Professor Malcolm Quinn

Profile image of Professor of Political and Cultural History, Associate Dean of Research and Director of Graduate School

Professor of Political and Cultural History, Associate Dean of Research and Director of Graduate School

Camberwell, Chelsea, Wimbledon


Malcolm Quinn is Professor of Cultural and Political History, Associate Dean of Research and Director of Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon (CCW) Graduate School, University of the Arts London.

He leads the CCW Graduate School Team, which supports and develops the research activity of staff and students, the closer integration of research and teaching, UK and worldwide research collaborations and new ways to realise the cultural and social impact of research at CCW. 

He has written two single-authored books that trace, firstly, the aesthetic of politics in twentieth-century fascism and secondly, the intellectual history of a politics of the aesthetic in nineteenth-century Britain. Between the publication of these two books, he collaborated with Professor Dany Nobus of Brunel University on a study of psychoanalytic approaches to knowledge and identity. This collaborative research has informed his analysis of ‘the utilitarian conversion’ in ethics and its role in defining a new politics of art and taste in Britain in the 1830s. 

Research interests

Public aesthetics and ethics, politics.

Research statement

Malcolm Quinn’s current research engages with ideas that were foundational for state-funded art education in England – utility, taste, well-being, cultural prejudice and social equity. 

The identification of this set of foundational concepts has developed from historical work on how the state funded art school emerged from a utilitarian critique of the academy in England the 1830s.  This research is summarised in his book Utilitarianism and the Art School in Nineteenth-Century Britain, London: Pickering and Chatto 2012.

Most recently, he developed the two-day conference ‘Victorian Futures’ (Chelsea College of Arts, 14/15 May 2015) as a collaboration with Professor Anne Massey, then at Middlesex University and now Associate Dean of Research at  LCC, and Professor Bill Sherman of the V&A. This conference used the past to look critically at the future of a national debate on art and public culture in the UK. 

This national debate began in the 1830s, was developed in the 1850s with the Great Exhibition and Albertopolis, and is now being echoed once again with plans for the ‘Olympicopolis’ development the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where University of the Arts London, University College London, V&A and Sadler’s Wells will be establishing new centres for the arts, education and research.


Current Students & Thesis Titles

Gavin Edmonds, Listening for Echoes. Afterwardsness as a model for artistic practice.

Robert Gadie, Articulating Epistemologies Inherent to Practice-Based Fine Art Doctoral Research.

Alison Goodyear, Privileged, unique and temporary: interpreting aesthetic experiences of the painter-painting relationship through an address to and from practice.

Rebecca Hackemann, Not on the Plaza: Critical Strategies for Permanent Public Art in New York.

Amanda Johansson, Institutional Critique as Practice-as-Research in Arts Education.

Maria Smith, 'Scheherazade Emerging (2000-2012); Reconstructing the Oriental Female Other in Contemporary Western Visual Culture'.

Anne Wainwright, If the ship is a paradigm of a Heterotopia, how can gendered art practices inform discourses in relation to this transgressive space?

Jennifer Wright, Extending the field of drawing the body: fine art anatomical drawing and its relationship to developing medical technologies and procedures.

Completed Students & Thesis Titles

Maria Georgaki, Pedagogies of 'Good Design' and Handling in Relation to the I.L.E.A./Camberwell Collection.

Vasilis Kantas, Unfolding the Act of Photography.

Christopher Fry, Perceiving Experience: Accounting for the role of the audience in the construction of pervasive and locative artworks.

Georgia Touliatou, Diegetic Stories in a Video Mediation: A Narrative Analysis of Four Videos.

Jackie West, A Study of the Relationship between the Painter’s intention and the Spectator’s interpretation employing methods of social enquiry within the Field of Football Culture.

Amanda Windle, Territorial Violence and Design, 1950-2010: A Human-Computer Study of Personal Space and Chatbot Interaction.

Eva Verhoeven, Digital Conditions and Post Digital Potentials: An Exploration of Time and Matter in Hardware and Software.

Osman Ahmad, Documenting the Kurdish Genocide through Drawing.

Dino Alfier, A Metaethical Study of Simone Weils Notion of Attention Through Critical Practical Analogy.

Selected research outputs