One of my chief pleasures is writing. I enjoy the process of distillation and analysis associated with academic research, as well as the challenge of responding to the amazing things that artists make and do. I have often written about the history of museums, collecting and cultural policy, which I have followed with a critical eye over many years. Since my days as a post-graduate at the Courtauld Institute of Art, I've maintained an active scholarly interest in early 20th century British - and especially Scottish - art.
Now and the future: A review of formal learning in museums
Arts Council England commissioned CapeUK to carry out this review in 2016. I designed the research methodology and wrote the final report, which incorporates the findings of a substantial online survey, interviews, focus groups and desk research. It provides a comprehensive picture of formal learning in museums at a time of sweeping structural change in the education sector.
J.D. Fergusson, National Galleries of Scotland
This exhibition in 2013 was the final in a series at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art devoted to the work of the four Scottish Colourists. My catalogue essay was one of three examining different aspects of Fergusson's career. Mine focused on his 'Celtic nationalism' as a motivating political and aesthetic principle in his artistic life.
The History of British Art 1870 - Now
The last volume in a series jointly undertaken by Tate and Yale Center for British Art, this book (2008) provides an authoritative account of British art from the High Victorian period to the present day. I contributed an overview of the work and lives of the four Scottish Colourists.
The New Immortals
In 2016 artist Judith Alder commissioned me to write about this exhibition, the outcome of a two-year enquiry. My essay explores how the ten artists in the show address the physical, ethical, scientific and philosophical implications of the age-old quest for immortality.
Twelve Months of Neon Love
Over 12 months in 2011 artists Victoria Lucas and Richard Wheater announced their romance in a series of neon signs near the main station in Wakefield. As a daily commuter to Leeds, I became intrigued by the project and wrote about it for the publication that tells the story of their collaboration.
New Art on View
I was the main author of this book (Scala, 2006), with a foreword by Nicholas Serota, which documents the several hundred works of art acquired for regional museums through the Contemporary Art Society's Special Collection Scheme. It asks why we should care about the art of our own times and argues that collections cannot afford to stand still while society changes.
A Shared Vision: The Garman Ryan Collection
To coincide with the opening of The New Art Gallery Walsall in 2000, I oversaw the production of the first illustrated book about the collection. It tells the story of Kathleen Garman, wife of the sculptor Jacob Epstein, whose friendship with American artist and heiress Sally Ryan led to the creation of the collection now housed in Walsall's new gallery.
Glasgow International 2014
This is one of many reviews and opinion pieces I have written about contemporary art and cultural policy, on this occasion an enthusiastic response to Glasgow's fleet-of-foot biennial festival of contemporary art.