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Seeing Democracy

Jacket.aspx‘Utilitarianism and the Art School in Nineteenth-Century Britain was published by Pickering and Chatto in 2012. This book engages with the following issues:

1. The publicly funded art school in England emerges from a dispute about the relationship about art and the state, which was initiated and led by followers and acolytes of Jeremy Bentham in the 1830s. The utilitarian idea of a publicly funded art school is the idea of the academy expanded and extended into public space, serving public interests.

2. The idea of an academy of art extended or expanded into public space relates to a larger problem of cultural pedagogy within commercial society framed by Adam Smith. It was Jeremy Bentham’s solutions to this problem that paved the way for a politicization of the academy of art.

3. What differentiates the art school from the academy of art is a focus on experimental and contingent solutions to endemic and persistent problems in the construction of cultural pedagogy within liberal democracy.

State funded art education in England comes ‘after the academy of art’ and after a key moment for liberal democracy in Britain, the Reform Bill of 1832. In a lecture at the conference ‘What’s the point of Art School?’ at Central Saint Martins on 14 May 2003, I concluded that the conditions of the art school’s existence (1) after the academy and (2) after liberal democracy, mean that we continue to need the art school and that will be nothing after the art school until the Great Reform Act of 2032.


Reviews of Utilitarianism and the Art School in Nineteenth-Century Britain, London: Pickering and Chatto (2012)

Review of this book by Professor Kathleen Blake

Review of this book by Anne Brunon-Ernst

Review of this book by Dave Beech

Conferences and Lectures

2013 ‘Utilitarianism and the Art School in Nineteenth-Century Britain’ at What’s the Point of Art School? conference, London: Central Saint Martins UAL: Watch this lecture here

2012Bentham and Hume on Social Standards of Taste’ at International Society for Utilitarian Studies (ISUS) conference, New York: New York University

2011 ‘Reading Reynolds With Bentham: The Idea of the Art School in Nineteenth-Century Britain’ atBentham Project Seminars, London: University College London

2010 ‘Art Schools and “The Pedagogical Impulse”: an Historical Perspective’ at IJADE conference, Art and Design Education and Contemporary Culture, Liverpool

2009 ‘The education of the eyes of the people by our own Government: Utilitarianism and Sublimation in Public Space 1832 -52’ at History of Education Society UK Annual Conference

2009 The Chamber of Horrors: Art Education and Mass Culture’, Cambridge University Faculty of Education

2008 ‘Art Schools and the Pedagogy of Capital’, Doctoring Practice Conference, Bath Spa University

Conferences Organised and Chaired

8 June 2010 Initiated and organised ‘The Idea of the Art School in Early Nineteenth-Century Britain’with Professor Sir Christopher Frayling, Dr Martin Myrone, Dr Malcolm Quinn Professor Philip Schofield, Professor Richard Whatmore

6 March 2008 Co-ordinated and delivered paper at ‘Agendas’ symposium:
‘Art History and the Art School’ The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, University of Oxford

7 April 2006 Initiated and chaired panel on ‘Art History and the Art School’ at the Art Historian’s Conference, Leeds


Book Chapters

2013 ‘The Pedagogy of Capital: Art History and Art School Knowledge’ in Potter, M. (ed.) The Concept of the ‘Master’ in Art Education in Britain and Ireland, 1770 to the Present, Farnham: Ashgate

Peer-reviewed journal articles

Online Essays

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