Speaker profiles

Professor Silke Ackermann

Director of The Museum of the History of Science, The University of Oxford.

Silke Ackermann is a German museum curator and historian of science. Her research interests include the history of science of the Middle Ages and Renaissance and the Islamic World, scientific instruments (especially astrolabes), and knowledge transfer.

In 1996, Ackermann was appointed Curator of European and Islamic scientific instruments at the British Museum in London.

In 2012, she took up a professorship at the University of Applied Sciences Baltic College in Schwerin, Germany, where she was later appointed president. 

In March 2014, Ackermann became Director of the Museum of the History of Science at Oxford University. She is the first ever female head of a museum at the University of Oxford.

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Dave Beech

BA Fine Art Senior Lecturer, Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London.

Dave Beech is an artist in the collective Freee (with Andy Hewitt and Mel Jordan), as well as a writer and curator. He studied painting at Leicester Polytechnic and cultural theory at the Royal College of Art, where he researched the historical development of the concept of philistinism from Romanticism to Postmodernism.

He has exhibited at the Liverpool Biennial (2010) and the Istanbul Biennial (2013), and curated We Are Grammar with Paul O’Neill, at the Pratt institute, New York. He has written widely on the politics of art, including The Philistine Controversy (Verso, 2002, co-authored with John Roberts) and editing a special edition of Third Text (Art, Politics, Resistance?, Vol 16, Issue 4.), as well as the legacy of the Avant-Garde and Conceptualism, most recently in  Beauty (MIT / Whitechapel, 2009) and Art and Text (Blackdog Books, 2011). 

His book Art and Value: Economic Exceptionalism in Classical, Neoclassical and Marxist Economics will be published in 2014 as part of the Historical Materialism Book Series. Dave has also contributed to debates on participation and art’s publics, in books such as In Search of Art’s New Publics and The Pedagogical Turn, as well as being a founding editor of the journal Art and the Public Sphere (Intellect Publishing, 2011). 

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Professor Tony Bennett

Research Professor in Social and Cultural Theory, Institute for Culture and Society, University of Western Sydney, Australia. Visiting Research Professor in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Open University.

Professor Bennett’s interests span a number of areas across the social sciences and humanities, with significant contributions to the fields of literary theory, cultural studies, cultural sociology, and museum studies. The common thread running through his interests across these areas concerns the ways in which culture is tangled up in the exercise of power. It also includes a concern with the varying social uses of aesthetic discourses, and the role of aesthetics in the history of social theory.

He has commented extensively on the work of Pierre Bourdieu and wrote the introduction to the English translation of Bourdieu’s Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste. 

Professor Bennett’s recent publications include: 

  • Making Culture, Changing Society (2010), Bennett et al
  • Culture Class Distinction (2009)
  • Pasts Beyond Memory: Evolution, Museums Colonialism (2004)

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Penelope Curtis

Director of Tate Britain.

As Director Penelope Curtis is tasked with the conception and execution of the curatorial programme of Tate Britain’s collection displays and exhibitions

In 1988 Penelope Curtis joined the new Tate Gallery in Liverpool as Exhibitions Curator. 

In 1994 she moved to the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds, where as curator, she was responsible for a programme of historical and contemporary sculpture exhibitions, collections building in sculpture and archives, and research activity including events, fellowships and publications. 

She has written widely on 20th-century British sculpture, on European art and architecture of the inter-war years, and on many contemporary sculptors including Thomas Schütte, Gerard Byrne and Isa Genzken.

She is author of: 

  • Sculpture 1900-1945: After Rodin - OUP, 1999
  • Patio and Pavilion: The place of sculpture in Modern Architecture - Ridinghouse, 2007

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Dr David Dibosa

Senior Research Fellow and Course Director for MA Curating and Collections, Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London.

Dr. David Dibosa is co-author of Post-Critical Museology: Theory and Practice in the Art Museum (Routledge, 2013). He trained as a curator, after receiving his first degree from Girton College, Cambridge. He was awarded his PhD in Art History from Goldsmiths, University of London, for a thesis titled, Reclaiming Remembrance: Art, Shame and Commemoration. 

During the 1990s, David curated public art projects, including In Sight In View, a billboard project in Birmingham City, England, as well as a sculpture park in the English West Midlands. From 2004-2008, he was Senior Lecturer in Fine Art Theory at Wimbledon College of Arts.

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Professor Thomas Docherty

Professor of English and Comparative Literature, University of Warwick.

