Professor Neil Cummings

Professor of Practice and Theory of Fine Art

Camberwell, Chelsea, Wimbledon


Neil Cummings is Professor of Critical Practice at Chelsea. He was born in Wales, and lives in London.

Research interests

Critical practice, contemporary creative practice, art and social process, critical practice and digital technology.

Research statement

Cummings has evolved a multidisciplinary art practice that often requires an intense period of research within the specific contexts in which art is produced, distributed and encounters its audiences. Principally, this has meant working directly with museums, galleries, archives and art schools.

Cummings often works collaboratively with other artists, curators, academics, researchers or producers to create artworks, exhibitions and events from existing collections or contexts. Each artwork or event finds an appropriate form, and these are as varied as creating exhibitions such as Enthusiasm at the Whitechapel Gallery, curating film programmes such as Social Cinema which took up several temporary locations in central London, writing and editing films such as Museum Futures; Distributed and books including The Value of Things, and convening participatory events; Parade in the Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground.

Currently Cummings is interested in the political economy of creativity, and how art is instituted. While at Chelsea, he contributes to the research cluster Critical Practice.


Current students & thesis titles

Francesca Baglietto, Curating in Global Networks; (Counter) Narrative Environments Unfolding in Hybrid Exhibitionary Spaces.

Daniel Baker, Technologies of Subjectivity: The Museum Exhibition, the 18th Century South Pacific and the Production of the Modern Self.

Marianne Guarino-Huet, Knowledge exchange and artistic practices with a pedagogical dimension: a vector for change.

Sam Hopkins, The Memory of the Crowd: New Media representations of Kenyan Identities.

Samson Kambalu, 13th Room: The General Economy in Meschac Gaba's Museum of Contemporary African Art.

Amy McDonnell, Why do we Associate?: Artists' Group Work between Cuba and the UK.

Patricia Scott-Cumming, Socialising the Archive: Art and the Archival Encounters.

Completed students & thesis titles

Isobel Bowditch, What does it mean to make a decision? A project in Writing.

Marsha Bradfield, Utterance and Authorship in Dialogic Art: or an Account of a Barcamp in Response to the Question, 'What is Dialogic Art?'

Andrew Chesher, Towards a Dialogical Practice: Investigating the 'dialogical document' as an aesthetic strategy for working with enunciative context.

Andy Hewitt, Art and Counter-Publics in Third Way Cultural Policy.

Wayne Clements, Instruction Art: rule making and rule following in Visual Art.

Selected research outputs

  • Artists Work in Museums: Histories Interventions Subjectivities

    Sandino, Linda and Pye, Matilda and Saumarez Smith, Charles and Avery Quash, Susanna and Marsden, Christopher and Timmers, Margaret and Cummings, Neil and Fleming, Martha and Storrie, Calum and Ahl, Zandra and Harrison, Keith and Atha, Christine and Greenhalgh, Paul (2013) Artists Work in Museums: Histories Interventions Subjectivities. Wunderkammer Press, Bath Spa University, Bath. ISBN 978-0-9566462-8-6

  • More things can happen than will, or have

    Cummings, Neil (2014) More things can happen than will, or have. In: UAL Professorial Platform Series 2013-14, 19 June 2014, Chelsea College of Arts, 16 John Islip Street, London SW1P 4JU.

  • Self portrait: Arnolfini [publication]

    Cummings, Neil (2011) Self portrait: Arnolfini [publication]. Arnolfini, Bristol, UK. ISBN 9780956888617

  • Parade: public modes of assembly and forms of address

    Cummings, Neil (2011) Parade: public modes of assembly and forms of address. BRIGHT. CCW Graduate School, London, UK. ISBN 9780955862830

  • Lapdogs

    Cummings, Neil (2009) Lapdogs. In: Lapdogs of the Bourgeoisie: Class Hegemony in Contemporary Art. Sternberg Press, Berlin, Germany, pp. 105-124. ISBN 9781933128887

  • Lapdogs

    Cummings, Neil (2008) Lapdogs. [Art/Design Item]

  • Post production

    Cummings, Neil and Lewandowska, Marysia (2008) Post production. [Show/Exhibition]

  • Museum Futures: Distributed

    Cummings, Neil and Lewandowska, Marysia (2008) Museum Futures: Distributed. [Art/Design Item]

  • Screen Tests

    Cummings, Neil and Lewandowska, Marysia and White, Ben and Simpson, Eileen (2005) Screen Tests. [Art/Design Item]

  • Enthusiasm

    Cummings, Neil and Lewandowska, Marysia (2005) Enthusiasm. [Show/Exhibition]