In 2009, Confessions of a Recovering Data Collector, the first book about Ellie Harrison’s work was published. This marked an end to the practice for which she had become known where, for projects such as Eat 22, Gold Card Adventures and Tea Blog, she recorded information about her everyday routine over long periods of time. It also signalled the beginning of a conscious shift away from such introspective methodologies focussed on the minutiae of her own life, to a less complacent and more interrogative approach to examining the wider social and political systems in which we all live.
Recent works, including The History of Financial Crises, Transactions and Vending Machine, take a scientific yet playful approach to exploring the causes and implications of the recent ‘crisis of capitalism’, in an attempt to offer a counter-hegemonic perspective on events.
The politicisation of the work has been accompanied by a rigorous questioning of both the function of art and the ‘role of the artist’ in the age of perpetual crisis; both economic and environmental. Essays such as How Can We Continue Making Art? and Altermodernism: The Age of Stupid, attempt to explore the collective responsibility of the art world and to question and undermine the fundamentals of what it means to work with integrity as a contemporary artist.
Her 2010 thesis Trajectories: How to Reconcile the Careerist Mentality with Our Impending Doom examines the inherent conflict she perceives as central to the persona of the artist - the point at which the ruthless ambition and desire for personal success meets with an altruistic drive to attempt to behave ethically and effect real and meaningful change in the world. Her exploration of the relationships between art and activism, moral beliefs and political action led her in 2009 to become an active vegan and to launch the Bring Back British Rail campaign. In 2010 she became the first individual artist to openly publicise an Environmental Policy.
Ellie Harrison was born in London in 1979. She studied Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University, Goldsmiths College and Glasgow School of Art, where she undertook a Leverhulme Scholarship on the Master of Fine Art programme. In 2003 her project Eat 22 was shown at the Science Museum, London as part of the exhibition Treat Yourself. It is now on permanent display at the Wellcome Collection museum. In 2005 her Gold Card Adventures project formed her solo exhibition at Piccadilly Circus Underground station as part of the Platform for Art programme (now Art on the Underground).
In 2005 - 2006 she curated the exhibition Day-to-Day Data, which featured newly commissioned work by twenty artists. It launched at Angel Row Gallery in Nottingham before touring to Aspex Gallery Portsmouth and Danielle Arnaud contemporary art in London where it coincided with a symposium held at the ICA. The exhibition was accompanied by an extensive website and publication.
In 2007 Ellie set-up and organised Hen Weekend - a new format networking event for female artists, writers and curators, which launched at De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Sea. Over the last five years she has been involved in the coordination of several other artists’ networking and professional development events, and has worked on numerous collaborative projects, including Sports Day, the Union of Undercover Artists and Reactor.
From 2004 - 2011 Ellie was visiting lecturer in Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University. In April 2013 she became permanent lecturer (Teaching & Research) in Contemporary Art Practices at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design.
She has delivered public lectures at a wide number of academic and art institutions around the UK including the Royal College of Art, The Story at Conway Hall, Edinburgh College of Art, CCA Glasgow, Ffotogallery, Space London (in conversation with Sally O’Reilly), Plymouth College of Art, Broadway Cinema Nottingham, ICA London, Modern Art Oxford, Chapter Cardiff, Arts Council England (East Midlands), the University of Northumbria, Staffordshire University, the University of Lincoln, the University of Derby and the University of Leeds.
Master of Fine Art
September 2008 - June 2010
Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow
Postgraduate Diploma in
October 2002 - July 2003
Goldsmiths College, London
BA (Hons) in Fine Art
October 1998 - June 2001
Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham
Foundation Diploma in
Art & Design (distinction)
September 1997 - July 1998
West Thames College, London