Dr Prue Sailer

Dr Prue Sailer

Lecturer

School of Creative Industries

Career Summary

Biography

I am currently a Lecturer in Natural History Illustration and founding member of the Natural History Illustration Research Group (NHIRG) at the University of Newcastle. My studies began in 2001 with Open Foundation, followed by a Bachelor of Fine Art with Honours in Natural History Illustration. I continued with a PhD in Natural History Illustration, completing in 2013.

The theme of my PhD research, entitled Wild Visions: an Artistic Investigation into Animal Vision, was centred on the science of animal vision and investigated the optical attributes and limitations of seven animal and bird species. This data, together with purposeful observation and recording of their physical and behavioural characteristics and their typical habitats, formed the framework for the artistic component of the project. The artworks presented my interpretation of the animals and their habitats, both from a human perspective and through the animals’ eyes, in accordance with the capabilities of their visual systems. This project represents the beginning of a creative investigation that has the potential to be expanded to include other species and refined along with advances in visual science.

Ongoing interests related to teaching and research include: practice-based research; illustration techniques; drawing as inquiry; fieldwork methodology; art-science integration and collaboration; illustration as a method of communication; wildlife conservation; bird vision; and Australian native animal anatomy.

Research Expertise
An integral part of my practice-based research is the fusion of science and natural history illustration practice. My PhD research, entitled Wild Visions: an Artistic Investigation into Animal Vision, investigated and interpreted the science of animal vision, to produce artworks that communicated the differences between human and animal visual capabilities. This research has led to an ongoing interest in art-science collaboration; utilising the sciences to inform illustrative practice; and producing artistic solutions to communicate complex scientific concepts.

Teaching Expertise
I have taught into several creative courses since 2010 in Visual Art, Design and Natural History Illustration (NHI) as casual tutor, lecturer and course coordinator. These have included enabling programs and first and second year courses. Field Studies courses in NHI involved development of effective fieldwork practices; drawing and painting techniques; observational skills; creative application of fieldwork resources; demonstrations and examples of illustrative techniques; transition from fieldwork to studio practice; development of course content and assessments. NHI Studio Studies: Assistance with drawing techniques; observational skills; experimentation with media. Design Drawing, Enabling Program (Newstep): Development of course content, assessments and marking rubrics; foundations of linear perspective; freehand perspective drawing; drawing construction methods; rendering techniques; fundamental colour theory; written image analysis; measured perspective.  Visual Arts (Open Foundation Program): major movements in art history; practical application in ceramics; painting; drawing; collage; analysis of artworks; academic research, writing and referencing. Visual Communication Drawing: perspective drawing; rendering techniques; life drawing; academic research, writing, referencing and presentation.

Collaborations
As a founding member of the Natural History Illustration Research Group (NHIRG), which is part of the Hunter Creative Industries and Technology Centre (HCIT), collaboration with creative and industry groups is directed by projects initiated by NHIRG.

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Newcastle
  • Open Foundation, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Fine Art, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Natural History Illustration (Honours), University of Newcastle

Keywords

  • Animal and bird vision
  • Art and science collaboration
  • Drawing techniques
  • Field Studies
  • Illustration
  • Illustration methodology
  • Natural History Illustration
  • Painting Techniques
  • Practice-based research

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
130201 Creative Arts, Media and Communication Curriculum and Pedagogy 20
190599 Visual Arts and Crafts not elsewhere classified 60
199999 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing not elsewhere classified 20

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Lecturer University of Newcastle
School of Creative Industries
Australia

Awards

Distinction

Year Award
2009 FSIT Faculty Award
University of Newcastle
2009 University Medal
University of Newcastle

Recognition

Year Award
2009 FSIT Faculty Award
University of Newcastle
2007 Brian and Rhoma Cummins Painting Prize
University of Newcastle

Research Award

Year Award
2010 Australian Postgraduate Award
University of Newcastle

Teaching

Code Course Role Duration
DESN2530 Field Studies 3
Faculty of Science and Information Technology, The University of Newcastle | Australia

Development and delivery of course content on field trips and studio sessions, in consultation with Course Coordinator.

This course was structured around a series of field trips and associated tasks, and 2 major projects. Students were required to collect visual resources on field trips, conduct independent research related to the specific habitat/species and produce two major assignments. The first was a group project, to develop a printed brochure or poster based on one of the habitats or an individual species and aimed at a specified target audience. Traditional illustration techniques and digital methods were developed in studio sessions and utilised to produce the printed resource.The second was a field journal and developed tonal drawing of a native animal species in its natural habitat. Class discussions and peer review sessions were conducted to help students develop skills in articulating aims and methods used in project creation.

Lecturer 17/02/2014 - 4/07/2014
EPARTS156 Visual Art 1
Centre for Teaching and Learning, The University of Newcastle

Formulated new version of EPARTS156 course in consultation with Course Coordinator at Ourimbah. Sole Lecturer/Course Coordinator at Callaghan campus. Lectures provided a chronological overview of art history from antiquity to 21st century, with particular reference to how these art periods influence contemporary art practice.

Studio sessions were devised to relate to the lecture content, in a contemporary application. Introduction to a variety of art-making mediums and techniques, including pencil, charcoal, lino, clay and paint. A range of 2-D and 3-D artforms were explored, including drawing, painting, assemblage, clay modelling and collage. Visits to art galleries required students to analyse artworks in the context of culture, practice and exhibition.

