Dr John Wright


I am an academic, curator and artist currently working as a postdoctoral research associate with the Centre for Cultural Value, University of Leeds. I have previously worked as a visiting lecturer at Leeds Arts University on BA Fine Art and as a module leader on MA Critical Studies at Bradford College. In my professional life before academia, I co-founded artist-led collective The Retro Bar at the End of the Universe and I developed a curatorial background in both museums, galleries and in artist-led activity.

I previously worked at the British Library, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the National Media and Science Museum. My research interests include collectivism in contemporary and historic art, the role of place in shaping artist-led activity and the intersections between cultural policy and visual arts ecologies.      

Research interests

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.

Following on from my thesis I have developed research interests and outputs across several distinct fields including cultural policy in the time of crisis, the role artist-led collectives in art schools and the virtual environment and tracing the history of artist-led collective activity.

Over the past 15 months I have been working as a postdoctoral research associate with Centre for Cultural Value (CCV) on their Covid impacts project. During this time, I have developed another active research interest which explores how and why cultural festivals have begun to develop new and more audience-led participatory digital content creation. This research focuses on new emerging curatorial practices within festivals as the cultural sector emerges into a post-pandemic world. These new structures are hybrid or blended forms of digital and live events which enter a closer dialogue with the communities which constitute the festivals.   

<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