Born in Leeds in the north of England, Michael Paraskos is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, a broadcaster and occasional broadcaster.
He studied English literature and art history at the University of Leeds, before taking his MRes degree, again in art history at the University of Leeds. He read for his PhD at the University of Nottingham.
An extremely experienced lecturer both in mainstream academia and adult education, Michael describes himself as one of the last of the pluralists, with broad-ranging interests in a variety of cultural phenomena. This has allowed him to teach a range of art historical topics, although his own academic research tends to focus on three related areas:
- Modernist art;
- Herbert Read and his contemporaries;
- Anarchist art theory.
The political dimension of his cultural studies research, which has resulted in books such as The Anarchists (2007), The Table-Top Schools of Art (2008) and Four Essays on Art and Anarchism (2015), stems in part from his studies in the School of Fine Art at the University of Leeds, which was a leading teaching centre for feminist and other radical cultural theory in the 1990s. According to Paraskos, 'Although my interests in Herbert Read and anarchist cultural theory did not fit entirely comfortably with that department, its radical nature did make me question how educational institutions work and the type of knowledge they teach. It also provided me with an absolute love and respect for adult education.'
Before coming to Imperial College London, Michael taught at the University of Leeds, the University of Nottingham and elsewhere, before he was made Head of Art History for Fine Art at the University of Hull. From 2007 to 2014 he taught art history at the Cornaro Institute in Cyprus, returning to England in 2014 to began teaching on the adult education programme of the Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication at Imperial. He was made the Programme Manager for Evening Classes at Imperial in 2018. He is also teaches architectural history as a visitor to one of the most historic art schools in London, the City and Guilds of London Art School.
He has appeared on various radio and television programmes discusing art and other culture, including on BBC Radio's Front Row arts programme and Swedish Television (SVT) arts programme Utblick and TeleSur televisions culture programme Rear Window, introduced by Tariq Ali. He has written for numerous academic and non-academic journals and magazines, including, The British Art Journal, The Art Book, The Journal of the History of Education and The Spectator.
His books include monographs on the artists Clive Head and Steve Whitehead, a critical study on Herbert Read, and a collection of essays on art and anarchism. He has published two novels In Search of Sixpence (2016) and Rabbitman (2017), and is a regular speaker at conferences in Britain and the wider world.
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2010, and he gained Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy in 2017.
- BA (Hons) Art History and English Literature, University of Leeds (1992)
- MRes Art History (English Expressionism), University of Leeds (1997)
- PhD, 'The Elephant and the Beetles: The Aesthetic Theory of Herbert Read', University of Nottingham (2005)
Michael Paraskos is an authority on the work of the twentieth-century British art theorist, novelist, and poet, Herbert Read. From this, his research has developed more widely, into looking at ways in which anarchist political and cultural theories can be applicable to contemporary art practice, and wider still, on the possible relationships between the alternative reality of anarchistic utopias and Christian notions of heaven and paradise.
He is also a novelist, with a particular interest in the use of non-standard academic forms to explore ideas in art and cultural theory, including fiction, poetry and other creative forms.
Paraskos M, 2019, Review of bauhaus goes west: modern art and design in britain and america, by alan powers, History of Education, ISSN:0046-760X
Bohm-Duchen M, 2019, Insiders/Outsiders Refugees from Nazi Europe and Their Contribution to British Visual Culture, ISBN:9781848223462
Paraskos M, 2017, Stass Paraskos A Celebration: at Pafos 2017 European Capital of Culture, ISBN:9780995713017
Paraskos M, 2017, Rabbitman, ISBN:9780995713000