Alison Bell is a practicing artist trained at the Glasgow School of Art and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. She lived and worked for over 20 years on the Isle of Arran, where the island’s spiritual and geographical impact has made a lasting impression on her work as a textile artist. She has held numerous residencies throughout the UK. She was a Director of Craft Scotland, a Specialist Adviser with the Scottish Arts Council and has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. She is currently an Advisor with Applied Arts Scotland.

Her post-doctoral research continues to explore the ways in which an ongoing creative practice has the potential to reveal the experience and sensory knowledge of the subjective process of ageing and the ways in which these might be understood and articulated on their own terms. Of particular interest are the insights gained through the creative interaction with materials and the ways in which this helps to inform how we navigate our state of being in the world.


University of the West of Scotland, PhD, Exploring the Embodied Experience of Ageing through Creative Practice, 2018

Dundee College of Education, Certificate in Secondary Education, Art/Design. 1976

Post Diploma in Textile Design and Printmaking, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee, Highly Commended. 1975

Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee, DA in Textile Design and Printmaking. 1974

Research Interests

Ways in which creative process informs our understanding of ageing. Autonomy in ageing. Creative practice and the process of ageing. Art-practice based research methods. Phenomenology. Thinking through making. Sensory knowing. Reflective practice.


Sculpture Now: an online exhibition curated by the Scottish Society of Artists.
ssa.viewingrooms.com/viewing-room/9-sculpture-now, 1 – 31 July 2021

Azimuth: Sound/Image. Engaging the Human Sensorium through Art and New Technologies. Symposium and Showcase, Tokyo Metropolitan University, Miraikan – National Museum of Emerging Science & Innovation, Tokyo, CCA, Glasgow, 2016

Shorelines Exhibition and International Symposium, a collaborative research project, Maclaurin Art Gallery, Ayr www.cathytreadaway.com/exhibitions/shorelines-exhibition 2011

Shorelines: A collaborative research project At the University of Newcastle, NSW Australia, with Dr Cathy Treadaway, Reader in Creative Practice, University of Wales, Cardiff. www.cathytreadaway.com/research/shorelines 2010

Seasilks, Taigh Chearsabhagh, N. Uist, Outer Hebrides, Scotland, 2009
Digital Perceptions: Digital Textile Art, Collins Gallery, University of Strathclyde, 2006

Digital Perceptions: Digital Textile Art, Leedy-Voulkos Art Centre, Kansas City USA, subsequently in The Faculty at the Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri, U.S. 2005

Recursions: Material Expression of Zeros and Ones, Museum of Design, Atlanta, USA, subsequently on tour in the USA 2005 – 2008.

Research papers accepted for conference

Auto-ethnography: (re)membering, (re)cognition and regret, the 3rd British Autoethnography Conference, University of Aberdeen, 2016

Re Connect, at the 3rd International Public Engagement & Performance Conference, York, 2016

Interpreting art practitioners’ unconscious communications through modelling and metaphoric transformation, in collaboration with Blane Savage, UWS, at the HEA Arts & Humanities symbolic  Learning & Teaching Conference, Heroes & Monsters, The Lowry, Manchester, 2 – 4 June 2014

Visualising an Interiority; The Self-Reflexive Process of Collage as Method, at the XV111 World Congress of Sociology, Yokohama, Japan, 13 – 19 July of 2014.

On Not Knowing, at the Living Well, International Conference 2015 Seminar, organized by Open Knowledge Group, Clements Hall, York, 9 – 11 April 2015

The Coat and the Goldfish, The Emerging Researchers in Ageing (ERA) Conference: Opening the Door to Challenging Ideas, part of the 44th Annual British Society of Gerontology Conference. Newcastle University, 29th June 2015


Bell, A.F. (2019) Handling materials: making as a way of knowing. [Online] Available: www.academia.edu/41263663/Handling_materials_making_as_a_way_of_knowing

Bell, A.F. (2018), Re-connecting: a quest for the forgotten self. Thresholds, BACP Journal [Online] Oct., 2018. Available: www.bacp.co.uk/bacp-journals/thresholds/october-2018/reconnecting

Bell, A.F. (2018), Exploring the embodied experience of ageing, through creative practice. [Online] Available: www.academia.edu/37080362/Exploring_the_embodied_experience_of_ageing_through_creative_practice

Bell, A. F. (2013), ‘Collage as subjective experience: Transitioning, relinquishing, becoming’, Journal of Writing in Creative Practice 6: 2, pp. 213–240, doi: 10.1386/jwcp.6.2.213_1


Visual Artist and Craft Maker Award: South Ayrshire in partnership with Creative Scotland, VACMA Scotland, 2018, £770

University of the West of Scotland towards research in Japan, 2017, £650

Scottish Educational Trust Grant for research in Japan, 2014, £750

Creative Futures Institute, University of the West of Scotland, conference fees, accommodation and travel to Japan, 2014, £1500

Hi-Arts for Shetland ‘Booth’ Residency, £500, 2011

NAN Bursary towards Shorelines project. £500, 2010

Scottish Arts Council Professional Development Award towards travel to Australia to install exhibition, Shorelines, at Newcastle University, NSW. £1709, 2010

Hi-Arts Award for Sea Silks Exhibition, £450, 2009

Hope Scott Trust Award £2000 towards exhibition catalogue. 2008

Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, Research into Creative Digital Processes, £700, 2006

AIE Development Award for Digital Textiles, £3000, 2005

Scottish Arts Council Professional Development Award, towards travel and attendance at the International Surface Design Conference, Kansas City, US and to attend exhibitions; Digital Reflections and Recursions in Kansas City and Columbia, U.S. £800.00. 2005

Professional Membership

Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts

HE Teaching

University of the West of Scotland School of Education & School of Media, Culture & Society. 2008 – 18

Studio Practice

Own studio practice. 1980 –present

Recent Residencies

Kyoto, Japan. Self-directed, art-based, focussing on phenomenology and place. 2014

Kyoto, Japan. Self-directed, art-based, focussing on psychogeography. 2017