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Last updated 18th April 2024


Anna Powell is a Researcher and Senior 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. She also supported and then went on to Co-Lead the ROTOR exhibitions and engagement programme in partnership with Kirklees Council.

As well as PhD supervision Anna teaches art and design theory across BA and MA levels, and has taught on Graphic Design, Animation and Digital Media Processes modules.

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 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 project for the University of Leeds and the M&S Company Archive. Anna has supported collaborative arts projects for a range of organisations and events, and has been commissioned by Leeds Art Gallery for various projects relating to interpretation and public engagement.

Research Expertise and Interests

- Artwork-audience relationships/artistic encounters

- Art and/as play

- Creative methods for public engagement

Anna's research explores the often complex relationships between artworks and their audiences. It considers the ways in which current art practices explore concepts and methods of exhibiting, with a particular focus on the use of subversive, contradictory or reflexive exhibition techniques. Her publications on this topic include:

The Image is a Moment, The art of the Visual Encounter Powell, A & Hibbert, S, 2018, (Accepted/In press) Transimage 2018. University of Edinburgh.

‘User Experience of Markerless Augmented Reality Applications in Cultural Heritage Museums: ‘MuseumEye’ as a Case Study’, Hammady, R., Ma, M. E. & Powell, A.,  2018, Virtual Reality and Computer Graphics. De Paolis, L. T. & Bourdot, P. (eds.). Springer, Cham.

‘Measuring the Immeasurable: Articulating the Value of Culture’, Swindells, S. & Powell, A., 2016, The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts.

‘ROTOЯ Transdisciplinary Dialogue and Debate: A Public Engagement Case Study’, Powell, A. & Swindells, S., 20 May 2015, Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences. 

‘Treasure-Hunting, Conversation and Chance: Game-Playing through Artistic Encounters’, Powell, A., 2015, Play of Individuals and Societies. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press.

‘Introducing the Archive of Nothingness (AON) - A co-curated digital archive and live research project’, Powell, A. & Heys, P., 2014,  Journal of Writing in Creative Practice.

"What Is to Be Done?": Cultural Leadership and Public Engagement in Art and Design Education, Swindells, S. (ed.) & Powell, A. (ed.), 2014, Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Anna's doctoral thesis: Chance Encounters: the relationship between artwork, curatorial practice and audience explores the relationship between expectation and interpretation, exhibitionary ‘disjunctions’, and the significance of the chance encounter. 

Anna's current research includes Intersecting Practices, which explores the siting of contemporary art in heritage spaces, and she is Co-Lead for the impact, dissemination and engagement element of the None in Three Research Centre (

Please refer to publications list for full list of publications.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Artwork-audience relationships/artistic encounters
  • Art and/as play
  • Creative methods for public engagement


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