Dr Duncan Cook PhD MA (RCA) PGCE


​Senior Lecturer

e: dpcook@cardiffmet.ac.uk
t: 029 2041 6642

Specialist Subject Areas

​​Photography and Lens-Based Media, Interdisciplinary and Collaborative Art, Art History and Theory, Urban Ecologies and Spatial Culture


2014: PhD - Royal College of Art, London Art, Agency and Eco-politics: Rethinking Urban Subjects and Environment(s)

2006: MA Fine Art Photography – Royal College of Art, London

2002: PG Cert Professional Studies in Photography – Central Saint Martins, London

1997: PGCE (FE) – University of Wales Institute Cardiff

1992: BA (Hons) Fine Art - University of Wales Institute Cardiff


Duncan Cook is Senior Lecturer at CSAD and currently leads the BA (Hons) Photography course as well as delivering on the Constellation (history and theory) programme. Duncan is an experienced educator and researcher and has taught on undergraduate and post-graduate courses in a number of UK universities. After graduating in Fine Art in 1992 Duncan worked in art therapy before going on to develop his teaching practice in the FE and Adult Education sectors. There he lectured and worked as an external moderator across a range of subjects including HNC/HND and City and Guilds Photography, Foundation Studies in Art and Design as well as Art History, Media, Film and Communication Studies.

Following post-graduate courses in Photography at Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art Duncan went on to carry out a Doctoral Research Project at the RCA. During this time he worked as an Associate Tutor in the Critical and Historical Studies Department at the RCA and also wrote, taught and led BA (Hons) courses in Art and Design and Digital Arts validated by Kingston University and University of West London. Most recently he has taught both practice and theory to undergraduate students on Fine Art Photography, Editorial Photography and Commercial Photography courses at the University of West London and University of Gloucestershire.

As a researcher, practitioner and visiting speaker Duncan has contributed to a number of national and international conferences and exhibitions on Photography and Spatial Culture including the Photographic History Research Centre, the Association of Art Historians, the Slade School of Art and Bartlett School of Architecture.

Current Research

The focus of my research has recently moved towards a consideration of the ways in which aesthetic praxis can be considered a form of knowledge production and the manner in which practice and theory are increasingly being co-constituted. My main areas of research interest include the question of the agency of cultural production in urban ecologies, the material and virtual commons, and experimental cartographies. My research explores the diversity found in contemporary art focusing in particular on collaborative project platforms and urban spatial and photographic practices.

My doctoral research project Art, Agency and Eco-politics: Rethinking Urban Subjects and Environment(s) examined the extent to which cultural agency can be seen to 'act' in an eco-political context and how its operations urge a rethinking of the processes that govern the production of urban subjects and environment(s). The research set out to evaluate the role of cultural production in enacting ways of thinking and acting eco-logically, through multi-layered visual/textual accounts and various public 'assemblies'.  Setting cultural agency within a more expansive and multivalent field of action, I asserted that the nexus of agency is dislocated and translated between people and 'things' (human and non-human).

Reconfiguring agency in this way my research proposed 'an ecology of agencing' and demonstrated the profound implications this has for any 'bodies' of action, cultural or otherwise. My research is located within urban spatialities and attends to relatively under-theorised, but highly significant forms of aesthetic praxis operating at the interstices of art, photography and spatial practice and my research has connected a range of collaborative art projects spanning a number of continents. By tracking conceptions of and systems of control over the 'commons' I sought to ask what role cultural production has to play in catalysing new forms of representation, action, politics and coexistence.

Recent Publications, Exhibitions and Awards

June 2023 -​ “V&A’s new centre reveals pivotal role photography plays in reflecting and shaping our world” (The Conversation UK, theconversation.com/uk, 29/06/2023)

June 2018 - Photographic History Research Centre Annual Conference, De Montfort University, Material Practices of Visual History. Visualising Urban Histories, Identities and Materialities: The Role of Photography, Cartography and the Archive in Knowledge Production about the Contemporary City

June 2017 - CMCI Annual Conference, King's College London: Cultural Resilience / Resilient Cultures: the art of resistance in changing worlds. Acts of Commoning: Exercising Cultural Agency in Processes of Urban Governance

May 2017 - LSFMD Annual Symposium, University of West London: Theories and Practices of the Image: Visualising the Post-Natural: The Image as Knowledge Production

June 2014 - Show 14, Royal College of Art, London

April 2012 - Visiting Speaker: Lines of Flight Architecture Research Group, University of Sheffield: Eco-politics and Art: Socio-natural Collectives and Improvised Assemblies

May 2009 - Research Innovation Award: Royal College of Art

April 2009 - Association of Art Historians International Conference Manchester: Intersections Eco-politics, Hybrid Collectives and Creative Connectivities

Feb 2009 - Visiting Lecturer: MA Architecture Institute of Art and Design Vienna University of Technology. Appropriating Spaces in the Flows of Urban Networks

Feb 2009 - Visiting Speaker: Research Seminar Group Institute of Art and Design Vienna University of Technology. Eco-Aesthetics: from Networks to Ecologies

Sept 2007 - Conference Wimbledon School of Art: Beyond Cultural Producers. Diffuse Culture: Social Aesthetics and Participation

June 2007 - Group Show, Penny School Gallery, Kingston upon Thames

Dec 2006 - International Conference: Topos: Moving Image between Art and Architecture Slade School of Art and Bartlett School of Architecture. Potentialities: Between Images-Moving Perception and Spaces-Moving Experience

Nov 2007 - RCA Secret Show, Royal College of Art, London

June 2006 - A Generation, Group Show, Royal College of Art, London

April 2005 - Symposium Royal College of Art: Opticality and Spatiality. Confounding the Eye and Camera or Between Here and There

June 2002 - Group Show, Central Saint Martin's School of Art, Charing Cross Road, London

June 1992 - Helen Gregory Memorial Prize for Film, University of Wales Institute Cardiff