Dr John Wright


I am a researcher, artist, and lecturer currently working as a postdoctoral research associate with the Centre for Cultural Value, University of Leeds. I have previously worked as a  lecturer at Leeds Arts University on BA Fine Art, MA Creative Practice, MA Fine Art, MA Curation and as a module leader on MA Critical Studies at Bradford College. In my professional life before academia, I co-founded the artist-led collective The Retro Bar at the End of the Universe and developed a curatorial background in museums, galleries and artist-led practices. I previously worked at the British Library, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the National Media and Science Museum.


  • Line Manager

Research interests

My main research interests are at the nexus of culture, placemaking/placeshaping and policy:

  • Artist-led collectives and their complex ever-changing relationship with place and policymaking. Particularly how their internal social bonds/ organisational structures are both complicit and oppositional to broader power fields that pervade local cultural ecologies and the wider global cultural and creative industries.
  • Interrelated is my research/practice in social art school education. Particularly with reference to socially engaged artistic practices and the perceived increase in ‘alternative’ art schools (often run by collectives).
  • Through working with CCV I have also developed research on digitisation of arts and cultural festivals and what that might mean for belonging and the commons.
  • Application and thinking through Relational Dialectics Theory (RDT) within performance art and situated practices.

My research is interdisciplinary and branches of into several specific areas of interest. My PhD research explored artist-led collectives through the lens of friendship. I employed Relational Dialectics Theory (RDT) as a conceptual framework in order to challenge binary notions of object-based art history vs. social art history. I argued that in order to move towards a greater understanding of collectivism it is important to consider the interplay between social bonds, artistic output, place and local/national policymaking.

<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, Doctor of Philosophy
  • Master of Arts in Art Gallery and Museum Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art with Hons
  • Foundation Degree in Art and Design