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Dr Danielle Child

Senior Lecturer
Art Theory and Practice

Dr Danielle Child

Dani's research adopts an historical materialist approach to explore the relationship between contemporary art and capitalism through the lens of labour. This interest includes social (collective, participatory and public) artistic practices, contracted labour (the ‘invisible hands’ of production) in art, and contemporary art and social class.

Her monograph Working Aesthetics: Labour, Art and Capitalism (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019) examines the moments where art and labour intersect under capitalism, with an emphasis on the neoliberal period. Case studies include: Lippincott Inc., Mike Smith Studio, Thomas Hirschhorn's monuments, Rimini Protokoll's Call Cutta in a Box (2008-2012), Liberate Tate and etoy [sic].

She has published articles in Afterall, Third Text, Art & the Public Sphere and Sculpture Journal. Her book Working Aesthetics: Labour, Art and Capitalism was published in January 2019 with Bloomsbury Academic and she is currently working, as editor, on The Routledge Companion to Art and Capitalism.

Dani was a Co-Investigator on the AHRC funded project: 'COVID-19: Impacts on the cultural industries and the implications for policy'.

She is currently an Affiliated Researcher on the joint Brazil/UK project funded by the AHRC and FAPESP: Translating Ferro/Transforming Knowledges for which she is developing a case study.

Dani has taught in Manchester School of Art since 2011. In the same year, she completed her PhD at the University of Leeds, where she had previously completed her MA and BA in History of Art.

Dani invites applications for PhD researchers interested in the following areas:

Marxist art history.

Labour and art in relation to social, economic and political change in the 20th and 21st centuries.

'Social practices' in art: collaboration, contracted labour within and outside of the studio, socially-engaged artistic practices, relational aesthetics, artists' groups/collectives and art-activism.

Contemporary art and class.

Art and economics.


COVID-19: Impacts on the cultural industries and the implications for policy

Co-Investigator on the AHRC funded project: 'COVID-19: Impacts on the cultural industries and the implications for policy'. Working alongside Dr Harry Weeks (Newcastle University), our strand of the research is focussed on the case studies that look at the impact of Covid-19 on museums and galleries in the North West and North East of England. Details…

Mapping Creative Labour in Contemporary Art

Funded Project: AHRC Research Networking Grant Mapping Creative Labour in Contemporary Art will assemble leading academics and practitioners in the field to form an interdisciplinary network of artists, art historians, sociologists and art workers to investigate current patterns of paid and unpaid work in the production and circulation of contemporary art. Work has become a leading topic in academia for the arts, humanities and the social sciences in recent years, but the scholars operating within this emergent field have not yet had the opportunity to reflect on its scope and survey its achievements and limitations. Details…

To Hell with Culture? Re-examining the commodification of culture in contemporary capitalism, 30th October 2014.

Manchester School of Art, Thursday 30th October 2014. Over 70 years ago, the anarcho-syndicalist art critic - Herbert Read - wrote ‘To Hell with Culture’ (1941). Details…


Danielle Child is a member of the Art and Performance Research Hub.


Jurack, B., 2021. 'What's left behind', Williamson Art Gallery and Museum.

Child, D., 2019. 'Working Aesthetics: Labour, Art and Capitalism', Bloomsbury Academic.

Book Chapters

Child, D., Weeks, H., Grey, K., 2024. 'Civic Responsibility in Times of Crisis: Museums and Galleries in Northern England during the Covid-19 Pandemic'. In Pandemic Culture, Manchester University Press.

Child, D., 2024. 'Johanna Unzueta's Tools for Life: Engaging a politics of Labour within the Art Institution'. In Edinburgh Companion to Curatorial Futures, Edinburgh University Press.

Child, D., 2021. ''Invisble Hands': Perceiving Labour in Contemporary Art'. In Sonsbeek20->24 Force Times Distance Reader #1:On Labour, Archive Books.

Child, D., 2020. 'Reconsidering Contemporary Artistic Practice as a Condition of Labour'. In #Stasis: Talks and Conferences Biennale 7 (A Selection).


BBC Radio 4, , 2022. 'Taxi Drivers'.


Child, D., 2024. 'Culture in Crisis: Impacts of Covid-19 on the UK Cultural Sector and Where We Go From Here'.

