Professor Shona Illingworth

Professor in Art, Film and Media
+44 (0)1227 827422
Professor Shona Illingworth


Shona Illingworth is an artist filmmaker whose major works take the form of immersive gallery based multi-screen video and multi-channel sound installation. Her work combines interdisciplinary research (particularly with emerging neuropsychological models of memory and amnesia, critical approaches to memory studies, media sociology and human rights law) with socially engaged practice.

Her work has been exhibited internationally, with shows at the Imperial War Museum, London; Museum of Modern Art, Bologna; FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), Liverpool; UNSW Galleries, Sydney and the Wellcome Collection, London. She has received commissions from Film and Video Umbrella, Hayward Gallery, London, and Channel 4 Television. Upcoming solo exhibitions include the Bahrain National Museum 2020 and The Power Plant, Toronto, 2021. Shona was shortlisted for the 2016 Jarman Award and is an Imperial War Museum Associate, Trustee of Project Art Works and sits on the editorial board of Digital War (

Research interests

Shona’s research practice involves diagrammatic and spatial sound drawing, conceptual map making, composition of densely layered sound and moving image, and convening interdisciplinary forums and symposia. Her current work includes the development of a major new immersive multi-screen video and multi-channel sound installation, Topologies of Air, commissioned by The Wapping Project, which examines the impact of accelerating geopolitical, technological and environmental change on the composition, nature and use/exploitation of airspace. 

Shona is also working in collaboration Professor Nick Grief (Kent Law School) to establish the Airspace Tribunal (, an international public forum that brings together diverse expertise and experience to consider the case for and against a proposed new human right: to protect the freedom to exist without physical or psychological threat from above. The Airspace Tribunal is part of and contributes to the development of Topologies of Air. The inaugural hearing of the Airspace Tribunal took place at Doughty Street Chambers, London on 21 September 2018, and the next hearing will take place at the Ethics Centre in Sydney, on 14 October 2019 as part of the Big Anxiety Festival ( Further hearings are planned for Copenhagen and Hiroshima.

Previous works include Lesions in the Landscape (2015), made in dialogue with Claire, a woman who can no longer access much of her past or form new memories, and leading neuropsychologists Professor Martin A. Conway and Professor Catherine Loveday. Supported by a Large Arts Award from the Wellcome Trust, this project reflects on Claire’s experience of amnesia, interweaving this with an exploration of the depopulated island of St Kilda, a remote archipelago located in the North Atlantic, to explore the complex individual and societal impact of amnesia and cultural erasure.


Shona teaches across film, media and arts practices.


Shona is particularly interested in supervising practice based PhDs across artist and experimental film, the politics of cultural production and interdisciplinary research.

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