Tate is delighted to host a growing number of doctoral students engaged in research at Tate. As part of the collaborative element of their doctorates, the students work at Tate in a variety of ways, gaining professional experience and contributing their ideas and knowledge to Tate’s programmes and projects. Below is a list of current award holders.

Current studentships

  • Thomas Ardill Between God, Art and Mammon: Religious Painting as Public Spectacle in Britain c.1800–50
  • Wendy Asquith Haiti in Art: Creating and Curating in the Black Atlantic
  • Hazel AtashrooCreative Communities in Art and Design in the 1980s
  • Bryony BeryReplicas and Reconstructions: Case Studies in Twentieth-Century Art
  • Helena BonettBarbara Hepworth: Practice, Interpretation, Legacy
  • Amy ConcannonThe ‘Unnatural’ Landscape: Visualisation of the Urban Scene 1800–50
  • Lina Džuverović – Hybrid Practices: Interdisciplinarity and Pop Art Sensibilities in Yugoslav Art in 1960s and 1970s
  • Hayley Flynn  – Landscape in Blake: Visionary Topographies
  • James FinchDavid Sylvester’s Art Writing in Context
  • Ayesha Ghanchi A Critical Analysis of Artists’ Engagement with Learning Programmes at Tate 1970–2010, as Documented in Tate’s Education Archive
  • Oliver GilbertThe Sites of Cultural Production and Impact of British Art and Design Communities Associated with Pop 1956–1974
  • Sabina GillFotografia Polska: Adventures in Polish Photography since the 1960s
  • Sofia GottiCounterculture in Pop: South American Art in the 1960s
  • Caroline GoodThe Making of a National Art History: British Writers on Art and the Narratives of Nation 1660–1735
  • Alex HodbyTate Modern and the Expansion of ‘New Institutionalism’: New Developments in Art and Public Programming Practices
  • Judith LeeModern British Oils: History, Formulation and Use
  • Cristina LocatelliDigital Engagement Beyond the Gallery: Art Maps, A Case Study
  • Isabella MaidmentPerformance, Action, Event
  • Nicola SimCircuit: Investigating partnerships between visual arts and youth organisations
  • Rachel Rose SmithThe International Context of the Art of St Ives 1948–60
  • Robert SuttonHenry Moore: Sculpture and Media in Twentieth-Century Britain
  • Stephen VainkerExperiences and Engagement: An Investigation of Young Persons’ Visits to ARTIST ROOMS on Tour
  • Lynn WrayArt, Process and Propaganda on the Political Left
  • Victoria YoungArt Museum Attendance and the Public Realm: The Agency of Visitor Information in Tate’s Organisational Practices of Making the Art Museum’s Audience
  • Ioanna ZouliThe Use of Digital Video in the Visitor’s Encounter with the Work of Art

Past studentships

  • Elena CrippaFrom Making to Presentation: London Art Schools 1960–present
  • Corinna DeanEstablishing Tate Modern Cultural Quarter
  • Caroline DonnellanEstablishing Tate Modern: Vision and Patronage
  • Susannah GilbertLatin American Art in an International Context
  • Cora Gilroy-Ware – The Classical Nude in Romantic Britain
  • Rob KniftonCentre of the Creative Universe: Liverpool and the Avant-Garde
  • Ali MacGilpThe London Art Market and the Formation of a National Collection at Tate 1926–1950
  • Marion MartinJ.M.W. Turner and German Romanticism
  • Alex MassourasThe Emergence of the Emerging Artist in London, 1960–2010
  • Antoinette McKaneTate Liverpool as a Force for Social Renewal? A Critical Study of Tate Liverpool’s Interpretation and Education Policies and Practices (1988–2008)
  • Peter Moore – British Graphic Art, 1660-1735: An Atlantic Perspective
  • Seph RodneyTwo Rooms: Locating the Meeting Place of the Visitor and the Museum
  • Philippa SimpsonLondon Art Market, 1790 –1815: The New Exhibition Culture and the Staging of the British School
  • Stephanie StraineDrawing Strategies in the 1960s and 1970s

Details of new awards, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), are advertised on this website and elsewhere in the spring of each year.

