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Prof Richard Billingham

Professor of Fine Art

Professor Richard Billingham has been with the University of Gloucestershire since 2006 and is a critically acclaimed artist, photographer and filmmaker. Work in public collections includes The Metropolitan Museum New York; San Francisco MOMA and the V & A and Tate Galleries London. Chevron icon


Richard’s subject matter has included the natural and urban landscape, captive animals, marginalised communities and his own family history. His photography and video installations have had over forty solo exhibitions and been included in over two hundred group exhibitions internationally.

Recently, he wrote and directed the BAFTA nominated feature film, ‘Ray & Liz’. It currently holds 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and was voted number 49 in its list of the world’s best films of 2019 and also number 40 in the BFIs best world films of 2019. It is listed as one of the hundred greatest British films of all time by the Telegraph.

Richard was the first recipient of the Deutsche Borse Photography Prize 1997 and was nominated for the Turner Prize 2001. He won the Douglas Hickox Award for Best Debut Director London Independent Film Awards 2018; the IWC Schaffhausen Award 2018 and a number of other prizes for ‘Ray & Liz’

Richard currently has a second feature film in development with the BFI, an adaptation of the contemporary novel ‘At Hawthorn Time’ by Mellissa Harrison.

He is represented by Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London and Casorotto Ramsey and Associates, London.


  • BA (Hons): Fine Art Painting, Sunderland University, *


London Critics Film Awards nomination for Breakthrough British/Irish Filmmaker (Philip French Award) 2020; 5th Aceys Artists Choice Film Awards Nomination for Excellence in Directional Debut 2020; European Discovery 2019 Prix FRIPESCI Nomination; European Parliament Lux Film Prize Official Selection 2019; BAFTA Nomination Best Debut Feature 2019; Screen International Nomination Best Film of the Year 2019; Grand Prix City of Luxembourg Film Festival 2019; Best Film Vilnius Film Festival 2019; Best Feature Film Award Subversive Film Festival Croatia 2019; SIGNIS Award, ADF Cinematography Award and Best Actress Award Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema 2019; Jury Prize and TV Broadcasting Rights Award Brussels International Film Festival 2019; Best Feature Film 16th Yerevan International Film Festival Armenia 2019; Best Picture Not Released in 2018 International Cinephile Society Awards 2019, Douglas Hickox Award for Best Debut Director London Independent Film Awards 2018; IWC Schaffhausen Award 2018; Special Mention Locarno Film Festival 2018; Golden Alexander Award Best Film Thessaloniki Film Festival 2018; Grand Jury Award Best Director Lisbon and Sintra Film Festival 2018; Grand Jury Award Seville Film Festival 2018; Silver Star Award for Narrative Film El Gouna Film Festival Egypt 2018; Best Film & Best Actress, Batumi International Art House Film Festival 2018; Special Mention Festival Du Nouveau Cinema Montreal 2018; Wakelin Award Glynn Vivian Art Gallery Swansea 2018; Creative Wales Award 2017; Leverhulme Fellowship 2016; DACs Art360 Award 2016; Panavision/Air France prize FidMarseille International Film Festival 2014; Artist-in-Residence Programme National Art School Sydney 2012; Power of Art Artists Commission BBC & Arts Council of England 2006; Artist-in-Residence VIVID Birmingham 2004; Prince of Wales Bursary for the Arts Athens 2003; Sargant Fellowship British School at Rome 2002; Glen Dimplex Artist Award Shortlist Dublin 2001; Artists Work Programme Irish Museum Modern Art 2001; Turner Prize shortlist 2001; Special Jury Prize Diaganale Festival of Austrian Film 1999; Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 1997; Felix H Man Memorial Prize 1995.

Teaching & Research


Richard is a PhD supervisor and teaches on the MA Photography course. He is committed to students reaching their full creative potential and brings direct experience from his own photography, video and film making practice as well as industry experience in working with galleries, publishers and producers.

Besides University of Gloucestershire, Richard has taught in over twenty international institutions including Fatamorgana School of Art Photography Copenhagen; Sint Lucas School of Arts Brussels; Ruskin College University of Oxford and the Royal College of Art London.


Richard’s practice encompasses landscape, portraiture, documentary and narrative story telling. Projects evolve gradually over a period of years based on the close observation of everyday life together with extensive research. The realism and humanity of the work often stir strong emotions in viewers. Richard’s work with his family, with animals and with various landscapes over the years has often focused on themes of home, place and marginalisation. Recently Richard has begun working with homeless, marginalised and disenfranchised members of the community in regional UK cities.

‘Ray & Liz’ (2019) is an independent feature that uses professional actors to play Billingham’s family members and friends. There was no photography made indoors during Billingham’s childhood and a central aim was to make visual his families marginalised reality during the Thatcher Era. Besides lived experience, the film draws on his zoo and urban landscape work as well as a collection of audio tape recordings Billingham made of friends and family as a boy. Billingham has returned to the subject of his own family history at various stages over the years, seeing and framing it differently each time. An illustrated book ‘Photographic Realism: The Art of Richard Billingham’ by Kieran Cashell was published by Bloomsbury in 2020 which gives a critical evaluation of the artist’s key photographic and film-based works from the 1990s to the present.

There will be a new publication of Billingham’s early photographic work from the 1990s published Autumn 2022. Billingham’s first photobook ‘Rays a Laugh’ published in 1996, was voted as one of the top 25 of the world’s greatest photobooks of all time by Source Photographic Review





More publications from Prof Richard Billingham can be found in the Research Repository.

External responsibilities

Richard has contributed to various symposia including The Ethics of Photography Yale 2007 Newhaven (Keynote); Responding to a Landscape MAC Birmingham 2017 (Keynote); Exposure 3: Human drama and documentary, ICA, London 2015 and Artists Films CPH Doc, Copenhagen, Denmark 2014.

Richard is regularly asked to adjudicate. In 2019 he was a member of the International Competition Jury at FIDMarseille Film Festival, France. Other past commitments have included The Rome Fellowship in Contemporary Art 2018; The Spectrum Art Prize London 2018; The Royal Photographic Society International Print Exhibition 2015 and New Contemporaries 2009.

He has been a visiting speaker at many public institutions including Chobe Mela Photography Festival Dhaka Bangladesh 2013; Institute for Contemporary Photography Melbourne Australia 2012; Paris Sorbonne University 2010 and Sotherby’s Institute of Art London 2009. More recently (2019) he gave masterclasses at both the BAFTA qualifying Aesthetica Short Film Festival in York and Materdiro Centro De Creacion Contemporanea in Madrid.