School of Arts and Cultures

Staff Profiles

Professor Richard Clay

Professor of Digital Cultures


I am currently a Professor of Digital Cultures at Newcastle University.

Academic background

In 1994, I graduated from University of York in History and History of Art. Having taken my MA and AHRB-funded PhD in history of art at UCL, I became a Henry Moore Foundation post-doctoral Research Fellow there before joining University of Birmingham in 2002. Initially based in the History of Art department, I moved on to co-found and co-direct the £3.5m, cross-disciplinary and cross-sector, Digital Humanities Hub working with small businesses and cultural organisations. In 2014 I was appointed as the AHRC Commons Leadership Fellow to help shape a new initiative for that Research Council. In 2015, I joined University of Newcastle where I continue to support collaborations across disciplines and sectors.


Most of my published research has focused on aspects of iconoclasm’s histories, but I’ve also written about: contemporary jewellery as sculpture; Matthew Boulton and mass produced art of the 1790s; graffiti’s roles in armed conflict; cross-sector collaboration; and the roles of the digital in cultural collections’ display spaces. In 2009, I co-curated a Barber Institute of Fine Art exhibition and, in 2014, helped to lead the AHRC International Network that advised Tate Britain on its 2013 show Art Under Attack. I’ve written 6 x 60-minute BBC4 documentaries:Tearing Up History; A Brief History Of Graffiti; the 3 part series Utopia In Search Of The Dream; and Viral (working title). I’ve also led a wide range of externally funded projects. You might say that my interests are broad.