Dr. Isabella Streffen

Early Career Research Fellow


Isabella Streffen is an artist and researcher who joined Oxford Brookes in 2013 having previously been Post-doctoral research associate at CRUMB, University of Sunderland. She contributes to teaching on theory and studio modules. Her current practice is rooted in negotiations of contested spaces (material and theoretical) and technologies, and is explicitly political, exposing interfaces between cultural and political institutions in order to shed light on their origins and consequences.

Isabella gained her PhD in Fine Art from Newcastle University in 2012, was awarded her MFA by Newcastle University in 2008, and her BA (Hons) Fine Art by Sheffield Hallam University in 2001.

Isabella works collaboratively as co-editor of AndOr projects and is an associate with Grit & Pearl.


Undergraduate teaching

U65520 fine art practice; U65571 fine art theory

Postgraduate teaching



Isabella’s doctoral research I Spy With My Military Eye was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and exposed unsettling similarities between military doctrine and the development of artwork to demonstrate the efficacy of using fine art practice as a method for critiquing militarism. Key questions related to the identification of a specifically military vision, the development of ‘visioning technologies’ and their philosophical impact. She developed her pseudo-ethnographic fieldcraft methodology to produce Dead Reckoning (2009) a geo-caching game devised on-site in Northumberland and Cumbria with military snipers; Illuminating Hadrian’s Wall (2010), which lit the 84-mile long Scheduled Ancient Monument from end-to-end as part of an artist residency at the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Hadrian’s Wall; Hawk & Dove (2012), originally devised during her 2010-11 research fellowship at the Library of Congress and initially exhibited as an architectural installation as part of Washington DC’s inaugural public art festival 5x5.

Other recent exhibitions and events in 2012/13 include Surreptitious Networks at the Tyneside Cinema (publication forthcoming in 2014); curating Drones Baby Drones (forthcoming & touring in 2014) and the Dronology website; solo exhibition Requisite at Alderman Fenwick’s House in Newcastle and Magnificent Distance at Globe Gallery in Newcastle (with publication).


Articles/chapters/commissioned essays

  • 2014
    ‘The Money Shot: burning, falling, vanishing’ for Knight, Crosthwaite & Marsh ‘Show Me The Money’ (Manchester University Press, forthcoming)
  • 2014
    Editor, ‘Surreptitious Networks’ for AN and CRUMB (co-publishers)
  • 2013
    ‘The Underlying Horror of the English Countryside’ in Dandelion Journal vol 4 (no 2)
  • 2013
    ‘England’s Favourite Landscape’ commissioned essay for Dean Clough Galleries
  • 2009
    ‘Speculation’ commissioned catalogue text for Northcabin projects/Situations

Research dissemination

  • 2014
    ‘A Third Place: the AndOr project’, in Finding Common Ground: Academics, Artists and Museums, CAA 2014 Annual Meeting, Chicago
  • 2014
    Trust Issues: Community, Contingency and Security in North America, John F. Kennedy Institute, Freie University, Berlin
  • 2013
    ‘Dark on the Rock’ at Cold War Unlimited, University of Sheffield
  • 2013
    ‘Surreptitious Networks’ hosting of Datarama, Pixel Palace
  • 2013
    ‘Fieldcraft: the intersection of tools, theories and tactics’, Baltic 39, Northumbria University
  • 2013
    ‘The Underlying Horror of the English Countryside’ at Silent Spring, University of York
  • 2012
    ‘The Magnificent Distance: Hawk & Dove’, public lecture at the Library of Congress, Washington DC
  • 2011
    ‘The Proposition’ in How Do We Look, MOCA, Los Angeles
  • 2011
    ‘Star Wars: charting the military imagination through space’, John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress

Isabella continues her research into drones, aerial culture, and intelligence practices during her fellowship.

Her touring exhibition Show Me The Money: images of finance 1700-present (co-curated with Alistair Robinson) will open at the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art in Sunderland in May 2014, before travelling to Chawton House in Hampshire, and the People’s History Museum in Manchester in 2014-15.

Isabella Streffen


School of Arts

Oxford Brookes University
Headington Campus
Gipsy Lane
Oxford, OX3 0BP