Job title: Personal Chair of Contemporary Art Practice & Theory

Role: Dean of Postgraduate Studies, College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Tel: +44 (0)131 651 5881

Email: n.mulholland@ed.ac.uk

Office address: D02a, Main Building

Research: See Professor Neil Mulholland on Edinburgh Research Explorer

Education

  • 1998, Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Glasgow: Why is there only one Monopolies Commission? Art and its Critics in Britain in the Late 1970s
  • 1995, MA (Hons.) History of Art, The University of Glasgow

Collaborative activity

I work with the artist Norman Hogg (Concordia, Montréal, QC) as the Confraternity of Neoflagellants. We use distributed methods of production and exhibition and diverse post-media narratives to produce works by contemporary and fictitious artisans, journeymen, hosts, anchorites, avatars, Sherlockers and hyper-economists. Our intermedial research has taken the form of books, zines, videos, artefacts, paintings, articles, talks, performances, parties, academic papers, shops, music… and has featured in a wide range of galleries, art catalogues, artists’ books, art journals, and academic journals traversing the disciplines of contemporary art and medieval studies. We have been invited to give artist talks on our work at art schools across the USA, Canada, Belgium and the UK and have presented numerous peer-reviewed papers at artistic and medievalist conferences in the USA, Canada, Iceland, Ireland, UK and Germany. In 2014, Goldsmiths College hosted Neomedievalisms, a symposium responding to our theory-fiction book thN Lng folk 2 go: Investigating Future Premoderns (Punctum, 2013). In 2015, we chaired “Neomedieval Aesthetics in the 21st Century” at the Leeds International Medieval Congress and performed at congresses in Toronto (BABEL Group) and Edinburgh (Environmental Humanities). Our recent work, Mobilitas Loci, was commissioned for the artist Amanda Beech’s bookwork CAVEAT EMPTOR (LGP, England, Nov 2015), which will include a re-print of Reza Negarestani's First and Final Machines and a new text by Ray Brassier.

I work with Dan Brown and Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop on Shift/Work, a knowledge exchange that uses action-research to develop workshop models for artistic paragogy, participatory visual methods and open educational resources. Shift/Work has examined and reconfigured ways in which we can facilitate comprehensive workshop-based approaches to artistic production that are theoretically informed, practical and participatory. We facilitate new experiential knowledges, practices and tools for artists and art educators to adapt and implement. In 2015 we delivered papers on Unlearning at conferences in Poznan and Brighton. In 2016, Shift/Work have developed new workshops on Decisions, Observations, and Taskification at ESW, Malmö and Reykjavík. We have faciliated Groundcourse with Prof Roy Ascott and organised 'You Cannot Be Serious' a symposium prosecuting serious play. We will present the results of these workshops at academic conferences in September (ITAC3, Scotland) and December (Cochi Biennial, India) 2016. In 2017-18 we will co-run a new UG course in Art + Education between ECA and ESW.

With Prof Chris Breward, Dr Jonny Murray, Dr Angela McClanahan and Dr Richard Baxstrom I am joint editor of the journal Visual Culture in Britain (Routledge)

I currently supervise PhD students in artistic practice and in visual and material culture studies. 

Current research interests

​My research applies postdisciplinary, para-humanities frameworks to the production, distribution and consumption of contemporary art. It is a pour of historical, critical, materialist and fictional approaches to writing charged and torn with curatorial, paragogical and artistic work. In the pursuit of para, 'pata and psuedo-disciplinary methods, I frequently work collaboratively, adopting shared avatars that have interpretive flexibility.

As a member of the International Art Critics Association, I am a critic for many international art publications, write for literary and political magazines, the popular press, television, commissioned monographs and artwriting publications and have curated exhibitions as part of international biennials as well as numerous projects at artist-led organisations. Additionally, I continue to produce original archival research on Visual Culture in Britain since the 1970s.

My research and learning interests in neomedievalisms, paragogy and weird materialisms coorespond directly to three inter-related collaborative projects (Confraternity of Neoflagellants, Shift/Work, Atelier). Each of these projects is concerned with methodological inventiveness, intermediality and postdisciplinarity. At the moment, this means working collaboratively using Participatory Action Research Methods, through co-authoring theory-fictions and by fabulating methods such as the transdiscipline of neomedievalism

Research goup

With Dr Angela McClanahan (School of Art) and Dr Richard Baxstrom (Social Anthropology) I co-direct the research network Atelier: Making Research Material Across the Arts & Social Sciences in the University of Edinburgh. Disciplines within the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and our external partners each have their own protocols and methods for making material available for study in the form of objects. Yet, as we make radically distinct objects from the same material, what remains to be formulated are the concepts, equipment, and techniques that might generate the truly collaborative ability to fabricate common research objects. We have developed new models of making and enquiry that bring together often separate visual and material research practices within the social sciences and humanities through the creation of ‘Atelier’. An Atelier is a commons that allows us to make shared research ‘objects’ through collaborative research practices. A series of charrettes - participatory workshops involving interested colleagues across UoE, partners in the museum and gallery sector and local ‘user groups’, in turn, focus on a particular object that facilitates and contrasts different methods of material enquiry. By engaging with ’things’ in the custody/field of our non-academic partners, these charrettes have enabled us to map and improve conditions for cross-disciplinary collaboration, shifting the emphasis away from doing research towards the creation of research objects. In 2016, Atelier have organised charrettes with National Museums Scotland (Edinburgh) and Atlas Arts (Skye) and hosted a keynote by Richard Sennett. We have validated new undergraduate and postgraduate taught collaborative courses in Art + Anthropology between the School of Art and Social Anthropology which will run in 2016-17.

Research students

Principal supervisor:

  • Kim Wilson | PhD Candidate, School of Art, ECA (SGSAH AHRC Scholarship)
  • Dane Sutherland | PhD Candidate, School of Art, ECA (SGSAH AHRC Scholarship)
  • Pau Cata | PhD Candidate, School of Art, ECA (SGSAH AHRC Award)
  • Patty McMeans | PhD Candidate, School of Art, ECA (UoE Principal's Career Development Scholarship)
  • Jake Watts | PhD Candidate, School of Art, ECA (SGSAH AHRC Scholarship)
  • Louise Thody | PhD Candidate, School of Art, ECA (UoE Principal's Career Development Scholarship)
  • Grianne Rice | Part-time PhD Candidate, School of Art, ECA (ECA Scholarship)

Second supervisor:

  • Morven Gregor | PhD Candidate at Glasgow School of Art

Current PhD students

PhD Supervision Topics

Not accepting applications.

​​I currently supervise PhD students in artistic practice and in visual and material culture studies.