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Dr James Hellings

Dr James Hellings, Lecturer in Art
  • Programme Director of BA Art and History of Art; BA Art; BA Fine Art; BA Art and History of Art; PhD Art; and PhD History of Art.
  • Module convenor for Modernisms and Mythologies, and Dissertation.

Areas of interest

James has research interests in Marxian-inflected histories and theories of modern and contemporary art, focusing on the work of Theodor W. Adorno, Walter Benjamin, and Jacques Rancière. Other research interests include:

  • the politics/poetics of aesthetics (Kant, Hegel, and Giorgio Agamben)
  • the Frankfurt School
  • psychoanalytic theories of art and film
  • practices and theories of the avant-garde, the neo-avant-gard and social practice
  • alternative or resistant forms of popular culture
  • thinking newness and contemporaneity in the arts.


James is interested in manifesting his interests in a variety of forms (performance, film, print), and promoting the interdisciplinarity of art and theory through his research and teaching.

Postgraduate supervision

James welcomes research proposals which address his areas of interest.


PhD External Examiner: Daniel Neofetou (2018) Eyes in the Heat: The Question Concerning Abstract Expressionism, with Professor Michael Newman, Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths College, University of London.

PhD Internal Examiner: Avi Feldman (2018), After the Law: Towards Judicial-Visual Activism, with Professor Nora Sternfeld, Reading School of Art, University of Reading.


Selected publications

James's first book, Adorno and Art: Aesthetic Theory Contra Critical Theory, was recently published in paperback by Palgrave Macmillan. James's book received a favorable, and unsolicited, review in Art Monthly.


James's forthcoming second book explores film, contemporary artists' film and moving image, in relation to Adorno's aesthetic theory and more recent writing on film and the image.