Personal profile

Current Research Interests

I mostly work collaboratively, forming a distributed corporatus, then adopting shared avatars that have interpretive flexibility.

My main research interests in weirding and paragogy coorespond with two inter-related corporations (Confraternity of Neoflagellants, Shift/Work).

Each of these corporations is primarily concerned with methodological inventiveness, para, 'pata, psuedo and extra-disciplinary methods that systematically re-frame artistic research as an open ended inquiry: a careful, continuous quest driven by curiosity.

At the moment, I'm researching the relationships between crafting magic and artistic learning. This involves composing a ARG-LARP hybrid (Shift/Work: Crafting Magic) and fabulating mismorphic theory-fictions (Confraternity of Neoflagellants).

A member of the International Art Critics Association, I have long worked as a critic for many international art publications. I write for literary and political magazines, the popular press, television, commissioned monographs and artwriting publications and have curated exhibitions as part of international biennials as well as numerous projects at artist-led organisations.


Collaborative Activity

I work with the artist Dr Norman Hogg (Ottawa, ON) as the Confraternity of Neoflagellants. Our research on and through nonmodern theory and weirding practices can be found here:

I work with Dan Brown (Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop) and Dr Jake Watts (ECA) on Shift/Work, a knowledge exchange that uses action-research to develop workshop models for artistic paragogy, participatory visual methods and open educational resources.

With Prof Richard Baxstrom (Social Anthropology) I co-direct the research network Atelier: Making Research Material Across the Arts & Social Sciences in The University of Edinburgh.

Collaborative Activity

Confraternity of Neoflagellants: We use distributed methods of production and exhibition and diverse post-media narratives to produce works by contemporary and fictitious artisans, journeymen, hosts, anchorites, avatars, Sherlockers and hyper-economists. Our intermedial research has taken the form of books, zines, videos, artefacts, paintings, articles, talks, performances, parties, academic papers, shops, music… and has featured in a wide range of galleries, art catalogues, artists’ books, art journals, and academic journals traversing the disciplines of contemporary art and medieval studies. We have been invited to give artist talks on our work at art schools across the USA, Canada, Belgium, Iceland and the UK and have presented numerous peer-reviewed papers at artistic and medievalist conferences in the USA, Canada, Iceland, Ireland, UK, Poland and Germany. In 2014, Goldsmiths College hosted Neomedievalisms, a symposium responding to our theory-fiction book thN Lng Folk Investigating Future Premoderns™ (Punctum, 2013 In 2015, we chaired “Neomedieval Aesthetics in the 21st Century” at the Leeds International Medieval Congress and performed at congresses in Toronto (BABEL Group) and Edinburgh (Environmental Humanities).  Our work, Mobilitas Loci, was commissioned for the artist Amanda Beech’s bookwork CAVEAT EMPTOR (LGP, England, Nov 2015), which included a re-print of Reza Negarestani's First and Final Machines and a new text by Ray Brassier. Our theory-fictions presented at conferences in Edinburgh, Montréal, Warsaw and Reykjavik during 2016. In 2017 we chaired a panel at The Middle Ages in the Modern World (Manchester) and published WeRLtd. in Black Mountain Vol. 11 (London). In 2019 we completed a new boke (pan-pan, Punctum, New York) and a solo exhibition (pan-pan, SAW, Ottawa).

Collaborative Activity

The educational turn in art and the cultural turn in education are a fuzzy set, porous forms of inquiry converging in the practices of art and learning. Recalibrating artistic learning and inculcating teaching-as-research enables contributions SoTL, to open education and peer-to-peer learning (paragogy).

