New University Academic Fellow in Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage

New University Academic Fellow in Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage

The School welcomes Dr Robert Knifton as our new University Academic Fellow in Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage.

Robert joins us from Kingston University, where in 2015 he co-curated the HLF-funded project Histories in the Making, examining the history and heritage of Kingston School of Art. The project resulted in exhibitions across several sites and an exhibition catalogue, Kingston School of Art: 140 Years. He was also researcher on the AHRC Beyond Text project Collecting and Curating Popular Music Histories at the Institute of Popular Music, University of Liverpool, for which he conducted an extensive survey of the use of popular music within the UK museum sector. At Liverpool, Robert co-curated Mixcase: Music Memory Traces (Victoria Gallery & Museum, 2011), co-ordinated the international conference Sites of Popular Music Heritage and co-edited its publication (Routledge).

Robert initially studied Politics and Modern History, before undertaking an MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies (both at Manchester). In 2007 he co-curated Centre of the Creative Universe: Liverpool and the Avant-Garde for Tate Liverpool, as part of an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Project with Tate and Manchester Metropolitan University.

Robert has taught art history and museum studies at Kingston University, Sotheby’s Institute, University of Liverpool, Liverpool Hope University, Manchester Metropolitan University and University of Manchester. Throughout his career, he has worked with a range of museums, galleries and cultural institutions including Tate, Museum of London, RIBA, Manchester Museum, Whitworth Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool and the V&A.

His research interests include the representation of popular culture within museum exhibition and collecting policy; the sensory landscape of the museum; the heritage and practices of art schools and their representation; and the material culture of archives and its digital manifestations.

Robert Knifton said:

“It’s fantastic to be joining the School at such an exciting moment in its development. Leeds has such an inspiring record of innovative work both now and in the past. I’m thrilled to be here and looking forward to working with my new colleagues.”

Robert is Principal Investigator on the AHRC follow-on funded Creative Economy project Life on the Outskirts: Making Sense of a Creative Life, working in partnership with Helen Storey Foundation to develop and disseminate best practice in the uses and engagement with small creative SME archive holdings. He is also working to establish new research projects focused on creative residencies and fellowships within the museum and gallery sector, in addition to the use of sound within museum exhibitions and collections.

His publications include Kingston School of Art: 140 Years 1875-2015 (Kingston University Press, 2015), Sites of Popular Music Heritage (Routledge, 2014), ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone: CCTV in Two Liverpool Art Projects’ in Outi Remes (ed.) Conspiracy Dwellings: Surveillance in Contemporary Art (Cambridge Scholars, 2010) and Centre of the Creative Universe: Liverpool and the Avant-Garde (Liverpool University Press, 2007).

Professor Abigail Harrison Moore, Head of the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, said:

“The School is delighted to welcome Robert Knifton to Leeds. Robert has been developing innovative research around the experience of museums and archives, and our students will benefit from working with him to both engage in his research and share their ideas and interests. His work on the art school is particularly apposite as we settle into our new building and think further about the role of the art school as a part of the modern university.

“The University Academic Fellow scheme has been a wonderful opportunity to bring scholars like Robert to Leeds and we look forward to working with him as he continues to develop his thinking and activities through our programmes and our research environment.

“His appointment marks another great opportunity both for the School and for the Centre for Critical Museum, Gallery and Heritage Studies.”