Prof John Roberts – University of Wolverhampton

Professor of Art & Aesthetics in the Faculty of Arts, Business and Social Sciences, and leader of the Research Cluster ‘Art Philosophy and Social Practice’. His research has covered three main areas since the early 1990s: art’s critical autonomy, the possibility of realism in art (as a claim on ‘truth’ as opposed to realist ‘aesthetics’ or ‘resemblance’) and emancipatory technique. In this sense he sees himself working within a critical theoretical tradition, that sees art as a mode of becoming that defies the normative order of capitalist reason, without assuming that the special dispensations of art and creativity miraculously escapes commodity relations; art’s emancipatory logic is immanent, rather than transcendent. As such in his writing over the last thirty years he has placed a strong emphasis on the connection between this logic and negation and non-compliance (The Philistine Controversy [with Dave Beech] Verso, 2002, ‘The Amateur’s Retort’, CCA Wattis Institute, San Francisco, 2008, Photography and its Violations, Columbia University Press, 2014, Revolutionary Time and the Avant-Garde, Verso, 2015). Art can only remain art, if it constantly defies its own it is given or inherited predications as art. This is why Robertsholds to some notion of autonomy in art, and why he has given a great deal of attention to the writing of Adorno since the 1990s even though his theory of autonomy is largely post-Adornian. Art today is no longer attached to the aesthetic predicates of the art object; on the contrary, its sense of possibility is immanent to the heteronomous (the actual) itself. Art’s movement into the ‘expanded field’ is irrevocable. This is why recently Robertshas done a lot of work on sorting out where exactly art sits as art – as opposed, that is, to being a branch of the culture industries – in this new space of engagement (The Intangibilities of Form, Verso 2007, ‘Art After Deskilling’, Historical Materialism, 2010, ‘Art, Neoliberalism and the Commons’, The Art of Direct Social Action, eds. Karen van den Berg , Cara M. Jordan, Phillip Kleinmichel, Sternberg Press, 2019, and ‘Art, Value, and Value-Form Theory’, The Value of Critique, eds, Isabelle Graw and Christoph Menke, Campus Verlag, 2019, all address this question). It is imperative not to lose sight of the fact, after conceptual art, that the experience art is irreducible to the object – as Adorno himself realized, obliquely, in Aesthetic Theory.


Dr Alexei Penzin – University of Wolverhampton

Alexei Penzin is a Reader in Philosophy and Art Theory at the University of Wolverhampton, and an Associated Research Fellow at the Institute of Philosophy of Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow. He has published numerous articles in such journals as Rethinking Marxism, Mediations, South Atlantic Quarterly, Crisis and Critique, Radical Philosophy, e-flux, as well as in many edited collections. His essay Rex Exsomnis was part of the dOCUMENTA13 series (2012). Penzin edited and authored an afterword for the Russian translation of The Grammar of Multitude by Paolo Virno (2013), and co-edited, with John Roberts, the English translation of the book Art and Production by Boris Arvatov, one of the key theorists of the Soviet Avant-garde (2017). He is one of the founding members of the group Chto Delat (“What is to be done?”), an internationally recognized collective of artists, writers and academics. Penzin is also a member of editorial boards of the journal Stasis (Saint-Petersburg) and the Moscow Art Magazine. Currently, he is preparing a monograph on sleep and capitalist modernity for Bloomsbury Academic.


Prof Meena dhanda – University of Wolverhampton

Meena Dhanda is Professor of Philosophy and Cultural Politics and leads a research group Language, Power and Society. She arrived in the UK from Punjab, India in 1987 with an award of a Commonwealth Scholarship for her doctoral work in Philosophy at Balliol College, Oxford University. In 1992 she began teaching a broad range of areas in philosophy at Wolverhampton. From 2007 she is engaged in doing empirically informed social, moral and political philosophy and is internationally recognised as a leading academic in the development of diaspora Dalit studies. Her research focus is on understanding injustices, prejudices and misrepresentations suffered by powerless groups, which she pursues through transdisciplinary studies, specifically connecting caste, class, gender and race. Meena is interested in guiding research in social and political philosophy, ethics, cultural politics, identity, feminist philosophy, theorists of anti-racism and anti-casteism.


Prof Benedikt Hjartarson – University of Iceland

Professor of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, he has published a number of books and articles on artistic avant-garde movements and other currents of cultural modernity in the 20th century, focusing on the links between aesthetics, political practices, ideological critique and notions of cultural subversion.


Prof Björn Thorsteinsson – University of Iceland

Professor of Philosophy, he has published and lectured widely on French and German 19th and 20th century philosophy, paying specific regard to ontological, political and perceptual aspects of reality. He is currently supervising two PhD students working within social phenomenology and hermeneutical philosophy.


Prof Jón Ólafsson – University of Iceland

Prof Jón Ólafsson Professor of Cultural Studies. His research is in the field of political philosophy and he has lectured and published papers on democratic theory, including participatory and deliberative democracy and political epistemology.


Prof Karen van den Berg – Zeppelin University

Professor of Art Theory & Curating and head of the university’s arts programme. Van den Berg has published and lectured widely on socially engaged art, activism, theory and history of curating, museum architecture, and artistic epistemology. She has co-edited the volumes “The Art of Direct Action“ and “Art Production beyond the Art Market?”. Currently she is supervising seven PhD students in the fields of art and politics, artistic epistemology, and the social effects of architecture. Within FEINART, van den Berg is responsible for the conception and implementation of the training programme (lecture series, tailor-made workshops, career plan and the summer school).


Prof Dr Franz Schultheis – Zeppelin University

Senior-Professor of Sociology of Art and Creative Economy. Franz Schultheis has published and lectured widely on art field (galleries, art fairs and collectors), visual sociology, poverty and social inequality. He recently has co-edited “Pierre Bourdieu und die Fotografie“ and “Habitat&Habitus”. Currently he is supervising five PhD students in the fields of art markets  and the social politics.


Dr Angela Dimitrakaki – University of Edinburgh

Dr Angela Dimitrakaki is a writer and Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Art History and Theory at the University of Edinburgh, which she joined in September 2007. She is Programme Director of the MSc in Modern and Contemporary Art.


Dr Kirsten Lloyd – University of Edinburgh

Kirsten Lloyd is a curator and Lecturer in the School of History of Art. She Directs the MSc by Research in Collections and Curating Practices. Her research focuses on late 20th and 21st art, including lens-based practice, participatory work, the art document and realism as well as the histories, theories and pragmatics of curating.


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