Studentship profiles

Thomas Ardill

Between God, Art and Mammon: Religious Painting as Public Spectacle in Britain c.1800–50
Courtauld Institute of Art
Supervised by David Solkin, Professor of the History of Art, Courtauld Institute of Art, and Dr Martin Myrone, Lead Curator Pre-1800 British Art, Tate Britain
October 2011 –

This AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award explores the proliferation of religious paintings in the public exhibition spaces of London and other urban centres during the first half of the nineteenth century. The study of this neglected area will enrich our knowledge of some of the era’s most ambitious paintings and deepen our understanding of a host of key players – artists, art institutions, audiences, patrons, and art entrepreneurs – in what was an increasingly commercial art world. A broader aim is to gain a new appreciation of the role of Christianity in British high visual culture at the beginning of the modern period.

The PhD will be structured around a series of focused case studies, mainly of pictures in the Tate collection, perhaps including: J.M.W. Turner, The Tenth Plague of Egypt (exhibited RA 1802) and The Deluge (exhibited Turner’s Gallery 1805 [?] and RA 1813); Benjamin Robert Haydon, The Raising of Lazarus (exhibited The Egyptian Hall, London 1823); Joseph Severn, The Infant of the Apocalypse Saved from the Dragon (exhibited RA 1838); and Francis Danby, The Deluge (exhibited RA 1840), as well as works by John Martin and others.

This research will enrich our knowledge of some overlooked works in the national collection and promote interest and appreciation in them through associated publications or displays.

Wendy Asquith

Haiti in Art: Creating and Curating in the Black Atlantic
University of Liverpool
Supervised by Dr Dmitri van den Bersselaar and Professor Charles Forsdick, University of Liverpool, and Lindsey Fryer, Head of Learning, Tate Liverpool
September 2010 –

This AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award will explore how artists have engaged with Haiti as a key site in the ‘Black Atlantic’, taking Paul Gilroy’s concept as a starting point for interpretation. Haiti has become a key site partly because of the historical significance of the Haitian Revolution and the subsequent history of Haiti as an independent state, and particularly because of the ways in which artists have both celebrated the Haitian Revolution and struggled with its legacies. The project will adopt a historical approach, taking as its point of departure the art of the Harlem Renaissance, but it will also trace Haiti in art to the present (both as a site imagined by artists elsewhere and as a site where contemporary artists produce art). In addition to the PhD, a web-based resource on the concept of the Black Atlantic will be developed as a legacy of the Afro Modern: Journeys through the Black Atlantic exhibition, along with the interactive debating space Black Atlantic Resource Debate.

Hazel Atashroo

Creative Communities in Art and Design in the 1980s
University of Southampton
Supervised by Professor Jonathan Harris, University of Southampton, and Lindsey Fryer, Head of Learning, Tate Liverpool
October 2013 –

This doctorate is part of an ongoing AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award project based at the Winchester Centre for Global Futures in Art and Design, University of Southampton, in partnership with Tate Liverpool, entitled: Creative Communities in Art and Design since the 1960s: Lessons for Socio-Economic Regeneration in a Globalised World.

Hazel Atashroo’s doctoral research focuses on specific geographically situated ‘creative communities’ in the UK (using case studies in London, Liverpool and Manchester) during the ‘long 1980s’. It examines the local, national and global community impacts of their visual cultural production and activities. 

During the 1980s, community was a concept subject to contestation on many fronts, with the amplification of postmodernist discourses in various fields, the rise of neoliberal individualism, the fracturing of oppositional political groups along identity lines, and further socio-economic upheaval for communities in the move towards the UK’s increasingly globalised economy. Institutional discourses relating to cultural heritage and the implementation of cultural ‘regeneration’ polices in specific cities will provide a counterpoint to an investigation into the community-based local production and social initiatives of artists and designers.   

Through a qualitative, anthropological consideration of the agency of these artists and designers, and the impacts of their cultural production upon the broader social sphere, this research will focus on the creative practices of communities of the recent past to re-evaluate the efficacy of top-down cultural regeneration policies and will consider possible future generative strategies.

Bryony Bery

Replicas and Reconstructions: Case Studies in Twentieth-Century Art
University College London
Supervised by Professor Briony Fer, University College London, and Dr Matthew Gale, Head of Displays, Tate Modern
September 2007 –

There are various reasons for replicating works, historic and current, ranging from making replicas where works were lost or have been destroyed, to artists’ versions and editions, to works that need to be ‘remade’ each time they are installed. Where possible Bryony Bery will use as case studies works in Tate’s collection or works that are relevant to Tate’s programme of displays and exhibitions to think through the ethical issues: who makes replicas, when and why? What is their status in institutions and on the market?

