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Biography

Dr Pearl John is a fine artist and photonics educator.

Pearl John received a doctorate in fine art holography from De Montfort University in 2019 after studying part-time while working for the University of Southampton School of Physics and Astronomy as the Public Engagement Leader. 

John began her art education at the West Surrey Institute of Art and Design obtaining a Foundation Diploma in 1987, then studied Fine art and English Literature at the University of Exeter, obtaining a BA combined honours degree in 1990.  John then studied for an MA at the Royal College of Art in London, graduating in 1992. 

After graduating John sought vocational education and completed a ‘Training for Artists-in-Schools’ course at the Institute of Education in 1995 (an MA in education module), in order to prepare her for teaching.  John received further teacher training in vocational education from the University of Missouri in 1998 where she maintained a 4.0 grade point average (GPA).

John won the International Shearwater Art Award in Holography in 2003 and undertook two artist in residencies at the Holography Centre in New York from 2002-2004.

Her holograms and installations have been exhibited in Japan, Europe, Taiwan, Russia, and throughout the USA reaching 100,000s of audience members. John’s lenticular art works were exhibited at the Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition in 2015 to 11,000 visitors, and are currently on show at the University of Southampton’s School of Physics and Astronomy.

John’s latest works of art have been produced as part of her PhD research in a four-dimensional family album.  Recent exhibitions have included group shows in The Magic of Light in St Petersburg and Moscow 2015-2016 and at the City Museum, Aveiro, Portugal and at Gallery 286 in London, 2018.

John has taught holography to artists, students studying physics, school children and the general public.  She taught photography and holography to Foundation and BTEC and BA Photography students at Croydon College from 1996-1998, before moving to the USA to teach high school Photonics at the Columbia Area Career Centre.  John helped develop the curriculum on the world’s first dedicated three-year Photonics course aimed at High School students in Columbia, Missouri, USA where she worked from 1998-2002.

John has worked at the University of Southampton since her return to the UK in 2002. Her role in the department of Physics and Astronomy is to promote the research work of the department and to encourage more students, of all backgrounds, to study Physics and Photonics.

 She has previously acted as the University of Southampton’s principle investigator on an EU ‘Photonics4All’ Grant acting as consortium member in a project reaching millions of people throughout Europe with Photonics outreach activities.  John is currently Principle Investigator on the European PHABLABS 4:0 photonics Outreach program partnering with the Green Lab, London to design and deliver photonics workshops to children and professionals aim to increasing people of all ages’ familiarity with working with lasers in informal education contexts, in community based Fab Labs.

John was Co-Chair on the Art Committee for the International Symposium on Display Holography at the University of Aveiro, in 2018 and is on the organizing committee for the next ISDH2021 at MIT.

John has a holography studio at the University of Southampton where she produces her holographic art work, and is currently a Post-Doctoral researcher at De Montfort University.