Professor Thomas Docherty studied in Glasgow, Paris and Oxford. He graduated with his MA in English and French Language and Literature from Glasgow, where he also studied Mathematics and Philosophy. He then took a DPhil in Oxford.

He specialises in the philosophy of literary criticism, in critical theory, and in cultural history in relation primarily to European philosophy and literatures. Recent publications include: Confessions: the Philosophy of Transparency (Bloomsbury, 2012) and Aesthetic Democracy (Stanford University Press, 2006). He is working on two new books, one on the University and Globalisation, and a second on Memory.

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Professor Paul Goodwin

Professor of Black Art and Design, University of the Arts London

Paul Goodwin is an independent curator, urbanist and lecturer based in London.

From 2008 until 2012 Paul was Curator of Cross Cultural Programmes and then Curator of Contemporary Art at Tate Britain.

In these roles, he curated The Tate Cross Cultural Programme – a pioneering programme of talks, symposia, workshops and live art events that included groundbreaking and internationally renowned events and exhibitions such as:

  • The Status of Difference international seminars
  • Conversation Pieces artist talks and performances
  • Global Modernities - Tate Triennial conference
  • Afrodizzia - Late at Tate
  • Afro Modern: Journeys Through the Black Atlantic - consultant curator

His recent curatorial projects include the exhibitions:

  • Thin Black Line(s), 2011 - Tate Britain
  • Migrations: Journeys into British Art, 2012 - Tate Britain
  • Charlie Phillips: The Urban Eye, 2013 - New Art Exchange, Nottingham (2014 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize nomination)

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Dr Laurie Hanquinet

Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of York.

Laurie Hanquinet is a sociologist, focusing on socio-cultural inequalities, aesthetics, tastes and cities. She also has a strong interest in social sciences methodology. 

She has undertaken research on the visitors of modern and contemporary art museums, on the role of artists in the society and on different dimensions of cultural participation and social engagement. 

She has collaborated with the Observatory of Cultural Policies of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (Belgium) and analysed cultural participation in this part of the country. She has also worked on themes such as ethnicity, intergroup relations and immigration and on the operationalisation of these concepts in empirical research. 

She is currently the PI of the British team for the FP7 project The Europeanisation of everyday life. Her work has been published in Sociology, The Sociological Review, Social Science Research, Cultural Trends and other international peer-reviewed journals.

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Professor Yuko Hasegawa

Chief Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo and Professor at Tama Art University, Tokyo, where she teaches curatorial and art theory.

Previously she was Chief Curator and Founding Artistic Director of the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (1999-2006). Hasegawa has worked on many international biennials, and was Artistic Advisor for the 12th Venice Architectural Biennale (2010), Co-Curator of the 29th Sao Paulo Biennale (2010) and Co-Curator of the 4th Seoul International Media Art Biennale (2006). 

Hasegawa has curated major thematic group exhibitions, and solo exhibitions by such artists as Matthew Barney, Marlene Dumas, Rebecca Horn and Atsuko Tanaka. She has served on advisory boards for the Guggenheim Museum and the Venice Biennale and has authored curatorial essays in publications for museums including The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). 

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Professor Ben Highmore

Professor of Cultural Studies, University of Sussex.

His most recent book is The Great Indoors: At Home in the Modern British House (Profile, 2014). Previous books have included Ordinary Lives: Studies in the Everyday (Routledge, 2011) and A Passion for Cultural Studies (Palgrave, 2009). Currently he is finishing a history of brutalism as a form of visual culture in Britain in the 1950s. His next project is focused on taste, retailing and domesticity as part of a Leverhulme Research Fellowship.  

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Dr Katie Hill

Director, Office of Contemporary Chinese Art (OCCA). Programme Leader of Art of Asia and their Markets, Sotheby's Institute of Art.

Dr. Katie Hill has extensive experience in the field of contemporary Chinese art, with a degree in Chinese from the University of Edinburgh and a PhD in art history from the University of Sussex.

Her recent work includes In Conversation with Ai Weiwei, Tate Modern; selector panel / author, Art of Change, New Directions from China, Hayward Gallery, London and specialist advisor / author for The Chinese Art Book (Phaidon, 2013). 

She also co-edited a special issue of the Journal of Visual Art Practice on Contemporary Chinese Art and Criticality, published in 2012.

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Professor Susan Kaiser

Professor of Textiles and Clothing, and Women and Gender Studies and Master Adviser, Textiles and Clothing, University of California, USA.

