Creative Arts


John Atkin

Photo of  John  Atkin

Reader in Fine Art

Director of Internationalisation - Creative Arts

John’s research output is exhibited worldwide, with solo and group exhibitions in Australia, China, USA and Europe, supported by The British Council, Australia Council, Elephant Trust, AHRC, Arts Council, Cass Sculpture Foundation, Rootstein Hopkins Foundation: Guggenheim Foundation, as well as independent and institution-based supporters. His research involves several fields of contemporary fine art practice: drawing, installation, film and video, digital collage, public art and urban design.

Funded by Henry Moore throughout his MA at the Royal College of Art (1982-1985), the central plank of John’s research is the coordinated approach to the role of art within the public realm in the 21st Century. To explore this aim, he frequently works as an embedded component of integrated design teams (IDT’s) to deliver a sustainable and synthesized environment that relates to the heritage and culture of the locale. Recent publications on Atkins’ output focus on delivering lasting cultural legacies that reference social heritage within the contemporary landscape. This research generates widespread media interest and editorials that focus on the collaborative process in public spaces.

The focus of his activities in China have ranged from the Beijing Olympiad: International Sculpture Parks: High Tech Eco Parks: conferences and symposia that address the cultural imperatives in city planning. Practice-based research that addresses traditional and digital processes is at the heart of his research.

John is a Trustee of the Royal British Society of Sculptors, Honorary Fellow of the Beijing Academy of Sculpture and a member of The Academy of Urbanism. His output has attracted numerous awards, including The Landscape Institute, Royal Town Planning Institute, Henry Moore Foundation, Rootstein Hopkins Foundation and the Beijing Municipal Council.

SAC117 Fine Art Practice: Final Project 

SAC116 Professional Fine Art Practice 

SAB115 Fine Art Practice 2 

SAB114 Fine Art Practice 1 

SAA124 Developing Fine Art Practice 

SAA123 Introduction to Fine Art 

John Atkin has a global track record exhibiting and being commissioned to deliver landmark sculpture commissions. In recent years the emphasis for his research has been China, exploring ways that strands of Sino-history can be the stimulus for signature sculptures bridging East -West cultures.

Strange Meeting, commissioned by Beijing Municipal Government in 2008, celebrates the Beijing Cultural Olympiad. His 27-ton marble & granite artwork, selected from a global application of 2600 people, remains in-situ to this day, adjacent to the iconic Bird's Nest Stadium in the Chinese capital.

In addition, John was commissioned by the Law Courts of Upper Canada to explore ways that the “tapestry of cultures” which contribute to the identity of modern-day Canada could be reconciled in a signature artwork for McMurtry Gardens of Justice, Toronto. His installation sculpture, Access to Justice, articulates the central tenets of the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms, and is permanently located adjacent to Nathan Phillips Square.

He has participated in a number of conferences and symposia including Changchun International Sculpture Symposium & Changchun World Sculpture Conference: The 16th China Sculpture Forum; DIAOSU- National Sculpture Magazine of China, representing the Royal British Society of Sculptors: Sculpture by the Sea Symposium, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney: Curating in Action-Art as Social Practice, Keynote Speaker, China Academy of Art: Sculpture in Context – Tradition & Innovation, Lecture “Sundew and other work by John Atkin”: International Sculpture Center Conference, Pittsburgh USA.

As Principal Investigator for the EPSRC Bridging the Gaps funded project, John explored novel ways interdisciplinary practice can be stimulated across a range of Schools at Loughborough University, increasing the cross-fertilization of ideas and enabling multi-disciplinary research between Departments.

John's role as Lead Artist for Kent County Council’s pioneering Breaking Boundaries shared space project has won several major awards and is the subject of widespread critical reach. Embedded within an interdisciplinary design team, John delivered a range of unique highway designs, reflecting on Ashford’s cultural heritage within the contemporary context of innovative urban design. 

John was the UK representative for the EU-China touring exhibition, Dialogue with the Emperor Qin’s Warriors, which toured nine major museums in China between 2012-2016, and several important destinations within the EU. This included a landmark exhibition of this unique group show at Loughborough University London. The exhibition received widespread critical acclaim in news media as well as online journals: see here and here.

John has recently completed coordinating the activities of two Research Assistants connected with the EPSRC Bridging the Gaps project: Plug-In Interdisciplinary Practice, namely Abby Paterson (Loughborough Design School) and Matt Price (School of the Arts), as well as Research Associates Dr. Jo Berry and Dr. Michael Shaw.

He welcomes interest from researchers and organizations for collaborative research projects and postgraduate supervision with interests particularly in public art, sculpture, fine art practice, drawing, collage, assemblage, the found object, additive manufacturing processes in fine art practice, digital process in drawing technologies and traditional methods of drawing.