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Dr Lucy Steeds

Central Saint Martins
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Researcher Research
Lucy  Steeds


As Reader within the art programme at Central Saint Martins (CSM), Lucy Steeds manages the Exhibition Histories project for Afterall and contributes to the MRes Art: Exhibition Studies course. Working across the University of the Arts London, Lucy has responsibility for postgraduate research training – as Convenor of the Research Network (RNUAL) – and she is a member of the Research Centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation (TrAIN).

Lucy has a PhD in Cultural History from Goldsmiths College, University of London, having originally studied Experimental Psychology (Balliol College, Oxford University) and then Visual Cultures (Goldsmiths College). Her curatorial experience is anchored in six years of work at Arnolfini in Bristol (1998–2004), and includes more recent initiatives such as the 'Magiciens de la Terre: Reconsidered' film/discussion programme at Tate Modern (with George Clark, 2014) and 'Exhibition Histories and Afrofictions' at the Michaelis Galleries, University of Cape Town (with Nkule Mabaso, 2017).

Lucy approaches the history and theory of contemporary art on the basis that art’s potential is event-based and context-dependent. Her research is centred on the field of exhibition histories, with ‘exhibition’ understood in an expanded sense, as taking on myriad forms and without necessarily privileging the museum, gallery or biennial as host. Interested in both the ontology ­of contemporary art and related issues of historiography, she seeks to learn from and share a geopolitical diversity of experiences, thinking and practices.

Grants and awards

(Figures indicate amount awarded to UAL)

  • Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, The Other Story: British Art/Exhibition Histories Online, £8,000.00, (2015-2016)

Research Outputs



Current research students

  • Sasha Burkhanova, The (co-constitutive) ethics of a contemporary art curator, Central Saint Martins. (Joint supervisor)
  • Sunil Shah, Documenta 11 (2002) and Art's Global Entanglement (Lead supervisor)
  • Vija Skangale, An Underground Bridge to Free Collective Memory: Exhibitionary Practices in Georgia 1985–1995 (Lead supervisor)
  • Jennifer Warren, Locating the Function of Theory in Public Programmes. The Case of MACBA (Lead supervisor)

Past research students

  • John Kannenberg, Listening to Museums: Curating the Ephemeral Sonic Object, London College of Communication. (Joint supervisor)