Dr. Davinia Gregory is an interdisciplinary writer, researcher and educator and artist from the UK with BA in Illustration (University of Westminster, 2006), an MA in History of Design (Royal College of Art, 2010) and a PhD in Sociology and Cultural Policy Studies (University of Warwick, 2020). Her appointment as Assistant Professor in Arts Administration at Teachers College Columbia University synthesizes her teaching, museum education work and research that have been rooted in material culture studies, Caribbean studies, the sociology of Race, diaspora studies, and cultural policy studies. Her teaching on the Arts Administration Program focuses on providing a truly global perspective. Her courses encourage students to make critical connections between their professional practices and an increasingly complex socio-political reality. This is done through interactive, workshop-style teaching and assessment that challenges the hierarchies and inequalities that the arts can either serve to sustain or disrupt.
Gregory publishes across edited volumes and journals in Sociology, material culture, design history and urban studies. Her PhD work (2015-2020), which focused on sociology of race and the arts, is the is the first piece of research to fully document the closure, aftermath and legacy creation of a Black-led arts organization; the first empirical analysis of what happens at this point of stress. Such closures often happen quickly and are complex. They are sometimes documented after the fact using document analysis and archival material. However, this empirical data-rich analysis of what happens in real time when an organization implodes is important because it bridges the gap between what policy documents say about the role and function of cultural diversity in the arts and what happens (and is needed) on the ground. Her book from this project is currently in development.
Before arriving in the US, Dr. Gregory lived and worked in multiple UK cities, and Paris (France). Over a 10-year period, She taught at the Royal College of Art, University of Warwick, Bath Spa University, Kingston University, Loughborough University and the University for the Creative Arts in subjects connected to her research expertise, ranging from the sociology of Race to the history and theory of Fashion. This teaching coincided with museum education work in the National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria & Albert Museum and Musée du Louvre. She says:
“I have come from a resilient lineage of people who survived enslavement in Jamaica, as well as the Windrush and subsequent eras of overt and systemic racisms in the UK. This means that I understand, and work to reverse, the precarity of a career in the arts for those without generational wealth, and other societal and skin privileges. All of my work has been focused on increasing access to the arts. It also means that I have first-hand experience of a number of jobs within arts organizations, having begun as a gallery assistant at the National Portrait Gallery in London and a full time unpaid curatorial intern at Tate Liverpool, then having gone on to work as a family museum education tours in the Louvre, and to found my own museum education social enterprise. Because of the breadth of my experiences, my teaching can take an approach that focuses on ethics and accountability in all areas of arts leadership.”
Gregory, D. (2018) A Tale of Two Houses: tracing transitory changes in two Jamaican social classes at the time of independence In Chekinska, C. ed. (2018) Aesthetic Blackness? Cloth, Culture and the African Diasporas, special edition of Textile: Cloth & Cultures. Routledge, Taylor & Francis. (Illustrated Chapter, 5000 words)
Gregory, D. (2015) An Empire of One’s Own: Individualism and domestic built form in 21st Century Jamaica. In LeesMaffei, G. & Fallan, K. eds (2015) Designing Worlds: National Design Histories in an Age of Globalization. Berghahn Books, New York and Oxford. (Illustrated Chapter, 5000 words)
Gregory, D. (2014) Dutch Wax and Display: London and the Art of Yinka Shonibare. In: Rall, D. eds. (2014) Fashion and War in Popular Culture. 1st ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (Illustrated chapter, 9000 words)
3rd Annual Black Feminism, Womanism and the Politics of Women of Colour in Europe symposium
Savvy Contemporary, Xart splitta, Hasenheide 73, 12052 Berlin, 28th September 2018.
Paper: Toward a Self-Decolonizing Feminist Practice in Academic Collaboration.
(Collaboration with Dr. Elsa Oommen, University of Warwick, UK.)
Design History Society Annual Conference, Design and Displacement
Parsons School of Art and Design, New York City, 5th-8th September 2018.
Panel: Three Case Studies in Decolonising Design History Education: UK, USA and Canada.
Paper: Useful crossovers: Learning from Sociology in Design History teaching.
International Sociological Association Convention 2018
Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto, 15th – 21st July 2018.
Paper: Location and Digital Dislocation: Emerging identities and the legacy of The Drum.
The Production of Truth, Justice and History, Launch.
Tate Exchange, Tate Modern, London, 12th June 2018.
Panel discussion: The Production of Truth, Justice and History.
Aesthetics of Blackness? Cloth, Culture and the African Diasporas, A Symposium.
Royal College of Art, London. 30th April 2018
Paper: A Tale of Two Houses in Context: From Jamaica to The Drum.
Academic / Musicological Research Collaborations, Seminar.
The Museum of the Order of St John & University of Birmingham, 24th November 2017
Paper: Working with The Drum: A reflection on the Collaborative PhD Process (Collaboration with Ian Sergeant, Birmingham City University, formerly of The Drum Arts Centre).
Decolonising the Cultural Institution: Postgraduate Conference.
School Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London. 16th June 2017.
Paper: Collaboration and Solidarity among Junior Academics as methodology for decolonizing the art school (Collaboration with Dr Maya Oppenheimer, Concordia University, Montreal)
American Association of Geographers’ Annual Conference.
Hilton Union Square, San Francisco. March 29th 2016.
Paper: Dissolving the Mainstream: The Arts, UK Blackness and Intercultural Space
Framing the Critical Decade: After the Black Arts Movement.
University of Bristol. 21-22nd March 2016.
Paper: The Drum Arts Centre: Blackness vs. Interculture after the Black Arts Movement.
Vanley Burke in Conversation with Davinia Gregory.
The Drum Arts Centre, Birmingham, UK. November 29th 2015.
Design History Society Annual Conference, Towards Global Histories of Design: Postcolonial Perspectives
National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India. 5th – 8th September 2013
Panel: Crafting Jamaica: Postcolonial Perspectives on Jamaican Textiles, 18201975
Paper: Jamaica in transition: A tale of two houses; Interrogating Caribbean textile craft production in the moment of decolonisation, 1945 1965
Gallery Talk: 20th Century Design History Year Course
Learning and Access department, V&A Museum, London. February & March 2012 and 2013
Annual Lecture: Diaspora on Display.
Annual Lecture: Post War Town Planning: Milton Keynes.
Understanding Britain 2012, part of The London Symposium: 1st Annual Britishness Conference, Institute for Education, London, 22nd June 2012.
Paper: Britain’s Perpetual Other: Milton Keynes.
Research Seminar: Meeting of The Open University Design Group.
Cultural Geography Department, Open University, Milton Keynes, 17th November 2010.
Paper: Structure, Flow and Community in Grid City: Experiencing the Recentralization of Milton Keynes since 1990.
Research Seminar: The Queen’s Centre for Ecumenical Theological Education,
Birmingham, UK, January 2008
Research seminar Paper: Black Art and the British Gallery
Gallery Talks: National Portrait Gallery, London, England, UK
Skirts and Ties Series, collaboration with Michael Barrett, 2008
Slavery’s Legacies explored through Haydon’s Anti-Slavery Convention Painting, March and October 2007
Highlights of the Collection Tours 20062008
Race and The Arts: The role of the cultural industries in racial capitalism
Building Community in the Arts: Beyond the creative industries model.
International Cultural Policy.