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Anna Powell is a Researcher and Lecturer in Art and Design Theory in the School of Art, Design and Architecture.
Anna was awarded her PhD in History of Art and Museum Studies in January 2012 from the University of Leeds, for which she was the Stanley and Audrey Burton Scholarship holder. She received an MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies (2005) and a BA (joint hons.) in English and History of Art (2004) from the University of Leeds. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and in 2015 completed a Post-Graduate Certificate in Research Supervision.
Anna joined the University of Huddersfield in 2012 as Research Assistant in Contemporary Art, where her primary role was to support the development of Impact Case Studies for the School's Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 submission.
Anna worked in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds from 2008-12, providing lecture and seminar support across core modules and elective modules including 'A Story of Art?', ‘The English Country House’ and ‘An Introduction to Museum Studies’. At this time she also managed a Heritage Lottery funded public engagement partnership project for the University of Leeds and the M&S Company Archive.
Anna has been commissioned to work on various projects for Leeds Art Gallery, producing interpretation resources and working with artists to develop workshops for the public, and has supported numerous collaborative arts projects for events including The Big Draw, Light Night, Black History Month and Archives Awareness Month.
My research explores the often complex relationships between artworks and their audiences. Looking at the ways in which different audiences might engage with contemporary art, it particularly considers current art practices which take unconventional approaches to concepts and methods of exhibiting, for example through the use of subversive or reflexive exhibition techniques.
My doctoral thesis, entitled ‘Chance Encounters: the relationship between artwork, curatorial practice and audience’, focuses on artwork-audience relationships for art which is deliberately hidden or where concealment is a major conceptual aim. It examines the curatorial practices associated with such artworks, their relation to the role of the exhibition, and the occurring contradictions inherent in their exhibition. While being art-history and museology-based, it also employs elements of social anthropology, using, for example, Alfred Gel’s ideas around art and agency, and Bruno Latour’s actor-network theory, to examine the tripartite relationship of art-artist-audience within exhibitions. The study draws on thinking around site-specificity as articulated by Miwon Kwon, Mieke Bal and others to explore the relationship between expectation and interpretation, exhibitionary ‘disjunctions’ and the notion of the chance encounter. It further addresses ideas around art-viewing as game-playing and the impact of document and various media upon art’s ability to function – both practically and conceptually – within and outside of its exhibition context. This research developed from my MA research on the role and politics of the museum display case through a study of the Vitrine curatorial project by Leeds artists Pippa Hale and Kerry Harker, which placed artworks in shop windows around Leeds.
Current research includes:
Art and engagement - This began as PhD research around the artistic encounter and the notion of affect, and through Research Excellence Framework 2014 impact case study work it developed a focus on measuring the impact and value of arts projects in the public realm. Today this research incorporates collaborative work on the ROTOR exhibitions programme at Huddersfield Art Gallery and evaluation consultation for a Creative People and Places programme of events to explore public engagement as both concept and method; cultural citizenship; cultural leadership; and the notion of the 'civic university'. Related publications include http://www.cambridgescholars.com/what-is-to-be-http://ijaspc.cgpublisher.com/product/pub.233/prod.110
The artistic encounter - Stemming from MA and PhD research which explores art-audience relationships and challenging or subversive exhibition techniques which complicate this relationship, subsequent research has addressed the relationship between expectation and interpretation; exhibitionary ‘disjunctions’; artistic encounters as game-playing; the notion of the chance encounter; and the impact of document and media upon art’s ability to function – both practically and conceptually – within and outside of its exhibition context. Embedded research projects include:
- AON (The Archive of Nothingness), which addresses the connections between histories of art and graphic design and the role, influence and ‘authority’ of archives, archivists, exhibitions and curators. It uses the medium of a Tumblr weblog which functions self-reflexively and critically, providing a vehicle for data collection while simultaneously as an ongoing and potentially infinite piece of ‘living’ research (see http://archiveofnothingness.tumblr.comhttp://archiveofnothingness.tumblr.com and http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/journals/view-Article,id=19826/)
- Intersecting Practices, a cross-organisational project which assesses the role and impact of contemporary art sited in heritage spaces, exploring the ways in which we might capture, measure and articulate the value of these intersections and the challenges they create (see http://www.ccsmgh.leeds.ac.uk/research/intersecting-practices-assessing-the-role-and-impact-of-contemporary-art-in-heritage-spaces).
