Research areas

  • Festivals and public art
  • Research as creative practice
  • Public engagement & co-produced research methodologies
  • Place-based literary and cultural studies
  • Creative Critical Writing

My research interests intersect with my professional practice (and vice-versa). In broad terms, all my work explores what I call the ‘cultural politics of cultural practice’. I am interested in the structures, intuitions and social contexts in which cultural/artistic practice takes place, particularly in relation to public art, collaboration and community. A lot of my work has explored festivals of various kinds, but I am also interested in galleries, museums, archives, funding and policy infrastructures in both the cultural sphere and higher education.

Increasingly I’m interested in activity that happens on the fringes of mainstream cultural/ educational infrastructure and which challenges it. Small festivals, museums, micro-galleries, home archives, self-publishing, outsider artists, collectors, community art activity and art collectives are all of interest.  I’m fascinated by how such people/ projects sit in relation to the structures that surround them and how they connect to wider publics.

Research meets practice

My research has developed alongside an ongoing professional career in community arts and public engagement. These two sides of my practice overlap significantly. A large proportion of my research is therefore explored through practice. I have worked collaboratively with a number of artistic groupings and community arts practices – including for example conducting narrative interviews with participants in Nottingham City Arts’ Arts on Prescription programme and working with a number of grassroots arts charities, initiatives and festivals.

I’m interested in exploring ideas of ‘research practice’ that sit outside or complicate the professional infrastructures of higher education. I’m interested in independent, unfunded, very short (one day) projects and projects that are highly collaborative, interdisciplinary, perhaps even a bit messy….

Academic Writing

‘Documenting Disappearance: A Day in the “Research Laboratory” of Iona and Peter Opie’Performance Research. (2020)

Bloomsbury Festival in a Box: engaging socially isolated people with dementia. Final Project Report to AHRC. (2014).

Arts on Prescription: a qualitative longitudinal outcomes study (co-authored with Dr Theodore Stickley). Public Health. (2013).

The Communality of the Underdeck-Dirty Pretty Surrealism. Sample chapter from PhD thesis. (2012).

‘Cells, Recesses, Tombs: Vertiginous Spaces in Bataille’s Le Bleu du ciel. MHRA Working Papers in the Humanities, Vol. 4.(2009).

Other Writing

‘Want to save the humanities? Try getting off your pedestal’Wonkhe. (2019).

‘6 Hidden Gems to Check Out as Part of this Free Festival’. Londonist. (2019).

‘Sex, solitude and secrets: what we learnt from Londoners’ anonymous diaries’. (With Elizabeth Dearnley). The i. (2018)

Tensions between the everyday and the exceptionalArts Professional. (2018).

Being Human and the British Academy. Guest blog for the British Academy. (2017).

Kindred Spirits? University/ cultural partnershipsArts Professional. (2016).

Still Invited to the Party: Festival in a BoxArts Professional. (2016).

Festival in a Box: archives. Talking Humanities (blog). (2015).

Being Human: a new forum for public engagement with the humanities. NCCPE guest blog. (2014).