John Carson was born in Belfast and contributed to the Belfast People's Comic in the mid-1970s. He studied Fine Art at the University of Ulster in Belfast, working on projects that explored geographical and social relationships in Belfast and Carrickfergus, where he grew up, graduating in 1976. He received a Masters from the California Institute of the Arts in 1983. He is a multimedia artist and an arts consultant for numerous organisations, including the BBC and the Arts Council of England, and, having lectured at various colleges and universities, has been head of the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh since 2006.

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