Fred Deakin of Lemon Jelly joins University of the Arts London

Who got that job? Recording artist takes up chair in interactive design. Plus the latest higher education jobs and appointments

January 16, 2014

Source: Paul Cochrane

Deakin: the co-founder of electronic duo Lemon Jelly aims to share his expertise

Fred Deakin, the new professor of interactive design at the University of the Arts London, acknowledges that his career has been “pretty unconventional”. In truth, most are less likely to associate him with the academy than with his work as one half of the Mercury Music Prize and Brit Awards-nominated electronic duo Lemon Jelly.

“It’s the first job I’ve had in about 20 years, so it’s extremely unusual for me. I’m very used to being a self-starter and running my own projects, but I think that’s kind of what they’re looking for,” he said.

Professor Deakin, who is one of nine new cross-university chairs appointed by the institution, said that despite his varied career he had always “had a toe” in the teaching world, and was keen to use his expertise to enhance students’ learning experience.

“I’ve taught one day a week, on and off, since the 1990s at Central Saint Martins [part of UAL], so I’m very familiar with UAL and have got lots of pals who are both graduates and staff,” he said.

“Clearly UAL has recognised that arts education is in such a period of massive transition, and has been impacted so enormously by the technological revolution we’re in the middle of, that some fairly bold steps are required to keep arts education in this country at the top of the pile.”

Professor Deakin, who turned down another professorial position at the Bergen Academy of Art and Design, added that he “believes passionately in this country’s creative industries and creativity full stop”.

“The whole world looks to Britain for its creativity, and I think that is very largely [due to] arts education,” he said.

With that in mind, he aims to arrange “regular workshop space where I can recreate a digital studio environment and bring students into that with staff and possibly industry experts to create projects”.

“I want to encourage digital practice to be embodied within existing work,” he said.

“Virtually every project will have some kind of digital component. On the other hand, I don’t think the projects are very powerful if they exist only online. You need to have an appropriate manifestation of what you’re doing in the digital space.”

Professor Deakin acknowledged that he was one of many people in his field who see an academic job as appealing.

“It’s very interesting seeing this transition; there are plenty of other people from my industry stepping into these spaces, not just as professors but visiting fellows and artists in residence,” he said.

“For some there’s a hunger…to take the knowledge and learning they’ve generated as part of their practice and do something with it.” The university, Professor Deakin added, is “showing how that can happen in an interesting way and I think it’s an emerging trend”.

New role call: arts and humanities vacancies

University of the Arts London
The University of the Arts London is seeking a programme director to lead its technology enhanced learning strategy.
Closing date for applications: 31 January 2014
Click here to view the full job description and to apply for this role

The Open University
The Open University is seeking a lecturer to join its department of history. The post is based in Milton Keynes.
Closing date for applications: 6 February 2014
Click here to view the full job description and to apply for this role

Soas, University of London
Soas, University of London, is inviting applications for the David L. Snellgrove chair in Tibetan and Buddhist art, an appointment made possible by a gift of £20 million from the Alphawood Foundation in the US to advance the study of Buddhist and Hindu art in Southeast Asia.
Closing date for applications: 7 February 2014
Click here to view the full job description and to apply for this role


Sian Sullivan has joined Bath Spa University as professor of environment and culture in the School of Society, Enterprise and Environment. She was previously senior lecturer in environment and development at Birkbeck, University of London.

The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London’s faculty of the built environment, has named Bob Sheil its new director.

Doug Thomson has been appointed director of campaign and alumni relations at the University of Nottingham.

London South Bank University has named Sally Hardy head of the department of mental health and learning disabilities.

James Conroy becomes vice-principal of internationalisation at the University of Glasgow. He is dean for European strategy and engagement, and professor of religious and philosophical education.

The Faculty of Health and Social Care at the University of Chester has made three senior appointments. Malcolm Carey has been named head of social work, Naomi Sharples joins as head of mental health and learning disability, and Paul Kingston will lead the new Centre for Ageing Studies.

Middlesex University has appointed Hilary Robinson to the post of dean of its School of Art and Design. Professor Robinson was previously dean of the College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University.

The Courtauld Institute of Art has announced the appointment of Robert Thorpe as director of operations. He joins the institute from the University of Oxford, where he was operations director of the Ashmolean Museum.

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