Approved: 16.09.2013

Diana Ali

Artist, Curator, Lecturer / academic

Approved: 16.09.2013

Artist Statement

Diana Ali was born in Rusholme, Manchester to Bengali parents and is now based in Nottingham, UK. She actively works nationally and internationally taking her practice to different cities and spaces. Diana has a BA (Hons) Fine Art from Nottingham Trent University and a Masters in Contemporary Fine Art Curating/ Practice from Sheffield Hallam University. She is also a Fellowship in Higher Education (HFEA Status) and CLORE leadership status. 

She is a visual artist, international curator, creative mentor, art lecturer and tutor, workshop leader, NWC board member and a-n (The Artist Information Company) council member and works in television. 

Her practice involves fictional narratives, drawing, installation and a play on language and text through direct animation. She is interested in correspondence, communication, connectivity and collaboration and this is extended through her international curatorial projects.

Her work is about distance, travel and reaching out. She travels, gets lost, and collects found and hidden images embedding narratives within them. She documents stories from her own and others experiences. Some are about political responses and reactions, cultural and language boundaries, human interactions; bringing different fragments of cultures into one space.

As a Visual Artist, she has exhibited regionally, nationally at the TINAG festival, London and Site Gallery, Sheffield and solo at the Airspace Gallery, Hanley. Her international exhibitions include The Library Artspace, Victoria, Australia, The Crafts Fair in San Francisco, The Roaming Biennial in Tehran and the Other Asia’s exhibition ‘ReDo Pakistan’ in Karachi, Pakistan and has been featured in The Disarmory Newspaper in New York.

To date she has independently curated fourteen shows. National projects include ‘Up & Coming’ at the CUC in Liverpool, an event showcasing 60 emerging national and international artists, ‘Subversive Correspondence’ featuring fifty artists in London and Bristol and ‘Dialogues: A Fake Romance?’ in Swansea with thirty artists. Internationally, she has curated in countries with cultural divides; ‘A State of Un-Play’ at Atelier 35 in Romania, ‘Engagement and Entrapment’ in Israel and Palestine, Cyprus and South Korea. ‘Loss & Lucidity’ in California and Lisbon, which was her largest show featuring 58 international artists.

She is currently working with promoting and advocating the importance of creative thinking and making in different sectors outside of art. She has given presentations and workshops at the Institute of Mental Health, Nottingham University, Southwark Cathedral, KPMG, Archaeology groups (DNMGS), Haringey Council (business & Art) and schools and communities centres (well-being, domestic violence issues, EDI)..She currently works at Loughborough University and Open College of the Arts (University of the Creative Arts)

CV & Education


2018            Fellowship of Higher Educational Academy (FHEA)

2007            MA Contemporary Fine Art, Sheffield Hallam University, UK.

2006            Cert Ed (PG), Derby University

2001           BA (Hons) Fine Art, Nottingham Trent University, UK

1998                        BTEC Diploma Foundation           Art & Design, Manchester Metropolitan     University, UK.

Teaching/Lecturing Experience:

 2019-          Fine Art Lecturer, Loughborough University

 2011-          Tutor, Assessor and Course Author.

Open College of the Arts (University of the Creative Arts) BA Drawing, Painting Creative Arts, Fine Art and Foundation- Level 4,5,6


2018           Course Leader & Lecturer for BTEC Pre-Degree Foundation Diploma in Art & Design, Grantham College- level 4


2017           Lecturer, Concept Art in Games Development, Derby College- Level 3

2010           Art, Design, Animation Lecturer, Huanghuai University, China- Level, 3,4

2009-10     Open Studies Lecturer, ‘Art Techniques from Different Cultures’ Centre for LifeLong Learning. University of Warwick    - Level 4


2008           Head of Art & Design, Course leader, BTEC National Diploma in Art & Design, A Level Course Leader Art & Design, South East Derbyshire College 

Curatorial Projects:

2019                        Loss & Lucidity, Appleton Gallery and Braco de Prata Factory, Lisbon

 2019            ‘Change the Script’ Celebrating the rich cultural diversity of Muslim Women. In collaboration with Baroness Uddin.

