John Hyatt 1958-2023

Farewell to popular 'punk professor'

John Hyatt joining LJMU was a big coup for the university. John was already making a significant impact in the art scene in Manchester, he was an artist and sculptor of international renown, director of the Cultural Industries Development Service and founder of the Manchester Institute for Research and Innovation in Art and Design.

Arriving in September 2016 as Professor in Contemporary Art, John was responsible for leading the newly established ART LABS Research Centre and was a driving force in achieving Research Institute status and creating the Institute of Art and Technology in 2019, which he headed for three years. 

His passing was described by PVC Joe Yates as “great loss to the School of Art, Faculty and University”.

A polymath, John was a painter, digital artist, video artist, photographer, designer, musician, printmaker, author and sculptor. He has exhibited in many countries across the world but, although a Midlander, found his milieu in the great northern cities – Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester but eschewed the traditional geographical rivalries for a collaborative approach.

An energetic, innovative creative, he could be both a slick PR man and a thoughtful, serious researcher, juggling very public art exhibition with developing educational infrastructure to support young scholars.

His commitment to working across disciplinary boundaries and opening new vistas in research meant John was well-known and well-loved across the university and the city region.

As a practising artist, he exhibited in Australia, Brazil, China, India, Ireland, Portugal, Japan and the USA, while music fans may remember him as a singer-songwriter in the post-punk band The Three Johns, a favourite of the late R1 DJ John Peel.

John was still creating at the time of his death from neck cancer, painting a canvas a day while under treatment at Arrowe Park Hospital – and even appearing on BBC NWT to promote art and positive thinking.

Our condolences go to his family and friends.

Cancer Experience Event

In memory of John and his wish to help other cancer patients to detect head and neck cancer early and improve their patient experience, a free collaborative event for patients,carers, health professionals and trainees is being organised on Tuesday 5 March at Arrowe Park Hospital. 

Find out more and register for the event here.

IMAGE: John was equally at home on stage as in academia.


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