Concentrating on art produced in America and Europe in the 1960s and exhibited at group shows such Anti-Illusion: Procedures/Materials, 9 and Live in Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form, Bery will problematise finish in the context of fragile and ephemeral materials. This will allow her to consider the precariousness and ephemateriality of works and unravel the issues at stake when they are replicated. She will also consider the continual materiality of works and their repeatability, and the problematic nature of ‘finishedness’ and surface finish. The research will be technical and critical, arguing for the logic of a work, the logic of disintegration and the logic of replication.

Inherent Vice: The Replica and its Implications in Modern Sculpture, a workshop held at Tate Modern in October 2007, demonstrated the apparent desire and anxiety of replicating works, especially twentieth-century sculpture. Bery attended this workshop as part of the collaborative aspect of her doctoral project and co-edited the papers from this event that were published in the autumn 2007 issue of Tate’s online journal, Tate Papers. The collaboration allows her to use resources at Tate while also investigating works where issues surrounding replication may need resolving, be it acknowledged in signage or agreed with trustees, artists or estates.

Helena Bonett

Barbara Hepworth: Practice, Interpretation, Legacy
Royal College of Art
Supervised by Dr Claire Pajaczkowska, Senior Research Tutor, School of Material, Royal College of Art, Dr Victoria Walsh, Head of Programme, Curating Contemporary Art, Royal College of Art, and Dr Chris Stephens, Curator (Modern British Art) & Head of Displays, Tate Britain
October 2013 –

What might constitute an artist’s legacy and how can it be traced? The sculptor Barbara Hepworth said in 1959, ‘Sculpture communicates an immediate sense of life – you can feel the pulse of it’. Now almost forty years since Hepworth made her final sculptures, what kind of pulse can be felt? And what are the means with which we feel for this pulse?

This project explores both the embodied encounter with Hepworth’s sculpture through exhibition but also the trace of her sculptural legacy as it resonates in culture today. Arguably the most significant sculptor of the twentieth century, Hepworth’s work has been influential not only to later generations of sculptors (both in their recognition or rejection of her work) but has also formed part of the popular landscape.

Funded by the AHRC, this project is a Collaborative Doctoral Partnership between Tate and the Royal College of Art. Coinciding with conservation, archive, exhibition and learning projects focused on Hepworth at Tate, this practice-led project will generate a diverse range of public-facing outputs. Working across the RCA’s Curating and Materials departments, the project will explore how the embodied encounter with the processes and materials of the sculptor might transform the curator’s knowledge of their meaning through learning to carve, model and cast sculptures. Workshops, interviews and seminars will be held to explore how contemporary artists and audiences engage with Hepworth’s sculpture and legacy.

This practice-led research integrates the studio experience of sculptural materials and processes with the cultural agency of the curatorial project and the work of interpretation. The triangulation of these three practices will provide both the process, method and the outcome of the research.

Amy Concannon

The ‘Unnatural’ Landscape: Visualisation of the Urban Scene 1800–50
University of Nottingham 
Supervised by Nicholas Alfrey, Associate Professor in Art History, University of Nottingham, Steven Daniels, Professor of Cultural Geography, University of Nottingham, Dr David Blayney Brown, Curator (British Art 1790–1850), Tate
October 2013 –

Urban views account for a large proportion of Tate’s collection of British landscapes from the period 1800–50. They include, for example, Linnell’s Kensington Gravel Pits 1811–12, Constable’s The Opening of Waterloo Bridge exhibited 1832 and Turner’s London from Greenwich Park exhibited 1809, as well as drawings, watercolours and prints in the Turner Bequest, Oppé collection and the wider holdings. Yet substantial research into urban landscapes of this period has never been undertaken; indeed, recent studies of British landscape have focused predominantly on rural subject matter. This project aims to investigate representations of urban and suburban landscapes, and in doing so redress an imbalance in our understanding of the visual culture of landscape of the period.

