Emily Ryalls is a Wakefield based artist working with photography and performance to create spaces and works on the themes of lived experience and female representation. Her practice is rooted in blurring the lines between a divided photographer/subject relationship, creating meaningful and collaborative works that, through a practice based research approach, can prompt conversation on the role of photography as a non-exploitive means of co-production and connection. 

Emily studied Photography at Nottingham Trent University, graduating in 2019 with a BA First Class Honours – she also studied Curation and Conceptual Photography at ULisboa Belas Artes (2018). In 2019 Emily was nominated for BJP's Ones to Watch in 2019, and in February 2023 her work was published within the BJP Photography and Performance Issue. 

Ryalls’ work has featured in exhibitions across the UK, the most recent being Doing & Undoing Islands, performed at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (September 2023). This ongoing research project is a collaboration between Ryalls and Tom Lovelace on the themes of landscape and home, using the body, light, and paper as materials for experimentation. Initiated in 2021, following a valuable yearlong mentoring programme with Tom Lovelace, funded by Advance (Creative England), the artists have continued to develop the works through conversation, points of engagement, and explorative movement/image making. This was first performed at Photo50 London Art Fair 2022, before being restaged at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 2023, and continues to invite new collaborative responses from artists during each performance.

Beyond Emily’s independent artistic practice, and with a passion for collective working, Emily founded The Merrie Collective in 2020. The Merrie Collective is a Wakefield based artist collective that acts as a creative studio, exhibition/events space, and powerful growing peer network who work on engaging and innovative local projects. 

Lastly, In October 2021, Emily led on the build and development of a fully wheelchair accessible darkroom within The Art House, which she now programmes and manages as the only fully accessible darkroom in the country, promoting process and learning through interactions with others.

Emily is currently studying on the Women's Studies MA at University of York as she develops a new body of practice-based research on experiences of women's healthcare, power dynamics, and language - using photography, performance, and collaboration within framed encounters.

Education and Awards

Nottingham Trent University BA (hons) Photography - graduated with a 1st class honours (2019)

Belas Artes, Ulisboa, Lisbon, Portugal. Studying Analogue Photography, Installation, Project Concepts (09/2017 - 02/2018)

Advance Mentoring Programme, ran by Creative England, receiving mentoring from Tom Lovelace over a six month period (2021)

Nominated, One to Watch for British Journal of Photography (2019)

The New Art Exchange NTU Degree Show Award (2019)

Wex Photography Award For Outstanding Portfolio (2019)


Free Range Shows. Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London (June 18)

NTU Showcase, New Art Exchange, Nottingham (May - June 19)

From The Skin, group show. The Photo Parlour, Nottingham (May - June 19)

Nottingham Trent University Degree Show, Gen23. Nottingham Trent University (May 19)

Free Range Shows. Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London (June 19)

Wakefield's Festival of The Moon (commissioned by Wakefield Council) group exhibition (Aug - Sept 19)

OFF Bratislava, selected group show (Oct - Nov 19)

Off Centre, Nottingham photography festival (Nov 19)

Off Centre Artist Lightning Talks, (discussing 'These Ties That Continue to Bind') The Photo Parlour (Nov 19)

The Tetley, Print Perform Present, Leeds (March 20)

'this too shall pass' pop up exhibition at Merrie Studios, The Ridings Centre, Wakefield/ Unit 43, The Ridings Centre, Wakefield (September - Oct 20)

The Mother, co-curator and group show exhibitor at Merrie Studios, The Ridings Centre (April 21)

"Re-emergence", group show with Thomas Elliot Wood, Thomas Duffield and Seb Smith, 34 Boar Lane, Leeds (Sept 21)

Waiting Game, exhibition and zine launch commissioned by Long Division (Sept 21)

You Can't Sit Here, The Tetley PANIC! bursary recipient, online showcase of works (Nov 21) 

Photo50 London Art Fair 2022, Doing & Undoing Islands, Emily Ryalls and Tom Lovelace - with collaborators: James Dewhirst, Yanzhen Xio, Darcy Wallace, Melanie Issaka, Georgia Williams, Phoebe Sommerfield and Rachel Gordon

Reframing, Reclaiming, The Art House/The Hepworth Wakefield, a group show and mentorship programme with Hannah Starkey (Oct 22 - Feb 23)

East Meets West: Hidden Worlds, Format International Photography Festival, Derby, selected group show and 6 month artist development programme (March - Apr 23)

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Doing & Undoing Islands, Emily Ryalls and Tom Lovelace (Sept 23)

Talks/Guest Lectures

In Conversation with GENeration 23: Reflections on Education, Photography and Future Directions. Selected Speaker at Nottingham Trent University (June 19)

Nottingham Trent University Guest Lecturer, with MA & BA Photography

Nottingham Trent University, BA Photography Degree Show Portfolio Reviews

Huddersfield University Guest Lecturer, with BA Photography

Huddersfield University, BA Photography Degree Show Portfolio Reviews

Leeds Arts University, Live Brief

In Conversation with Jamie Hawksworth, hosting at Village Leeds (Sept 21)

Photographers in Conversation (host), hosting Sunil Gupta & Emily Andersen, Joey Solomon & Mariama Attah, Alys Tomlinson & Richard Higginbottom, Carolyn Mendelsohn & Angela Sheard, Aria Shahrokhshahi & Jagdish Patel (The Art House, 21)

Format Festival, East Meets West: Photographers in Conversation (host), hosting Ismail Khokon, Lilliana Zaharia, Louise Taylor, Ruby Nixon, Shona Morgan, and Zula Rabikowska (March 23)


British Journal of Photography - Photography & Performance Issue: A Gesture of Solidarity

Pupil Sphere - A Darkroom For The Community: The Art House

XIBT Magazine - Tom Lovelace & Emily Ryalls collaboration

Pupil Sphere Interview - These Ties That Continue to Bind

The Guardian - New Photography Talent - The Yorkshire Moors

Aethetica Magazine - The Yorkshire Moors

The Yorkshire Evening Post - Wakefield's Festival Of The Moon Commission

Wakefield Council Press Release - Festival Of The Moon

The Yorkshire Post

Unveild - Emily Ryalls Reframes the History of Women's Health

instagram - @emryalls

Using Format