2018                        Loss & Lucidity, Santora Space, Santa Ana, California, US

 2017         Medieval Graffiti, DNMGS, Creswell Crags, Workshop

2016                        Engagement & Entrapment, Galerie GAIA, Seoul, South Korea

2015                        Engagement & Entrapment, Zmart Gallery, Nicosia, Cyprus

2014                        Engagement & Entrapment, Binyamin Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel

2013                        A State of Un-Play, Atelier 35, Romania

2012                        Parallel Universe as part of IAQA, BarLane Studios, York, UK

Mis-IN-Formation, Fringe Arts Bath (FAB), UK

2011                        double lives: duple trials, The Malt Cross Gallery, Nottingham, UK

2010                        Dialogues: A Fake Romance? Elysium Gallery, Swansea, UK

2009                        Subversive Correspondence, Touring exhibition, Bristol and London, UK

Olfaction, Empty Shop Gallery, Durham, UK                                                                

2008                        Up & Coming, CUC Northwest, Liverpool, UK


 2019            Artist and BBC Interview with Leftlion Magazine, March, 2019

2019            Artist and Illustrators Magazine, BBC Celebrity Painting Challenge, p.25, July, 2019

2017            Interview with Paula Sharratt, Open City Design magazine, 2017

 2015            Meet the Artist, East Midlands, Visual Contemporary Arts Network, September 2014

 2012            Bryan Eccleshall, Artefacts of Failure, 27 July 2012,

 2010            World Wide Art Books, International Dictionary of Artists, Santa Barbara, California, USA. 2010

2009            Tuckerman, L (2009) Hybrid. Art and Science Collaboration in Yorkshire. ‘Pill Gardens’ P47

 2008            The Artforum Ad Project by Jeff Thompson, Nebraska, USA (awaiting publication)

2008            Defamiliarization, a-n Artists Talking: Exposing Contemporary Visual Artists’ Practice, June 2008

 2008                  Other Asias- Current 2: REDO PAKISTAN. Symposium as part of the part of the Shanakht Festival and is in collaboration with VASL international artist collective. Karachi, Pakistan.

 2007                  ‘Defamiliarization’ Disarmory Newspaper by the db Foundation; New York. Vol1. 28-30 March 2008 


 2019            ‘Desarmada’. Dedicated to ‘Loss & Lucidity’ exhibition, Fabrica Braco de Prata. August/September issue.

 2018            Artist of the Month, Axisweb, 2018

2017            ‘Unlocking the Puzzles of Peak Engagement and Performance (PEP®)’ by Elmira Bakhshalian and Dr Martin Reddington, Ebook, 2017

2016            Colours, catalogue foreword for artist Christos Christou, Meres Multifunctional Space, Cyprus, 2016 

2013            Author of ‘Professional Practice’ Course, Level 6. OCA Open College of Arts (OCA) 2013

2013            Sam Treadaway & Ricarda Vidal, Revolver:R,  Arrow Book Publishing, Editions 1 & 2 2013, 2015

Workshop Delivery/ Mentoring (selected)


Mentoring Emerging Artists: Develop Your Creative Practice, Arts Council

Explorers in Art; Experimental Drawing and Painting Workshops, National

NG:SHE- 5 week art course for women who have been through domestic violence and vulnerability, Nottingham

Bright Ideas/Inspire/True Colours- Community adult art courses, Mental Health and well-being, Nottingham

Workers Education Association (WEA)- Adult Education. Big lottery Funded project, art for families, East Midlands

Wisemoves, Workshop Network, Catmose Gallery- Cultural art workshops, Art from different countries and cultures, National

Learning Works- Youth work for young people dismissed from education Nottingham

Goal FIFA World Campaign workshops to physically impaired people. Nottingham City Council- art workshops for travellers, Nottingham

Derby Deaf Group- Adult learning- communication through the visual


 2019                        Painting Italy; painting retreat, Lucca, Italy.

 2016/17      Artist in Residence- Nottingham & Derbyshire, Medieval Graffiti Survey. Contemporary art interpretations and creating new art with archeologists excavating Medieval graffiti in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. Funded by Lottery heritage Fund.

