I have worked on many projects over the years that have taken my work into non-academic contexts. In Manchester I was involved in the Autonomous Arts and free party scenes, which made good use of the city’s plentiful supply of (now gentrified) abandoned industrial buildings. In Nottingham–motivated in large part by the frustrations of researching and teaching at a campus university–I organised the conference Spaces of Alterity, collaborating with the peripatetic cinema collective Annexinema to take proceedings off campus and into yet another (ungentrified) industrial building, where the author and activist China Mieville was kind enough to read for us. In Nottingham I also worked with the charity Nottingham City Arts (2011-2013), interviewing participants of their Arts on Prescription Service, and spent some time working at the city’s tiny and esoteric Museum of Nottingham life. In London, I have worked with numerous artists on cultural and public engagement commissions, and overseen two collaborative projects funded by Arts Council England. Collaborators have included Parkour Generations, D-Fuse, and others.
The projects above, with others, started off as a strong inclination to work outside the academy. That urge is now a professional concern. The work that I do as Cultural & Public Engagement Research Fellow at SAS is primarily concerned with engaging non-academic audiences with academic research in the humanities. I often do this via cultural collaborations, working with artists, photographers and filmmakers to find new ways of communicating research.