Janice Aitken

+44 (0)1382 385349
Reader, Associate Dean for Public and Community Engagement

Background and Teaching

Janice Aitken is an artist and Reader in Art & Design who has worked in Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design since 2003. She currently teaches in Contemporary Art Practice and is Associate Dean for Public and Community Engagement.

She graduated from DJCAD in 1984 having studied Fine Art, Drawing and Painting. Since then she has been engaged in exhibiting, facilitating community projects, public art, gallery engagement education and scientific visualisation. She regularly collaborates with colleagues from across the University of Dundee including CAHID, the School of Life Sciences and the School of Education and Social Work.

Working in a variety of media including photography, painting, animation and digital film and interactive media, Aitken's work has been exhibited in the National Gallery of Scotland, the Science Museum, London, the Bachaus, Eisenach, Germany as well as more local venues such as the McManus Galleries and the University of Dundee School of Life Sciences. She has also contributed to internationally broadcast TV documentaries 'The King in the Car Park' and Cleopatra, Portrait of a Killer'.

Aitken is a trustee of several organisations including the DOJ Centenary Trust, Dundee Women’s Aid, Tin Roof Artist’s Collective and is a Director of The Centre for Transformative Change: Educational and Life Transitions (TCELT).

In her role as Associate Dean, she is responsible for strategic and operational oversight of the broad and varied Public Engagement activity that takes place in Duncan of Jordanstone.

Aitken is also the Academic Lead for the relationship between the University of Dundee and V&A Dundee.
She is an elected member of both University of Dundee Senate and Court.


Aitken’s research and practice covers a range of areas from fine art to scientific visualisation and collaborative art education.

Texturing of Forensic Facial Reconstructions Aitken regularly collaborates with colleagues in CAHID to create textured and rendered images from forensic and archaeological facial reconstructions. The process of digitally rebuilding a face from skeletal remains is carried out by the CAHID team, then Aitken creates a fully rendered image from the reconstruction by adding naturalistic eyes, hair, clothing and skin textures. Notable projects include JS Bach, Richard iii, Arsinoe (sister of Cleopatra) and Mary Queen of Scots.

Celebrating the work of women in Science and Technology Aitken has had three solo exhibitions of photographic portraits of women scientists and has exhibited four times in the Women in Science Festival, celebrating the work and careers of women in science.

Education and community participation Aitken was a collaborator on a project entitled Primitive Streak Digital along with Professor Kate Storey and her sister, designer Professor Kate Storey. The project involved the facilitation of workshops with young people designed to help them engage with science and design and understand the collaborative process between the two through art and digital technology. She was also the project lead on a project to create resources looking at the career paths available to post docs entitled Postdoctoral Pathways that involved a publication, website (http://www.postdoc-pathways.lifesci.dundee.ac.uk/) and exhibition.

Successful collaborations with Professor Divya Jindal Snape on two projects linking digital technology, design and educational transitions lead to subsequent involvement with TCELT.

Scientific Visualisation Aitken has been engaged with the creation of scientific visualisation and illustrations in collaboration with colleagues in IMSAT, the School of Life Sciences and the School of Dentistry. She has had scientific Illustrations published in papers and articles in publications such as the Lancet.

Public Art works Aitken designed four large scale transparent panels for the front of the Medical Education Building at Ninewells Hospital. The panel designs are based on visualisations of the organelles of the eukaryotic cell. The panel designs are based on visualisations of the organelles of the eukaryotic cell. She designed the sculptures that were the basis for the Maggie's Penguin Parage, a large scale project designed to raise funds for the Maggie's Centre, Dundee. The project raised £540,000.

Her latest work, 'My Silence Will Never Protect Me' was exhibited in Slessor Gardens as part of the 'Sharing Not Hoarding' Project and Dundee Women's Festival.