Before joining SHU in 2018, I taught Fine Art at Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) and was part of an interdisciplinary team delivering core modules across eight postgraduate subjects. For most of my career I have combined my art practice with freelance work as a curator, researcher, and part-time lecturer. Between 2000-2003, I was a full-time curator at Hastings Museum & Art Gallery where I developed a contemporary art programme reflecting social and political issues. I also used this role to test different ways for galleries to support artists’ critical development. This laid the groundwork for my doctorate (MMU 2007), which identified how New Labour’s drive to use the arts as an instrument of social policy impacted the work of socially-engaged artists. My freelance curatorial projects include the multi-site exhibition ‘Strangers to Ourselves’ (2003-2004), co-curated with Mario Rossi; ‘Margate Mementos’ for Turner Contemporary (2004); and ‘Constellation’, a collaborative exhibition between NUA and Piet Zwart Institute (2016). Between 2010-2014 I worked with Firstsite Gallery, Colchester, This involved:
- devising and implementing a strategy to support artists and artist groups in the region.
- being research advisor to Firstsite’s Associate Artists.
- delivering the Contemporary Art and Professional Practice MA, an NSEAD accredited course developed by Firstsite in partnership with Colchester Institute.
These experiences informed my continuing research into issues facing artists employed to deliver gallery participation and education programmes, resulting in conference presentations and journal articles, often with the artist Lawrence Bradby, with whom I have published various articles for ‘Engage International Journal of Visual Art & Education’, ‘Conjunctions: Transdisciplinary Journal of Cultural Participation’, and a book chapter in Mann & Bonham-Carter’s ‘But How Does It Work? Clarifying Social Rhetoric in the Arts’ (Palgrave, 2017). These address participatory practices from artists’ perspectives. A shared interest in landscape, place-identity, belonging and the rural everyday led in 2016 to a collaboration with James Quinn. The outcomes of our research - artist books, prints, films, and texts - consider the role of dialogue in visual practice, the ways that our responses to place and space are influenced by culture, and the hybrid form of the essay-film. ‘Conversations from the Car’ was shown at In the Open (Sheffield, 2017) and ‘Italy of the Imagination’ at the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (UK and Ireland) conference, 2019 (Plymouth). Adopting a collaborative approach has provided a further dimension to my efforts to find alternatives to the gendered, heroic, individualistic legacy, associated with landscape and the Romantic Sublime. My work has been shown at various galleries in the UK, and my editorial roles reflect my interest in writing as practice. Key publications are ‘Place in Time: The work of Tim Simmons’ (Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2020) and a special edition (Co-editor Sarah Horton) of the Journal of Writing in Creative Practice (Intellect, 2020). I am a member of the creative practice-led research group Land2. My current research concentrates on establishing new methodologies that create narratives of place-identity by prioritising affect and visual memory. Hanse: Re-imagining the North Sea, jointly led with Patrick Wichert, uses the structure of the medieval Hanse-League to re-think the UK’s relationship with Europe by focussing on fragile coastlines and marginalised communities.