Internet Publications

Child, D., Gray, K., Weeks, H., Wright, J., 2021. 'Why Digital Isn't Enough',

Child, D., 2016. 'Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism: Entries on Collage, Michael Fried, Allan Kaprow and Jackson Pollock',

Child, D., 2014. 'Selection of articles for Red Pepper magazine', Red Pepper Magazine,

Child, D., 2013. 'Art-activism & Technology: Re-examining the ‘neutrality of machines’ under neoliberalism', Convergence, Engagement & Power: The 6th Annual ICS PhD Conference, Proceedings.pdf.

Journal Articles

Child, D., 2022. 'The Great Escape: the visibility of class in Tracey Emin's Margate', Oxford Art Journal, 45 (2), pp. 253-268.

Child, D., 2020. 'Artistic Economies: Shelter, Food and Clothing', Afterall: A Journal of Art, Context and Enquiry, 49, pp. 107-114.

Child, D.L., Reckitt, H., Richards, J., 2017. ''Labours of Love': A Conversation on Art, Gender, and Social Reproduction', Third Text, 31 (1), pp. 147-168.

Child, D.L., 2017. 'Art, Politics & the Public Square: from decoration to declaration!', Art and the Public Sphere, 6 (1-2), pp. 19-31.

Child, D., 2015. 'Dematerialization, contracted labour and art fabrication: the deskilling of the artist in the age of late capitalism', Sculpture Journal, 24 (3), pp. 375-390.

Anarchist Studies 23:2

Child, D.L., 2015. 'To Hell with (the contemporary commodification of) Culture!', Anarchist Studies, 23 (2).

Child, D., 2012. 'Moving Mountains: Art History for the Neoliberal Era', Reviews in Cultural Theory, 3:2, 27-34.

Child, D., 2012. 'The artist as project manager: Thomas Hirschhorn's Bataille Monument (2002)', Journal of Arts & Communities, 4 (3), pp. 217-230.

Non-Peer Reviewed Articles

Child, D., 2021. 'Why We Need to Rethink Access to the Arts', Elephant Magazine, 45, pp. 153-154.

Conference Papers

Child, D., 2023. ''Considering Art's "Building Site" for Production Studies: The Case of Art Fabrication'', Simpósio Internacional de Estudos da Produção: Aquitetura, Projecto s Canteiro, Centro Mariantonia da USP, São Paulo, Brazi, 4/4/2023 - 5/4/2023.

Child, D., 2023. 'A Question of Class: Marxist Art History in the UK', (De)Politicising Art Studies. Marxist Traditions since 1968, Technical University Berlin, 10/11/2023 - 11/11/2023.

Child, D., 2019. 'Reconsidering Contemporary Artistic Practice as a Condition of Labour', STASIS #1: Art and labor, MoMUS, Thessaloniki ,Greece, 30/11/2019 - 30/11/2019.

Child, D., 2018. ''Fabricating Value (The Invisible Hand of the Maker)'', King's College London/Courtauld Institute of Art.


Child, D., 2020. 'Labouring Bodies: Art, Work and History'.

Child, D., 2017. 'Sculptor at work: Ghisha Koenig and the Representation of Labour', Henry Moore Institute Evening Lecture, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, 31st May 2017.

Child, D., 2016. 'Art & the Public Square: From decoration to declaration!', Artists' Critical Interventions into Architecture and Urbanism, University of Warwick, 15-16th July 2016.

Child, D., 2016. 'Demystifying Labour in Contemporary Art History: Unproductive Labour and Social Reproduction', Association of Art Historians Annual Conference 2016, University of Edinburgh, 7th-9th April 2016.

Child, D., 2015. 'Directors, Actors and Virtuosos: The performative shift in neoliberal social art practices', Historical Materialism Rome, Roma Tre University, Rome, 17th - 19th September 2015.

Child, D., 2014. '‘From Labia to Labour: an alternative to the performed body in mid-1970s’ feminist art’', 11th Annual Historical Materialism Conference 2014, UCL Vernon Campus, London, 6th-9th November 2014.

Child, D., 2014. '‘Performing Action: the global theatre of art-activism’', Performing Protest: Re-Imagining the Good Life in Times of Crisis, University of Leuven, Belgium, 8-10th May 2014.