She is the author of The Social Psychology of Clothing: Symbolic Appearances in Context (Fairchild, 2nd edition 2002), Fashion and Cultural Studies (Berg 2012) and over 100 articles in academic journals ranging from Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, Fashion Theory, Cultural Studies, Symbolic Interaction, and Sociological Inquiry to the Journal of Consumer Culture

She is a Fellow and Past President of the International Textile and Apparel Association, is a Co-Editor of Critical Studies in Fashion and Beauty and serves on the Editorial Board of Fashion Theory

Her current research focuses on fashion theory in conversation with feminist cultural studies, themes of place / space in the production-distribution-consumption of fashion, and (re)constructions of masculinity through style and fashion.

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Dr Sharon Kinsella

Lecturer in Japanese Studies, University of Manchester.

Dr Sharon Kinsella's research focuses on the cultural language and political symbolism of both mass media and mass cultural production and subcultural forms and reactions since the early 1990s. 

Her earlier work looked at cuteness and infantilism as rebellion; the educational and class sociology behind the institutional and commercial transformation and expansion of manga for adult men; otaku subculture and media framing and Lolita complex subculture. 

Her book, Schoolgirls, Money and Rebellion in Japan (Routledge, 2013), incorporates research on girls street styles and male journalism and cult formations around girls carried out in fieldwork and interviews over a protracted period of time from the late 1990s to the 2010s. 

Sharon Kinsella has a DPhil in Sociology from the University of Oxford and has worked in the US (Yale and MIT) and in universities in the UK (Oxford and Cambridge).

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Dr Dirk vom Lehn

Lecturer in Marketing, Interaction and Technology, The Department of Management, King’s College London.

His research examines video-recordings that capture people’s bodily, vocal and visual action and interaction at exhibits in museums, galleries and science centres. He is particularly interested in the ways in which people organise their interaction at as well as their making sense and aesthetic assessment of works of art when encountering the objects in exhibitions. 

His studies also explore how the encounter with works of art in museums is influenced by people’s engagement with technologies such as information kiosks and mobile systems that are designed with the purpose to enhance people’s experience. With Christian Heath, Dirk published Configuring Reception: (Dis-)Regarding the Spectator in Museums and Galleries. Theory, Culture & Society 21 (2004).

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Dr Michael Lehnert

Dr Michael Lehnert is currently leading on special projects for the Pro Vice-Chancellor's Office at Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon College of Arts, University of the Arts London.

Prior to that, he worked at the British Museum, developing institutional innovation and international engagement for its Director. Bridging the worlds of academia and industry, he worked at London Business School, for the EHRC, with the World Economic Forum and co-edited the journal Millennium.

While his personal artistic practice lies in photography and cinematography, he studied business administration and marketing management in Freiburg (Germany) and at Newcastle Business School, social and political theory at the University of Edinburgh and philosophy and international relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Dr Michael McMillan

Dr Michael McMillan is a Retain, Achieve, Succeed (RAS) Researcher, Visiting Professor and Associate Lecturer at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London.

Dr Michael McMillan is a writer, dramatist, artist, curator and scholar of Vincentian migrant parentage. 

Recent plays include:

  • A new translation of Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Person of Sezuan (Trenchtown) (2010 and 2012)
  • Master Juba (2006)
  • Babel Junction (2006)

Curatorial work includes: 

  • My Hair: Black Hair Culture, Style and Politics (Origins of the Afro Comb, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, 2013)
  • I Miss My Mum’s Cooking (Who More Sci-Fi Than Us, KAdE Kunsthal, Amersfoort, Netherlands, 2012)
  • The Waiting Room (Stories and Journeys, (Gwynedd Museum & Art Gallery, Bangor, North Wales, 2012)
  • The Beauty Shop (198 Contemporary Arts and Learning, 2008)
  • The West Indian Front Room (Geffrye Museum, 2005-06)
  • The Front Room: Migrant Aesthetics in the Home (Black Dog Publishing, 2009)

He was awarded an Arts Doctorate from Middlesex University in 2010.

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Professor Peter Osborne

Peter Osborne is Professor of Modern European Philosophy and Director of the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP), Kingston University, London.

He is an editor of the journal Radical Philosophy.

His books include: 

  • The Politics of Time: Modernity and Avant-Garde (Verso, 1995, 2011)
  • Philosophy in Cultural Theory (Routledge, 2000)
  • Conceptual Art (Phaidon, 2002)
  • Marx (Granta Books, 2005)
  • Anywhere or Not at All: Philosophy of Contemporary Art (Verso, 2013)

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Pil and Galia Kollectiv

Artist, writers and curators.

