David P Noble

Job Title and Responsibilities

Award Leader: BA(Hons) Photography
This is a challenging, exciting and rewarding role. My key responsibilities include defining, planning, developing and driving the strategic direction of the award. My ambitions are to ensure we continue to build effectively upon forty years of photography at Staffordshire University by delivering a broad and balanced approach to the subject, a rigorous higher educationally experience and an enabling environment that will help students achieve their future ambitions.

Admissions Tutor: University and Faculty
I am involved with all aspects of the university’s recruitment processes, including Open Days, interviews and UCAS Design Your Future and Higher Educational Fairs.

About me

Started work in a London advertising agency in 1967 whilst studying graphic design at St Martin's School of Art and advertising theory at the College for Distributive Trades. During the 1970s worked as a paste up artist and then as a graphic designer for various advertising agencies before joining a design group. My design work throughout the 1980s included books, educational projects, corporate and public relations with the move to a freelance practice in 1986. Clients included corporate work for British Aerospace, Hilton Hotels, Insys Industrial Data Communications and the Metropolitan Police; magazine design for the British Diabetic Association and the music industry.

Although working in an Art Directors role with photographers professionally I also pursued a strictly personal approach to photography during these decades, with a determination to understand the ‘expressive’ nature of the medium. After attending a series of independent workshops with photographer Nicholas Sinclair, who recognised something about my approach, came the possibility of thinking differently about the role of photography in my life. A subsequent workshop with Thomas Cooper and Paul Hill at The Photographers Place in Derbyshire contributed decisively in making a change. Eventually at a summer school ran by the University of Derby in 1988 and the meeting of practitioners John Blakemore, Martin Parr and the historian Roger Taylor, a 'eureka' moment to study photography took place.

In 1989 my work was accepted in the Print Room of The Photographers Gallery in London, and exhibitions as part of various arts festivals followed. I decided to give up freelance practice in 1990 to study photography full time on the BA(Hons) Photographic Studies course at the University of Derby, graduating in 1993 with a first class honours degree. After graduation I worked on design commissions for photographers Richard Sadler and Lynn Silvermann, and world-leading Sports Psychologist and Performance Enhancement consultant Alma Thomas for her book, Play the Exam Game.

Photographic teaching began in 1995 on the City and Guilds programme which lead to A Level, Foundation and BTEC teaching at further education colleges in the Midlands. After delivering specialist workshops at Derby, Swansea and Northumbria Universities I began part-time teaching in 1997 at Staffordshire University in both photography and graphic design. From 1997 until 2003 I taught on and contributed to the development of the photography award becoming a Senior Lecturer and Award Leader in 2003.



University of Derby 1993: BA(Hons) Photographic Studies (First Class)



How to consider photographs in a design context, for example magazines and books.
Producing the fine ‘expressive’ print either through silver or digital processes.
The handmade book as craft and a process of learning.
Ideas related to ‘Street’ photography like psychogeography, urban wandering and Surrealism.


Enterprise and Commercial Activities

Outside teaching, I have worked with Pearson the world’s leading education company as a book reviewer for new photographic books. Run handmade book-making workshops which considers also the relationship of image to text and the structures of the photographic sequence. Work on external projects for example, with Stoke On Trent City Council to help with part of the production of their Chelsea Flower Show Exhibition in 2013. Currently writing a book primarily for the undergraduate student, The Perplexed Person’s Guide to Thinking About Photography, which considers how and what type of theories can help the thinking photographer.

Wordsworth Street: Staffordshire University / 2003
Books and Photography: Group Show at The Arbor Darkrooms & Gallery, Derby / 1997
A Tulip Opening: Group Show at The Arbor Darkrooms & Gallery, Derby / 1994
Emotion of Curiosity: Derby Photography Festival, Derby / 1993
Condition of the Spirit: St Julians Gallery, Sevenoaks, Kent / 1990
In Landscape: Sevenoaks Arts Festival, Kent / 1990
In Landscape: Edenbridge Arts Festival, Kent / 1989
Watercolours and Mixed Media: St Julians Gallery, Sevenoaks, Kent / 1989
Mixed Media and Assemblages: Gallery 37, Tonbridge, Kent / 1969

Research and Interests

Surrealism and the significance of the documentary style image.
The effect of visual experience rather than interpretation in understanding images.
The role of ‘critical theory’ in dominating thought in the arts and humanities.
The Photobook and the possibilities of visual poetry.


Selected Publications

Photography Next International Conference, Stockholm 2010 - Paper Title: The Distance Between Theory & Practice
The Constructed Environment International Conference, Venice 2010 - Paper Title: Uncertain Wanderings
The Tenth International Conference of the Book, Barcelona 2012 - Paper Title: Visual Poetry & the Photobook

Invited Lectures
UCAS Design Your Future Educational Fairs, London & Manchester 2010/11 - Title: Photography a Cabinet of Curiosities
UCAS Higher Education Conferences at Staffordshire and Liverpool Universities 2010/11/12
Title: Why Study Art & Design?
Staffordshire University Fringe Festival, 2012/13
Title: The Cabinet of Curiosities
Title: The Camera Obscura: It’s Origin’s and Consequences for Photography
Staffordshire University, I-ACT (Institute for Applied Creative Thinking) 2012
Title: There is No Silence, Pictures Are Not words
Macclesfield Literary and Philosophical Society, 2013
Title: We Begin in the Dark: The Enlightenment and the Rise of Vision

Published Interview
Bowens Litebook, Summer 2012. http://bowens.co.uk/litebook/lb2012q3/#/1/


Current Teaching

Teach on all three levels of the BA(Hons) Photography award with particular responsibilities for the History of Photography at Levels 4 and 5, and Theoretical Approaches at Levels 5 and 6.

Supervision of postgraduate study on the Master by Negotiated Study Programme.


David Noble
School of Art & Design (Visual Design)
Faculty of Arts and Creative Technologies
Staffordshire University
Flaxman Building
College Road
t: +44 (0)1782 294484
e: d.p.noble@staffs.ac.uk