Originally from Dundee, Joan graduated from the University of Edinburgh with an MA (Hons) Fine Art degree in 1987 and went on to gain a postgraduate MFA from Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) two years later.
Joan trained as a painter and printmaker, and is a lecturer in the School of Art.
Joan has taught at ECA for over 20 years, working with Painting - BA (Hons) undergraduate students and lifelong learners. She teaches painting, as well as courses in ‘Anatomy and Art’ and ‘Drawing People’.
Joan's research focuses on links between art and science, with particular reference to objects in anthropological and medical collections.
She is currently working on ‘Traces’, a collaboration with other artists, anthropologists and cultural researchers across Europe examining contentious collections which are housed in European museums and institutions. This wide-ranging project has been funded by a Horizon 2020 research grant and will run over three years (2016 - 2019).
In connected but separate projects, Joan is currently planning and developing work inspired by collections at the University of Edinburgh (UoE) Medical School, Surgeons’ Hall Museum in Edinburgh (with artist, Susie Wilson) and the anatomy collection in the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris.
She is a member of the Bones Collective, which is based in the Department of Social Anthropology at UoE.