School of Social Sciences and Humanities

Art History and Visual Culture

About us

The Art History and Visual Culture Subject Area is a nexus of educators and researchers, linking critical thinking, informed histories and the praxis of making across the visual arts.

We are an ambitious and dynamic group of academics with a broad range of approaches to the study of visual and material cultures from around the world.

Our research and teaching transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries, challenge familiar historical and theoretical frameworks, and motivate ourselves and our students.

Our learning community is inclusive, connects research with teaching, embraces the study of diverse forms of visual expression and promotes dialogue with artists and members of the wider community.

We aim:

  • for our students to produce the best work they can,
  • for our research to command international respect, and
  • for our skills and knowledge to have constructive impact where ever they can be a force for good.


The Humanities. We value our historical position in a field that informed the founding of Universities, and hold that increased understanding of what it is that makes us human is vital to the future of local and global communities.

Interdisciplinarity. We value the potential in the histories and theories of visual and material cultures around the world – our discipline – to intersect with all other academic disciplines.

Diversity. We value the prompts from our subject area to respect and engage with diversity in histories, thought, experience, and cultural practices. This informs our aims for a decolonised curriculum, our choice of subjects of research, and our collective practices as academics.

Critical thinking. We value the ability of perceptive questions to open up new modes and objects of study and new ways of seeing; and we value the deployment of careful analysis to test inherited assumptions and fresh suppositions alike.

Our community. We value collegiality, integrity, teamwork, collective endeavour, and our ability to learn from each other; we value the collective histories informing original research.

Excellence. We value the pedagogies that encourage students to produce their best work. We value the focused goals necessary to undertake research achieving global reach, containing transformative insights, and capable of impact beyond our academic community.


An inclusive learning community: Our activities contribute to an energetic and inclusive learning community that connects research with teaching, embraces the study of diverse forms of visual expression and promotes dialogue with artists and members of the wider community.

Partnerships and collaborations: Team members regularly present their work at national and international conferences, organize exhibitions and symposia, and collaborate with museums, academic, and art industry partners.


  • Staff teach from Foundation to PhD in the Arts as well as in Humanities
  • An exciting and interdisciplinary program based on closely integrated teaching, research, and pedagogic practices
  • Teaching provides students with the knowledge, understanding, communication and critical skills that will prepare them for careers across the entire range of creative and cultural industries, including education and teaching, heritage, museums and curating, publishing, writing and journalism


  • Art History and Visual Culture colleagues have particular strengths in research and postgraduate supervision across the following areas:
  • European art and design from the eighteenth century to the present
  • Global contemporary art, visual culture, and politics
  • Feminist art history and gender studies
  • Art markets, collecting, and critical heritage


  • International teaching experience and established research relationships with scholars across Europe, North America, Australia, South Africa and Asia
  • These links sustain our research and provide our students with a global perspective on the subject


  • Dr Marion Arnold
  • Dr Malcolm Barnard
  • Dr Kathryn Brown
  • Dr Rachael Grew
  • Prof Marsha Meskimmon
  • Prof Hilary Robinson
  • Dr Gillian Whiteley

Further information