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Photo of Dr Daniel Fountain

Dr Daniel Fountain

Lecturer in AHVC (E&R)

Dr Daniel Fountain is a Lecturer in Art History and Visual Culture at University of Exeter. They hold a PhD from Loughborough University where they completed a practice-based research project as part of a Centre For Doctoral Training in Feminism, Sexual Politics and Visual Culture. Their research focuses on queer contemporary art and visual culture, craft, and the material cultures of LGBTQ+ activism. Fountain is the author of Crafted With Pride: Queer Craft and Contemporary Activism in Britain (Intellect, 2023) and they are currently writing a monograph provisionally titled Queer Crafts: Materiality, Identity, Contemporary Practices, which will be published with Bloomsbury Academic in 2025. They are also an artist and curator who has worked in collaboration with organisations such as Crafts Council, National Museums Liverpool, Tate and Paul Mellon Centre. Before joining Exeter, they held several teaching and research positions at Loughborough University, Nottingham Trent University, Manchester Metropolitan University and The Royal School of Needlework.

More details about Daniel’s work can be found via their website, or you can follow them on Twitter.

Pronouns: he/they

Office: Queens Building, BG33

Office hours: book here.

Research interests

My research is often grounded in creative practice. It is also collaborative, interdisciplinary, and has social engagement at its core. There are two main strands to my work:

Queer Craft

While much has been written about women’s engagement with handicraft, its role in queer art and culture has often been overlooked. My research seeks to revise understandings of how we understand craft materials and processes in relation to both gender and sexuality. This draws upon my own embodied experience and longstanding artistic practice which has used textiles in particular to explore themes of gender and sexuality because of its longstanding gendered associations, malleability, metaphorical capaciousness, and historic position as a ‘low’ form of art-making. Funded by a Fellowship from the Paul Mellon Centre, I developed an edited collection titled Crafted With Pride: Queer Craft and Activism in Britain which is forthcoming with Intellect Books. It focuses on the material cultures of activism - from banners, badges, zines, and hand-made t-shirts - and how these reflect the ways in which we craft our identities and comnmunities. Following from a series of peer-reviewed articles in journals such as TEXTILE: Cloth and Culture and MAI: Feminism and Visual Culture, I am now developing a single-authored monograph with Bloomsbury Academic, provisionally titled Queer Crafts: Materiality, Identity and Contemporary Practice.

Visual Politics of Waste

Past research has focused on the social and political dimension of waste as civilization’s abjected ‘other’. I have suggested that concepts surrounding the abject are not limited to objects such as waste or ‘dirty’ matter alone, but that people and practices can also be understood through abjection. Furthermore, I am particularly the materiality of waste. This includes how artists have used waste materials to transform the deprecated into powerful sites of self-expression, and as a vehicle to explore the wider socio-political experiences of marginalised lives being treated as ‘disposable’. In the forthcoming collection Queer Trash and Feminist Excretions (SUNY Press, 2022), I explore waste’s convergences, alignments, and reverberations with the camp produced by sexual minorities as a form of cultural recycling. 

Research supervision

I would be open to supervising research projects relating to any of the following:

  • Contemporary art
  • LGBTQIA+ history, art and culture
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Material cultures of activism
  • Craft and textiles
  • Waste, materiality, and queer ecologies

I particularly welcome proposals from those wishing to explore interdisciplinary, collaborative, or practice-based research projects.

Research students

Current PhD students:

2022— Sarah K. Godfrey, 'Material Potentials: Expressing transgender and non-binary identity through textile practice', Primary Supervisor. Co-supervised by Dr Conor Wilson, Bath Spa University (SWW DTP funded). 

2021—Cecilia Neil-Smith, ‘Mermaids and Sirens as Figures of Indeterminate Gender in Victorian Art and Literature (1860-1910)’, Internal Examiner.

Research through practice

Curated Projects

Queerly Made is a curatorial project that started as an Instagram page in May 2020 (@queerly_made), where I featured the work of LGBTQ+ artists as a means of exploring queer approaches to materials and practices. Since then, the project has evolved into a much larger platform to spotlight the work of LGBTQ+ artists. In 2021 it was selected by UK New Artists as part of their Future Producers programme and awarded funding from Arts Council England. This enabled me to commission new work by emerging UK-based artists Claye Bowler, Dan Chan and Matthew Rimmer, whose practices all explore themes of queer transformation and transitioning which led to a multi-site exhibition at Abingdon Studios and Grundy Art Gallery.

Crafted with Pride emerged from my practice-research which has often uses textile processes and techniques to explore themes of gender and sexuality. Commissioned by the Queer British Art Research Group, a sub-group of the Tate and Paul Mellon Centre’s British Art Network, Crafted with Pride began as a curated public programme. Rather than conceptualising craft as a fixed set of objects, I suggested that we might think about the term as a process – of crafting identity, crafting community, and crafting change. I curated a full day of discussions and workshops to explore the role of craft, broadly speaking, within queer activism in Britain. Working with a number of the academics, artists, activists, and curators who presented at the event, I am now in the process of developing an edited collection to ensure these stories of LGBTQIA+ art and culture can be told more widely. The collection is under contract with Intellect Books and will be published in 2023.

Re-imagining Citizenship is an ongoing interdisciplinary research project, a collaboration of the Politicized Practice, Anarchism and Theatre Activism Research Groups at Loughborough University. Since 2014, artists, researchers and associates of the three Research Groups have organised exhibitions, installations, performances and events to explore the potential for art practices to re-imagine what citizenship means in theory and practice. This included exhibitions at the Martin Hall Exhibition Space and at Nottingham Contemporary. As part of the 2019 Venice Biennale, we also had our Activity Station work installed at Palazzo Mora, distributed copies of the Re-Imagining Citizenship Activity Book, and several members ran workshops and reading groups.



