UNSW Judith Neilson Chair of Contemporary Art
Paul Gladston's award winning research and critical writing has had a significant international impact on the development of critical Chinese contemporary art/cultural studies: as evidenced by, among other things, the inclusion of Gladston's publications on university undergraduate and graduate course reading lists in Europe, North America and China, invitations for him to work with major institutions - including UNESCO, the Southbank Centre London, Sotheby’s Institute, the Central Academy of Fine Arts Beijing, Tsinghua University Beijing, Oxford University, Third Text, Tate Modern (Tate Papers), the ShanghArt Gallery Shanghai, Chambers Fine Art New York, the New York-based visual arts, culture and politics magazine The Brooklyn Rail, the UK National Committee on China and the Asia Society Australia; the translation of his English-language publications into Mandarin Chinese, Spanish and Russian; and his supervision of several ground-breaking Ph.D. theses by candidates from Europe, Australia and China. His current position as the inaugural Judith Neilson Chair Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of New South Wales, Sydney (funded by an AU$7 million endowment + accumulated interest) focuses on the development of an international rhizomic network dedicated to innovative research, advocacy and teaching in the field of contemporary art/cultural studies, with a particular attention to China and East Asia. Paul Gladston is better known in China by the style name 葛思谛.
2018-present - Inaugural Judith Neilson Chair Professor of Contemporary Art, University of New South Wales, Sydney (research, advocacy and teaching funded by an AU$7 million endowment + accumulated interest over 21 years)
2022-present - Distinguished Affiliate Fellow of the UK-China Humanities Alliance (UKCHA) and the Institute for World Literatures and Cultures (IWLC), Tsinghua University, Beijing.
2023-present - Member of the Board of Trustees, Third Text
2015-2018 - Chair Professor of Contemporary Visual Cultures and Critical Theory University of Nottingham, UK
2012-2018 - Director of the Centre for Contemporary East-Asian Cultural Studies, University of Nottingham, UK
2005-2010 - Founding Head of the School of International Communications, University of Nottingham Ningbo, China
2005-2010 - Director of the Institute of Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Nottingham Ningbo, China
Before 2005 – various academic management and teaching positions in higher and further education, including as a vice-principal, vice dean, head of school and head of department.
Honours and Distinctions
2024 – Visiting Professor, MICA, Baltimore, the University of Maryland and the University of Edinburgh
2019 - Moderator and co-organizer of the annual Lloyd Rees Memorial Lecture, Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney
2017-2018 - Guest Professor, Sotheby’s Institute London
2015 - Distinguished Speaker, China-Britain Cultural Dialogue Conference Trinity College, University of Oxford – part of events surrounding President of the PRC Xi Jinping’s state visit of to the UK
2015 - ‘Best Publication’ 9th Awards of Art China - for Contemporary Chinese Art: A Critical History (Reaktion)
2013 - ‘Author of the Month,’ Zentrum für Kunst and Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe
2011 - Visiting Scholar, Fundación Francisco Godia, Barcelona
2009 - Visiting Professor, Sichuan China Fine Arts Institute, Chongqing
1986 – Elizabeth Greenshield Award for Drawing
1986 – Andrew Grant Travelling Scholarship
1985 - Eileen Stoekel-Batell Scholarship Yale University, US
Editorships and Advisory Board Memberships
2022-present - Editorial Advisory Board Member, Bloomsbury Philosophy Library, London: Bloomsbury
2021-present - Editor-at-Large for the New York-based visual arts, culture and politics magazine The Brooklyn Rail, for which Gladston presents the online series ‘“Post-West” Arts and Visual Cultures’
2020-present - Principal Co-editor of the academic book series Contemporary East Asian Visual Cultures, Societies and Politics (Palgrave)
2015-2018 - Founding Principal Editor of the Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art (Intellect)
2015-present - Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the book series Chinese Contemporary Art (Springer), Editor-in-Chief Wang Chunchen (Central Academy of Fine Arts Beijing)
2014-present - Editorial Board Member, Journal of Visual Art Practice, London: Taylor and Francis
2013-present - Editorial Board Member, Culture and Dialogue, Leiden: Brill
Selected Book-length Publications and Reviews
Paul Gladston and Lynne Howarth-Gladston (forthcoming - 2025), Dis-/Continuing Traditions: Interventions with Confucian Aesthetics by Contemporary Chinese Artists and Curators, London: Bloomsbury.
