Jean Wainwright

Jean completed her doctorate on Andy Warhol's audio tapes, and is now a senior lecturer at UCA Rochester and an art critic working with – amongst others – The Art Newspaper TV.

The above interview took place 15 years ago. 

The following text is a transcription of a career story collected by interview.

"My name's Jean Wainwright, I'm a senior lecturer at UCA, in Rochester, and I am also an art critic, and I did my doctorate on Andy Warhol's audio tapes. Now I had put on exhibitions with people like Tracey Emin, and Warhol kept being mentioned, and then I thought I really, I really want to do more, not about his screen prints, but rather about erm the films he made.

"I did my MA on Andy Warhol's video tapes, in fact looking at their relationship to the young British artists as they were then. I went to New York and I got really fascinated, I went to Pittsburgh, I got really involved with the family and then a grant became available to continue to do a PhD, sometime after I'd done my MA and it had to involve some element of sound, and I knew that Andy Warhol's audio tapes had never been researched before and nobody had had any interest in them particularly, and I thought I am going to go to Pittsburgh and I'm going to find out all about those tapes.

"I found myself really feeling that I really needed to do academic publishing, I needed to write about my subject or other subjects, and of course, the PhD process certainly and the MA process erm gives you, gives you those tools or hones those skills. I got asked to do programmes on Warhol for Channel 4, things like that. So, and the Warhol, the whole Warhol phenomena grew enormously so people knew I was a specialist in a certain area. So that was, that was very helpful because it established myself as a professional in that particular area. I got museums and galleries who would phone me and ask me to come and talk or to contextualise part of a collection, those kind of things happened. There's lots of lessons I learnt from how I did it.

"I think that I did spend too long on it, because I was doing other things, and I think that maybe if I'd done it as a short sharp shock or a three year full time that would have been much more advantageous for me.

"I think when people hear, 'oh, you've got a PhD', they think oh you must be really bright – but I think you also have to bring an awful lot of other things to it, other skills to it. The skills that I think have really enabled me through doing the doctorate were definitely organisational skills which has been really helpful in, I think in my teaching, certainly of tutoring other PhD students.

"My job involves heading up a cultural studies department, where I enable students to put their photographic work, which is of course their Hon, their BA, their Hon into context in a variety of different ways.

"I am currently continuing with all my artist interviews, the archive now has been acquired by the Tate, from audio arts and also doing a lot of worth with The Art Newspaper TV, doing again interviews with artists. But I think I really love sound so I think I want to continue with, with the taping of the voice, the characterisation of the voice and the way that, when people talk in an interview they are, they give away so much of themselves, I find that fascinating.

"But I do love the teaching, I do love the lecturing and I, I think just being in touch with, with just people who are creating and making things and the fabulous ways that ideas get reinvented and rethought I think is marvelous, so I love being in touch with that energy and being involved with students in that way."