top of page

CV and Statement

Jill's work consists of large installations and sculptures, supported by photography, video, drawing and text. The artwork emphasises the act of making, its system or process. Looking beyond the more usual subject or object, towards procedures that oscillate between process as generative and/or degenerative.   

‘Townsley, following in the footsteps of [Douglas] Heubler, continues an abstracted yet salient investigation into orders that are at once visual, artistic, social, and intellectual. Her works point toward the system’s totality, and towards the realities of its generative demise.’ (1)


Working in this way raises questions such as: What influences do our culturally agreed procedural systems have on the way we construct or deconstruct our world? More concisely, the work points towards the gap between human processes (systems of research, innovation, and culture), and the tangible impact of those systems on the world around us, including the difficult space between human processes and natures ecology. These questions are especially important today, as we hand over many social and cultural systems to machines, who are much more successful at draconianly applying a process, and then repeating it. 


Questioning the underlying logic of a system, has always connected my artwork to scientific enquiry. The sculptures invariably embody scientific and biomimetic structures in their form or image. Consequentially my work has made important connections with scientists and scientific research centres internationally, often collaborating across disciplines, to make new artwork that draws together the science, art, and political community. 


1.     Harris J (2014) “The ‘Systemic Sublime:’ Autonomy and Reference in Jill Townsley’s Sisyphus”, published in ROTOR Review (2014), University of Huddersfield Press



2005-2010              PhD (practice-based) Liverpool University, supported

       with a Gladstone Fellowship from Chester University.

1993-1995              MA Sculpture, Royal College of Art

1986-1989              BA (Hon) Embroidery, Manchester Metropolitan


2023 - 24               Collabouration with Nature: Soverigne House Gallery.

2013                      Sisyphus: Huddersfield Art Gallery, Huddersfield

2012                      TOIL: Project 4 Gallery, Washington DC, USA

2010                      Moments of Repetition: The Nunnery, London

2004                      Bristles, Balls and Brass: University of Hertfordshire Gallery

1995                      5 Squared: Atrium Gallery, Coopers and Lybrand, London

1994                      Eroding Pythagoras: Angel Row Art Gallery, Nottingham

1993                      One line and a Diagonal: The Pearooms Gallery, Lincolnshire

1992                      Mathematics of the Eye: The Bonington Gallery, Nottingham

2022 - 2024.           Artist in Residence at the Centre for Biomimetic Societal                                   Futures, research at the University of Huddersfield

2018 – 2021           Artist Expert to the European Commission
2019 & 2020           Artist in Residence at the Joint Research Centre, for                                         the EU Commission, Italy

2013                       International Press Award: 7th Arte Laguna Prize,                                             Venice Arsenal, Italy



2020                       Plastic Matter: Art and Design Gallery, University of Hertfordshire

2019 - 2020            DATAMI: The Bozar, Centre fro Fine Art, Brussels

2019                       Resonance III Festival: JRC Italy, a SciArt and Eu funded project

2019.                      NTER-SECTION at Market Gallery in Huddersfield

2019                       This Land is Our Land, Paper Gallery, Manchester

2018                       Place, Space, Action: The Market Gallery, Huddersfield

2015                       Carbon Meets Silicon: Oriel Sycharth Gallery, Wrexham

2015                       ROTA Thought Positions in Sculpture: Huddersfield Art Gallery

2013                       Finalist: 7th International Arte Laguna Prize: Venice Arsenal, Italy

2012                       Upcycle: ATHICA: Athens Institute for Contemporary Art,                                             Georgia, USA

2011                       Compulsive, Obsessive, Repetitive. Towner Contemporary,                                         Eastbourne

2011                       Textures of Time: Frederick Parker Gallery, London

2010                       The Plazaprinciple, Leeds

2010                       Making and Unmaking, Repair and Repetition: Axis online.                                         Curated: Helen Carnac

2009                       Winchester School of Art Research Anthology: Winchester                                           Gallery

2008-09                  Second Lives – Remixing the Ordinary, The Museum of Art &.                                     Design, New York

2008                       Unnatural Histories: The Nunnery, London

2007                       Negotiated Positions: Chester University

2006                       The Same Difference: Stark Gallery, London

2005                       In-formation: The Foundry Gallery Vault, London

2004                       Fantastic Plastic: 20-21 Gallery, Scunthorpe

2003                       Venus Sapiens: Luke and A Gallery, London

2003                       Mirror II Nature: Mile End Art Pavilion London

2003                       Chairman’s Choice: The Nunnery Gallery London

2002                       The Chelsea Physic Garden Exhibition London

2000&2002             Art Futures: The Barbican, Contemporary Art Society, London

1999-2001              The Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden

1997-1998              Free to Move: Birmingham Craft Space, Touring

1997                       Exhibition: Addison Wesley Longmans, Harlow

1996                       Art at 100: Hammersons, Park Lane, London

1995                       Art Marathon (BBC): Derry, Northern Ireland

1995                       Chelsea Physic Garden: Summer Exhibition

1995                       Paris Selection (RCA): The Mona Bismarck Foundation, Paris

1993-1994              Pan European FLEXIBLE Art: Germany, Holland, England,                                         Poland.  

1993                       White Form: Turnpike Gallery, Lancashire

1992-1994              Crafts in Performance: Crafts Council Gallery, London & Touring

1989                       A.D. Graduate Exhibition: Aram Design Studio’s, London


2022 - date.           Collaboration with scientists in the Centre for                                                  Biomimetic Societal Futures, University of Huddersfield

2021                      Collaboration with Nicole Dewandre, (DG EC-CAB)                                        and JRC

2018 - 2019           Collaboration with Carlo Ferigato, researcher in                                              Computer Science, JRC - EU Commission

1996-1997             Art Consultant for Nottingham Natural History Museum

1992                      Collaboration with Performance artists, Nottingham

1991-1992             Three Plank Rule: Collaboration & Performance with                                      Risk Dance Co.


2011                       Sculpture: Clifford Chance offices. Washington DC

2011                       Sculpture: 'Till Rolls' Towner Contemporary,                                                   Eastbourne

(2002-03)               Sculpture: Chevron Texaco. Aberdeen

1999                       Sculpture: Private collection, Chelsea, London

1998                       Short-listed: Sculpture, Rotherham General Hospital

1997                       Short-listed: Sculpture, Roles Royce Headquarters,                                     Crew

1996                       Short-listed: Sculpture, KPMG Headquarters, London 

1996                       Sculpture: Wollaton Hall, Nottingham

1990                       Sculpture: Albion Wharf Building, Central Manchester

1988                       Textile Hanging: Manchester Metropolitan University

1987                       Wall Panel: St Mary’s Hospital Manchester


2009 - 2023             Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Art, University of                                        Huddersfield.

2006 - 2009             Lecturer, Winchester School of Art, Southampton                                          University.

1995 - 2006.            Lecturer at: Lambeth College, Wandsworth College &                                  Community Education Lewisham.

bottom of page