I am an academic researcher and author, a lecturer and an independent exhibition curator. I supervise PhD research in the history and theory of art and in contemporary fine art practice. I have several senior leadership roles in the College of Arts, Humanities and Education, including:
- Chair of the CAHE Research Ethics Committee
- Lead of PhD Research in the School of Arts
- Deputy Lead of REF 2027 Unit of Assessment 32 'Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory'
- Deputy Chair of the College Research Committee
- Deputy Chair of the School of Arts Research Group
- Member of the Creative and Cultural Industries Working Group
I supervise PhD History of Art and practice-based Fine Art students in the School of Arts.
- Dashamir Vaqari, Fine Art (‘Transnationalism and Migration: concepts of home in post-Communist Albanian diasporas’), 2016-20
- Judith Le Grove, History of Art (‘“Towards Retreat”: modernism, spirituality and craftsmanship in the work of Geoffrey Clarke’), 2003-06
- Sarah Phillips, History of Art ('Mapping the Borderland: Artistic Reconceptions of Physical and Conceptual Borders'), 2022-
- Sue Russell, Design history and practice ('The Transformative Effect of Masson Mill on the Derwent Valley and its Inhabitants'), 2022-
- Jeannean Howe-McCartin, Fine Art (‘Gender, Surrealism and the Unreal Woman’), 2020-
- Stephanie Rushton, Fine Art (‘A Contemporary Lens-based Study and Exploration of Theories of Perception in the Human and Non-human Worlds’), 2020-
- Kathryn Prestidge, History of Art (‘Concrete Poetry and Conceptual Art: connection, communication and interrelationships in text-image movements, 1950s-1970s’), 2019-
- Peter Jordan-Turner, Photography (‘Reconnecting with an Historic Photographic Archive: Access to W.W. Winter’s Archive of Commercial Photography’), 2019-
- Francesca Steele, Fine Art (‘Ephemeral and Live Art Practice: The Body as Document’), 2018-
- Robert Crowther, History of Art (‘Sculpting for Utopia?: the outdoor sculptures of Harlow New Town, 1946-1979’), 2016-
Self-funded PhD research project currently available under my direction:
Alongside my work as a researcher and author, I am engaged in several kinds of professional activity.
I work as an independent exhibition curator and have curated exhibitions for the Royal Festival Hall on London's South Bank, the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds, and the University of Derby.
I am the regional organiser for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire in the Public Statues and Sculpture Association's Public Sculpture of Britain research project, documenting the public sculpture of those two counties for future publication. I have recently been invited to join the PSSA's Public Sculpture of Britain Board.
I have served as a peer reviewer and pre-publication adviser to publishers and authors.
I have been engaged as a consultant by galleries and museums, commercial art dealers, public art commissioners, and documentary filmmakers.
My research interests are interdisciplinary and centre on the relationship between art and politics in post-war Britain, with a particular focus on the forms, display and patronage of modern sculpture. This approach to research has led me into diverse territories, including modern architecture and urban planning, the cult of health and the open air, the reform of the home and domesticity, and the ideological uses of culture in the Cold War.
My doctoral dissertation (University of Leeds, 2001) connected modern public sculpture exhibitions in post-war Britain to the political contexts of national reconstruction and the international Cold War, paying particular attention to modern sculpture's display in innovative urban and parkland settings and its adaptation to political commemoration. My post-doctoral research has examined the display of modern sculpture in domestic contexts and explored the response of institutional patrons to the work of emigre sculptors from central and eastern Europe.
I have contributed chapters to several books, including Herbert Read: A British Vision of World Art (Lund Humphries, 1993), Henry Moore: Critical Essays (Ashgate, 2003), Sculpture in 20th-Century Britain (Henry Moore Institute, 2003), Sculpture and the Garden (Ashgate, 2006), The History of British Art, 1870—Now (Tate and Yale Center for British Art, 2008) and British Art in the Nuclear Age (Ashgate, 2014). I have published essays, book reviews and exhibition reviews in Apollo, Art History, Artscribe, The British Art Journal, Frieze, The Oxford Art Journal, The Sculpture Journal, and The Journal of the Twentieth Century Society.
At the University of Derby, I am a member of the Digital and Material Artistic Research Centre and two research groups, Civic Lab and Spaces and Places.
I have delivered academic papers to national and international conferences and symposia, given public lectures and participated in public discussion panels. Among the most recent are:
- '"The Geometry of Fear": modern British sculpture in the early Cold War', public lecture for Millennium Gallery, Sheffield, Jan 2019
- 'The Landscape Sculpture of Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore: geology, topography and the open air', paper for Wirksworth Festival symposium, Haarlem Mill, Wirksworth, Derbyshire, Sep 2017
- 'Sculpture at the South Bank Exhibition of the 1951 Festival of Britain', paper for Homeless Sculpture symposium, Whitworth Study Centre, University of Manchester, Oct 2016
- 'Institutional Patronage of Emigre sculptors from Central and Eastern Europe in post-war "New Britain", paper for conference Emigre Sculptors in Britain 1540-2016, organised by the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association and 3rd Dimension, City and Guilds of London Art School, London, May 2016
- 'The Public Sculpture of Derbyshire Modernist Ronald Pope', public lecture for Ashbourne Festival, Derbyshire, 2015
- 'Barbara Hepworth and J.D. Bernal', paper for Barbara Hepworth seminar, Tate Britain, Mar 2013
- Panel member for public discussion, 'Who Owns Public Art?', Tate Britain, Jan 2013
- 'Ben Nicholson's 'abstract' murals for modern architectural public spaces in post-war Britain', paper for Association of Art Historians' annual conference, The Open University, Milton Keynes, Apr 2012
Experience in industry
I have acted as a consultant to two television documentaries on the use of modern art as a propaganda weapon in the Cold War:
The Irony Curtain, directed by distinguished filmmaker Murray Grigor of Viz Productions and broadcast on Channel 4.
The Unknown Monument, directed by David Blackmore for Waterside Productions, Birmingham.
I have attended and delivered papers at international academic conferences in Berlin and Zagreb. My writings have been published in Croatia and translated into Polish. My publications have been cited by writers and journals based in 26 countries, including Britain, Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Poland, Switzerland and the United States.
I have published extensively on post-war British sculpture, including essays, exhibition reviews and book reviews in academic journals and books. Among my recent publications are:
- Review of Der unbekannte politische Gefangene: Ein internationaler Skulpturenwettbewerb zu Zeiten des Kalten Krieges (The Unknown Political Prisoner: An International Sculpture Competition in the Cold War Era) exhibition, Kunsthaus Dahlem, Berlin, 30 October 2020–20 June 2021, and accompanying exhibition catalogue edited by Petra Gördüren and Dorothea Schöne, Wasmuth and Zohlen Verlag, Berlin, 2020 (304pp., 87 ills.), The Sculpture Journal, vol. 31, no. 2, 2022, pp.269-73
- 'Institutional Patronage of Central and Eastern European Emigre sculptors in Post-war Britain, c.1945-65: moderate modernism for the social-democratic Consensus', British Art Journal, vol. XIX, no. 3, Dec 2018, pp.38-47
- 'Geometries of Hope and Fear: the Iconography of Atomic Science and Nuclear Anxiety in the Sculpture of World War and Cold War Britain', in British Art in the Nuclear Age, ed. Catherine Jolivette (Ashgate, 2014), pp.51-79
- Review of the 'New Perspectives on Joseph Wright of Derby' conference at the University of Derby, January 2012
- Catalogue of and commentary on 60 contemporary works of public art in the Borough of Chesterfield, UK, 2012
Many of my published essays, reviews and interviews are available at: