About this event

This Association for Art History DECR event, Professional Development Days, offers professional advice, insights and career development opportunities for those at an undergraduate, postgraduate, post-doctoral and early career stage in their career. This event is aimed at people working within disciplines that connect to art history in its widest sense, including arts practices, curating and other cultural fields. Four panels will be held across the two days, with two panels focusing respectively on Digital Technologies and Community Engagement on Day 1, and Preparing for Postgraduate Study and Disseminating Research on Day 2. Each panel will last for one hour, with two invited (or, in one case, three) speakers and a discussion-based format where we invite attendees to engage with the topics being discussed. The programme will include a range of different presenters who will talk about their professional experiences and offer advice and guidance, as well as providing a space for honest conversations about some of the challenges faced by arts professionals. This event is organised and programmed by the Association for Art History’s Doctoral and Early Career Research (DECR) Committee.


Programme Details

Thursday 11th May, 10.00 – 11.00 – ‘Working with Digital: Tools and Methods’

This panel will discuss how we interpret and present art and art history in and through the digital domain, in both community and institutional spaces. We will look at how diverse forms of digital content can shape new ways of engaging with objects, ideas, and groups, and have an open discussion about both the usefulness and some of the challenges involved in this. 

Speakers: Sara Kärpänen, founder & editor-in-chief of Women of the Wick & Rianah Ntanya, editor & social media manager of Women of the Wick; David Scott, Digital Media Manager, Glasgow Museums

Thursday 11th May, 14.00 – 15.00 – ‘Community Engagement’

Contemporary art history is filled with many interesting and inspiring examples of socially engaged art and community arts practices, but how can art history studies connect with and lead to careers involving community engagement, outreach and social work? This panel will explore the ways that art history can make real social impact with different communities and underrepresented social groups. It will speak to careers in community engagement, arts charity work and social practice curation and gallery roles.  

Speakers: Stephen Pritchard, executive at Helix art and independent art historian; Seth Pimlott, Curator of Social Practice, Chisenhale Gallery

Friday 12th May, 10.00 – 11.00 – ‘Applying for Postgraduate Studies (MA/PhD)’

This panel is for individuals intending to or in the process of applying for postgraduate studies in the broader field of Art History. Our invited speakers will provide tips for a successful application, and avenues for funding and studentships.

Speakers: Laura Guy, PhD Co-ordinator, Glasgow School of Art; Gareth Clayton, Grants and Fellowships Manager, Paul Mellon Centre

Friday 12th May, 14.0 – 15.00 – ‘Publishing and Disseminating Your Research’

Publishing and disseminating research is an integral part of academic life. In this panel, our invited specialists discuss the multiple pathways to building your publication profile, in both article and book forms.

Speakers: Ruth Millington, art historian, critic, and author; James Corby, Associate Professor, Head of the Department of English at the University of Malta and founding co-editor of the journal CounterText

Panellist Biographies:

(l-r from top row)

Sara Kärpänen (she/her): Sara Kärpänen (she/her) is a London-based author, poet and the founder of Women of the Wick media democratising media spaces and elevating creative voices through a bi-annual print magazine, podcast series and educational workshops. Originally a news reporter, Sara has over 15 years of experience in the media and creative industries. Her layered approach to arts and communications encompasses writing, research, public speaking and performance, with a primary focus on gender equality and personal storytelling. Sara is a graduate of the Situated Practice MA programme at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.

Rianah Ntanya (she/her) Rianah is a London-native Freelance Writer & Creative Producer who has worked with the likes of Vice, Disney & Live Nation to name a few. She’s a multi-hyphenate creative spanning a plethora of fields within the industry which form just some of the tentpoles of her approach to expanding brand reach and cultural impact.

David Scott (he/they): David leads on Digital for Glasgow Museums, and has recently delivered the digital interpretation of the refurbished Burrell Collection. With a background in fine art, he has been producing digital content for the heritage sector for over 25 years, and has developed a user-centred, research-informed approach to developing engaging and innovative films, interactive games, immersive experiences, and online content websites for a variety of audiences during this time.

Stephen Pritchard (he/him): Stephen Pritchard is an independent academic, researcher, community artist, arts manager, activist, art historian, writer, curator, critical friend and filmmaker. He lectures internationally and has written several book chapters. His work focuses on issues including community art, community development and cultural development, artwashing, activist art, self-organising, creative placemaking, culture-led regeneration, art in urban contexts, street art, and arts and health. He works as an executive at Helix Arts, is critical friend with several Creative People and Places programmes, and works with many other cultural and community development initiatives. He also works with communities to co-produce large format murals. Stephen wonders whether arts and culture is in the formative stages of a “community (re)turn” – a shift that might reconnect it to its roots as a deeply communal, shared practice.

Seth Pimlott (he/him): Seth Pimlott is the Curator of Social Practice at Chisenhale Gallery, a non-profit contemporary art gallery based in Bow, Tower Hamlets. He is currently undertaking a PhD at QMUL, researching the history of the community arts movement in East London. At Chisenhale, he oversees 2.8 Milion Minds (so-called because there are 2.8 million young people in Greater London), a young people’s art and mental health programme supported by the Mayor of London, which is a collaboration between Chisenhale Gallery, artist ‘the vacuum cleaner’, Bernie Grant Arts Centre and Whitechapel Gallery.

Laura Guy (she/her): Laura Guy is a writer and curator based in Glasgow where she coordinates PhD research in the School of Fine Art, Glasgow School of Art. Her research on queer feminist art and photography has been published widely. She is editor of Phyllis Christopher, Dark Room: San Francisco Sex and Protest, 1988-2003 (Bookworks, 2022) and co-editor with Glyn Davis of Queer Print in Europe (Bloomsbury, 2022).

Gareth Clayton (he/him): Gareth is an experienced Grants, Programmes and Monitoring and Evaluation Manager with over ten years’ experience in the arts and Third Sectors. In his current role as Grants and Fellowships Manager at Paul Mellon Centre he is responsible for managing the administration of all grant and fellowship related activities, including advising potential applicants, assessing submitted proposals, managing relationships with existing grantees, promoting future funding opportunities and reporting on the impact that the grants have had.

Ruth Millington (she/her): Ruth Millington is an art historian, critic and author. She has been featured as an art expert on radio and TV, including BBC Breakfast, Sky Arts and ITV News. Ruth has written for national newspapers, including the Telegraph, the I and The Sunday Times. Her first book ‘Muse’ uncovers the hidden figures behind art history’s masterpieces.

James Corby (he/him): James Corby is Associate Professor and Head of the Department of English at the University of Malta, where he lectures on poetry, contemporary fiction, literary theory and drama. He is the founding co-editor of the journal CounterText: A Journal for the Study of the Post-Literary, which is published three times a year by Edinburgh University Press. He is also a founding member of the Futures of Literature Network, a research network based in Malta. He has published widely on literature, and philosophy, including articles on romanticism, modernism, phenomenology, performance, politics, literary theory, and contemporary literature.

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