This project will use the collection at Tate as a springboard to scrutinise artists’ approach to urban subject matter during a time of unprecedented urbanisation in Britain. Cathedral cities might form one theme, of which the recently acquired Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows ?1829 by Constable is a prime example, while suburbs and hinterlands form another significant grouping, typifying a period in which the relations between urban and rural spaces were increasingly ambiguous. The category of topography will also be reappraised and the formation of Tate’s holdings of urban views considered in relation to other institutions, especially those with specialist topographical or antiquarian interests. The reading of these images will be set firmly within the context of their production, drawing on contemporary debates about urbanisation, art criticism and theory. 

The research will feed directly into the work of Tate, enhancing online entries for works studied, alongside displays and potential future exhibitions. It will renew focus on key figures in the collection such as Turner and Constable but, crucially, will also contextualise their work in relation to their contemporaries and the theme of the urban landscape.

Lina Džuverović

Hybrid Practices: Interdisciplinarity and Pop Art Sensibilities in Yugoslav Art in 1960s and 1970s
Royal College of Art
David Crowley, Professor and Head of Programme Critical Writing in Art & Design, Royal College of Art and Jessica Morgan, Curator, Tate
October 2012 ­–

The thesis will investigate Pop art in the former Yugoslavia during the 1960s and 1970s, making explicit previously unexplored connections between Yugoslav art and global Pop. Analysing Yugoslav artists’ engagement with Pop art’s techniques, visual language and core preoccupations (consumerism, incorporation of popular culture into art, ‘Americanisation’ of culture, and kitsch), the thesis will offer a new reading of artistic practices in the country, which following the Tito-Stalin split of 1948 were profoundly different from those in the Soviet bloc.

It was a period of cross-pollination between film, music, TV and radio, the graphic and visual arts, and the influence of international film, the emergence of underground music communities, experimental film production, the vibrant artistic production around comic books and other mass-produced art on paper will be studied as these were often first sites of incorporation of Pop iconography. Primary sources will be studied, and there will also be a close reading of individual works by such artists as Bosch & Bosch, Dušan Otašević, Predrag Peđa Nešković, Slobodan Šijan, Vera Fischer, group OHO, Sanja Iveković, Boris Bućan, Tomislav Gotovac and Lojze Logar. The activities of artist-run spaces and other key sites, such as student cultural centres in Belgrade, Ljubljana and Zagreb, will also be examined, along with the role of key international exhibitions, such as the International Graphic Biennial in Ljubljana (founded in 1955), Zagreb’s ‘New Tendencies’ exhibitions and events (1961–73), and the associated journal Bit International and Belgrade’s ‘April Meetings – Festivals of Expanded Media’ (1972–77).

The thesis will also look at artistic practices in Yugoslavia in the wider context of Eastern European art as a whole, examining the influence of Pop Art on artists in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Poland and Bulgaria.

James Finch

David Sylvester’s Art Writing in Context
University of Kent
Supervised by Professor Martin Hammer, University of Kent, and Dr Jennifer Mundy, Head of Collection Research, Tate
October 2013 –

This AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Partnership will contribute towards the Tate’s new research initiative ‘Art Writers in Britain’. Working with the archive of the art critic and curator David Sylvester (1924–2001), this project will explore the various contexts in which his art writing was produced and published.

Sylvester worked with a wide range of publications from newspapers to avant-garde periodicals. He wrote numerous catalogue essays and several monographs, and recorded a pioneering series of artist interviews. This doctorate will consider the relationship between Sylvester’s professional career, his published works and his thinking about art and art criticism, as evidenced in part in his his archive, newly acquired and catalogued by Tate. In light of Sylvester’s statement ‘I am fairly sure that the best thinking I did in the Fifties never got into print’, the project will explore the extent to which the publication outlets available to art writers shape the communication of their ideas. What effect do word limits, stylistic requirements and other restrictions have upon the ideas that a writer wishes to convey? Sylvester’s archive will allow for a detailed study of these issues as they apply to his writings.

