Skip to main content

David Cross

University of the Arts London
Email address
Researcher Research
David  Cross


As an artist, I began collaborating with Matthew Cornford while studying at Saint Martin’s School of Art in 1987, and graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1991. Cornford & Cross held residencies at the London School of Economics, and Vitamin in Guangzhou, China. In London our work was exhibited at the Camden Arts Centre, the ICA, the Photographers’ Gallery and the South London Gallery. In Britain we exhibited in ‘East International’, the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, the De La Warr Pavilion, and the Wolverhampton Art Gallery. In Europe, we exhibited in Athens, Bologna, Bruges, Rome, and Stockholm; in the USA in New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco. Perceiving a conflict between my internationalism and my environmentalism, I stopped using jet travel in 2005.

I am a Reader in Fine Art at the University of the Arts, London. Informing my research, practice and teaching is a critical engagement with the relationship between visual culture and the social-ecological crisis.

In 2012, in homage to the Artist Placement Group, I designated my employment at UAL as an artist’s placement, proposing that UAL switch to an ethical bank. In 2015, I initiated and ran a campaign with students to persuade UAL to divest from fossil fuels. In 2016, UAL announced that it would divest its £3.9 million endowments from fossil fuels, and sign the UN Principles for Responsible Investment.

Since 2019, I have advocated that UAL integrates decarbonization with decolonisation as a start towards regenerative ecology and restorative social justice. As a member of UAL’s Climate and Ecological Emergency Group, I have persuaded UAL Executive Board to commit to using Science Based Targets to achieve Zero greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement, and within a just share of the Global Carbon Budget.

Research Outputs

Art/Design item





Current research students

  • Voon Pow Bartlett, Spectacle as myth: The relational and the quotidian in contemporary Chinese art (2005-2008). (Lead supervisor)
  • Ana Beatriz Ferreira de Rocha e Silva, Spectacular architecture, identity crisis, cultural politics and the reinvention of the significance of museums of modern art. (Lead supervisor)
  • Olivier Desvoigners, Blackboards were turned into tables: Questioning ‘horizontality’ in collaborative pedagogical art projects (Lead supervisor)
  • Manoela Dos Anjos Afonso, Language and place in the life of Brazilian women living in London: an artistic approach to life writing. (Lead supervisor)
  • Emma Drye, Incidentally: An art of hospitable encounters in the contemporary workplace (Joint supervisor)
  • Hannah Franklyn Entwisle Chapuisat, Displacement and Climate Change: Is there space at the table for artists to influence international policy development? (Lead supervisor)
  • Maryclare Foa, Sounding out: performance drawing in response to the outside environment. (Lead supervisor)
  • Sara Grisewood, Lineside Stories: Following the tracks in the Anthropocene (Lead supervisor)
  • Thomas Helyar-Cardwell, Still Life & Death Metal: Painting the Battle Jacket. (Lead supervisor)
  • Xinyao Liu, The Traces of Human Interventions in Fresh-waterscapes—An Art-based Approach (Joint supervisor)
  • Michael Martin, Making-with nature: Towards an emerging design practice of “eco-sympoiesis” (Joint supervisor)
  • Diego Masera, Eco-production in the Purepecha region of Mexico (Lead supervisor)
  • Hugh Nicholson, Bright Water: Green Value and Artistic Limits (Joint supervisor)
  • Vanessa Saraceno, Sustainability. A New Sensitivity in Contemporary Art. (Lead supervisor)

Past research students

  • Vasiliki Christouli, Site-Specific Art as an exploration of Spatial and Temporal Limitations. (Lead supervisor)
  • Marianne Guarino-Huet, Knowledge exchange and artistic practices with a pedagogical dimension: a vector for change. (Lead supervisor)
  • Bridget Harvey, How can Re-making and Repair Function as both Political Action and Design Strategy? (Lead supervisor)
  • Clara Vuletich, Full Circle: A Practice-Based Reflective Investigation of Qualities and Values for Transitionary Textile Design (Lead supervisor)