Shift/Work has examined and reconfigured ways in which we can facilitate comprehensive workshop-based approaches to artistic production that are theoretically informed, practical and participatory. We facilitate new experiential knowledges, practices and tools for artists and art educators to adapt and implement.  In 2015 we presented papers on Unlearning at conferences in Poznan and Brighton. In 2016, Shift/Work developed new workshops on Decisions at ESW, Malmö and Reykjavík and faciliated 'Groundcourse' with Prof Roy Ascott. We presented the results of these workshops at academic conferences in September 2016 (ITAC3, Scotland) and February 17 (Blip Blip Blip, Leeds). We composed a new 'Speculations' workshop at ESW for the Kochi Biennale, India in March '17 and Kristiansand, Norway August '17. In October 2017 we presented two papers on Speculations at ISSOTL17, Calgary, Canada.

Research Groups

I am co-Director of Atelier: Making Research Material Across the Arts & Social Sciences, a University of Edinburgh Research Network. 

Disciplines within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences each have their own protocols and methods for making material available for study in the form of objects. Yet, as we make radically distinct objects from the same material, what remained to be formulated within this multidisciplinary field were the concepts, equipment, and techniques that would generate the truly collaborative ability to fabricate common research objects. As such, we have developed new models of making and enquiry that bring together often separate visual and material research practices within the social sciences and humanities through the creation of an ‘Atelier’. Our Atelier is a commons that allows us to make shared research ‘objects’ through collaborative research practices. A series of charrettes - participatory workshops involving interested colleagues across UoE, partners in the museum and gallery sector and local ‘user groups’, in turn, focus on a particular object that facilitates and contrasts different methods of material enquiry. By engaging with ’things’ in the custody/field of our non-academic partners, these charrettes have enabled us to map and improve conditions for cross-disciplinary collaboration, shifting the emphasis away from doing research towards the creation of research objects. In 2016, Atelier have organised charrettes with National Museums Scotland (Edinburgh) and Atlas Arts (Skye) and hosted a keynote by Richard Sennett.

Research students

Principal Supervisor:

  • Frances Davis | PhD Candidate, School of Art, ECA (SGSAH AHRC NPIF Scholar)
  • Beth Dynowski | PhD Candidate, School of Art, ECA (SGSAH AHRC Award)
  • David Lane | PhD Candidate, School of Art, ECA
  • Wenjing Fan | PhD Candidate, School of Art, ECA
  • Quinn Garrison | PhD Candidate, School of Art, ECA


Programme Director, MA Contemporary Art Theory, School of Art, ECA

I established the MA CAT in 2001 as a post-studio programme that supports the practices of artists and contemporary art professionals. My research and teaching are fully integrated in this programme. Additionally, the theory and practice of teaching art is, in its own right, one of my key research concerns:

Contemporary Art & Open Learning

  • In 2020, I co-created new open courseware in Contemporary Art & Open Learning with Dr Jake Watts, Dr Emma Balkind and Beth Dynowski. The courseware is an Open Educational Resource that anyone can access online.

Contemporary Art + Anthropology

  • In 2021, I launched a new course in Contemporary Art + Anthropology, taught with Frances Davis and Edinburgh University Art Collections. This course combines artistic practice and social anthropology to create a hybrid interdiscipline.

Administrative Roles


Programme Director, MA Contemporary Art Theory, School of Art, ECA

Chair of External Evaluation Committee (EEC), Art, History and Theory,  Republic of Cyprus Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education.

Previous Leadership Roles:

Dean of Postgraduate Studies - College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science.

Co-Chair, Senatus Researcher Experience Committee, The University of Edinburgh

LERU Policy Group Member, Social Sciences and Humanities (EU)

Coimbra Group Doctoral Studies, UoE Representative

Russell Group Doctoral Studies, UoE Representative

Director of Postgraduate Studies, Edinburgh College of Art

CAHSS Representative, QAA Enhancement Theme Institutional Team, The University of Edinburgh

Chair Panel B, Scottish Graduate School for the Arts & Humanities

Director of Research & Knowledge Exchange, School of Art, Edinburgh College of Art

Director of Postgraduate Studies (MA and MFA Contemporary Art Programmes), School of Art, Edinburgh College of Art

Director of the Centre for Visual & Cultural Studies, Edinburgh College of Art

Director of Taught Postgraduate Studies, Edinburgh College of Art 

Previous Quality Enhancement:

2018-2022: Chief External Examiner Fine Art & Examiner, BA (Hons) Fine Art Critical Practice and all BA Critical Studies modules, University of Brighton, England

2017-2020 External Examiner, Master of Research, Royal College of Art, London, England.

