James Sey lectured in English, Cultural Studies, Social Science Research Methods and Studies in Popular Music at the University of the Witwatersrand and at Vista University in Soweto from 1989-1998. He attained the post of Senior Lecturer and was awarded an Associate Professorship at the latter institution before resigning to pursue a career in business research, marketing, and online and print publishing. He spent some years undertaking doctoral research in the history of technology, specifically the human/technology interface. He has published more than 30 research papers in this research area, both locally and internationally, and has presented at major international conferences. He was, for a period of five years, instrumental in a qualitative research methodology group that produced an annual book publication and ran an international conference, and which organised related multimedia events and art exhibitions. He also taught in the Institute for Film and New Media at the University of Cape Town, and at AFDA Film School in Johannesburg.
He has a strong critical and creative involvement in the South African artworld, especially in digital and multimedia. He co-curated the exhibtion Two Icons ‒ The Atom, The Body (2000), with artist Kathryn Smith for the Urban Futures conference (Museum Africa, Johannesburg), and the exhibition Space, Ritual, Absence - Liminality in South African Visual Art, (2011) with Prof. Leora Farber at the University of Johannesburg FADA Gallery. He has also conceived and directed several multimedia performances. He ran an online cult film column for the Online Mail and Guardian for two years and has been on the editorial board of an American-based online journal of psychology in the arts, PsyArt. He was a regular feature and review contributor to Art South Africa for over a decade.