Emeritus Professor Denise Ferris

Emeritus Professor, School of Art & Design
College of Arts & Social Sciences

Denise Ferris has been Head of the School of Art & Design since 2013, where she has lectured in photography since 1987. Ferris is a photographer who uses UV processes and inkjet technologies, exploring the photograph as a non-documentary a-historical archive. For her doctorate, awarded in 2007, Ferris used a unique light-sensitive milk emulsion, a mixture of casein and dichromates, to make photographs visualising maternal ambivalence and duality. She has published scholarly work on representations of the maternal, along with numerous conference presentations and catalogue essays.Ferris has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Australia and Asia. Her works in major public collections in Australia, including the Australian War Memorial, National Gallery and National Library, as well as overseas institutions. Her current interests have turned towards landscape and the elements, in photographs exploring transitory phenomena such as weather, locality and historical memory.As Head of the School, Ferris has a strong interest in tertiary education policy and administration, having served as an Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Social Sciences, as well as on arts sector boards.

Professor Ferris is also the Chair of the Australian Council of University Art & Design Schools (ACUADS), the peak body representing over thirty Australian universities in visual arts, craft and design. The Council undertakes leadership, advocacy, policy development, research and community service for the sector.

Research interests

Current Research

The absent narratives of the 1860's Chinese miners of Kiandra, a visual and textual interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary project with history, archaeology, visual arts and museum practice

Main Research Interests: Visual

Photographic representation of the non-heroic sublime focused on affect, environmental change, aesthetics and place in a site-specific landscape of human intervention

The visual articulation of ideas realised through 'alternative', non-silver, photographic techniques e.g. milk/casein printing with sunlight

Main Research Interests: Writing

Examining maternal representations and photographic representation of childhood. Loss, erasure and social responses to climate change and their representation in photography.

