As Convenor, British Art Network, Martin leads and develops the activities of the community of over seven hundred specialists working in British art who make up its membership. The network, supported by the Paul Mellon Centre and Tate, brings together curators, researchers and academics based around the UK and internationally, to share expertise, research and ideas.

Martin spent over twenty years in curatorial roles at Tate, London. His many exhibitions at Tate Britain have included Gothic Nightmares in 2006, John Martin in 2011, British Folk Art in 2014 and most recently William Blake in 2019. His research and publications have focussed on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British art, with a special interest in exhibitions culture, artistic identity and artists’ labour, class and gender. His published work includes Bodybuilding: Reforming Masculinities in British Art 1750–1810 (2005) and Making the Modern Artist: Culture, Class and Art-Educational Opportunity in Romantic Britain (2020), both published by the Paul Mellon Centre.

After undergraduate studies at University College, London, Martin studied art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London. He was awarded an MA in the History of Art in 1994 and his Ph.D. in 1998.