Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Simon Farid

Simon Farid was an IAS Creative Fellow in 2021-22 and a Visiting Research Fellow in 2022-23.

I am a sometime artist and a more time invigilator (guard) at a major art gallery in central London. My creative practice and research primarily focusses on my day-job as a site for study. My critical engagement with invigilation has four key research strands:

  • Workers’ conditions and experience (capital)
  • Institutional critique (crucially, from the position of worker in the institution)
  • Surveillance cultures
  • Solitary poetics

This engagement takes various forms: solo visual arts practice; visual art collaborations with co-workers; outcomes in academia; secret artworks for me. This is an ongoing practice of self-research into my (and my co-workers’) contextual position, with end-aims of deeper understanding of the functioning of the hierarchies I operate in and better conditions in-and-outside-of the institution.

Academically I am looking at approaches to research and practice ‘from below’, attempting to develop ethical frameworks for research undertaken by those (including myself) operating from weaker positions outside of the academy. From below methodologies might employ tactics commonly understood as counter to good-practice research, such as disguise, impersonation, theft, dual reality and bilocation.

I am a part of an ongoing collaborative working group called ‘Invigilator Research Network’, a collective of artists/invigilators who explore and exploit their day-job as a part of their creative practice. Together we work across visual arts fields, with a strong emphasis on testimony collection and consciousness raising.