Dr Jo McGonigal

Dr Jo McGonigal


I joined the University of Leeds in 2015 as a PhD candidate, gaining my doctorate in 2019. 

I took up my current position as Fine Art Lecturer in 2018, having previously worked as an Associate Lecturer in Fine Art at Manchester Metropolitan University and Leeds Beckett University. In 2020, I became Deputy Director of Student Education with a focus on employability and the University’s Industry Placement year.

My practice and research engages with painting as a post-medium practice and its intersection with architecture. My work draws upon new materialist thinking to examine how painting might liberate itself from its traditional pictorial language by prioritising the extra-ordinary agency of materials.

In 2020 I joined Outside Architecture, an artist-led collaborative group based in London founded by Bernice Donszelmann, Tim Renshaw, and Mary Maclean, with Helen Robertson joining in 2018, (University of Reading, Royal College of Art and Chelsea College of Art & Design, UAL). In 2019 we presented Come and go. Halt extreme left, at Winchester Gallery. The over-arching concern of our work is to raise the question of what it means to think of architectural space and the structures that organise built space as theatrical.

Since 2019 I have had gallery representation with Patricia Fleming Projects, Glasgow.

Alongside my practice and teaching, I have been involved in a range of other roles including art publishing, curating, archives and residencies. I co-founded and co-directed Corridor8, a key agency that develops critical writing and supports creative practice in the North of England. From 2009–13 Corridor8 developed six print publications, profiled over 50 artists, built partnerships with leading arts organisations in the North including Baltic, Liverpool Biennial & FACT, commissioned engaging and critical writing by a range of artists, writers and academics and produced a number of limited edition artworks. Corridor8 continues to this day as a successful arts organisation publishling online reviews, features, interviews and exploratory writing that reflects the vibrant art scenes and cultural events taking place across the North of England.

From 2010–18 I was co-director of Erlend Willamson Art Fellowship (EWAF), Orkney, Scotland. This involved developing partnerships with key organisations to secure the archive and legacy of the late artist Erlend Williamson. EWAF is in its final stages of transfer to Pier Arts, Stromness where the archive is now located with exciting plans underway for the Orkney Artists residency programme to be launched in 2022. 

Curatorial Projects include: Real Painting at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester and Eccentric Geometric at Arthouse1, London.


  • Deputy Director of Student Education
  • Academic Lead for Employability

Research interests

  • paintings intersection with architecture, vital materialism/material histories, object writing, theatricality, curatorial
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD Fine Art
  • MA Fine Art
  • BA Fine Art

Student education

  • BA Fine Art, BA Fine Art with History of Art; BA Fine Art with Contemporary Cultural Theory
  • Module Leader Fine Art Level One Studio
  • MA Fine Art
  • PhD Fine Art Practice


Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>