Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Fine Arts announced the appointment of John Carson as the Regina Gouger Miller Department Head of the School of Art, which was effective May 2, 2006. Carson succeeds Susanne Slavick, who recently returned to the school’s faculty after a year sabbatical.
"John Carson comes to us from one of the great London art schools and brings with him extensive experience in leading one of the top UK programs," said Hilary Robinson, the Stanley and Marcia Gumberg Dean of the College of Fine Arts. "He is a wonderful communicator about the role of art in broader communities and a believer in artists as agents for change. It will be a great pleasure to see his sensibilities at work in the university and in the city of Pittsburgh."
Carson joins Carnegie Mellon from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, where he is a principal lecturer in fine art and course director for the bachelor of fine arts program. He directed all stages of full-time and part-time curriculum development, organized the guest lecture program and a professional practice course component, and coordinated placements, external projects and international exchange.
"I believe in the power and necessity of art. I enjoy making art happen, whether it is my work or the work of others," Carson said. "I enjoy sharing ideas and being able to pass on the benefit of my experience to others, and enabling and encouraging learning through experience. I believe that the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon offers a supportive yet intellectually challenging environment for innovative, inspiring and important work."
Carson was also a lecturer in fine art and photography at the National College of Art & Design in Dublin and a visiting artist and lecturer at various schools and colleges in Britain, Ireland, Europe, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
Carson is an arts consultant for various organizations, including BBC-TV; Public Art Development Trust; Arts Council of England; London Arts; Temple Bar Properties; Bartle Bogle Hegarty Advertising; Motorola European Student Art Competition; Olay Award for Women Artists; TRBI (Marketing); De La Warr Pavilion, Sculptor’s Society of Ireland; Ballymun Regeneration Ltd., Dublin; European League of Art Institutions; and Hong Kong Baptist University. He is also a referee for several Arts and Humanities Research Council applications.
He is an accomplished writer in the field of multimedia art, and his writing has appeared in various catalogues, magazines and books around the world. He recently published "Performance Art Tips," an artists’ page for Circa Art Magazine; and the "Something Strange" group exhibition catalog published by The Aine Art Museum in Finland. He edited "Out of the Bubble, Approaches to Contextual Practice within Fine Art Education" with Susannah Silver, published by The London Institute.
Carson is also a practicing multimedia artist. He will perform "Bexhill Bow-Wow" at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea in August, and recently performed "Singing the Blues" with John Say for the Camberwell Arts Festival; "Peckham Pet-tastic" with John Say in Peckham Square; and "Ten Out of Ten," a solo performance at the Camberwell Leisure Centre in London for Camberwell Artsweek.
Carson is a member of the University of the Arts London (UAL) Academic Board and the UAL course directors’ working group on resourcing. He was the convener of the Fine Art Practices research group, and is a member of the London Institute Student Support Committee and the Academic Developments Approval Group for proposed new courses at the London Institute (now UAL).
He received his bachelor of fine arts from the University of Ulster at Belfast in 1976 and his master’s degree in fine arts at the California Institute of the Arts in 1983.