Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Marxism in Culture: Working Aesthetics: Labour, Art and Capitalism

28 February 2020, 5:30 pm–7:30 pm

working aesthetics

The IAS is delighted to host this Marxism in Culture's seminar with Danielle Child (Manchester School of Art).

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to





Andrew Murray


IAS Forum
First Floor, South Wing, UCL
Gower Street
United Kingdom

Whilst labour used to be regarded as an unattractive subject for art, the proximity of work to everyday life has subsequently narrowed the gap between work and art. The artist is no longer considered apart from the economic, but is heralded as an example of how to work in neoliberal management textbooks. As work and life become obscured within the contemporary period, Working Aesthetics asks how artistic practice is affected, including those who labour for artists. Through a series of case studies, the book critically examines the moments in which labour and art intersect under capitalism.

In this seminar I will present some of the key ideas from Working Aesthetics: Labour, Art and Capitalism. In the book I examine the relationship between art and work under contemporary capitalism from an historical materialist perspective. The session will further explore the continued relevance of this perspective for thinking about the contemporary period of capitalism in which labour has, once again, become a valid subject for art.

Danielle Child is Senior Lecturer in Art History at Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University. Her research adopts a 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. She has published articles in Third TextArt & the Public Sphere and Sculpture Journal. Her book Working Aesthetics: Labour, Art and Capitalism was published in January 2019 with Bloomsbury Academic.

All welcome!

Convenors: Matthew Beaumont, Dave Beech, Alan Bradshaw, Warren Carter, Gail Day, Steve Edwards, Larne Abse Gogarty, Esther Leslie, Luisa Lorenza Corna, David Mabb, Antigoni Memou, Andy Murray, Dominic Rahtz, Pete Smith, Peter Thomas, Alberto Toscano, Marina Vishmidt.