Professor Neil Brown


Research Expertise

Professor Brown is a leading researcher in the areas of cognitive theory of art, creativity and art education. His distinguished international reputation is reflected by the invitation he received in 1992 to become a continuing member of the Centre for Cognitive Issues in the Arts (CCIT) at the University of Bristol, with Norman Freeman, Andrew Harrison, Pat Panton, Michael Podro and Carolyn Wilde. Professor Brown was Visiting Professor at the Ohio State University in 1995. In this international context, Professor Brown continues to conduct research centred on two projects. The first aims at establishing theoretical grounds for a philosophically neutral ontology of the artefact. The second, seeks empirical evidence for the way in which children and adults’ vernacular theory of art conditions their understanding of works and informs their practice. Brown was inaugural head of the School of Art Education at College of Fine Arts (COFA) UNSW from 1992 to 1996, and as indicated above, appointed Associate Dean, Research at College of Fine Arts. In regard to applied research and in addition to Australia Council consultancies, he has chaired committees, conducted public forums, consulted on the theoretical and empirical research underpinning the world leading visual arts curriculum in the NSW Board of Studies over the last 10 years, including innovation of the critical “frame” structure, the conceptual framework, and most recently “bodies of work” in compliance with the McGaw review of the Higher School Certificate.


  • Ph.D. Indiana University, USA, 1986
  • Master of Art (Art Education) Indiana University, USA, 1980
  • Diploma of Art Education, Alexander Mackie College, Australia, 1972
  • Special Art Students (Art Education), National Art School, Australia, 1965

Current Appointment

  • Co-Director, the iCinema Centre for Interactive Cinema Research and Associate Dean Research, College of Fine Arts, The University of New South Wales 1998.

Employment History

  • 1992-current Visiting Fellow, Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol
  • 1992-1998 Head of School of Art Education, College of Fine Arts, The University of New South Wales

Career-best Publications

  • Brown, N.C.M. “The Paradox of Virtuosity in the Practical Arts.” Educational Philosophy and Theory, 35.4. 2004: 19-35.
  • Brown, N.C.M. “Are We Entering A Post-Critical Age in Visual Arts Education.” Studies in Art Education 44.3. 2003: 285-290.
  • Brown, N.C.M., Del Favero D., Shaw J., Weibel P. “Interactive Narrative as a Multi-Temporal Agency.” Future Cinema. Eds. Shaw, J and Weibel, P. Massachusetts: MIT Press. 2003: 312-315.
  • Brown, N.C.M. “The Imputation of Authenticity in the Assessment of Student Performances in Art.” Educational Philosophy and Theory, 33. 3-4. 2001: 293-305.
  • Brown, N.C.M. “The Meaning of Transfer in the Practice of Art Education.” Studies in Art Education, 43.1. 2001: 83-102.
  • Brown, N.C.M. “The Representation of Practice.” Working Papers in Art and Design 1: 2000.
  • Brown, N.C.M. “Theorising the Crafts: New Tricks of the Trades.” The Meaning of Making: Contemporary Responses to Craft. Rowley, S (ed). London: Allen and Unwin. 1997: 3-18.
  • Brown, N.C.M. “Art Education and the Mutation of Art.” Visual Arts Research 19.2. 1993: 63-85.
  • Brown, N.C.M. “Aesthetic Description and Realism in Art Education.” Studies in Art Education. 30. 4. 1989: 212-225.