Michael Safaric Branthwaite

Course Director - Associate Prof.

Digital, Tech, Innovation & Business

I am a Contemporary Fine Artist as well as an active researcher in integrated practices. My main area of interest is the use of technology and the digitisation of History and Heritage which is fed by more philosophical research into how we deal with and use the past to form opinions on the present.

I am an Associate Professor and Course Director for Visual Art, with a background in sculptural installation and working on public-facing art projects. I have a background that started in gallery exhibitions and has moved into integrated research projects that involve working with other disciplines such as memory studies and Forensics Archaeology to develop exhibitions and interventions in museums and heritage sites.

I started making art at school but then really started to enjoy it at A-Level where I could use it to project my ideas and have discussions about the things I was interested in. I then went on to study and Foundation Course at a local college before being accepted onto the BA Hons Fine Art course at the University of Sunderland. I started my career exhibiting in galleries and then went on to form studio groups and collectives. Recently I have been working with cross-disciplinary teams that focus on the Holocaust, and how we can challenge prevailing paradigms.


Professional memberships and activities

  • NAFAE : National Association for Fine Art Education
  • The Foundation Year Network: is a group of people working in, or closely related to the provision of foundation year education. 
  • Art & Education publishing platform from e-flux and Artforumfocusing on education and contemporary art.

Academic qualifications

  • MA (Hons) Fine Art
  • BA (Hons) Fine Art
  • PGCE/ Post-compulsory education


Sculpture/Installation: focusing on reclaimed or reused domestic and industrial material re-appropriated to specific environments engaging with the conceptual understanding of place and identity

Site Related and Responsive Art: investigating and using the history and social activity in a given area to respond and generate work that interacts with and challenges social norms and assumptions. This often focuses on but is not restricted to regeneration.

Although sculpture is a core concern with in my practice I work across a broad range of materials including: Casting/Metal Work/ Wood Work/ Film/ Video/ Photography/ Screen Print/ Large Scale digital Print ( for architectural purposes).

Research interests

  • Memory Studies
  • History and Heritage
  • Digital Culture
  • Exhibitions
  • Site and Place related projects
  • Commissioning and produce art works/projects


Art Foundation Year
BA Hons Fine Art




Treblinka: Archaeological and Artistic Responses (Centre of Archaeology Book Series) Paperback June 2016. ISBN: 1534632298

Accessing Campscapes. Screening of 3 new video works and panel discussion.

Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies, Vienna

October 2019

Virtual Studio: Contemporary Witness, online residency with The Falstad Centre

Museum, memorial and human rights center. Explore the place of Falstad and the layers of history from a distance using online archives and the specialist skills and knowledge of the staff at Falstad. This created creating links between the material culture of the past and contemporary debates. August 2020- July 2022

in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021