College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Novel pairing ponders matters of deception

A unique creative partnership is to seek fresh perspectives on the complex ethical questions associated with identity deception.

Edinburgh criminal law academic Chloë Kennedy and award-winning artist Jamie Crewe will explore the legal dilemmas that arise when people pretend to be someone they are not.

They will focus on two phenomena that are attracting increased attention – identity theft and intimate deception – and ask when, if ever, is it appropriate to punish those who mislead others.

The collaboration is a key strand of Dr Kennedy’s AHRC Research Leadership Fellow project, Identity Deception: A Critical History.

Jamie’s creative practice is as thoughtful and nuanced as it is powerful. I hope this initiative will encourage me to think differently about issues raised by the project.

Dr Chloë KennedySenior Lecturer in Criminal Law

Historical overview

The project traces legal responses to identity deception from the mid-18th century to the present. It seeks to better understand the factors that shaped these responses, and to attain a fuller sense of the transformations they have brought about.

Collaborating with the artist will enable Dr Kennedy to communicate with audiences that more traditional academic outputs tend not to reach.

The collaboration will engage with the project’s intricate themes – such as selfhood, deception and trust – and think critically about how law constructs and values identity.

This model of engagement between academic and artistic communities is an ideal way to enhance and challenge the work of the University and our collections.

Julie-Ann DelaneyArt Collection Curator, University of Edinburgh

Work shared

Work produced by Jamie Crewe will be shared during teaching, at conferences and in public talks. The partnership is due to end in early 2022.

The artist has been commissioned by the University’s Art Collection team. The new work will become part of the 350-year-old collection, which contains more than 8,000 works.

Jamie Crewe recently received one of the ten bursaries from Tate Britain in place of this year’s Turner Prize. Work by the artist will feature next year’s prestigious British Art Show 9.

Related links

Dr Kennedy’s AHRC Research Leadership Fellow project

Visit the University of Edinburgh Art Collection website

Learn more about Jamie Crewe’s art

Image credit: Jamie Crewe, An abductress (no. 21)