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Professor Malcolm Quinn

Professor of Cultural and Political History Associate Dean of Research
University of the Arts London
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Researcher Research
Malcolm  Quinn


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.

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.

Research Outputs

Book Section


Current research students

  • Osman Ahmad, Documenting the Kurdish Genocide through Drawing. (Lead supervisor)
  • Dino Alfier, A Metaethical Study of Simone Weils Notion of Attention Through Critical Practical Analogy. (Lead supervisor)
  • Lorrice Douglas, Discreet Works (Lead supervisor)
  • Gavin Edmonds, Listening for echoes: Afterwardsness as a model for artistic practice. (Lead supervisor)
  • Karl Foster, Transformative Encounters with Vernacular Materiality - Fine Art Pedagogy Understood from the Psychoanalytic Perspective of Wilfred Bion. (Joint supervisor)
  • Christopher Fry, Perceiving Experience: Accounting for the role of the audience in the construction of pervasive and locative artworks. (Lead supervisor)
  • Robert Gadie, Articulating Epistemologies Inherent to Practice-Based Fine Art Doctoral Research. (Lead supervisor)
  • Amanda Johansson, Institutional Critique as Practice-as-Research in Arts Education. (Lead supervisor)
  • Vasilis Kantas, Unfolding the Act of Photography (Lead supervisor)
  • Georgia Touliatou, Diegetic Stories in a Video Mediation: A Narrative Analysis of Four Videos. (Lead supervisor)
  • Anne Wainwright, If the ship is a paradigm of a Heterotopia, how can gendered art practices inform discourses in relation to this transgressive space? (Lead supervisor)
  • 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. (Lead supervisor)

Past research students

  • Maria Georgaki, Pedagogies of 'Good Design' and Handling in Relation to the I.L.E.A./Camberwell Collection. (Lead supervisor)
  • Alison Goodyear, Privileged, unique and temporary: interpreting aesthetic experiences of the painter-painting relationship through an address to and from practice. (Lead supervisor)
  • Rebecca Hackemann, Not on the Plaza: Critical Strategies for Permanent Public Art in New York. (Lead supervisor)
  • Vasileios Kantas, (Completion) Ungrouped layers: Unfolding the act of photography (Joint supervisor)
  • Maria Kheirkhah, Another Emerging: Re-constructing the Islamo-Orientalised Female Other in Contemporary Western Visual Culture. (Advisor)
  • Eva Verhoeven, Digital Conditions and Post Digital Potentials: An Exploration of Time and Matter in Hardware and Software. (Lead supervisor)
  • Jennifer Wright, Extending the field of drawing the body: fine art anatomical drawing and its relationship to developing medical technologies and procedures. (Lead supervisor)