Powell, A. and Swindells, S. (2016) ‘Measuring the Immeasurable: Articulating the Value of Culture’ International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts , 11 (4), pp. 39-47. ISSN 2326-9960
Powell, A (2015) ‘Treasure-Hunting, Conversation and Chance: Game-Playing through Artistic Encounters’. In: Play of Individuals and Societies. Oxford, UK: Inter-Disciplinary Press. pp. 47-58. ISBN 978-1-84888-327-7
Almond, K., Swindells, S. and Powell, A. (2015) ‘Preparation and Process: Power, Self and the Ritual of Dress[ing]’. In: The Joanne B. Eicher Symposium II: Fashion, Sex, & Power, 11-12 September 2015, McNeal Hall, St. Paul MN
Powell, A. and Swindells, S. (2015) ‘ROTO? Transdisciplinary Dialogue and Debate: A Public Engagement Case Study’ Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences , 184, pp. 79-86. ISSN 1877-0428
McAra, C., Powell, A. and Swindells, S. (2014) ROTO? Review . Huddersfield: University of Huddersfield Press. ISBN 978-1-86218-119-9
Powell, A. and McAra, C. (2014) ‘Centrefold Public Engagement Postcards’ Radar , 1 (4), pp. 24-25. ISSN 2049-4327
Powell, A. and McAra, C. (2014) ‘radar 4 contributors’ Radar , 1 (4), pp. 42-45. ISSN 2049-4327
Powell, A. and McAra, C. (2014) ‘Editorial: Contemporary, Engagement, Impact, Public(s)’ Radar , 1 (4), pp. 1-5. ISSN 2049-4327
Heys, P., Temple, N., Adkins, M., Bailey, R., Tibbetts, S., Briers, D., MacDonald, J., Powell, A., Devlin, L. and Gfader, V. (2014) ‘The making of the Allure of the Archive an index of assemblies by Art (&) Currency: Institute of Vanishing Principles and Spells, 20132014’ Journal of Writing in Creative Practice , 7 (3), pp. 511-516. ISSN 17535190
Powell, A. and Heys, P. (2014) ‘Introducing the Archive of Nothingness (AON) a co-curated digital archive and live research project’ Journal of Writing in Creative Practice , 7 (3), pp. 505-510. ISSN 17535190
Powell, A (2014) ‘ROTO? Transdisciplinary Dialogue and Debate: A Public Engagement Case Study’ Conference Proceedings .
Swindells, S. and Powell, A. (2014) 'What Is to Be Done?'Cultural Leadership and Public Engagement in Art and Design Education . Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars. ISBN 1-4438-5890-0
Powell, A., Park, G., Briggs, L. and Cass, N. (2014) ‘Research Impact of Contemporary Art and Heritage (seminar conceptualisation and organisation)’. In: Intersecting Practices Seminar 3, 15th May 2014, University of Leeds
Powell, A., Cass, N., Park, G. and Briggs, L. (2014) ‘Audience Impact of Contemporary Art in Heritage Spaces (seminar conceptualisation and organisation)’. In: Intersecting Practices Seminar One, 3rd April 2014, University of Leeds
Powell, A., Cass, N., Park, G. and Briggs, L. (2014) ‘Strategic Impact of Contemporary Art and Heritage (seminar conceptualisation and organisation)’. In: Strategic impact of contemporary art and heritage, 23rd April 2014, University of Leeds
Powell, A. and Swindells, S. (2014) ‘Campaigning for the Creative Citizen’. In: CUVIC 2014 - Beyond Engagement: Creating Integration, Innovation and Impact, 20th-22nd May 2014, University of Victoria, Canada
Powell, A. and Swindells, S. (2014) ‘Cultural partnerships, cultural value and the Research Excellence Framework workshop - Arts Council England National Symposium on HEI and Arts Partnerships’. In: Arts Council England National Symposium on HEI and Arts Partnerships, ,
Swindells, S. and Powell, A. (2014) ‘Cultural Leadership, Education and Curation: Measuring the Immeasurable?’. In: CUVIC 2014 - Beyond Engagement: Creating Integration, Innovation and Impact, 20th-22nd May 2014, University of Victoria, Canada
Swindells, S. and Powell, A. (2014) ‘Definitions of, and critical perspectives on creative citizenship’. In: Creative Citizens The Conference, 18-19 September 2014, Royal College of Art, London
Powell, A. and Swindells, S. (2014) ‘I say aesthetics = human being’. In: CONTEMP ART 14, 24th - 26th April 2014, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Istanbul, Turkey
Powell, A. and Swindells, S. (2014) ‘Reflections On Creativity: Public Engagement and the Making of Place’. In: Arte-Polis 5 International Conference and Workshop, 8-9 August 2014, Bandung Technoloy Institute, Indonesia
Powell, A (2013) ‘Treasure-hunting, Conversation and Chance: game-playing through artistic encounters’. In: InterDisciplinary.net 2nd Global Conference 2013, Monday 22nd July Wednesday 24th July 2013, Mansfield College, Oxford
Swindells, S. and Powell, A. (2013) ‘Public Engagement and Impact: Articulating Value in Art and Design’. In: Public Engagement and Impact: Articulating Value in Art and Design, 23rd May 2013, Institute of Contemporary Arts
Powell, A., Cass, N., Briggs, L. and Park, G. () ‘Intersecting Practices: assessing the role and impact of contemporary art in heritage spaces, Participatory Workshop.’. In: Intersecting Practices: assessing the role and impact of contemporary art in heritage spaces, 28th May 2014, Leeds Art Gallery
Reviewer for International Journal of Applied Arts Studies (IJPAS) from August 2016.
Nominated for Early Career Researcher of the Year in the University's Research and Innovation Awards (2015).
Selected as one of 100 post-graduate students from across Europe to attend Roche Continents, a week-long event in Salzburg, funded by Roche Pharmaceuticals in collaboration with the Salzburg Festival, which addressed the common ground of innovation and creativity in the arts and sciences.
Associate editor for The International Journal of Arts Theory and History - Volume 11.
Associate editor for The International Journal of New Media, Technology, and the Arts - Volume 11
- Artistic encounters
- Art and play
- Public engagement
Please see above for further detail.
Module Lead - Theory As Practice1.
Module Lead for Theory as Practice 1.
Member of Culture Forum North.