I am professor of contemporary visual cultures at the University of Edinburgh, where I’ve worked since 2000. I was born in Washington DC in 1967, but grew up in Manchester, UK.  I studied art and art history at Goldsmiths in the mid-1980s, worked in publishing for some years, and then did a PhD at the University of Manchester, supervised by the late Andrew Causey. I am the author or editor of nine books on art, architecture and the cultural politics of cities (sometimes all of these themes at the same time): After Modern Sculpture (2000), The Anxious City (2004), Brazil: Modern Architectures in History (2009), Regenerating Culture and Society (edited with Jonathan Harris, 2010), Sex and Buildings (2013), The Architecture of Art History (with Mark Crinson, 2018), Why Cities Look the Way They Do (2019), Reyner Banham Revisited (2021) and most recently The Culture Factory (2021).

At Edinburgh I teach courses on contemporary urban theory, the representation of cities on film, and Brutalism. I was head of the school of History of Art 2016-19, and before that Dean of Postgraduate Studies for the College of Humanities and Social Science. I co-chaired EAHN2021, Europe’s largest meeting of architectural historians, and I recently joined the editorial board of EAHN’s online journal, Architectural Histories. I am a Leverhulme International Research Fellow at the University of São Paulo in the first half of 2022. 

I write occasionally for the mainstream media on architecture and urbanism, and review books for Times Higher Education. I’m writing a book called Urbanophobia. 


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