Mr Jonathan Piers Bywater

BA (Hons)


Jonathan Bywater has been Programme Leader of Critical Studies at Elam since 2005, having previously held appointments at Canterbury University, National College of Art and Design, Waikato Polytechnic and Unitec. He is a critic and theorist of contemporary art and music. In relation to creative practice, he has a sustained interest in questions of language (theory and practice, the politics of knowledge), politics (aesthetics and politics, feminism, anti-racism, anti-colonialism), place (identity, indigenous epistemology), and collaboration.

Research | Current

  • Contemporary art
  • Social and cultural theory
  • Criticism
  • Education

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • Co-investigator on the inter-faculty research project Te Ara Kakena (The Rising Pathway): Quality Teaching in Postgraduate Studies
  • Writes regularly for Artforum and Mute, and has published in Afterall, The Wire, Frieze and other international specialist publications, as well as contributing to numerous catalogues and artist books
  • Former columnist for the New Zealand Listener, Art New Zealand and LOG Illustrated
  • Co-organised the international symposia Cultural Provocation: Art, Activism and Social Change (Auckland, August 2003) and  Cultural Futures: Place, Ground and Practice in Asia Pacific New Media Arts (Auckland, December 2005)
  • With Danny Butt and Nova Paul was a co-editor of Place: Local Knowledge and New Media Practice (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008)
  • Has a history of involvement with artist-run spaces, and was a member of the curatorial collective Cuckoo (2000-2009)
  • Served as a Walters Prize Juror (2007-2008 and 2008-2010)
  • Curator of the Arts Foundation of New Zealand New Generation Award (2007)
  • Laureate Awards Juror (2006)

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Bywater, J. P. (2009). Work-Life Balance: Recent Exhibitions by Dan Arps. The Reading Room: A Journal of Art and Culture, 3, 104-119.

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 1M, Room 1M40
New Zealand