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Melissa Mahon – Bath Spa University

Personal statement

Melissa Mahon is currently enrolled as a PhD student in Fine Art at Bath School of Art and Design. 

Her research aims to understand the purpose and meaning of photography in contemporary art. 

What drives her is the question of whether reality can ever be present in a photograph. Studio work assists understanding the implications of display, position and size - as well as the 'real unreality' of the photograph.

The best thing about being a postgraduate researcher at Bath Spa is the easy access to wonderful resources, both staff and workshops.

Academic qualifications

  • MFA (Merit), Bath Spa University
  • BA, Fine Art (First), Bath Spa University

Prizes and awards

  • 3M Thesis - second prize, 2017
  • British Academy R A summer exhibition - student prize winner, 2016
  • Royal Academy summer exhibition -  selected exhibitor, 2016
  • Porthleven Bath Spa art prize - winner, 2016
  • Leeds train station, public commission - winner, 2014. 

I recommend Bath Spa because it is supportive, friendly, exciting and dynamic.


  • Discerning Eye - London, 2017
  • Royal Academy Summer Exhibition - London, 2016
  • Porthleven Bath Spa Prize, 2016
  • WWOOMAFAABSU - OXO Tower Wharf - London, 2016
  • Leeds Train Station - Leeds, 2014
  • Unnoticed Everyday (Solo Show) - Dublin, 2014

Thesis title

'Real Unreality': the photograph as source of, and element in, contemporary art.

Research supervisors

Robin Marriner, Colin Crumplin

Research overview

In a 'practice based research' approach, Melissa works in photography, video and sculpture to interrogate her question concerning the photograph as a source of, and element in, contemporary art. Researching both contemporary practice and theory leads to her studio work , which in turn leads to more research, and so the wheel continues.

Research interests

The overall use of photography as a tool in contemporary fine art.

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