Pil and Galia Kollectiv’s work addresses the legacy of modernism. They are interested in the relationship between art and politics, and the role irony and belief play in its current articulation.

They often use choreographed movement and ritual as both an aesthetic and a thematic dimension, juxtaposing consumer rites and religious ceremonies to find the underlying convitions of a secular, post-ideological society. 

Pil and Galia Kollectiv also run xero, kline and coma an artist run project space, are the London editors of Arts Papers and teach fine art at University of Reading and elsewhere. 

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Dr Malcolm Quinn

Associate Dean of Research and Director of Graduate School at Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Colleges of Arts, University of the Arts London.

Dr Malcolm Quinn’s current research focuses on the issue of prejudice in taste in the thought of Jeremy Bentham and David Hume.  

He has written about the politics of taste in the development of state funded art education for the journals History of European Ideas, International Journal of Art and Design Education, Journal of Visual Arts Practice and Revue d'études Benthamiennes. 

His book Utilitarianism and the Art School in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Pickering and Chatto) was published in 2012. 

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Professor Penny Sparke

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise), School of Art and Design History, Kingston University.

Professor Penny Sparke is an Honorary Senior Fellow of the Royal College of Art and a Fellow of the Society of Arts. Since 1975, she has worked in the field of late nineteenth and twentieth century Design History. She has lectured, curated and been published widely in this field both in the UK and overseas. 

In addition to her numerous articles and book chapters her single authored books include:

  • An Introduction to Design and Culture, 1900 to the present (Allen and Unwin, 1986, 2004)
  • Japanese Design (Michael Joseph, 1986)
  • Design in Context (Bloomsbury, 1987)
  • Italian Design (Thames and Hudson, 1988)
  • As Long As It's Pink: The Sexual Politics of Taste (Pandora, 1995, 2010)
  • Elsie de Wolfe and the Birth of Modern interior Decoration (Acanthus Press, 2005)
  • The Modern Interior (Reaktion Books, 2008)

A special interest has been the meaning of design within the context of consumption and its relationship with gender and identity and, from the mid 1990s she has focused her attention on the subject of the interior. 

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Professor Carol Tulloch

Professor of Dress, Diaspora and Transnationalism, University of the Arts London.

As a curator and writer Carol has explored a range of issues on dress and black identities, style narratives, cross cultural and transnational relations, cultural heritage, auto/biography and personal archives.

She is based at Chelsea College of Arts and is a member of the Transnational Arts, Identity and Nation Research Centre (TrAIN). Carol is also the TrAIN / V&A Fellow at the V&A Museum.

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Professor Toshio Watanabe

Director of the Research Centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation (TrAIN), University of the Arts London.

Toshio Watanabe is an art historian, studying mostly the period 1850-1950, and he has worked in the field of transnational art involving Japan.

Current research interests include:

  • The modern Japanese garden in transnational context
  • Historiography of Japanese art history
  • Japonisme, especially 1920s – 1950s

Publications include:

  • High Victorian Japonisme (Herbert & Cie Lang AG, Buchhandlung Antiquariat, 1991 (Winner of Society for the Study of Japonisme Prize)
  • Japan and Britain: An Aesthetic Dialogue 1850-1930 (Lund Humphries Publishers Ltd, 1991, Japanese edition 1992, co-edited)
  • Ruskin in Japan 1890-1940: Nature for art, art for life (exhibition catalogue, 1997, Winner of Japan Festival Prize and of Gesner Gold Award)

He is currently Vice President of Comité international d’histoire de l’art (CIHA) and was Chair of Association of Art Historians (1998-2001), member of Tate Britain Council (2002-2005) and President of Japan Art History Forum (USA) (2005-2011).

Toshio Watanabe studied at Universities of Sophia in Tokyo, London and Basel, where he completed his PhD.

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Dr Ken Wilder

Course Director, MA Interior and Spatial Design, Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London.

Ken Wilder is an artist and writer. He is Postgraduate Programme Director at Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London. Having previously studied architecture, Wilder now makes site-responsive sculptural installations, often incorporating video projection. 

He has exhibited in the UK and Germany, and has had a number of articles published in prominent film and aesthetics journals, including FilmwavesMoving Image Review and Art Journal, the British Journal of AestheticsEstetika and Image & Narrative. Wilder has recently had a chapter published on the Freee Art Collective in the book Manifesto Now!

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Dr Stephen Wilson

Postgraduate Theory Coordinator, Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London.