School of Media, Arts and Humanities - for students and staff

photo of Mary Agnes Krell

Prof Mary Agnes Krell

Post:Senior Lecturer in Media and Film Studies (Centre for Photography and Visual Culture)
Personal homepage:My personal webpage
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Professor Krell has held numerous leadership roles at the university and in industry. She has convened multiple degrees, launched new programmes and received awards for her teaching in the UK and in the USA. Mary's research has been repeatedly funded by research councils, has received major awards and commendations and has been the subject of case studies in the fields of public policy and the arts. Mary has been invited to advise research councils and public bodies in areas relating to digital media and community projects. PhD students supervised by Mary have themselves gone on to work in academia, industry and the arts with many winning grants and exhibiting their work around the world.

Mary is a Strategic Reviewer for the AHRC (an appointment given in recognition of a person's contribution to the council) and she has been a panel member and peer reviewer for them many times. In addition to being an active researcher, Mary is the recipient of two Teaching Excellence Awards from Sussex University and she received similar awards from other instituions including Cornish College of the Arts (USA).

Mary's practice-led research has been featured in major institutions such as the ICA and the V&A in London, the ZKM in Germany, the Art Institute of Chicago and elsewhere in places including New Zealand, Singapore and many others. It has been fully submitted to each REF and it was recently featured at SXSW in the UKRI Immersive Mission, a joint venture by the British Academy and the AHRC.

Digital Ghost Hunts

Mary is the lead investigator of the AHRC-funded project, Digital Ghost Hunt. That project was funded by the AHRC as part of its New Immersive Experiences call and again funded for impact and engagement. It was recently shown at York Theatre Royal and prior to that at Battersea Arts Centre.

One of the, "Five Gallery Opening's We're Most Excited to See"

Mary is also continuing work on Some Assembly, a collaborative artwork produced with Portland-based artist Palmarin Merges. A major project, Some Assembly consists of a series of artist books, print pieces and animation. It was shown in the USA as a work in progress at Blackfish Gallery in Portland, OR in late 2017 and was named one of the, "Five Gallery Opening's We're Most Excited to See" in the Willamette Week. 

She has also written a book chapter on rephotographic practice for the upcoming Hands on History book (2019).

Originally from the USA, Mary has been based in the UK at the University of Sussex since 2002. Prior to coming to Sussex, she was the Head of the Design Department at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. Before entering higher education, Mary worked as a digital designer at Seattle's Saltmine Creative during the initial boom of the 1990s. While at Saltmine she worked on projects for Wizards of the Coast, Microsoft and the Pokemon franchise.

Mary has also been an associate member of Forced Entertainment as a digital author.  With them, she created a number of interactive works that were exhibited around the world. Nightwalks, an interactive virtual reality piece created in collaboration with the company won the Transmediale (a major prize for digital art) at the Berlin Film Festival in 2000. She also performed in the inaugural tour of The Voices.


Mary is the Director of Teaching & Learning for the school and a Professor of Creative Media. She is a Strategic Reviewer for the AHRC and in that capacity takes an active role in panels and strategic discussions while maintaining her outstanding record as a member of the peer review college. Mary was also Head of Department for Media Practice (Subject Head) for nearly a decade and she convened the first major practice degrees (BA Media Practice & Theory and the MA in Digital Media). She has been an elected member to the university senate and was recently the Exams Chair for the school. 

Community and Business

Mary is committed to fostering connections between community groups, businesses, artists and educators and has received awards for that work. She is keenly interested in community engagement in relation to participatory arts and education and is presently engaged in work exploring the benefit of those to public health.

Since 2013, Mary has been the Director of a community arts organisation which has received numerous awards including:

  • Duke of York Community Initiative Award (2019)
  • A Queen's Award for Voluntary Service (2017)
  • The Epic Award for England from Voluntary Arts (2018)

Mary has held numerous leadership roles on committees in the arts and local government. She has been invited to act as a mentor to artists and community groups in the UK and around the world in places such as Finland, Germany, Japan, the USA, New Zealand and elsewhere. Mary has also advised large and small businesses and governmental agencies working with digital media and community arts.  She was a trustee at Fabrica Gallery for many years and is a founding member of the Kirklees Music Festivals group.


Fun fact: Mary features on a mural produced by Kirklees Council in Huddersfield. It was designed to reflect people of significance to music and culture in the area.