Professor Paul Goodwin

UAL Chair of Contemporary Art and Urbanism & Director of TrAIN (Transnational Art, Identity and Nation Research Centre).



Paul Goodwin is an independent curator, urban theorist and researcher based in London. His curatorial, research and writing projects extend across the interdisciplinary fields of contemporary art and urbanism with a particular focus on black and diaspora artists and visual cultures. At the Centre for Urban and Community Research at Goldsmiths, University of London, between 2006 and 2010 he directed Re-visioning Black Urbanism, an interdisciplinary research project exploring the multiple modalities of blackness and urbanism in cities such as London, Lisbon and Paris.

From 2008 to 2012 as a curator at Tate Britain he directed the pioneering Cross Cultural Programme that explored questions of migration and globalisation in contemporary British art through a programme of international conferences, workshops, talks and live art events. His curatorial projects include a number of internationally significant exhibitions including: Migrations: Journeys Into British Art, Tate Britain 2012; Thin Black Line(s), Tate Britain, 2011; Coming Ashore, 2011, Berardo Collection Museum in Lisbon, Portugal; Afro Modern: Journeys Through the Black Atlantic (consultant curator), Tate Liverpool, 2010; Underconstruction, Hospital Julius De Matos, Lisbon, Portugal, 2009. In 2013 he curated Charlie Phillips: The Urban Eye at New Art Exchange, Nottingham which was long-listed for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2014.

Goodwin is curatorial director of the 3D Foundation international sculpture park and residency programme in Verbier, Switzerland and is a trustee of socially engaged art organisations Peckham Platform and in London. 

Research interests

Transnationalism in contemporary art and curating, global exhibitions, black diaspora artists (Black British artists since 1980), curatorial and artistic research, urbanism and urban theory, afrofuturism and techno-cultures.

Public Speaking themes

Global exhibitions and international curating, black artists in contemporary art, migration, globalisation and transnationalism in art.

Research statement

My multidisciplinary research and curatorial practice revolves around exploring the creative potential of both cities and exhibitions as sites of aesthetic, socio-cultural and political intervention. Within the urban field this has been framed around understanding how the black and migrant presence in cities have shaped and in turn been shaped by formations of urban aesthetic and socio-cultural modernity. Re-visioning Black Urbanism was practice-based research project at the Centre for Urban and Community Research at Goldsmiths, University of London between 2006 and 2010. The project explored the complex relationship between ‘blackness’ as a creative presence and urbanism (in cities such as London, Lisbon and Paris) through a programme of exhibitions, e-publications, talks and seminars.

Within the field of contemporary art I have focused on the dynamics of how processes of migration, globalisation and transnationalism are yielding new forms of innovative artistic and curatorial practices in both a European and broader international context. I recently contributed to the major EU funded research project MeLa – European Museums in an Age of Migration - co-curating a summative research exhibition at MACBA Barcelona in July 2014 and co-editing the MeLa book Transfigurations: Curatorial and Artistic Research in an Age of Migrations (Royal College of Art/MeLa Publications, 2014) with Victoria Walsh and Pamela Sepulveda.

Current research projects in development include a project on the relationship between black radical imaginaries, Afrofuturism and cities in the UK, USA and South Africa and Ghosts: technologies/subjectivities an exhibition and research programme across University of the Arts London in 2014-2016.

Past events as University Joint Chair of Black Art & Design

BMW Tate Live: Up Hill Down Hall: An indoor carnival - The Sky is Dancing Intervention

Tate Modern, Turbine Hall, Saturday 23 August 2014

Inspired by extensive student research into the socio-political history of the Notting Hill Carnival and the politics of space and location, The Sky is Dancing is a special intervention that responds to wider critical debates about public art and ceremonial practices that have influenced and been influenced by carnival as a cultural and artistic form.

The Sky is Dancing project was been produced under the auspices and with the participation of UAL’s joint Chairs of Black Art and Design, Sonia Boyce and Paul Goodwin in collaboration with Anne Eggebert and Stephen Carter of the XDPathway at CSM.

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UAL Joint Chairs of Black Art and Design, Sonia Boyce and Paul Goodwin, present ‘Movements’, a selection of works from the June Givanni Pan-African Cinema Archive  on show October 2014.

View the Movements programme


UAL Joint Chairs of Black Art and Design Paul Goodwin and Sonia Boyce Present: GHOSTS,  November 2014.
A year-long series of single work and focused displays featuring key art works from a range of British Black and Asian artists exploring ideas around technologies, subjectivities and contemporary art practice.

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Selected research outputs