Laura E Dudley


Twitter: @lauraemilyart

Supervisors and Institution(s):

  • Dr Isobel Whitelegg, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester.
  • Dr Sian Vaughen, School of Art, Birmingham City University
  • Dr Suzanne Macleod, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester


Thesis Title: From Re-Construction to Co-Production: the past and present authorship of participatory art exhibitions.

Thesis Description: In the context of an increasing emphasis on co-production within museum and gallery practice, this project asks: can the history of participatory art exhibitions lend insight into present practices, and conversely, how does the concept of co-production affect how participatory art exhibitions are historicised?

I will focus particularly on landmark exhibitions which, in their original form, had a significant participatory element. My contention is that these re-staged exhibitions, realized as part of temporary exhibition programmes and motivated by art historical interests, do not yet have a lasting impact on the practices of the museums and galleries that have hosted them. Importantly, neither has re-staging impacted on how the works are art-historically valued, particularly in relationship to questions of artistic authorship. Considering this, the project aims to approach past exhibitions not only through the lens of exhibition history but also through their potential to inform, and be informed by, models and frameworks for participation and co-production that are only being superficially explored by current literature.

Within current museum practice, an interest in participation is evidenced though a broad adoption of the term co-production. This term is increasingly used to describe public involvement in both design processes and the realization of exhibitions and programmes. This research aims to establish how the re-activation of historical exhibitions might also act as a vehicle for public involvement in the authorship of an art work.

Application and impact will be achieved by evaluating the case studies in relation to organisational stratagies and principles of co-production, and proposing a framework for re-staging historical exhibitions as a vehicle for participation.This will impact conventional attitudes towards the authorship of past canonical participatory exhibitions, and also challenge our understanding of, and propose a new model for display, one that allows for public involvement and co-production in the re-activation and re-interpretation of exhibition history.



  • Co-Production as a vehicle for Change, Doctoral College poster Faire, University of Leicester.


Scholarly / professional record:



  • MA Art Museum and Gallery Studies dissertation, University of Leicester- Object or Process? What would it mean to represent contemporary, active artist's space within the gallery, now that the studio has been revealed to the public through models of reconstructions.
  • Exhibitions and Display Intern, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (working on Dippy on Tour, Natural History Museum Partnership, Coming Out, Arts Council Collection Partnership and The Past is Now, Changemakers).
  • Gallery Assistant, Attenborough Arts Centre (Arts Council Collection touring exhibition Ryan Gander: Night in the Museum).


  • PGCERT Fine Art dissertation, University of Wolverhampton- The role of institutional critique in the Neo Avant-Garde, and the function of the museum/gallery as an ‘art object’.
  • Artist in Residence, University of Wolverhampton, ‘Art as Research’ conference.
  • Exhibitions volunteer, New Art Gallery Walsall (exhibitions include The Humble VesselLand, Sea and AirEva Rothschild ‘Alternative to Power’ and Idris Khan ‘A World Within’).


  • BA Hons Fine Art dissertation, University of Wolverhampton-  an investigation into contemporary painting practice that works beyond the boundaries of the frame.


Other Research Interests:

  • studio culture
  • Art interventions
  • digital literacy in museums
  • collections of making
  • manufacturing and industry
  • interpretation strategies
  • re-interpretations of historical collections
  • non-traditional archival methods

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