BA (Hons), MA, Ph.D., PGCE(HE), FHEA, FRSA
Senior Lecturer in Art History and Social Theory
Oliver’s teaching and research specialisms centre on the sociology of the artistic field, twentieth century British artworlds, critical and aesthetic theory, visual culture, curatorial practice, cultural policy, and political economy.
Prior to joining Sotheby’s Institute, Oliver held a lectureship and EU-funded research fellowship at Goldsmiths, University of London. His research at Goldsmiths sought to interrogate the values and valuation practices deployed across Europe’s contemporary artistic field. This EU policy project built upon Oliver’s previous post as a Senior Arts Policy Advisor for the UK Government (DCMS) and his earlier academic work into the political economy of art and the role of the State.
Oliver has held academic posts at King’s College London, Birkbeck, University of London, Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton, and the Open University. His AHRC-funded doctorate looked to regional artworlds in Britain between the 1940s and 1980s, interrogating how localised artistic communities, corporate sponsorship, and art school education policy determined the logics of the national artistic field during this fertile period. Subsequently, he held two post-doctoral fellowships at the University of London both interrogating the ecology of the contemporary cultural and creative field in the UK. Oliver has published widely and is a Peer Reviewer for the International Journal of Cultural Policy, Cultural Trends, and The Journal of Contemporary Painting.
Oliver has also held curatorial and research roles at Tate, contributing to a variety of exhibitions including Art Turns Left: How Values Changed Making 1789-2013, Glam! The Performance of Style, Keywords: Art, Culture, and Society in 1980s Britain, and Tate Liverpool at 25. Outside of academia and Tate, Oliver has worked as a freelance curator, art journalist, editor, and art consultant. Oliver was awarded Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts in 2022.