"My work is underpinned by an interest in series and repetition, chance and order, experimentalism, playfulness (including the absurd) and participation"

The present

It is only since 2010 that I have been able to focus on my creative work. In retrospect, it is clear that my work often has a time-based dimension and, typically, chance contributes, as does the viewers' interactions with the work. My instinct is to work in representational, abstract and experimental modes. To avoid artificial constraints, I work in any manner that presents itself and maintains my commitment, working in a variety of media depending upon what seems appropriate to the idea. My work is underpinned by an interest in series and repetition, change and order, experimentalism, playfulness (including the absurd) and participation.


In 1969 I commenced a fine art degree (then called a Diploma in Art and Design, DipAD) at Leicester Polytechnic as a representational painter but for various reasons (that I explain in Scrivener, 2009a) I began working experimentally, producing a body of work exploring the image making potential of natural phenomena.


Post Diploma, in 1972, I entered the first cohort of the newly created Experimental Department, led by Malcolm Hughes, at the Slade School of Fine Art, London. While there I began writing computer programmes that modelled homeostatic systems, i.e., systems that model natural organisms that seek to maintain a stable relation with an environment following disturbance in organism/environment equilibrium, like a pond that settles flat at its surface after a pebble has been thrown into it. In this way, I continued an experimental practice established at Leicester.

1974- 1992

In 1974, I returned to Leicester Polytechnic to commence a PhD in Computer Science. I expected that my practice as an artist would be central to it but I soon discovered that I was engaged in two practices, i.e., research and art, running on separate and divergent tracks with the former the focus of my doctoral thesis.

I committed myself to implementing an innovative approach to computer graphic system design (cf., Scrivener, 1981) and later immersed myself in computing research in an era of rich and exciting debate around themes such as human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, image and speech recognition and adaptive systems, inter alia.

During this period, whilst ongoing, my creative practice operated in the background.


The nineteen nineties saw radical change in the UK Higher Education system. In 1992, polytechnics became universities and the academic art world found itself embedded in the university system. It was at this point, 1992, that I returned as an educator and researcher to the academic art world: to the University of Derby, Coventry University, Central St Martins and finally Chelsea College of Arts, in each case with specific responsibility for developing research culture and doctoral programmes.

I soon discovered that my past experience as researcher and researcher supervisor did not serve me well with art and design doctoral students. I ought not to have been surprised as I too, whilst undertaking my PhD, had been unable to unify making art and acquiring new knowledge. What was irreconcilable for me personally in the past remained irreconcilable for my students then and I began a still ongoing theoretical inquiry aimed at understanding this dilemma, which has led to a series of publications exploring the idea of artistic knowledge production (cf. Scrivener 2000, 2002, 2006, 2009, 2011a, 2011b, 2011c, 2013; Scrivener and Zheng 2012).


Scrivener, Stephen A.R. (1976) "Sixteen: A Research Tool". The Bulletin of the Computer Arts Society, pp. 37-42.

Scrivener, Stephen A.R. (1981) An interactive raster graphics system and language for artists and designers, Unpublished PhD Thesis, https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.333038

Scrivener, Stephen A.R. (2000) "Reflection in and on Action and Practice in Creative-production Doctoral Projects in Art and Design". Working Papers in Design, 1. http://www.herts.ac.uk/artdes/research/papers/wpades/vol1/scrivener2.html (accessed 20/6/2008)

Scrivener, S.A.R. (2002a) "The art object does not embody a form of knowledge". Working Papers in Design, 2. http://www.herts.ac.uk/artdes/research/papers/wpades/vol2/scrivenerfull.html (accessed 20/6/2003)

Scrivener, Stephen A.R. (2002a) "Characterising creative-production doctoral projects in art and design". International Journal of Design Sciences and Technology, 10 ( 2): 25-44.

Scrivener, Stephen A.R. & Chapman, P. (2004b) "The practical implications of applying a theory of practice based research: a case study". Working Papers in Design, 3. https://www.herts.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/12367/WPIAAD_vol3_scrivener_chapman.pdf (accessed 31/1/2020)

Scrivener, Stephen A. R. (2006) "Visual Art Practice Reconsidered: Transformational Practice and the Academy". In: M. Mäkelä & S. Routarinne (eds.) The Art of Research: Research Practices in Art and Design. University of Art and Design: Helsinki, pp 156-177

Scrivener, Stephen A.R. (2009a) "Connections: A Personal History of Computer Art Making from 1971-1981". In: Paul Brown, Charles Gere, Nick Lambert & Catherine Mason (eds.) White Heat Cold Logic: British Computer Art 1960-1980. MIT Press: Cambridge Massachusetts, pp. 291-305

Scrivener, S Stephen A.R. (2009b) "The roles of art and design process and object in research." In: N. Nithikul Nimkulrat and Tim O'Riley (eds). Reflections and connections: On the relationship between creative production and academic research. [e-book] University of Art and Design Helsinki: Helsinki. https://aaltodoc.aalto.fi/handle/123456789/11827 (accessed 31/01/2020)

Scrivener, Stephen A.R. and Clements, W. (2010) "Triangulating artworlds: gallery, new media and academy". In: Charles Gere and Heather Gardiner (eds). Art practice in a digital culture. Ashgate Publishing Ltd: Aldershot, Hants, pp. 9-26

Scrivener, S Stephen A.R. (2011) "Transformational practice: on the place of material novelty in artistic change". In: Michael Biggs and Henrik Karlsson (eds.) The Routledge companion to research in the arts. Routledge: Abingdon, Oxford, pp.259-276

Scrivener, Stephen A R (2011a) "Part 1: Reflections on interactive art and practitioner research: establishing a frame." In: Linda Candy and Ernest Edmonds (eds.) Research and the Creative Practitioner, Faringdon, Oxfordshire: Libri Publishing, pp. 60-72.

Scrivener, Stephen A. R. (2011b) "Part 2: Reflections on interactive art and practitioner research: interpretation." In: Linda Candy and Ernest Edmonds (eds.) Research and the Creative Practitioner, Faringdon, Oxfordshire: Libri Publishing, pp. 305-323.

Scrivener, Stephen A. R. & Zheng, S. (2012) "Projective artistic design making and thinking: the artification of design research", Contemporary Aesthetics, Special Volume 4, http://www.contempaesthetics.org/newvolume/pages/article.php?articleID=638 (accessed 16/1/ 2013)

Scrivener, Stephen A. R. (2013) "Toward a Practice of Novel Epistemic Things" In: Michael Schwab (ed.) Experimental Systems: Future Knowledge in Artistic Research, Leuven: Leuven University Press, pp.135-150.