Artistic statement

Helen Birnbaum is an artist who approaches society and science in a questioning way using sculpture, photography, film and sound. The starting point of much of her work is contemporary society’s relationship with world changing events such as climate change and pandemics – through history and now. The aim has always been to communicate these ideas in the most accessible and humorous way possible. Much of her inspiration comes from the strange forms found under the gaze of the microscope, but the quirkiness and energy of 1960’s design also excites her and she strives to harness this dynamism whilst commenting on our own altered world.

Birnbaum uses hand building techniques to create hollow bodies, spikes and decorations to add to these dynamic pieces. Materials such as rusty metal wires, coiled telephone wires and found objects are incorporated into her work to enhance the designs. She has recently been integrating digital devices into her sculpture; sound, touch and vision now sit together widening the viewer’s experience. This is exciting art that will make you smile and always make you think.

In 2020 she hand built 130 life size ceramic hands in a work called TERRA FIRMA Leaky Boat which explores our relationship to climate change in the most vivid way. This work can be seen on her YouTube channel @helenbirnbaum411.

Helen Birnbaum was the winner of the Victoria & Albert Museum/Morley Gallery Ceramic Prize in 2018. She has sculptures in the Victoria Gallery, Liverpool’s Permanent Collection and works on permanent display in the Liverpool University School of Engineering.

Notable exhibitions include the Gordon Pathology Museum, Guy’s Hospital London; the ARB Gallery Cambridge and the World Museum, Liverpool paving the way for exhibition at ARTBOX, Basel, Switzerland. She has also exhibited twice in Athens and once in São Paulo, Brazil. Since then she has exhibited at the Glastonbury Festival, Spitalfields, London and at the Daresbury Laboratory Public Open Day. 





Curriculum vitae


Masters Distinction, Art in Science, Liverpool John Moores University, 2020

Masters Merit, Art & Design. Ceramics, University Central Lancashire, 2012

BTEC Distinction, Level 3, Design Crafts, 2008

BA Hons, Class 2.1 English, Cardiff University, 1980


Work in permanent collections, residencies and prizes

Coronavirus 2020 purchased for the Victoria Museum & Gallery’s Permanent Collection, 2020

Bursary awarded by North Potters Association, 2020

Antibacterial Animals become part of the Liverpool University Permanent Collection, 2019

Anticipation wins Ceramics prize at Inspired By exhibition, Morley Gallery and Victoria & Albert, 2018

AA2A Ceramics Residency  Liverpool Hope University, 2015

Masters Dissertation, archived in the National Gallery and National Library of Australia 2013


Highlights of selected group shows

Cerulean, In Natura Exhibition, Echos’s Studios, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2023

TERRA FIRMA II,STFC Daresbury Laboratory Public Open Day,2023

TERRA FIRMA Leaky Boat, Refugees & Compassion exhibition, The Everybody Gallery, Halifax, 2023
TERRA, Espacio Gallery, Shoreditch, London, 2022
Anticipation, Figurative exhibition,Open Gallery, Halifax, 2023

SIGNIFICANT Bunch of viruses, Science Futures Tent  Glastonbury Festival, 2022                      

TERRA FIRMA  Film,  Old Red Bus Station screenings at Northern hub for electronic music, 2022

100 Hands,  The Times We Lived, Bodfa Continuum Exhibition, Plas Bodfa, 2022

TERRA FIRMA  Leaky Boat, Climate  Change exhibition at Project Ability, Glasgow, COP 26, 2021

Coronavirus 2020,  Nature V Humans, Art Gallery, Liverpool, 2021

Memorialising Disease,Art No 23, Athens & London digital exhibition, 2021

Quarantine Boxes, Athens Open Art Digital Show, 2020

Slipping Through the Net, Secret Art of Lockdown, Victoria Art Gallery & Museum, Liverpool, 2020

CERAMIC Transmission, George Marshall Medical Museum, Worcester, 2020

Significant – A Bunch of Viruses, ARB Gallery, Cambridge, 2020

OUTBREAK Draughts,  Unus Multorum, Plas Bodfa, Anglesey, Wales, 2020

Art No 23, Athens & London virtual exhibition, 2020

Memorialising Disease, Sui GenericPlas Bodfa, Anglesey, Wales, 2019

HIV sculpture, ART BOX, Art Basel, Switzerland, 2019


Solo shows

Significant Bunch of Viruses & Quarantine Boxes, ARB Gallery, Cambridge, 2020

Influenza installation, Liverpool Medical Institute 2019

Quarantine Boxes, Liverpool Medical Institute, 2019

Quarantine Boxes and Influenza, George Marshall Medical Museum, Worcester, 2019  

OUTBREAK Draughts, From Biology to Biotechnology, Gordon Museum, Guy’s Hospital, 2018

Microscopic Ceramics, STEAM gallery, Wigan. 2017

Artist of the Month, Southport Contemporary Arts, Southport Arts Festival. 2016

Microscopic ceramics, Southport Arts Festival, 2016


Press highlights

2023 FLUX Review 

2023 Scared of Data, CISTA Arts on-line exhibition

2023 Artists Responding To Issue 5

2022 Conscious Environment, Issue 29 Haus-a rest

2022 Featured artist in environmental art section,  AA2A website

2021 Showcase of MA Art in Science Projects, Journal of Visual Communication in Medicine, Vol.45Issue 1,

2021 Artists Responding To Issue 1

2021 Ceramic Transmission 2020 National Library of Medicine

2021 Dystopias in today’s ceramic art, Viral Chess, Global Journal of Arts Education, Yelman F.

2020 Influenza ceramics & Quarantine Boxes featured on Worcester Museums website

2020 Secret Art of Lockdown, Victoria Gallery Museum website

2020 Antibacterial Animals article in Journal for Visual Communication in Medicine

2019 Antibacterial Animals featured on Liverpool John Moores University website

2019 Sui Generis Exhibition, featured in Wales Arts Review

2019 Art Reveal Magazine No 33

2018 Article in (Baby) Bye bye bye – Bisexuality zine

2017 Featured artist in A5 Magazine

2017 Work featured in two editions of Average Art professional art magazine

2017 Work featured in Art Reveal Magazine

2017 Rethink Ceramics COCA (Centre for Ceramic Art) website

2016 Average Art professional art magazine

2013 MA thesis archived in the National Gallery and National Library of Australia