Philip Napier, Flax Art Studios, 1988


I’m delighted to have recently been awarded funding to begin a PhD at the University of Ulster in September 2018. The official title of the studentship I have been offered is:

A Comparative Study:

Artist Run Spaces and Organisations and Managed Art Spaces and Organisations in Northern Ireland/ Ireland


I have proposed that my research increasingly augments and activates my practice, so will focus a substantial portion of my proposed research on practical, deliverable outputs (e.g. symposia, exhibitions, publications etc.) alongside a collaborative sector partner.

My specific interest in this research topic is around visual art infrastructure, andthe role that artists’ studios can play in an area, reaffirming or challenging ideas of ‘studio cities’ with robust organisations and education-to-industry activity at its core.  I am interesting in exploring how and where the provision/ acknowledgement of studio space exists in, for example, local regeneration policies.

I have identified five key areas of interest around this proposal, how I might approach it and what the outcomes might be:

  • infrastructure
  • regionality
  • support for continued artistic practice (organisational and individual)
  • research undertaken across a theoretical and practical spectrum
  • working in collaboration/ partnership

My research will engage with organisations on a spectrum: both representative of established conventions (i.e. museological modes), as well as those predicated on an ideal of radicalism, improvisation and experimentation. I am particularly keen to expand on the place of the studio and formal or informal visual art education amongst this infrastructure. Beyond a comparative research agenda which focuses on only two models, I will expand the brief to tease out softer edges, such as investigating institutions as theoretical, rather than concrete.

Throughout my research I will be posting more regularly here on my website as well as through various project-specific platforms.