Matthew Johnson

Liverpool School of Art and Design

I am an image maker, researcher and senior lecturer in the Graphic Design and Illustration department at LJMU. I am interested in hybrid images, multiple regimes of signification and affect and textuality in visual cultures and on the dynamic interface between disciplinary boundaries.

Primarily working from within what became known as visual cultures, I have a critical interest in the further development of this field. I am a reflective visual arts practitioner with research interests across a number of fields of design, art, philosophy. I am interested in the intersection of subjective formations, disciplinary boundaries and class, gender and race, protest and resistance to neo-colonial hegemony and patriarchy. My work pivots around the idea that the everyday provides the material for multiple subjectivities, made manifest through the performance of what is known as 'popular' culture. My recent work includes a number of series of artworks that explore a collision between different regimes of signification following on from Felix Guattari's distinctive take on semiotics, and James Williams reframing of the sign as a process. I welcome further discussion on any or all aspects of signification, affect, and the control society, which I examine primarily through the practice led study of everyday 'popular' visual cultures.

My teaching practice includes the nominal leadership of the second year Illustration pathway, as well as some dissertation supervision with third year students on both the Graphic Design and Illustration pathways. I am keen to emphasise the developmental and reflective capacity for practice led learning within a pedagogic context. I enjoy planning and developing the curriculum in a way that challenges habit and orthodoxy within a dynamic social environment. I aim to be socially and politically inclusive in my teaching, using a number of strategies for developed during my post graduate artist / teacher training at the Institute of Education in London.

This year in the studio we have been working on the interrelationship between text and image, the determinism and properties of materials and media in relation to art and design practice, adaptation as a simultaneously liberating and constraining creative process, and the opportunities and limitations of precarious working and the professional life of a designer and/ or illustrator.

I am currently on indefinite hiatus from a practice based PhD in the department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths College in London under the supervision of Dr. Derval Tubridy and Dr. Simon O'Sullivan, where I developed an interest in research and practice alongside the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari and the work of Samuel Beckett amongst others and I am working alongside these ideas through visual and written research practice.


2001, Central St. Martins College of Art and Design, England, MA
1994, Leeds Metropolitan University, United Kingdom, BA (Hons)
Goldsmiths University of London, United Kingdom, MPhil / PhD (currently on hiatus)

Academic appointments

External Examiner and EE mentor, School of Art and Design, University of Derby, 2016 - 2021
Senior Lecturer, Graphic Design, Liverpool John Moores University, 2013 - present
Senior Lecturer, Arts University Bournemouth, 2007 - 2012

Postgraduate training

PGCE, United Kingdom, Institute of Education, 2004 - 2005

Conference publication

Johnson MR. 2016. Eco – aesthetic affect - the everyday life of the photographic image Deleuze and Art: Multiplicities / thresholds / potentialities


Johnson MR, Tucker D. Curatorial practice - ‘Seeing Beckett’ Kingsway Contemporary Art Space in Chester alongside the international ‘Beckett in the Regions’ conference held in September 11th – 12th 2014. Author Url

Johnson MR. ‘Seeing Beckett’ Liverpool School of Art Atrium Gallery as part of the international Liverpool Irish Festival between 23rd October and the 3rd November 2014. Publisher Url

Johnson M, Hyatt J. interruptions #5 Author Url Publisher Url

Johnson M, Johnson M. interruptions #1 - 4


Johnson M, Hughes B. Underlining Austerity Author Url Publisher Url

Johnson M. Drawing Sound City Author Url Publisher Url


Hughes B, Johnson M. Autographic Zine Workshop - Antiuniversity Now Festival Author Url

Conference presentation:

Affective framing of everyday visual culture, Resonances of the work of Judith Butler, Interdisciplinary Research Institute for the Humanities CLUE+ at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Oral presentation. 2017

A cosmic wirtschaft - Urban Aesthetic regimes and the imaginary, Libidinal Circuits: Scenes of Innovation III, Liverpool University, Paper. 2015

(Interrupting) the signifying regime of the photographic image, 21st Century photography: Art, philosophy, technique, Central St. Martins College of Art and Design in London, Oral presentation. 2015

‘Apophenia – The still Image and the Desire to ‘Read’, ‘On the Image’ conference, Freie Universität in Berlin, Round table discussion. 2014

Teaching qualification:

Post Graduate Certificate in Education, Institute of Education, University ofLondon. 2005

Other Professional Activity:

Programme External Examiner and Moderator for the BA (Hons) Illustration programme at the University of Derby.

Media Coverage:

Radio interview Monday 27th October 2014. Radio City, Liverpool. Media review and promotion of Liverpool Irish Festival and 'Seeing Beckett'..