2017-2020 External Examiner, Visual Culture: BA Fine Art and BA Visual Art Programmes, Dublin School of Creative Arts, Dublin Institute Technology, Ireland.

2019:  Chair of External Evaluation Committee (EEC), Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art, University of Nicosia for the Republic of Cyprus Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education.

2014-2018 Chief External Examiner and External Examiner MA Creative Practice, Leeds Arts University, Leeds, England.

2016 BA and MFA Fine Art Revalidation Panellist and Reviewer, School of Art & Design, Ulster University, Belfast, Ireland.

2013-2017 MA Fine Art and MFA Programmes at the University of Leeds, England.

2010-2015 External Examiner Visual Culture, History and Theory modules in the BA (Hons) Contemporary Fine Art, BA (Hons) Fashion and Textile Design with Enterprise, BA (Hons) Graphic Design, BA (Hons) Illustration and BA (Hons) Photography in the School of Art, Design and Media, University of Portsmouth, England.

2009-2013 External examiner of BA (Hons.) Fine Art Programmes at the School of Art, BIAD, Birmingham City University, England.


Education/Academic qualification

History of Art, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Why is there only one Monopolies Commission? Art and its Critics in Britain in the Late 1970s, University of Glasgow

Sept 1995Sept 1998

Award Date: 1 Sept 1998

History of Art, Master of Arts, MA (Hons.) History of Art, 1st Class, University of Glasgow

Aug 1991Jun 1995

Award Date: 30 Jun 1995

External positions

Chief External Examiner Fine Art & Examiner, BA (Hons) Fine Art Critical Practice and all BA Critical Studies module, Brighton University

1 Feb 2019 → …

External Examiner, MRes, Royal College of Art

1 Jun 20171 Jun 2020

External, Contemporary Visual Culture / Cultúr Físiúil Comhaimseartha, Dublin Institute of Technology

1 Sept 20161 Jun 2020

Chair, Executive Group, Scottish Graduate School for the Arts & Humanties

1 Aug 20161 Aug 2019

Member, Deans Group, Scottish Graduate School of Social Science

1 Aug 20161 Aug 2019

Chief External, Leeds College of Art

Feb 2015 → …

External MA Fine Art, University of Leeds

2013 → …


  • NX Arts in general
  • Visual Culture Studies
  • Weird Materialisms
  • Contemporary Art
  • Parahumanities
  • Weird Studies
  • Distributed Practice
  • Pananarchy
  • Neurodiversity
  • Future Studies
  • The Trickster
  • Comparative Escotericism
  • The Parasite
  • Game Theory
  • N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
  • Ambience
  • Nonmodern
  • Art and Education
  • Neomedievalism
  • Culinary Materialisms
  • Curatorial Practice
  • Magic/k
  • Crip Theory
  • Fictocriticism
  • Weirding
  • Psychosis-as-method
  • Fabulation
  • Occulture
  • Game Design / Mechanics
  • Fictioning
  • Pareidolia
  • Theory Fiction
  • Cruciverbalism
  • Practice Theories
  • Mismorphism
  • Play Theory
  • LB2361 Curriculum
  • Workshops
  • Radical Pedagogy
  • Paragogy
  • Peeragogy
  • P2P
  • Open Educational Practices
  • Problem Based Learning
  • Peer-2-Peer
  • Open Educational Resources
  • ARG-based Learning
  • Learning Sprints
  • Open Network Learning
  • Ungrading
  • Trickster Teaching
  • Ludic Learning
  • Unlearning
  • Smart Universities
  • SoTL
  • Second Cycle (Taught Postgraduate)
  • Third Cycle (PhD)
  • European Higher Educational Area (EHEA)


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