  • Ferris, D 2018, 'Truly, Madly, Deeply: Sharing Story on the Bundian Way', in Marie Sierra and Kit Wise (ed.), Transformative Pedagogies and the Environment: Creative Agency Through Contemporary Art and Design, Common Ground Research Networks, Champaign, IL, pp. 97-114pp.
  • Ferris, D 2016, 'Conspicuous consumption: photographs of pleasure and loss, personal and public, in an Australian snowfield.', in Marion Arnold and Marsha Meskimmon (ed.), Home/Land, Liverpool University Press, Liverpool, pp. 89-100pp.
  • Ferris, D & Waller, R 2015, Encounter & Immersion.
  • Ferris, D 2015, Navigations Chiang Mai University Art Center (2015).
  • Ferris, D 2015, 'Photographing the Future, the convergence of a Victorian photographic album and a 1976 photographic book', Mamapalooza, 3rd Annual Conference, Mamapalooza, USA.
  • Ferris, D 2013, Once Upon an Island of White.
  • Ferris, D 2013, 'Evidence and Absence: Photography's limits to revelation', Labour Migration: race history & heritage, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.
  • Jolly, M, Ferris, D & Riddell, A 2013, Utopia within, across & beyond the University, p. 6.
  • Ferris, D 2013, Once Upon an Island Of White.
  • Ferris, D 2013, The Long Hot Summer.
  • Ferris, D 2013, Fairview on Stratford.
  • Ferris, D 2013, Untitled, On this Site, Bateman's Bay.
  • Ferris, D 2013, Raphaela Rossella.
  • Ferris D 2013, group exhibition, Lens Love, Canberra Museum and Gallery (curated by Director, Shane Breynard)
  • Ferris, D 2012, Celestial Spaces Pingyao International Photography Festival (2012).
  • Ferris, D 2012, Untitled (Winter).
  • Ferris, D 2012, Big Apple, Batlow, New South Wales, 1984.
  • Ferris, D 2012, Learning to ride.
  • Ferris, D 2012, 'Conspicuous Consumption: personal identity and collective relationship to place', Home Land, Home Land, Loughborough, United Kingdom.
  • Ferris, D 2012, 'Celestial Spaces: representing absence, evidence and the beautiful failures of photography', Visible Evidence XIX, National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra, Australia.
  • Ferris D 2012, group exhibition, Things: photographing the constructed world, National Library of Australia (curated by Helen Ennis)
  • Ferris D 2012, solo exhibition, Celestial Spaces: Pingyao International Photography Festival, China & Kiandra, NSW
  • Ferris D 2012, 'Spoilt Milk: Ambivalence and the Language of Casein', ed. Rachel Epp Buller, Reconciling Art and Mothering: Ashgate, Meredith Norwich pp
  • Ferris, D 2011, 'Moffat's Mothers: Bad, Mad, Sad, Loving and Glad', Mothers at the Margins Conference 2011, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
  • Ferris, D 2011, IV. Maternal Metaphors II, Doublebind - works by Denise Ferris.
  • Ferris, D 2011, 'So Much to Tell You: Affect, Beauty, Thought and Photography', Art Association of Australia and New Zealand 2011, Art Association of Australia and New Zealand, Wellington.
  • Ferris D 2011, 'Home Decorum' (eds) Myrel Chernick and Jennie Klein, The M Word, Real Mothers in Contemporary Art’, Demeter Press, Toronto
  • Ferris, D 2010, 'The Troubling Aspects of Truthfulness: Awful and Awesome Children in Contemporary Photography', Imaging Identity: Media, Memory and Visions of Humanity in the Digital Present, National Portrait Gallery & Humanities Research Centre ANU, Canberra.
  • Ferris, D 2008, 'Spoilt Milk: photography and the maternal'.
  • Ferris, D 2010, 'The Dilemma of Depicting Desire: maternal secret or public censure', in Andrea Ruthven and Gabriela Madlo (ed.), Illuminating the Dark Side: Evil, Women and the Feminine, Inter-Disciplinary Press, Oxford, United Kingdom, pp. 19-32.
  • Ferris D 2010,The Dilemma of Depicting Desire: maternal secret or public censure in eBook ' Illuminating the Dark Side: Evil, Women and the Feminine' Volume 141 of the At the Interface series 'Perspectives on Evil and Human Wickedness', edited by Andrea Ruthven & Gabriela Mádlo, ISBN: 978-1-84888-044-3
  • Ferris, D 2009, 'The Mother in Mr Chips: Educating Artists and Maternal Thinking', in Andrea O'Reilly (ed.), Maternal Thinking: Philosophy, Politics, Practice, Demeter Press, York University, Toronto, Canada, pp. 120-130.
  • Ferris, D 2008, 'transitory phenomena, ephemeral occurrences portfolio'.
  • Ferris, D & Jolly, M 2008, 'Collateral Damage', Art Monthly Australia (AMA), vol. 211, pp. 5-7.
  • Ferris, D 2008, Contemporary Landscapes in Photography Award, Contemporary Landscapes in Photography Award, Perth Centre for Photography, Perth, Australia.
  • Ferris, D 2008, Photo/Not photo, Photo/Not photo, Design Gallery, Faculty of Design and Creative Practice, University of Canberra, Australia.
  • Ferris, D 2008, The Fall of Night, Fall of Night, Helen Maxwell Gallery, Canberra, Australia.
  • Ferris, D 2008, Untitled (Parade exhibition), Parade: Manufacturing selves in photography, ANU School of Art Gallery, Canberra, Australia.
  • Ferris, D 2007, 'Book review: Photography: Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection', Art Monthly Australia (AMA), no. 206, pp. 48-50.
  • Ferris, D 2007, Myself by Myself, Myself by Myself, Helen Maxwell Gallery, Canberra, Australia.
  • Ferris, D 2006, Maternal Metaphors II, Maternal Metaphors II: Artists/Mothers/Artwork, Ohio University Art Galleries, Athens, USA.
  • Ferris, D 2006, weather report, weather report, Helen Maxwell Gallery, Canberra, Australia.
  • Ferris, D 2004, Vestment (Spoilt Milk portfolio), Surface Indicators, ANU School of Art Gallery, Canberra, Australia.
  • Ferris, D 2003, Home Decorum (Spoilt Milk portfolio), Home Decorum: New Work, UTS Gallery, Sydney, Australia.
  • Ferris, D 2003, Notes from a Watershed, Notes from a Watershed, Michaelis Gallery, Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, South Africa.