Dr Harry Weeks

Postdoctoral Fellow
Harry Weeks

Aug 2015 - Aug 2016

Home institution

University of Edinburgh


Dr Harry Weeks was awarded a PhD in History of Art from the University of Edinburgh in 2014 for a thesis entitled ‘“A Unique Epochal Knot”: Negotiations of Community in Contemporary Art’, which examined the ways in which contemporary art has contributed to a rethinking of the concept of community since 1989. From 2014-15 he was Teaching Fellow in History of Art at the University of Edinburgh. His research interests include: cultural policy; performance and participation in contemporary art; Eastern European art history; the autonomy of art; and theories of community. He is co-editor of the Spring 2016 special issue of Tate Papers entitled ‘Mediating Collaboration’, and is lead author and editor of a Tate In Focus publication on the work of Belgian artist Johan Grimonprez, due for publication in late 2016.


The Permitted Autonomy of Contemporary Art

Recent shifts towards social engagement in art, and the increasingly important role art plays in processes such as social inclusion and urban regeneration, and as an investment commodity, necessitate a reconsideration of art’s supposed autonomy. This project posits a theory of ‘permitted autonomy’ – that is, a freedom granted to art on the proviso that it perform certain political and economic functions – as an innovative and productive means of assessing the current state of art. Through an interdisciplinary study of art practice, cultural policy and theoretical histories of autonomy this project will examine art’s potential for criticality despite its widely acknowledged imbrication within neoliberal capital. It will also significantly progress discourses on art’s use values, economies, legalities and ethics.



Community and Art beyond Community Art. (forthcoming)

Book Chapters:

‘Against Specificity: Jacob Dahlgren’s No Conflict.’ In Towards a City Observatory, edited by Kate Gray. Edinburgh: Collective, 2015. (forthcoming)

‘Ethics in Public: The Return of Antagonistic Performance.’ In Interactive Contemporary Art: Participation in Practice, edited by Kathryn Brown, 151-166. London: IB Tauris, 2014.

‘Capital, Control, Community.’ In To The Reader, edited by Benjamin Fallon, 26-31. Utrecht: BAK, 2013.

‘In the Midst of a Thriving Community.’ In Eastern Surf: Kernal Panic Control, edited by Klaudio Štefančić, 45-62. Zagreb: The Open University of Velika Gorica, 2012.

Baltimaadest: The Locative Case in Baltic Photography.’ In Generation of the Place: Image, Memory and Fiction in the Baltics, edited by Vytautus Michelkevičius, 19-30. Vilnius: Mene, 2011.

Edited Journal Special Issues:

Harry Weeks, Amy Tobin and Catherine Spencer, eds. ‘Mediating Collaboration: The Politics of Working Together.’ Special issue, Tate Papers. Spring, 2016. (forthcoming)

Journal Articles:

‘The Temporalities of Collaboration.’ In ‘Mediating Collaboration: The Politics of Working Together.’ Special issue, Tate Papers, edited by Harry Weeks, Amy Tobin and Catherine Spencer. Spring, 2016. (forthcoming)

‘Re-cognizing the Post-Soviet Condition: The Documentary Turn in Contemporary Art in the Baltic States.’ Studies in Eastern European Cinema 1/1 (2010): pp57-70.

Other Writing:

Tate In Focus: Dial H.I.S.T.O.R.Y by Johan Grimonprez. London: Tate, 2015. (forthcoming)

‘Andy Holden and the Politics of Friendship.’ Art Licks #16 (2015).

‘Freedom and Security from Hobbes to Hebdo.’ B.O.T.A #2 (2015).

‘Atemporal Community.’ You Are Just in the Middle of the Beginning, edited by Benjamin Fallon (2013). http://www.m-o-t-b.net/writing/atemporal-community/

‘Democracy is in Peril: Agonistic Pluralism after the Greek Election.’ e-international relations (2012). http://www.e-ir.info/2012/07/23/democracy-is-in-peril-agonistic-pluralism-after-the-greek-election/

‘Crossing Borders: The Art of the Passport.’ Citizenship in South-Eastern Europe (2011). http://www.citsee.eu/citsee-story/crossing-borders-art-passport