David Butler is Co-Director of ‘Intersections’, a public art research project, which generates critical dialogue and develops pioneering practice-based and theoretical research. The project links Fine Art at Newcastle University with the wider cultural sector through events, research projects and generating debate. Drawing together practitioners, theorists, sector organisations, policy makers and the wider public, Intersections examines issues arising from the creative friction inherent in the interaction of public art practice, policy and public space.
David is chair of the Turning Point (Arts Council North East) working party on Continuing Professional Development for the visual arts sector. He is also currently looking at the relationship between fine art education and the visual sector focusing on artist run initiatives.
He was the PI on the AHRC Research Network project ‘Inbetween’ looking at art and regeneration in market towns in England, Wales and Scotland; and is CI on the AHRC funded Knowledge Exchange project ‘Northumbrian Exchanges’ (NX) looking at arts in rural Northumberland. NX links research across Fine Art, Music, the Business School and the Centre for the Rural Economy at Newcastle University with external partners in the cultural sector.
David is the Coordinator of LifeWorkArt, a professional development programme for fine art students in the School of Arts and Cultures at the University of Newcastle. This programme was initiated in 2003 with support from HEFCE FDTL4 Employability funding as a two year action research programme to develop a model integrating professional practice into studio teaching - with an emphasis on the freelance/portfolio models of entrepreneurship prevalent among professionals in the visual arts sector - and is now a fully integrated part of Fine Art teaching at Newcastle. Strong and diverse connections across the cultural sector enable students to undertake, for example, exhibitions (using a variety of spaces), placements, public art projects, curatorial projects, arts and health projects, and a wide variety of educational projects in formal and informal contexts. LIfeWorkArt has developed PG level programmes around freelancing in the cultural sector for delivery to creative practitioners (as stand alone CPD modules) and as part of a range of PG programmes across the School of Arts & Cultures and the Business School at Newcastle University. It also engages with research into the arts economy and frameworks for professional development; for example, involvement in the ESRC funded project ‘Identifying and Promoting Sustainable Business Models in the Creative Sector’ and current research into the relation between the art school and the arts sector.