Hayley Flynn

Landscape in Blake: Visionary Topographies 
University of Nottingham 
Supervised by Professor Nicholas Alfrey, University of Nottingham, and Dr David Blayney Brown, Curator, Tate Britain 
October 2010 – 

Hayley Flynn’s research considers the application and meaning of landscape imagery in William Blake’s visual art. In part, the project seeks to re-examine Blake’s position within the history of British landscape painting. Though casual references to Blake have been made in various surveys of the genre – principally, as a precursor to the ‘visionary’ landscapes of Samuel Palmer – scholarship has traditionally been focussed on the artist’s written prophecies or ‘mythological system’ and, in art-historical terms, on the expression of these ideas in his figurative art. Despite the fact that Blake has been repeatedly cited by other landscape artists as a genuine artistic influence, this important aspect of his work remains under the radar of most scholars and critics. The first half of the thesis considers the tension between these two traditions about Blake. It seeks to highlight Blake’s legacy as a painter of landscape, from the time of his death in 1827 to the mid-twentieth century, when the discourse about Blake’s prophetic output was firmly established.

The second part of the thesis is focused on three works by Blake, in which landscape is particularly prominent – the illustrations to Virgil’s Eclogues, the illustrations to the Book of Job, and the illustrations to Dante’s Divine Comedy. All three series date from the 1820s and were commissioned as a result of Blake’s friendship with the landscape painter John Linnell. This research examines the meaning, symbolism and sources for the coherent landscape settings Blake created for the series’ and, as a result, the enduring theory that Blake’s illustrations represent an expression of his mythological system is called into question.

 Ayesha Ghanchi

A Critical Analysis of Artists’ Engagement with Learning Programmes at Tate 1970–2010, as Documented in Tate’s Education Archive
Goldsmiths, University of London
Supervised by Emily Pringle, Tate Learning, and Dennis Atkinson, Professor of Art in Education and Head of the Research Centre for Arts in Learning at the Department of Educational Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London
October 2011 –

The doctorate will explore how the role of the artist educator at Tate has evolved between 1970 and 2010. It will look at the agency of the artists, the negotiation of their independent practice with Tate education practices, and the extent to which this negotiation has created a reciprocal influence between the artists and Tate learning.

The research will examine the pedagogical tools used to engage audiences. In particular, the dissertation will examine how ‘learning’, ‘interpretation’, ‘access’ and ‘inclusion’ have been theorised throughout this period in relation to wider social and government policy contexts, as well as trends in art education practice.

In 1967 Tate employed its first full-time lecturer, offering a predominantly didactic programme of historically themed lectures. Tate now offers a vast range of multifaceted learning experiences, aiming to respond to multicultural contexts and technological advances. It seeks to provoke dialogue, increase visual literacy, and offer art encounters and transformative experiences. The current programme offers learning as an end in itself, for social purposes and to contribute to a holistic education. It invites people to question, understand, reframe and refute notions of self, others and the world.

Drawing on materials in Tate’s archive and on interviews with Tate staff, the research aims to explore the role of artists as catalysts in the production of knowledge, and the cultures within Tate (and the wider education and art world) that have precipitated these cultures of learning.

Oliver Peterson Gilbert

The Sites of Cultural Production and Impact of British Art and Design Communities Associated with Pop 1956–1974
University of Southampton
Supervised by Professor Jonathan Harris, University of Southampton, and Lindsey Fryer, Head of Learning, Tate Liverpool
October 2012 –

Oliver Peterson Gilbert’s research critically explores the geo-social fabric and the shifting field dynamics of communities of visual cultural producers between Liverpool and London, two key nodal points of the Sixties experience. Specifically, this research is interested in the social, cultural and, crucially, regenerative impacts of these cultural communities within their local, regional and international spheres, looking at the material and immaterial geographies of cultural production and reception. Stretching the Sixties’ cultural-text to reach between 1956 and 1974, this research looks to Pop as an overarching ideology, informing society alongside fine art and graphic  design. Beginning with the work of the Independent Group and culminating with the Glam movement of the 1970s, the thesis will critique the role of place, community and networks in the production of culture and its role in urban regeneration.    

During his collaboration with Tate Liverpool, Oliver Gilbert’s work centred on the 2013 exhibition, Glam! The Performance of Style where he used his doctoral research and background in cultural sociology to construct two installations of visual and material culture relating to the late Sixties and the early Seventies. These ‘Glamscapes’ served to articulate themes central to the show, while also expressing the networked distribution of action existent within, and fundamental to, the Glam aesthetic. Oliver also conducted research into the lasting public impacts of various Tate exhibitions and learning programmes with an emphasis on the qualitative personal histories, associated with exhibitions such as Glam! The Performance of Style.

