Kim W. Wilson

Published: 16 September 2015

New Materialism: theorising through & with matter

University of Edinburgh

New Materialism: theorising through & with matter

Academic History:

2015-2018: PhD Art (practice led)

2010-2012: MFA Contemporary Art Practice: Sculpture

2006-2010: BA (Hons) Sculpture

1991-1995: MA (Hons) Archaeology


Prof Neil Mulholland, Maria Fusco, Dr John Harries

Research Interests:

New Materialism: theorising through & with matter
I will explore the potential of a New Materialist approach to making & enquiry that can unite separate visual & material research practices.
My area of concern is New Materialism, its potential to theorise through & with matter & as a material practice in itself. Sitting within the context of the ‘material turn’; a reorientation of concerns from the epistemological to the ontological, from the ‘how’ to the ‘what’, New Materialism comes as an acknowledgement by Western scholars of the inadequacies of Social Constructionism as a way of thinking about & through life. Its limitations is neither a dismissal nor an undoing of this epistemological approach for its project was integral to the excavation & deconstruction of embedded Cartesian thought that had naturalised difference. However, in doing so it reduced the material world to one that is only meaningful & agential when shaped by culture, thus reinstating the hylomorphic model in which matter is inert & passive, awaiting the imposition of form & meaning by humans. New Materialism seeks to redress the unacknowledged constitutive nature of matter, not at the expense of the symbolic or ideational but through an onto-epistemological approach.

The research methods I will use will entangle theorising, writing, matter & making, all of which will be constitutive of one another in the same way that New Materialism advocates the constant entanglement of material & material forces in the endless production of the physical & virtual world. I will explore the attributes of materials, their onto-poetics as they unfold within & through matter. It is a methodology with which I will seek to challenge the hylomorphic model that remains embedded in the teaching of sculptural practice.
My research will involve extensive public engagement through the origination, exhibition & dissemination of art works spanning a wide range of media including: sculpture, film, drawing & writing. My materials research will engage with construction, design & conservation research areas & the commercial potential therein.


2011 Andrew Grant Postgraduate Scholarship

2010 SAAS Postgraduate Scholarship


2010 The Clason-Harvey Bursary, Andrew Grant Prize (both major award & academic achievement prizes)
2012 The Ian Howard prize, Andrew Grant Prize
2013 Research & Development Award, Arts Trust Scotland
2014 Edinburgh Visual Artists Award, Edinburgh City Council & Hope Scott Trust Visual Arts Award


Wilson, K. W. (2016) [forthcoming]. untimely mountain | duration and matter. In: Goetsch, E. & Kakalis, C. (eds). [no title]. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wilson, K. W. (2015) dominion, MATERIALHOOD, issue 5. Generator Publications, Dundee.

Contact Details:

Address: Edinburgh College of Art, The University of Edinburgh, 74 Lauriston Place, Edinburgh, EH3 9DF


First published: 16 September 2015