United Kingdom

Alicia Bruce



Alicia Bruce studied Photography, Film and Imaging at Edinburgh’s Napier University, graduating in 2006. Since then her work has focused on the collaborative nature of portraiture by exploring the relationship between the photographer and the sitter. Her practice explores environmental politics of space, territories and how this impacts on our heritage. Her most recent projects have involved communities, such as Menie: A portrait of a North East community in conflict, a humane story of a Scottish community whose homes were under threat as Trump International started work on what was claimed would be ‘The Greatest Golf Course in the World’. These photographs were acquired by National Galleries of Scotland and later celebrated in a Scottish Parliamentary Motion following the project gaining International acclaim and portraying a side of that story that otherwise might have gone unheard.

Alicia Bruce’s photographs have been exhibited and published internationally, winning several artists’ residencies and bursaries including the Royal Scottish Academy Morton Award. Her images have featured in national press including The Times, The Scotsman, BBC News and STV News, and are represented in several public and private collections including the National Galleries of Scotland, St Andrews University Special Collections and The RSA. Her series ‘Menie: TRUMPED’ documents a resilient Scottish community who stood up to Donald Trump. Human rights, community collaboration and social justice are at the core of Alicia’s practice.

Alicia is based in Edinburgh, Scotland and accepts commissions locally, nationally and internationally. Her commercial portfolio features clients including the National Galleries of Scotland, Project Ability, engage, Zero Tolerance, Crisis, Edinburgh World Heritage and more. She is a Teaching Fellow in Photography at University of Edinburgh and regularly tutors at Street Level Photowork and runs Portobello Photography School.

She is honoured to be featured in The List Magazine’s 2018 Hot 100 “The Edinburgh-based photographer and lecturer tackled domestic violence in her portrait series Violence Unseen at the Stills Gallery in association with Zero Tolerance, photographed Mhairi Black for the 209 Women project, and created the photographic element of the Our World Heritage exhibition at Edinburgh's Tron Kirk. (DP)”


Born Before Brexit

An intimate portrait of Anneliese Dodds MEP and her three-month-old daughter Isabella at The European Parliament in Strasbourg in early June 2016. Anneliese gave a powerful, now viral, speech on tax evasion with a baby in arms. With two weeks until the EU Referendum the stakes were high, Anneliese made a powerful case for remaining in the EU whilst UKIP's Nigel Farage was nowhere to be seen.

Anneliese admits that it is not possible for all women to bring their baby to work and considers herself fortunate to have the option and the support on this important historical occasion.



Aspire is a series of individual and group portraits made in collaboration with artists at Project Ability, Glasgow. Project Ability is a visual arts charity and gallery supporting people with learning disabilities and mental ill-health to achieve their artistic potential.


The Valleys Project

In summer 2011 Alicia Bruce spent three months in Blaenavon, an ex-mining town in the South Wales Valleys. She was the first photographer commissioned by Ffotogallery’s Valley’s Archive project since 1990 following in the footsteps of David Bailey, John Davies, Peter Fraser, Francesca Odell and Paul Reas. Bruce’s practice involves fully integrating herself with communities and creating work about those who inhabit them.

Bruce used the artwork ‘Welsh Landscape with Two Women Knitting’ by William Dyce (1806 - 1864) held in National Museum Wales collection as a starting point drawing parallels with her own heritage. Dyce was, like Bruce, originally from Aberdeen, Scotland and came to Wales for his health and a change of air in 1860. The painting was created in 1860, 20 years after the birth of photography, oil on millboard crates the look of a colour glossy photograph and the displacement of figures create an early day Photoshop of sorts. “I wished to question the romanticised view of this painting and hold a mirror up to The Valleys in 2011. I made three photographs in response Dyce’s work at Foxhunter on the Blaenavon hilltops. I collaborated with Mike & Holly, a grandfather & granddaughter, Claire & Jenny, who run a wool shop and Paul & Heidi who run Oakfield B&B where I stayed in my final weeks in The Valleys.“ The series also features collaborative portraits of people Bruce encountered during her time in The Valleys in collaborative portraits that take inspiration from The National Museum of Wales collection and from the individuals themselves.



Alicia Bruce spent the summer of 2010 collaborating with residents of the Menie estate, an area of outstanding natural beauty and a Site of Special Scientific Interest situated 20 minutes north of Aberdeen.

The residents' homes were under threat of compulsory purchase as Trump International started construction of a golf course, hotel, and housing development with plans to re-name Menie 'The Great Dunes of Scotland'.

Alicia Bruce’s photographic portraiture retells the stories of the Menie residents, not to monumentalize or misrepresent them but in order to fix their message more securely in the cultural imagination. By restaging compositions from celebrated paintings (the majority of them in the permanent collection of the local Aberdeen Art Gallery), Bruce eloquently carves out the residents’ place in Scottish heritage. Without over-romanticizing, these photographs play on a history of national mythology. These families will not be intimidated, neither by far-away business nor next door construction site. They will not be bribed or bought out. Whatever side you stand on over this issue, their stance demands to be respected rather than patronized.

This is further underscored by the 19 photographs of the nearby dunes taken from 1pm – 10pm one day in August 2010. They depict a scene of natural beauty with its lights going out. Playing on ordnance surveys, Bruce maps this coastal terrain which faces imminent destruction, ‘Trumped’ over by the proposed golf course and hotel complex. The posts are evidence of the encroaching commerce that will swamp the area. But the tides are strong and many of the posts are already beginning to bend as metaphors of surrender.