Sabina Gill

Fotografia Polska: Adventures in Polish Photography since the 1960s
University of Essex
Supervised by Professor Margaret Iversen, University of Essex, and Dr Simon Baker, Curator (Photography and International Art), Tate
October 2010 –

The Polish artist Krzysztof Wodiczko stated in 1986, ‘Poland is marginalised less by lack of information about art in the West than by the lack of information about art in Poland in the West.’ A glaring lack of information on Polish art still persist in literature and teaching, with developments in Eastern European photography largely sidelined by North American and European histories. Attempting to redress this imbalance, Sabina Gill aims to explore the photographic practice of key artists and groups working in Poland since the 1960s, and interrogate ways in which Polish photography may challenge the histories and critical frameworks that govern Western European and Anglo-American discourses.

The post-1960s period marked a tumultuous phase in Polish history, years in which Poland was rebuilt in the wake of war and transformed both materially and culturally under communism. State-sponsored ‘official’ photography prospered, but some artists channelled energy into underground art movements and regional amateur photography clubs. Art historian Piotr Piotrowski has suggested that ‘post-war art history in Central-Eastern Europe should include more of a national or state perspective, rather than a universal one’, as the difficulty of artistic exchange between European states caused art to develop independently within each country. Is it possible or desirable to define a Polish photographic style? Can art produced in Poland be understood as orientated toward the distribution of coded information, as critics have suggested, rather than the creation of a unique art object? Has this function changed in the work of contemporary Polish photographers? With the collapse of Communism in Poland in 1989 and the transition to a more democratic state, artists were afforded greater freedom and enjoyed opportunities to travel and study internationally. Can a photograph signify in the same way to artists working under Communism as it does to later generations of Polish artists? Does the photograph possess a different significance to a Western scholar returning to the work in 2010?

Caroline Good

The Making of a National Art History: British Writers on Art and the Narratives of Nation 1660–1735
University of York
Supervised by Professor Mark Hallett, University of York, and Professor Nigel Llewellyn, Head of Research, Tate
October 2009 –

This PhD is part of an AHRC-funded research project at Tate entitled Court, Country, City: British Art 1660–1735. Caroline Good’s thesis focuses on the four decades following the ‘Glorious Revolution’ when the political, religious, and bureaucratic transformations that established the modern British state were effected. She will concentrate on the written accounts of British art that were produced in these years and aim to provide an intensively researched and historically specific perspective on the theory and early historiography of British art between 1660 and 1735.

The emergence of an idea of a ‘British School’ of art has been one of the more fruitful lines of inquiry within recent British art history. Encompassing vital issues of cultural hegemony, artistic identity, and the interpellation of art and politics, the genesis and historiography of the ‘British School’ have been placed at the centre of debates about British culture in the long eighteenth century.

To date, though, the discussion has focused on the era between the emergence of Willian Hogarth as a ‘patriotic’ painter and the early nineteenth century, with the ascent of J.M.W. Turner and John Constable, and a powerful new idea of British national identity. As a result, accounts of British art which focus on this period have primarily looked to political milestones for their ordering principles. This traditional narrative, however truthful, corresponds to a Whiggish account of English political history. In re-examining the relationships between art, science, education, and politics in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, the possibility of an alternative narrative framework for written accounts of British art during this period can begin to be developed.

Sofia Gotti

Counterculture in Pop: South American Art in the 1960s
University of the Arts, London
Dr Michael Asbury, University of the Arts, London, and Jessica Morgan, Curator, Tate
October 2012 –

Sofia Gotti’s research centres on redefining Pop art in South America through the prism of counterculture. Investigating Pop art from a South American perspective problematises canonical interpretations, which have tended to see Pop as a more or less exclusively Anglo-American phenomenon. It also invokes tensions between vernacular and imported culture.

In the 1960s Pop art was produced in many centres of production in the region, not as an Anglo-American derivative but as a native form of countercultural rhetoric. The thesis will explore how counterculture in Pop was used to renegotiate canonical labels. Artists in South America adopted Pop strategies that resisted hegemonic cultural models by immersing themselves in personal subject matter and styles that were often imbued with implicit or explicit political content. 