2009           Creative Partnership- Holly Primary School. ‘Interpreting African Art’ Connecting Classrooms in the UK and Senegal. A British Council Project.

Talks & Presentations:

 2019            Manchester Metropolitan University, Artist Talk

 2018            Guest Speaker- ‘Art and Mental Health’ Institute of Mental Health, Nottingham university

2018                        Creative Mentor, Haringey Council, Learning at Work Week

 2018            Keynote Speaker ‘Gauging the Impact: PEP Up your Organisation:?Insights into Peak Engagement and Performance in the Workforce,  Camden House, London

2017            Artist Talk, Art, Culture and Representation - Thanksgiving Event for Black History Month,  Southwark Cathedral

2017            Special Address Speaker, ‘How Art can Enhance our appreciation of the Business World’, KPMG Book Launch

2017            Guest speaker and opening of ‘Here & Now’ exhibition with City Arts & The Institute of Mental Health (IMH), University of Nottingham

2016                        Professional Practice talk, Hereford College of the Arts

2015            Lecture, Art as Language, Communication, Creative Thinking‘, Growleaders DiscoveR Your Best Consultancy

2010                         Artist Talk, ‘Visual versus the Verbal’ Humber Literary Festival, Hull

Other Professional Appointments:

 2019                        AN Artist Council member

 2018                        Director, OffShoots, Nottingham

2018                        Judge for Nottingham Women’s Awards

 2018                        Board of trustees, Nottingham Women’s Centre

2017                        Selection/interview panellist. rEvive Residencies scheme- Heritage, geography and built environment. Supported by Arts Council England and Erewash Borough Council

2015            Judge for Painted Surface: Contemporary Painting, Surface Gallery 

2015                        Growleaders, DYB, mentoring: Artist representative and tutor

2011            -           External moderator for OCR examining board for GCE Art & Desig

Exhibitions (selected):

2019                        This Woman’s Work, FAB, Bath

 2017                        Face Value Katie Piper Foundation, London.

 2015                        Water’s Talking in Leap Second Festival, Norway

 2014            Revolver:R,  at Choisi Gallery, Lugano, Switzerland Art for Democracy, Hitchin.

 2013            Home: Contemporary Female Masters, Bulgarian Cultural Institute, Sofia Gallery, London. 

Digital Dialogues, The Courtyard, Hereford.  

 2012                        She Blocks the Highway, Hong Kong's annual Fotanian Studio Open event

 12X12X12, Bank Street, Sheffield

Accidentely on Purpose, Quad, Derby

 Distant Dialogues, in ‘Fixation’, WCS, Liverpool

 2011                        Google Me This, The Library Artspace, Victoria, Australia.

HeadLies in ‘Experimental Installation’, London

The RE….Show, High Wycombe.

Fine Art Bivoucs in collaboration with J.Damron. Nevada. Crafts Fair, San Francisco

A Book About Death, Originally shown at The Emily Harvey Foundation, New York. Curated by Sonja Benskin Mesher RCA, MOMA, Wales

2010                        Enter10 Watermans, London

Voices’ Exhibition, City Arts and The Institute of Mental Health, Nottingham

Distant Dialogues, Creative Sparks exhibition, Sheffield Hallam University

Endgame, Persistence Works, Sheffield

2009                        Pleasurewood Thrills, The Workstation, Sheffield.

Distant Dialogues in Interventions Part1: Dispersal. Curator: Anneka French

Aspects of Language and Translation, Mile End Art Pavilion, London

Writing’s on the Wall, Artlink, Hull

Dhoom Dhamaka, 2nd Generation, Asian Arts Week at RISC, Reading

2008                        ‘The Gift’. ‘Post-Authorship, Nexus Café. Manchester.

Hung, Drawn and Quartered, Moogie Wonderland. Kent.

This Is Not A Gateway (TINAG Festival), London

 Defamiliarization, Airspace Gallery; Dialogue Box. Hanley (Solo)

You’ve got some explaining to do, The Common Room, Leeds

Urban Jealousy /1st International Roaming Biennial of                                                         Tehran. Curated by Serhat koksal and Amirali Ghasemi