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University of the Arts London

I Supervise and I am Supervised

Illustration of PhD student writing at his desk, surrounded by surveillance cameras. Illustration by Paul Jackson, LCC.


This article explores the roles of power in creative exchange. In it I reflect on my dual role of being both supervisor and supervisee. Written during the early-2021 COVID lockdown, I relate Foucault’s interpretation of Bentham’s panopticon to both academic supervision and to my commercial illustration practice. When working for art-directors and creative teams, a distant powerbroker (and their approval) offered certainty and security; in a PhD, that might not necessarily be the case. At that stage in my PhD, I felt uncertain of the hierarchies at work: was I working for my supervisors, or with them?  


Supervision, practice-as-research, panopticon


Author Biography

Paul Jackson

Paul Jackson is a PhD candidate at UAL and Course Leader for MA Graphic Branding and Identity at London College of Communication. He is also an illustrator, working under the pseudonym Wesley Merritt. 


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