Students Staff

Academic Staff

Dr Gavin Grindon

Position in departmentLecturer in Art History and Curating
Staff positionCo-Director, Centre for Curatorial Studies; PGT Co-Director
Telephone01206 873445
Academic support hoursWed 11-12 Thu 1-2 (Autumn 2017)

Gavin recently co-curated The Occupation Museum in Banksy's Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem, Palestine, presenting a Palestinian-led narrative of the history and everyday experience of Israel's colonial occupation of Palestine. In 2015, he curated The Museum of Cruel Designs, at Banksy's Dismaland in Westom-Super-Mare. This was an exhibition about the design of objects for social control, from CCTV and anti-homeless spikes to border fences and rubber bullets, Before this he co-curated the exhibition Disobedient Objects at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, about objects of art and design produced by protest movements internationally since the late 1970s. It was the museum's most visited exhibition since 1946.

Gavin's research focuses on twentieth century art, specifically activist-art and institutional critique and its futures. He has published in Art History, the Oxford Art Journal and Third Text. In 2010 he co-wrote the pamphlet A User's Guide to Demanding the Impossible, which has been translated into a number of languages. He is currently completing a book on the history of activist-art.

He has a particular interest not only in the particular histories of activist-art, but in new theoretical, methodological and curatorial approaches to social movement cultures which research and display with movements as well as on them. His PhD, completed at Manchester University under Prof. Terry Eagleton, comprised an intellectual history of theories of revolution-as-festival, which attempted to engage with affect and aesthetics in social movements, from dissident surrealist writers through to aspects of the 1990-2000s global justice movement.


PhD English Studies, University of Manchester, 2007
MA Cultural Criticism, University of Manchester, 2001
BA English Literature and Language, University of Leeds, 2000

Research interests

- modern and contemporary art history

- art and politics; activist-art; institutional critique and its futures

- visual and material cultures of social movements and of social control

- aesthetics and affect in social movements

- curatorial studies; intersections of curating, critique and political organising

Teaching responsibilities


AR220: Art and Ideas 2
AR221: Collect, Curate, Display
AR323: Art and Ideas 3


AR953: Exhibition Project
AR942: Curating Inside Out

PublicationsLink to publications for Gavin Grindon
  • 'Confronting Activist Art and Design From a Museological Perspective', M+ Museum, Hong Kong, 21 March 2016.
  • 'Disobedient Objects',Design e Conspiração: Ziguezagues Entre Arte e Filosofia, Universidade Anhembi Morumbi, Sao Paulo, 29 March 2016.
  • 'Disobedient Objects,'Warsaw Under Construction,' Warsaw Museum of Contemporary Art, Warsaw, 15 Nov 2014.
  • "The Museum Divide: Beyond Institutional Critique," The Natural History Museum, Queens Museum, New York, with Hans Haacke and Mark Dion, 24 Oct 2014.
  • ‘Contemporary Art and Social Movements’, Art and Radical Democracy After Occupy, UCL, with Chantal Mouffe and Mark Fisher, 5 Dec 2013.
  • ‘Exodus From Art,’ Creative Dissent, York University, with TJ Demos and Irit Rogoff, 5 June 2013.
  • ‘Disobedient Objects’, Radical Gestures, Central Saint Martins, 1 June, 2013.
  • ‘Black Mask’ Contravention, Architecture Association, 25 May, 2013.
  • organiser, "The Politics of the Social in Contemporary Art", Tate Modern, 15 Feb 2013.
  • ‘The “Socialist Surrealism” of the Orange Alternative and the Contested Legacy of the Avant-Garde,’ Polish Art in Public Space, Courtauld Institute, 6 Dec 2012. Translated into Polish and published on the website of the Warsaw Centre for Contemporary Art.
  • ‘Activist-Art,’ Tactics of Protest, Royal College of Art, 1st Feb 2012.
  • 'Disobedient Objects: Agency and Determination in Activist-Art,’ Whose Participation? Spaces of Interaction in Contemporary Art and Architecture, Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich, Switzerland, organised by ETH Zurich, 16-17 Dec 2011.
  • organiser with Dean Kenning, "Art... What's the Use?", Whitechapel Gallery, 2011.'Disobedient Objects,'Warsaw Under Construction,' Warsaw Museum of Contemporary Art, 15 Nov 2014.
  • ‘Black Mask: 1960s Destruction Art and Civil Disobedience,’ Visual Culture Seminar, Goldsmiths University, 6 Oct 2011.
  • ‘Second-Wave Situationism: Artists' Participation in Social Movements, 1964-77’, CUNY Graduate Centre, New York, 10 May 2011.

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