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Last updated 18th April 2024


Graduating from the University of Leeds with a PhD in Sculpture and Philosophy (The Philosophy of Sculpture/The Sculpture of Philosophy: Casting Bodies of Thought), Rowan Bailey joined the University of Huddersfield in 2009. She is currently Director of Enterprise and Knowledge Exchange and REF Lead for UoA32 Art and Design in the School of Arts and Humanities.

Dr Bailey is a Reader in Cultural Theory and Practice, with an interest in place-based thinking and making in the public realm. This includes collaborative partnership working with different creative communities. She has two key leadership and management roles in the School of Arts and Humanities. As Director of Enterprise and Knowledge Exchange she oversees external knowledge exchange, enterprise and public engagement across a range of subject research specialisms. She brings academic and external partners together to innovate through research/enterprise projects. She is also the REF Lead for UoA32 Art and Design in the School of Arts and Humanities and oversees the staff research portfolio in this area, which includes the development of outputs, impact case studies and research culture/environment. She is Director of the Centre for Cultural Ecologies in Art, Design and Architecture.

Bailey has initiated a partnership project with Kirklees Council entitled Temporary Contemporary. The research focus of the initiative is to provide meanwhile spaces on the high street to increase the cultural vibrancy of Huddersfield. Temporary Contemporary is a networked partnership initiative for a growing arts and visual culture ecology in Kirklees. The project began in 2018 and has formed the basis of a REF impact case study for UoA32 Art and Design in the School of Arts and Humanities. For further details of the project see: 

More recently, Bailey has initiated a cultural programme which runs out of the School of Arts and Humanities. Cultures of Place is a celebratory showcase of exhibitions, installations, performances, workshops, podcasts, talks and discussion about place. Different creative and cultural practices are represented in this programme including: art, architecture, creative writing, cultural studies, design, English literature, fashion, film, history, media, music, performance and textiles. Hosted across three sites Queensgate campus (University of Huddersfield), Queensgate Indoor Market and The Piazza this programme of public realm activities presents many different exchanges and engagements with local arts and cultural organisations, community groups, existing cultural institutions in Huddersfield and place-based initiatives (Temporary Contemporary, Year of Music 2023, WOVEN in Kirklees, Huddersfield Literature Festival, Children’s Biennale). The Cultures of... initiative is now iterating into different themes, including Cultures of Sound, Cultures of Creative Health and Cultures of Climate. For further information see:

Bailey regularly designs and chairs conference panels and symposia, and has guest edited issues for the Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, Craft Research and parallax. She is on the editorial board of Textile: Journal of Cloth and Culture. She has produced a range of outputs in the field of sculptural thinking, primarily working with 'sculptural plasticity' as a concept that intra-acts with the languages and practices of art and neuroscience. This has led to several conference papers and forthcoming publications on the phenomenon of the brainbody in art, philosophy, literature, science and curation. This avenue of research enquiry is particularly focused on materiallly-discursive practices of writing. 

For specific details of her publications, please see the 'Publications and Other Research Outputs' section of this research profile.

Bailey is an advocate of creative co-production, collaborative problem solving and working together. Most of her current research is focused on curating conditions of opportunity for research practices in the public realm with different communities. To this end, she is pursuing place-based approaches to research in the arts and humanities. More recently, she has developed an interest in how creative health approaches might tackle/address health inequalities with communities in different place-based settings. She is interested in supervising PhD projects in these areas. Please email her directly for further conversations.

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 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Plasticity
  • Art Education


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