L. Oxford: Berg.
Coventry University No.1 Modern University No.1 Modern University in the Midlands
Coventry University awarded TEF GOLD Teaching Excellence Framework
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2020
Coventry City of Culture 2021