School of the Arts, English and Drama

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Julia Kelly

Photo of  Julia Kelly

Dr Julia Kelly joined Loughborough University as Research Associate in September 2014. Prior to that she was a researcher at the University of Hull, and was part of the AHRC Research Centre for the Study of Surrealism and its Legacies at the University of Manchester. Her first degree was in French and German (Hertford College, Oxford), followed by an MA and PhD in Art History at the Courtauld Institute of Art (London), on the art writings of Michel Leiris (1901-90). She has worked on exhibition projects in museums and galleries, including Tate (Surrealism, Desire Unbound, Tate Modern, 2001) and the Pompidou Centre (Francis Bacon, 1998). She has lectured in Art History and Visual Studies at the Courtauld, the University of East Anglia and the University of Manchester, where she also held a Henry Moore Foundation post-doctoral award.

Julia Kelly’s research interests and activities lie within and between the fields of art history, sculpture studies, exhibition histories, anthropology and the reception of non-western cultural artefacts, from the late nineteenth century to the present. Her book Art, Ethnography and the Life of Objects, Paris c.1925-35 (Manchester, 2007) examined the connections between ethnographers, artists, non-western objects and museums. Recent work has addressed the reception of large-scale sculptures from the former French colony of Dahomey in late 19th-century Paris and their function in the collections of the Trocadero Ethnographic Museum. An interest in museum histories has led to an essay on sculptor Henry Moore’s role as a trustee of Tate and the National Gallery from the 1940s to the 1960s, and to a forthcoming co-edited volume on the display of artists’ studios. The cross-cultural encounters inherent in the collecting of ethnographic material have also informed research into the visual and material cultures of travel and trade, particularly in a maritime context.

Julia Kelly has written on surrealism, particularly so-called ‘ethnographic surrealism’, as well as on the Bureau of Surrealist Research, surrealist found objects and assemblage, and has recently edited a volume of essays (with Anna Dezeuze) on the legacies of the surrealist practice of photographing found objects in contemporary art. She has published on the work of twentieth-century sculptors, including Alberto Giacometti, Henry Moore, Joseph Cornell and Paule Vézelay. She has also worked with and written on contemporary artists, including Mark Dion, Bill Woodrow, William Tucker, Nick Ervinck and Kathy Dalwood. A volume of collected writings by contemporary sculptors, and of the writings of Tony Cragg, are both forthcoming in collaboration with Jon Wood.

Mimmi (Christina) Brandberg, ‘Henry Moore in the Nordic Countries’ (co-supervised with Prof. Alison Yarrington)

Melanie Veasey, ‘Sculpture and British cultural institutions c.1948-1958’ (co-supervised with Prof. Alison Yarrington)

Nikki Petroni, ‘Maltese modern art and its relationship with religious cultural and state politics’ (co-supervised with Dr. Giuseppe Schembri Bonaci, University of Malta)