Dr. John Scanlan

Research Fellow

School of Art, Design and Fashion

Samuel Lindow Building (Westlakes Campus), Room 110

+44 (0) 1772 89 2227


Subject Areas: Cultural History, Cultural Aesthetics, Cultural Sociology

John Scanlan is a Research Fellow in the School of Art, Design and Fashion and specializes in the study of the cultural forms of life and their relation to time and place.

John is research active in the area of Art and Design: History, Theory and Practice. He is a member of the In Certain Places group.


Full Profile

John Scanlan's research focuses on cultural forms of life and their relation to time and place. His work draws on a number of disciplinary traditions, reflecting his background in philosophy, history and sociology, and has been influential in the development of an emerging cross-disciplinary academic field of 'waste studies'.

His recent research has examined times, places and environments that:

  • Provide a context for artistic creativity in aspects of popular music and associated cultural forms, such as film and art.
  • Influence everyday temporal experience and past/future awareness as it relates to both cultural memory and the aesthetics of waste and sustainability.

John has published articles in academic journals such as Space and Culture, Time & Society, Techniques & Culture, and History of the Human Sciences. His work has been translated into a number of languages, including Arabic, Croatian, French, and Italian. In 2010, he helped to establish Reaktion Books' Reverb series, which publishes books by scholars from a range of humanities disciplines on the relationship between music and place. He is also the Series Editor.

He is the author of five books, including On Garbage (2004), an account of the many lives and meanings of waste, which formed part of a Top 10-ranked REF 2014 Impact submission in History at the University of St Andrews. Another of his books, Easy Riders, Rolling Stones (2015), is currently being adapted for a film – titled 'Road Music' – which is being directed by filmmaker Alex Harvey.


Scanlan, J. (2004) On Garbage (London: Reaktion). ISBN: 9781861892225

Scanlan, J. (2013) Memory: Encounters with the Strange and the Familiar (London: Reaktion) ISBN: 9781780231785

Scanlan, J. (2015) Easy Riders, Rolling Stones: On the Road in America, from Delta Blues to 70s Rock (London: Reaktion) ISBN: 9781780235295

Scanlan, J. (2016) 'Surf Life, ou l’excès à l’ère du numérique,' in Techniques & Culture, Vol. 65-66, pp. 494-501.

Previous appointments

  • Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology, Manchester Metropolitan University, 2008-2015
  • Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of Bristol, 2007-08
  • AHRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of History, University of St Andrews, 2003-2007
  • Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of Paisley, 2002-03
  • Research Fellow, Centre for Regulatory Studies, University of Glasgow, 2001-02


PhD, Sociology, University of Glasgow, 2001.

MPhil, Social Science Research, University of Glasgow, 1998.

MA (Hons.), Philosophy, University of Glasgow, 1994.


In Certain Places: West Cumbria. A three-year project funded by the Samuel Lindow Foundation, a West Cumbria educational charity.

External Activities

Series Editor, ‘Reverb’, published by Reaktion Books (UK) and University of Chicago Press (North America)


‘Places Change: Tactics for Cultural-led Place-making,’ a presentation and roundtable discussion event hosted by Policy Network, Westminster, London, December 2017 (with Charles Quick)