Breeding Grounds, Two Queens, Leicester, 16 – 18 July

Festival of Quilts, National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, 29th July – 1st August



Two Queens Members Show, Two Queens, Leicester, 22 October – 31 October

TOUCH ME, Online, 19 September – 8 November

Queer Contemporaries, AIR Gallery, Manchester, 27 August – 19 September

Riposte X Club, Virtual Exhibition and Club Night, 9 May

Queer Art(ists) Now, Archive Gallery, London, 13 – 22 March 

LANDED, Loughborough University, 28 February 

Slippery and Subversive, Wellington B. Gray Gallery, North Carolina, 6 – 26 January



Personal Structures – Identities, 2019 Venice Biennale, Palazzo Mora, European Cultural Centre, 11 May – 24 November

Crafting Change, Parkside Gallery, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, 12 – 29 March

Re-Imagining Citizenship, Martin Hall Gallery, Loughborough University, 13 – 29 March



Vinylism 2.0, Tent Gallery, Edinburgh, 3 – 14 July 

Vinylism, Edinburgh Central Library, Edinburgh, 11 – 30 May



Equal/Human, University of Leicester, March



Aberystwyth Printmakers, Minerva Arts Centre, Llanidloes, 4 – 19 April 

Aberystwyth Printmakers, Oriel Q, Narbeth, 20 March – 25 April 

The Open: Young Wales, The Royal Cambrian Academy, Conwy, 9 – 20 January 

External impact and engagement

I am deeply committed to working with community partners, curators and artists to ensure that my socially-engaged research has a wider impact beyond academia. I regularly deliver public talks at museums and galleries and have been commissioned to curate a range of public programmes. Key highlights relating to engagement and impact include:

2022    Pride at the Crafts Council: the UK’s national charity for craft commissioned me to curate a series of workshops for LGBTQIA+ families to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Pride. This was delivered in collaboration with leading artists Liaqat Rasul, Al Hil, and Jacob V. Joyce. I have since acted as an independent equality advisor and have published work on their website and in their popular magazine, Crafts.

2022    RAAM About Town: commissioned by Creative Arc, Exeter Culture and RAAM, I led a public engagement project with Professor Jana Funke (English, Exeter), Dr Ina linge (German, Exeter) and Lena Worwood (EDI Advisor, Exeter), to explore Exeter’s queer heritage and future.

2021    First Outing: a multi-site exhibition at the Grundy Art Gallery and Abingdon Studios in Blackpool, funded by UK New Artists (UKNA) and Arts Council England. Included a micro-residency for LGBTQIA+ artists to explore marginality and research findings presented at the 2021 a-n Assembly, titled ‘The Coast is Queer’.

2021    Crafted With Pride: curated an online symposium in collaboration with the Queer British Art Network, Tate, Paul Mellon Centre and National Museums Liverpool. It featured workshops, talks, and in-conversations with artists, heritage professionals, curators, activists and academics. Led to the edited collection of the same name.

2020    Being Human Festival: collaborating with Dr Freya Gowrley and Dr Cath Feely on producing a series of podcasts and virtual events with Derby Museums, Derbyshire Record Office, Derby Local Studies Library and the National Trust. Workshops I ran have been cited as a case of exemplary creative pedagogy in E. Bassett et al., ‘Getting Scrappy in the Classroom During COVID-19: Collaboration, Open Educational Resources, and Hands-on Learning for Humanities Students’, KULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination and Preservation Studies, 6 (1), pp. 1-18.

2019    Re-Imagining Citizenship: working with members of the Politicised Practice Research Group to organise exhibitions, installations, performances and events. This led to the publication of the Re-Imagining Citizenship Book (2019) and the curation of a series of workshops as part of the 2019 Venice Biennale. 

Contribution to discipline

I am an Advisory Board Member of The Journal of Dress History; the academic publication of The Association of Dress Historians (ADH) through which scholars can articulate original research on the history of dress, textiles, and accessories in a constructive, interdisciplinary, and peer reviewed environment.

From 2019-2021 I served on the Association for Art History’s Doctoral and Early Career Researcher Network Committee which provides a support system and platform for current PhD students and Early Career Researchers engaged with Art History and Visual Culture. I delivered an extensive annual programme of events and initiatives including our annual Professional Development Day, Dissertation Prizes, and symposia such as our 2020 New Voices Conference, Global New Voices: Art, Craft and Industry, which I co-organised. This conference provided a key opportunity for researchers, makers and practice-researchers to open a dynamic discussion about the similarities, divergences and interconnectivity of art, craft and industry taking place in a global context.

I have peer-reviewed book manuscripts for Bristol University Press and for journals including TEXTILE: Cloth and CultureCraft Research and Revenant: Critical and Creative Studies of the Supernatural.


My artwork has been featured in a range of publications including Surface Design Association’s issue on Spontaneity and Play in Fiber Art, the Festival of Quilts Magazine, and Embroidery: The Textile Art Magazine. Alongside artists such as Catherine Opie and Zanele Muholi, Rise Art selected me as one of seven LGBTQ+ artists challenging the cannon and I am also a featured artist on Craft Conscious as part of their ‘Craft and Gender’ series alongside artists including Harmony Hammond, Sheila Pepe and Faith Wilding.

I have written a range of art criticism for popular journals such as Decorating DissidenceBurlington Contemporary, and MAP Magazine.


I am Module Convener for Common Threads: Art, Craft and Activism (AHV2019) and Contemporary Visual Practices (AHV2007). I also teach on the MA Curation: Art and Business. In 2020, I became a Fellow of Advance HE and have completed several qualifications on disability and mental health awareness.

Modules taught