Haiping Yan, (Tsinghua), Laurent Dubreuil (Cornell) and Paul Gladston (UNSW) eds. (forthcoming - 2024), Transculturality and China - in the World, London: Routledge.
Paul Gladston, Lynne Howarth-Gladston, Jason Kuo and Johnson Tsong-zung Chang eds. (2023), Rethinking Displays of Chinese Contemporary Art: Cultural Diversity and Tradition, London and Singapore: Palgrave.
- ‘This is the first edited collection to critically address in its entirety questions related to the displaying of Chinese contemporary art. It includes chapters by scholars and cultural workers from diverse backgrounds involved in the interpretation of artistic as well as curatorial discourses and practices. Each of those chapters gives a detailed account of a particular, socio-culturally informed, approach to the making and showing of Chinese art - including in relation to queer identities, transculturality, the use of social media, artivism, social engagement, institutional critique, and neo-Confucian aesthetics. Together they present a vital intervention with established curatorship amidst the intensely interconnected and increasingly multi-polar cultural conditionalities of early 21st-century contemporaneity.’
Haiping Yan, Haina Jin and Paul Gladston eds. (2023), Translation Studies and China, London and Beijing: Routledge. Transcultural Studies in China Series (Tsinghua University – UK-China Humanities Alliance).
- "The essays comprising Translation Studies and China are path-breaking in their scope ... [and] for their dialectical subtlety ... The book is exemplary in its focus on the uniqueness of individual translation." - Daniel Herwitz, Fredric Huetwell Professor of Philosophy, Comparative Literature and the History of Art, University of Michigan
Paul Gladston (2023), Художественные группы "Авангард" в Китае - 1979-1989 [‘Avant-garde’ Art Groups in China, 1979-1989], Boston MA: Academic Studies Press. [Contemporary Eastern Studies in the Russian Language].
- Revised Russian language translation of Paul Gladston (2013), ‘Avant-garde Art Groups in China, 1979-1989, Bristol: Intellect and Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Paul Gladston, Beccy Kennedy-Schtyk and Ming Turner eds. (2021), Visual Culture Wars at the Borders of Contemporary China: Art, Design, Film, New Media and the Prospects of “Post-West” Contemporaneity, London: Palgrave Macmillan.
- “The book Visual Culture Wars at the Borders of Contemporary China is both intriguing and timely, demonstrating an excellent balance of theoretical and analytical approaches to an array of subjects. It is a vital piece of work that will be of interest to students and scholars in a variety of fields.”— Paul Manfredi, Professor of Chinese, Pacific Lutheran University, USA
Paul Gladston (2019), Contemporary Chinese Art, Aesthetic Modernity and Zhang Peili: Towards a Critical Contemporaneity, London: Bloomsbury.
- "From the painstaking walk-through of theoretical issues and historical/cultural context appearing in his Prolegomenon, through the concise yet bracing conclusion, Paul Gladston's study of Zhang Peili and contemporaneity is far more than a mere biographical sketch of a single artist; it is a treatise on visual art of the present and China's particularized presence in that sphere. It is a landmark work both in terms of cultural criticism and art-historical analysis." - Paul Manfredi, Professor of Chinese, Pacific Lutheran University, USA
- "essential reading for a better understanding of contemporary Chinese art and visual culture in the global context." – Jason C. Kuo, Professor of Chinese Art, University of Maryland, MA USA
Paul Gladston (2016), Deconstructing Contemporary Chinese Art: Selected Critical Writings and Conversations, 2007-2014, Heidelberg-Berlin: Springer Verlag.
- “Gladston, first with his Contemporary Chinese Art: a Critical History and now with this volume of selected writings, has distinguished himself as the most brilliant Western scholar working in this field. What makes Gladston's work so indispensable is not only his prose — it is both elegant and precise — but also that he so effectively subjects Chinese work to the same criticality that anyone reasonably would expect for any first-rate writing on art from any country.” - Drew Hammond, award-winning critic and gallerist
Paul Gladston (2015), Yu Youhan, Shanghai: 3030 Press and ShanghArt Gallery.
