Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies

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Art’s Use in the Real World: Art-Action Research in Bradford 2012-2017

Andy Abbott - The bRadford Thing (2015)

Join us for the latest in our autumn research seminar series when welcome speaker Andy Abbott ― artist, curator, musician, writer and Producer Music and Visual Arts at University of Bradford.

Bradford is a city with a rich history of alternative, people-led, grassroots, self-organised, socially engaged and politicised cultural activity.

In this talk, Andy Abbott will share and reflect upon his experiences organising art and music events in his role at the University of Bradford for the last five years.

Whilst there is no formal academic department devoted to the arts, the University of Bradford has, since its formation in 1967, ensured a cultural offer for staff, students and the wider public through Fellowships and on-campus venues. This unique position has allowed Andy to explore the ‘real world’ applications of art and music as social practice. He has explored this through conceiving and delivering an artistic programme focused on collaborative and participatory methods; traversing the boundaries of what artist/writer/activist Gregory Sholette has termed ‘cultural dark matter’.

Outcomes from this action research have included the formation of student-led societies, exhibitions and events, cross-city and cross-regional festivals, collaborative commissions, public interventions, arts labs and residencies, and a proposal for a Centre for Socially Applied Arts. Together these experiments have gone towards interrogating the place of art in ‘non art’ contexts; a question that will underpin this presentation.


Andy Abbott is an artist, curator, musician and writer and Producer Music and Visual Arts at University of Bradford. In 2012 he was awarded his practice-led PhD from the University of Leeds with a thesis and on ‘art, self-organised cultural activity and the production of postcapitalist subjectivity’. He has exhibited and performed internationally as an individual artist and as a member of the art collective Black Dogs. He performs across the globe in various groups and ensembles and composes music for film, performance and installations. Through his fellowship at University of Bradford, Andy initiated the M@BU music programme as well as the acclaimed arts and music festivals Bradford Threadfest and RECON. He is currently programming the University Gallery as a base from which to develop a Centre for Socially Applied Arts.

The venue for this research seminar is G.23, 28 University Road, University of Leeds. See here for a campus map.

It is free to attend and all are welcome.

This event is organised by the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, as part of the autumn research seminar series.

Image: Andy Abbott – The bRadford Thing (2015)

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