Hi! You’ve reached the homepage of Danny Butt. I am Associate Director (Research) at Victoria College of the Arts, University of Melbourne where I look after PhD and MFA programmes and convene courses in Design and Social Practice, including the Honours programme in Social Practice and Community Engagement led by Tania Cañas. This follows a few years at the VCA working in the now discontinued Master of Arts and Community Practice, you can see my theory syllabus and download the readings for my teaching in that programme here.
I work with my dear friends in the Local Time collective. I wrote a paper about our practice in relation to theories of hospitality for the excellent Journal of Artistic Research (where I am now an editor). That may be the most useful thing I’ve written, though that’s more due to Local Time’s practice than the writing.
I’ve spent the last 15 years or so researching the integration of art schools into the Anglophone university sector and why we now understand art as a form of research. My book Artistic Research in the Future Academy was published by Intellect / University of Chicago Press in 2017. See more on the website.
I have a long history of engagement with the work of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, who is my main guide to the European tradition of philosophy and critique, and increasingly how to work productively across the divergent modes of theory and activism. I wrote a review essay on her book An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalisation for the Research Unit in Public Cultures working papers series that I hope will encourage you to read it. I also discuss the book in an unpublished essay on the film Born in Flames.
Rachel O’Reilly has taught me a lot about writing and thinking in our collaborative work on the contemporary politics of artistic infrastructure, which you can read in our essay “Infrastructures of Autonomy on the Professional Frontier: ‘Art and the Boycott of/as Art‘” for the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest.
Before academia, my professional career was in the new media field (covering everything from interaction design with Saatchi and Saatchi to regional internet governance for the United Nations Development Program), and I still try and understand the relationship between technological infrastructures and cultural form: one recent piece that could be worth reading is on “Platforms and Public Participation” for Continuum, and recent work with friends on digital health research in Conjunctions.
I live, work and surf in the lands of the Boon Wurrung with my partner Ruth DeSouza, and we are in continual acknowledgement of our debt to this stolen territory and its customary owners, and the necessity to work in concert with their sovereignty.
Do feel free to get in touch via the details below.
danny at dannybutt.net