Course Coordinator 2/02/2016 - 30/06/2016
EPARTS256 Visual Art 2
Centre for Teaching and Learning, The University of Newcastle

Formulation of new course structure and materials in consultation with Course Coordinator at Ourimbah. Lectures spanned Australian Indigenous art, art in the digital realm and contemporary art practice, using case studies to illustrate key concepts and methods. Concepts related to professional practice were introduced and reinforced through visits to art galleries and discussion with gallery staff. A major project allowed students to explore their preferred medium using 'the inanimate object' as their subject.

Studio sessions centred on the development of individual art practice through key themes, including self-portraits, recontextualising the image; exploration of space and place, both personal and public; and development of their major projects.

Course Coordinator, Lecturer 26/07/2016 - 30/12/2016
DESN1200 Visual Communication Drawing
Faculty of Science and Information Technology, The University of Newcastle | Australia

Delivery of first-year level Visual Communication Drawing course content set by Course Coordinator.

Introduction to observational drawing and perspective; perspective drawing in the field; rendering techniques; design and composition; exploration of the concept of self-portrait.

Casual Tutor 28/02/2012 - 28/07/2017
NHIL1004 Natural History Illustration Studio Studies 2
Faculty of Science and Information Technology, The University of Newcastle | Australia
This course built on illustration, observation and research skills from NHIL1002 in Semester 1. Students were required to complete a variety of small projects using illustration techniques developed in studio. Class tasks required experimentation with a wide range of materials and themes, to produce 2-D and 3-D outcomes, including a personal logo, self portrait, textural studies, children's book illustration, diorama, animal portrait and dinosaur illustration.
Lecturer 27/06/2016 - 30/12/2016
NHIL2003 Scientific Illustration Methods and Applied Studio Practice
Faculty of Science and Information Technology, The University of Newcastle | Australia
This course involved 3 modules of teaching by different lecturers, each with a different project. My four-week module required the students to devise, research and produce an integrated habitat painting using acrylic paints, and a concept development folio to document their process. Extensive developmental work was required to design the composition before embarking on the painting process. The development of one of my own paintings was used as a case study, to illustrate the process and techniques involved in producing such an artwork. 
Lecturer 3/10/2016 - 4/11/2016
EPARTS156 Visual Art 1
Centre for Teaching and Learning, The University of Newcastle

Development and delivery of lecture and studio content in consultation with the Course Coordinator.

Lecture topics included: introduction to art history from antiquity to 21st century; major approaches in Western art, including Surreaism, Modernism, Pop Art, Expressionism and Abstraction; contemporary attitudes in art and culture; research methods; introduction to gallery practices through visits to art galleries.

Studio sessions allowed students to explore painting and drawing techniques; critical observation; technical considerations of art materials; introduction to colour theory and basic design principles; exhibition organisation and presentation skills

Casual Lecturer 28/02/2012 - 30/12/2012
NHIL1001 Natural History Illustration Field Studies 1
The University of Newcastle
Field Study practices for the natural history illustrator: collection of visual material through field sketching; specimen collection; observation; colour notation; specimen identification; photography; and studies of specific habitats.
Lecturer, Natural History Illustration 4/01/2017 - 31/12/2017
NHIL1003 Natural History Illustration Field Studies 2
Faculty of Science and Information Technology, The University of Newcastle | Australia
This course built upon on concepts and skill development undertaken in Field Studies 1. Class tasks were structured around the collection of visual resources on field trips to Merewether Rocky Shore and Awabakal Nature Reserve. Prescribed field research, including field sketching, colour notation and species identification, was carried out on these trips and applied to the development of an information poster, and concept development folio to document the process. The poster required the appropriate application of traditional illustration techniques and introductory digital methods using Photoshop.
Lecturer/Course Coordinator 27/06/2016 - 30/12/2016
DESN2550 Field Studies 4
Faculty of Science and Information Technology, The University of Newcastle | Australia

Delivery of course content on field trips and in studio sessions, in consultation with Course Coordinator.

This course built on field research methods and application to project development. Topics for 3 projects included: botanical illustration; illustrating water in watercolour; and morphology and motion in animals. Field trips were conducted to botanical gardens, wetlands and a local zoo, to gather visual resources for each project. Tasks included detailed studies and identification of native plant species, studies of water in a variety of weather conditions and light environments; and gestural studies of live animals in motion. Students were required to do additional independent research, to assist with the development of their projects.

Lecturer 8/07/2014 - 6/12/2014
NHIL1002 Natural History Illustration Studio Studies 1
The University of Newcastle
Introduction to studio practices for the natural history illustrator: observational drawing techniques; experimentation with a variety of drawing media; 3-D modelling; scientific illustration techniques; fundamentals of digital illustration.
Lecturer 4/01/2017 - 31/12/2017
EPARTS190 Design Drawing - Newstep
Centre for Teaching and Learning, The University of Newcastle
Delivery of course material set by Course Coordinator: principles of linear and measured perspective; basic colour theory; rendering techniques; academic research, writing and referencing techniques.
Tutor 23/02/2010 - 30/12/2012
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Creative Work (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2015 Howells A, Atkins D, Weekes T, Sailer P, Dedman L, Purnell T, et al., Illuminating Science (2015) [J2]
Co-authors Daniel Atkins, Bernadette Drabsch, Andrew Howells
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Research Supervision

Number of supervisions

Completed0
Current1

Total current UON EFTSL

PhD0.1

Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2016 PhD More Than Coal: A Visual Recording and Interpretation of the Environmental Heritage of the Lower Hunter Region PhD (Natural History Illustr), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
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Dr Prue Sailer

Position

Lecturer
School of Creative Industries
Faculty of Education and Arts

Contact Details

Email prue.sailer@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 403 39394

Office

Room D229 Design Building
Building Design Building
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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