Skip navigation

Tom O'Sullivan

Senior Lecturer

Department: Arts

I am a senior lecturer at Northumbria and teach into the Fine Art programmes at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels. Currently I am the module lead for ‘Theory into Practice’ at level 5 of the BA Fine Art. . I also supervise, and am an internal examiner, for practice-based PhDs in contemporary art practice and theory at Northumbria.

 I have considerable experience as a visiting lecturer at a number of higher education institutions across the UK and Europe, as well as experience as an external examiner on Fine Art programmes at undergraduate and post-graduate levels.

 Previous to my appointment at Northumbria (20011), I was a Research Fellow at Grays School of Art at the Robert Gordon University (2003 – 2011) and a lecturer at Cumbria Institute of the Arts (1999 – 2003). 

 I am a 0.5 appointment and I also work as a professional contemporary artist.

Tom O'Sullivan

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

I have been working in a collaborative art practice with Joanne Tatham (Royal College of Art) for over 25 Years. Our practice thinks about the forms and languages of contemporary art as a way to consider how meaning is produced. The work is often a configuration of temporary, sited ‘sculpture’ together with constructed texts, performances and images. Taken together, these elements produce spaces for audience reflection on particular contexts and the meanings art might have in these places. 

Recent work has responded more explicitly to the conditions of contemporary art’s instrumentalisation in the public sphere and the possibilities for art to enable renewed civic engagement. Other recent projects have involved fiction writing as a device to re-consider and re-position art histories. 

Recent projects include The Bitter Cup, a novella produced with Book Works, London in collaboration with Hospitalfield, Arbroath (2019).

Does the iterative fit, a project for Rostockgata Sculpture Park at Kuntshall Oslo (2019), which repositioned an earlier commission for Kings Cross Projects.

A Proposal To Ask Where Does A Threshold Begin & End, a project for MIMA in Middlesbrough (2018).

A Successful Proposition for the Great North Exhibition, a commission for The Great Exhibition of the North at BALTIC (2018).

I am also involved in the collaborative practice of Neuschloss, a group of artists and curators working at Northumbria University, who are interested in experimental curatorial and collaborative art practice.

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • A Woman Unknown to Herself, O'Sullivan, T., Tatham, J. 2 Jan 2020
  • The Bitter Cup, O'Sullivan, T., Tatham, J. Sep 2019
  • A Glasgow Spectacular (or the experience being an experience like the experience you just had), O'Sullivan, T. 2018
  • A Proposal To Ask Where Does A Threshold Begin & End, O'Sullivan, T., Tatham, J. 19 Jul 2018
  • A Successful Proposition for the Great North Exhibition, O'Sullivan, T., Tatham, J. 22 Jun 2018
  • Is this what brings things into focus?, O'Sullivan, T., Tatham, J. Apr 2017
  • An Anthology: (I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so, so, so sorry), Tatham, J., O'Sullivan, T. 1 Apr 2016

PGR Supervision

  • Victoria Everall O'Hare Centrefold 1974: A Memoir Start Date: 15/05/2017 End Date: 26/07/2019
  • Clare Stephenson ‘Girl gets drunk and goes swimming’. A shift in means for the female sculptor. Start Date: 08/10/2013 End Date: 23/04/2018


Fine Art MFA July 01 1994

a sign in front of a crowd

Northumbria Open Days

Open Days are a great way for you to get a feel of the University, the city of Newcastle upon Tyne and the course(s) you are interested in.

Research at Northumbria

Research at Northumbria

Research is the life blood of a University and at Northumbria University we pride ourselves on research that makes a difference; research that has application and affects people's lives.

a person sitting at a table

Order your prospectus

If you would like to know more about our courses, or life in general as a student at Northumbria, then we can help you.

Latest News and Features

More news

Back to top