My research focusses primarily on the cultural politics of artistic practice. I am interested in the possibilities and limits of ideas of artistic community and their oppositional/complicit relationship with dominant political cultures, and have pursued this central concern across various curatorial, artistic, and research projects over the past few years.
Throughout my work there has been a sustained interest in Surrealism and its legacies. I am particularly interested in Surrealism as a form of communal artistic practice and, by extension, a way of imagining and of practising community.
From a primarily literary focus during my PhD (awarded in 2012), I moved to applied projects in the field of arts and health working with Arts on Prescription activities in Nottingham. In 2013 I came to London to coordinate an AHRC-funded cultural engagement project with the School of Advanced Study and the Bloomsbury Festival. This resulted in Ministry of Communication, a five-day mini festival at Senate House, University of London in October 2013.
Also in 2013, I was awarded a research development grant as part of the AHRC’s Cultural Value Project. Working with the Bloomsbury Festival and with Age UK Camden, between 2013-2014 I acted as Principle Investigator on Bloomsbury Festival in a Box: engaging socially isolated people with dementia. This project developed and analysed a pilot cultural outreach programme for people living with dementia in Bloomsbury and Camden. This research led to dissemination events at Luminate: Scotland’s Festival of Creative Ageing, and to an exhibition at the Leeds College of Art. The ‘Festival in a Box’ is now an embedded part of the Bloomsbury Festival’s year round outreach activity.
My main focus of activity at the moment is curating and managing Being Human – the UK’s only national festival of the humanities. This annual festival takes place annually at venues across the UK. In 2015 the festival featured over 300 events led by 76 universities and Independent Research Organisations across the country.
Still Invited to the Party: Festival in a Box Arts Professional (2016).
Festival in a Box: archives. Talking Humanities (blog) (2015).
Bloomsbury Festival in a Box: engaging socially isolated people with dementia (Final Project Report) (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).
Festival in a Box: Archives, Leeds College of Art. September-December (2015).
Details and images from all the projects above, and others can be accessed in my Project Archive.
Being Human Festival – www.beinghumanfestival.org
Festival in a Box: Open Archives – www.festivalinabox.blogs.sas.ac.uk