Paul Gladston (2014), Contemporary Chinese Art: A Critical History, London: Reaktion and Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- "Paul Gladston's Contemporary Chinese Art: A Critical History is a vital book for future excursions in the field of contemporary Chinese Art research." - Wang Chunchen, Professor Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing and curator of the China Pavilion, 55th Venice Biennale 2013
- "Gladston's analysis of the post-1989 period, and the impact of the Tiananmen Square protest on art and culture, is particularly acute and astute." - The Art Newspaper
Paul Gladston (2013), ‘Avant-garde’ Art Groups in China, 1979-1989, Bristol: Intellect and Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- "Paul Gladston's book "Avant-Garde" Art Groups in China, 1979-1989 fills gaps in our knowledge of the contemporary Chinese art scene and provides an inspiring and mind-opening narrative." - China Quarterly
- "Gladston’s writing strategy [in "Avant-Garde" Art Groups in China, 1979-1989] serves well in stimulating the reader’s critical thinking and this was precisely what he aimed for: to deconstruct a phenomenon and give the right to speech and judgment to the reader." – Art Zip online
Paul Gladston (2011), Contemporary Art in Shanghai: Conversation with Seven Chinese Artists, Hong Kong: Blue Kingfisher/Timezone 8.
2023-2024 – Co-curator of the touring exhibition ‘Enchanted Realities: Tan Lijie - Selected Works, 2013-2020’, Salamanca Arts Centre Hobart and the National Chen-kung University Taiwan
2021 – Co-curator of the exhibition 'Dis-/Continuing Traditions: Contemporary Video Art from China’, Salamanca Arts Centre Hobart
2015 - Co-curator of the exhibition 'New China/ New Art: Contemporary Video from Shanghai and Hangzhou', Djanogly Gallery University of Nottingham, UK
2012 - Advisor to the internationally acclaimed exhibition ‘Art of Change: New Directions from China’, Hayward Gallery-South Bank Centre London
Expert contributor to publications and broadcasts by Der Spiegel, Al Jazeera, Nikkei Media, Bloomberg Media, ARD (Germany), South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), the BBC and the ABC (Australia)
2023 - Advisor to the Board of Trustees of the journal Third Text
2021- Guest Contributor, The UK National Committee on China. Paul Gladston, ‘Pushing the Limits: Tianxia (‘all under heaven’) and Beijing’s seemingly flagrant disregard for internationally recognised frontiers’ – paired with a text by Prof. Rana Mitter, Harvard and Oxford University. “The UKNCC Guest Contributor Programme is designed to stimulate a deeper exploration of China related issues; drive curiosity; and test conventional wisdom.”
2019-2020 - Advisor on Chinese Contemporary art to the Sullivan+Strumpf Gallery, Sydney
2021 – External Reviewer for Non-traditional Research Outputs, the Education University of Hong Kong
2020-present – External Reviewers for Research-led Impact projects, Chinese University of Hong Kong
2019-present – Impact and Promotions Adviser, Chinese University of Hong Kong
2019 – Promotions Adviser, City University, Hong Kong
Paul Gladston is currently working on three related research projects funded by the Judith Neilson Endowment:
Lead author of the REF Impact Case 2013 (UK), ‘Adding Complexity to the Curatorial Presentation of Contemporary Chinese Art’.
‘Dr Paul Gladston's (Associate Professor of Critical Theory and Visual Culture, Nottingham, 2005-present) research has served to problematize and add complexity to the public understanding of the relationship between contemporary Chinese art and the wider conditions of its making and showing both within and outside the Peoples' Republic of China (PRC). The Chief Curator of the Hayward Gallery exhibition Art of Change: New Directions from China (2012) drew on Gladston's expertise in the exhibition's presentation. The exhibition attracted over 22,000 visitors, with international media coverage leading to wider critical engagement in broadcast and social media. A challenging review of the exhibition in The Guardian by the high-profile artist Ai Weiwei, followed by Gladston's response, stimulated broader public debate around contemporary Chinese art.’
My Research Supervision
Author and co-convenor of the UNSW UG programme:
Lead author of the BA International Communications and MA International Communications, and of the Ph.D. programme in Critical Theory/Cultural Studies at the University of Nottingham Ningbo, China (UNNC). In 2007 the BA International Communications achieved Special degree status in Zhejiang province – the first programme to do so at UNNC.