Dr Benedict Carpenter van Barthold (Ben) leads the teaching and assessment of the Fine Art and Decorative Arts programmes within the Department of Visual Arts. He is actively engaged in researching sculpture and craft. His research is informed by direct experience of practice.
Ben’s creative interests are in drawing, bronze sculpture, and art medals.
Ben has worked in UK universities since 1998. From 2013 he was employed at De Montfort University, leaving in 2019 as Associate Professor in Fine Art and Associate Head of School of Visual and Performing Arts.
Ben trained as an artist at Chelsea College of Art and Design and the Royal College of Art, and has a PhD from Manchester Metropolitan University. He was awarded the Jerwood Sculpture Prize in 2001. He has exhibited at the Venice Biennale and completed a number of permanently sited sculptural commissions.
Ben researches sculpture and craft, how its objects are made and understood.
One area of focus is creative practice as the exercise of embodied material knowledge through ‘machine-like’ combinations of tools, materials, humans, and other components. Recent research in this area has examined the work of David Pye, and other artist/craftspeople who use machines such as looms to make their work.
A related interest is the production and understanding of art medals. An art medal is a specialised form of sculpture, a twin-sided low relief often bearing a portrait image and text, and sometimes employed as personal propaganda. Medals are made using specialised processes such as mechanical reduction and striking or casting.
Enquiry from prospective research students working in these areas is welcome.
- 2020-Present: Trustee of UKNA (UK New Artists)
- 2017-Present: Independent trustee of Phoenix (Leicester Arts Centre Ltd)
- 2017-2019: Chair of the Contemporary Visual Arts Network, East Midlands
- 2014-2017: Steering-group member (Higher Education) of Contemporary Visual Arts Network, East Midlands
- 2011-2014: Artist Secretary, British Art Medal Society
- 2012-2013: UK Delegate to Fédération Internationale de la Médaille d’Art
- 2013-2016: Honorary Research Fellow, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, University of Wolverhampton
- 2009-Present: Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
External Quality Assurance
- 2017-2019: External Examiner, MA Fine Art, Swansea College of Art, University of Wales, Trinity St. David
- 2017: External Panel Member, Validation of BA(hons) Design Crafts, University of Gloucester
- 2017: External Panel Member, Validation for BA(hons) Fine Art, Newcastle College
Carpenter van Barthold, B. (2021) ‘Holy Riders. Constantine the Great and the seals of Baldwin II’, in The Medal, Autumn 2021, pp. 4 - 12
Carpenter van Barthold, B. (2020) ‘David Pye’s Fluting Engine’ in Lee, Y. (ed.) Surface and Apparition: The Immateriality of Modern Surface, London; New York: Bloomsbury, pp. 99-115
Mosscrop, M., and Carpenter van Barthold, B. (2020) ‘Journal (2016-2018): Conversations on Looms, Cloth and Weaving’ in Lee, Y. (ed) Surface and Apparition: The Immateriality of Modern Surface, London; New York: Bloomsbury, pp. 116-123
Expertise in sculpture, public sculpture, fine art and craft:
- 2021, 21st October: The Conversation, French Dispatch: four artists whose work was shaped by mental illness
- 2021, 7th July: The Conversation, Diana statue: what it reveals about the challenges of sculpting famous people
- 2021, 5th March: Expert comment for The Art Newspaper, Anna Sansom Musée Rodin could be forced to release 3D scans of bronze sculptures—including The Thinker—to the public