Professor Gail Day


My book Dialectical Passions: Negation in Postwar Art Theory (Columbia University Press) was shortlisted for the Isaac and Tamara Deutscher Memorial Prize.

I am Professor of Art History & Critical Theory in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds. I am Director of Research until September 2022 and then REF Unit of Assessment Lead.

I am co-founder of the centre for Critical Materialist Studies. I initiated the project Aesthetic Form and Uneven Modernities with colleagues from Universidade de Sao Paulo and Birkbeck, and I belong to Centro de estudos Desmanche e Formacao de Sistemas Simbolicos at USP (DESFORMAS). I am an active member of the research collective for the Institute of Historical Research seminar Marxism in Culture (Institute of Historical Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London).

During the academic year 2022–2023, I am away on research leave.


  • Director of Research and Innovation (until September 2022)
  • REF Unit of Assessment Lead (from September 2022)

Research interests

  • aesthetics and politics
  • capitalism and form
  • intersection of value theory, commodity, reification, social process and abstraction with cultural and aesthetic theory analysis
  • critique of postwar commodity cultures
  • traditions of emancipatory and dissident thought and their role in visual and material culture
  • Marxism and issues arising from Western Marxism, the New Left and the new social movements
  • legacies of dialectical thought
  • history of theorisations of the avant-garde and neo-avant-garde, practices of negation, critical practice.
  • theories, geographies and economies of social transformation and global restructuring
  • the role of non-identity in subject (trans)formation
  • the interface of radical philosophical aesthetics and historical paradigms.
<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>


  • BA (Hons) Fine Art
  • MA Social History of Art
  • PhD

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of Higher Education Academy

Student education

  • critical and theoretical debates in modern and recent art
  • contemporary critique of capitalism in art, photography and video
  • transformations from high modernist to post-conceptual problematics
  • social methodologies of art historiography and philosophical aesthetics
  • intersections of Marxism and Critical Theory with aesthetic questions.

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="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>