Laura Swithenbank

Laura Swithenbank


I am currently a lecturer teaching on MA Art Gallery and Museum Studies, MA Arts Management and Heritage Studies and MA Curating Science as well as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Leeds Arts and Humanities Research Institute (LAHRI). 

Previously I have worked as a post-doctoral researcher at LAHRI focussing on creative research methods and have had experience working in the collaborative arts sector. 

Research interests

I completed my PhD (available online) in 2022 in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds. My thesis is titled ‘Relaying Inheritance: writing affective and possible working-class presents in the north of England’. Thinking from my positionality as a working-class person from Barnsley (South Yorkshire), my thesis worked with multiple kinds of inheritances and affective activity in order to produce a more expansive mode of engaging with working-class culture. In my thesis I suggest an alternative genre for engaging with working-class life in academic practice and beyond named ‘affective realism’.

During the course of the thesis, I undertook research with members of a Working Men’s’ club in Huddersfield producing a short collection of prose poems in recognition of their hundredth anniversary. My thesis is experimental in form, with each chapter approaching the question of collective worldmaking and ways of knowing via different modes, registers and tones.

Currently my research beyond the PhD involves continuing to pursue and develop ‘affective realism’ as a genre to think with.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD in Cultural Studies
  • MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies, University of Leeds
  • BA hons in English Literature, Leeds Beckett University

Professional memberships

  • Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage

Student education

I teach on the MA Art Gallery and Museum Studies, MA Arts Management and Heritage Studies and MA Curating Science.