Bartram O'Neill


Angela Bartram Mary O'Neill

Art and Ethics

Art and Ethics is an educational resource that provides training for Fine Art Staff and Students in issues relating to contemporary art practice and ethics.

Contemporary art practice can include human and animals participants, images of the deceased, human and animal body parts, explicit sexual imagery, references to self harm and both physical and psychological abuse. In light of the changing nature of both the artwork and the viewer/participant this project aims to initiate a culture of ethics review among staff and student in Fine Art departments and the establishment of a model that will facilitate the implementation of good practice.

Frequently the process of ethical consideration is embedded in the practice to the extent that it may not be visible to those not involved in the discipline. The lack of open discussion is a reflection of the fear that many in the art world have of appearing to stifle creativity or even worse appearing to censor art production. However, with the awareness of art as a form of knowledge, resulting in the increasing interest in and demand for practice based PhDs, it is imperative that the ethical issues relating to contemporary practice are examined. This discussion is particularly prescient in the field of art education where students are increasingly interested in practices that may be harmful to themselves or other.

Educational institutions are making decisions about this form of practice on an ad hoc basic or are shrinking from the discussion, as it is fraught with difficulties. In order to support and enable the complexities of student interests to be realised effectively, fine art educators need to be informed about current debate in their discipline and beyond.

If you would like to contact the project please email

Dr. Mary O’ Neill
Dr. Angela Bartram


Research Publications

Ethics conference

The Sacrifice Made by Audiences:
The Complicit Discomfort of Viewing

Performance Art
Angela Bartram and Mary O'Neill University of Lincoln,
United Kingdom

Abstract and draft
Images of the Dead: Ethics and Contemporary Art Practice
Mary O' Neill
University of Lincoln, United Kingdom