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Dr Mel Jordan Appointed Head of RCA Contemporary Art Practice

The Royal College of Art has today announced the appointment of Dr Mel Jordan as Head of Contemporary Art Practice in the School of Fine Art.

Dr Mel Jordan is an artist, writer and researcher, whose work (with Beech and Hewitt as the Freee art collective) is at the forefront of investigations into the relationship between art and politics through public sphere theory and participatory arts. Her art practice incorporates an expanded engagement with contemporary art methods such as the use of text (as a slogan), print, sculptural props, installation, video photography and montage and her PhD (by Publication) was entitled Art, its Function and its Publics: Public Sphere Theory in the work of the Freee art collective 2004 – 2012.

Mel Jordan has played a key role in the development of Contemporary Art Practice (CAP) at the RCA, joining the college as Senior Tutor in Sculpture in 2013, becoming acting Head of Sculpture from October to December 2015 and then Pathway Leader for Public Sphere in January 2016.  She is an active participant of the College who sits on Senate and is a member of the Learning & Teaching Committee.

Professor Juan Cruz, Dean of Fine Art, RCA said, ‘Mel is a challenging thinker who has shaped influential discourse on public space / public sphere and has been keenly involved in the development of the RCA CAP programme, which recognises important strands of research and teaching in Fine Art at the RCA. Mel is respected internationally for her practice, research and writing that espouses a truly critical and global perspective.’

Professor Naren Barfield, Pro-Rector, RCA said, ‘Mel Jordan is recognised as a leading thinker and advocate for art in the public realm, and has made significant contributions to debate and discussion on the expanding field of fine art and audiences, reflecting both historical contexts and the present in contemporary art practice.  The appointment panel were particularly pleased that Mel emerged as the strongest candidate from an international search, and that she will continue to build on her career at the RCA and develop new opportunities and models for students and for research.'

Mel Jordan is the founder and principal editor of Art & the Public Sphere Journal a cross-disciplinary journal that combines the study of art, its audience, urban studies and cultural geography.  Selected recent exhibitions and projects include: Part of the Game, nGbK, Berlin, 2014; Mom, Am I Barbarian? 13th Istanbul Biennial, 2013; Agoraphobia, TANAS, Berlin, 2013; Site, Rant, Choir, ON, Bologna, Italy, 2012; The Narrative Show, Eastside Projects, Birmingham, 2011;Generosity Is the New Political, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge, 2009; We are Grammar, Pratt Manhattan Gallery, New York, 2011; Touched, Liverpool Biennial 2010.

Earlier in her career Dr Jordan worked at the School of the Arts at Loughborough University (Research Co-ordinator 2009 – 13, Reader in Fine Art, 2011), and Goldsmiths, University of London (Lecturer in Studio Fine Art, 2004 – 2007). In May 2014 she was a Visiting Professor at Stockholm Academy of Arts, Sweden. Last year she was a visiting professor at Malmo Art Academy, Sweden.

Dr Mel Jordan takes up the appointment of Head of Programme, Contemporary Art Practice, RCA in September 2016.