This website is home to my art, curating, research, teaching and writing practice.

I like to explore the multiple sites, methods and legitimacies of practice-based research. I produce works with pluralised perspectives using diverse methods such as performative interviews, card games, audio installations, flow diagrams and communal dinners. 

My work is often developed with others through the format of devised workshops exploring subjects such as art and politics in the year 1984, physical and emotional experiences of immaterial work, stories people tell about socially engaged art and the ethics of employability in the creative industries.

My current research/practice includes:

  • practice-based, participatory investigations into experiences of rest, care and work-place organising through my Manual Labours research with Jenny Richards. Read our most recent manual here.
  • together with Henry Mulhall, I have been evaluating BE PART, a 4-year Creative Europe project about approaches to co-creation and participation across ten arts organisations (2019-2023). Read our report here.
  • co-host of the Meanwhile in an Abandoned Warehouse podcast about all things cultural democracy related, with Owen Kelly, Arelene Goldbard, François Matarasso and Hannah Kemp-Welch. Listen here.
  • playing Cards on the Table – a card game that I co-developed as an alternative evaluation tool, which helps people think and talk critically about a specific project that they are all working on together. To buy or borrow a pack find out more here.

Other things I’m committed to:

  • access to resources: over the years I have collected a lot of books, archival material and left overs relating to socially engaged art practices, participation and art and politics. While it isn’t catalogued, this resource is available for rummaging, reading and reflecting in my studio at Yonder, near Blackhorse Lane, London. Contact me to make an appointment.
  • supporting and learning from community arts organisations: I am currently a Trustee on the Board of Take a Part in Plymouth and Dingy Butterflies in Gateshead.
  • supporting PhD students: As part of my role at Birkbeck, I co-developed a platform for practice-based research students called Corkscrew, which I hope to continue to develop beyond Birkbeck. I am currently co-supervising three PhD students: Paula Clemente, Henry Mulhall and Ruth Solomons and have co-supervised 4 students to completion (Niki Zanti, Evi Tseliki, Selina Robertson and Sarah Scarsbrook) and have carried out over 15 PhD examinations (with a specialism in practice-based submissions).
  • learning about other critical pedagogies, particularly in social practice: I am currently external examiner on the MA Art and Social Practice for the University of the Highlands and Islands and have been involved in other programme evaluations, developments and networks of teachers and facilitators of social practice.

My background:

After graduating from my MA in Curating at Goldsmiths in 2000, from 2000-2006 I worked with Sarah Carrington as one half of the curatorial partnership B+B.  We worked together to explore socially engaged art, evaluation and regeneration during the New Labour years. You can see our archive of projects on our website.

From 2006-2011 I continued to work as a freelance artist, curator, teacher and evaluator whilst doing my AHRC-funded PhD at Birkbeck, University of London: Participating in the Wrong Way? Practice Based Research into Cultural Democracy and the Commissioning of Art to Effect Change’. You can find out more about that here.

From 2011-2023 I worked full-time at Birkbeck, University of London in the Film, Media and Cultural Studies Department on the MA in Arts Management.

In 2024 I am embarking on a new 2 year post: Lecturer in Socially Engaged Art at the Guidlhall School of Music and Drama.

You can contact me on: sophiehope[at]

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I: @Manual_Labours