The thesis will examine key examples of artistic practice in the region. It will look at, for example, the Instituto Torcuato Di Tella (ITDT) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, one of the most important centres of artistic innovation on the continent, around which gravitated the Pop Group (including Marta Minujín, Dalila Puzzovio, Charlie Squirru, Ruben Santantonín, Edgardo Giménez, Juan Stoppani) and Arte de Los Medios (Art of the Media, comprising Roberto Jacoby, Raul Éscari, Eduardo Costa and theorist Oscar Masotta). The works produced by these groups shifted the boundaries between the commercial object, advertisements and the television programme. In Brazil such artists as Claudio Tozzi and Waldemar Cordeiro turned to a Pop aesthetic or imported mass-produced products to reflect upon, and sometimes resist, the cultural and political relationship with the United States. Peruvian artist Teresa Burga caricatured representations of the female body through the application of flat bright pigments in drawings and doll-like soft sculptures that sometimes incorporated domestic furniture. Similarly, Beatriz González set her glossy paintings within mass-produced furniture, aiming to dethrone hierarchical structures of culture in Colombia, parodying the widespread tendency to pander to imported (mostly European) culture. 

Alex Hodby

Tate Modern and the Expansion of ‘New Institutionalism’: New Developments in Art and Public Programming Practices
Goldsmiths, University of London
Supervised by Bernadette Buckley, Goldsmiths, University of London, and Dr Marko Daniel, Curator (Public Programmes), Tate 
September 2007 –

Alex Hodby’s research explores the implications of so-called ‘new institutional’ practices in art organisations and their programmes. Various approaches to art and its institutions will be addressed using debates in areas such as institutional critique, radical art history and critical curatorial practices. Social, political and economic influences on art institutions will be studied, as well as the reciprocal implications of ‘new’ programming strategies on these cultural forces. The roles of curator, artist and audience will be examined to help uncover the mechanisms of programming strategies. The implications of these strategies for the ongoing creation, negotiation, presentation and viewing of art will be considered.

Tate Modern is the main case study by which to test the ideas outlined above. Hodby will focus on specific projects and analyse data gathered from archives, events and interviews with staff to track the developments in their programming strategies. Her link with Tate Modern will enable her to look closely at past and current developments, as well as future aspirations, in this particular institution’s practices, and reflect on contextual circumstances over the course of his research. Particular attention will be paid to the practice and strategies of the public programmes team, and consideration will be given to the bringing of exhibitions and public programmes into a common frame. Tate Modern’s influence on programming practice will be addressed, enabling an examination of the potential for ‘new institutional’ practices to create new platforms for the exploration of ideas.

Judith Lee

Modern British Oils: History, Formulation and Use
Courtauld Institute of Art
Supervised by Professor Aviva Burnstock, Head of the Department of Conservation and Technology, Courtauld Institute of Art, and Dr Bronwyn Ormsby, Senior Conservation Scientist, Tate
October 2013 –

This AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Partnership is concerned with an investigation into the relationship between changing formulations of artists’ oil paints and the stability of modern oil paintings.

The project will be based upon a series of in-depth technical studies of oil paintings belonging to the Tate collection, which are presenting unique challenges to conservation, such as water sensitivity of paint surfaces. Modern oil paintings have also been associated with the appearance of a white-haze or ‘bloom’ on their surfaces, as well as a fascinating yet alarming phenomenon where sections of paint become liquid and start to drip. The precise causes of such issues are not yet fully understood, and various factors, in addition to the exact paint formulations used by artists, may be of importance, such as atmospheric pollution and other environmental factors.

Information obtained from such technical studies will be linked to a historical investigation of paint manufacture, with a particular focus on Winsor and Newton. This project benefits from access to the Winsor and Newton Archive held at the Hamilton Kerr Institute; a series of archival paint swatches held by Conservation Science at the Tate; and unpublished artist interviews held within the Tate’s institutional records. In addition it is hoped that it will be possible to conduct further artist interviews focusing on the choice of materials, and that these interviews will be registered as part of the central database held by International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art.

Cristina Locatelli

Digital Engagement Beyond the Gallery: Art Maps, A Case Study
University of Exeter
Supervised by Gabriella Giannachi, Professor of Performance and New Media and Director of the Centre for Intermedia, Department of English, University of Exeter, and Dr Rebecca Sinker, Curator of Digital Learning, Tate
October 2012 –

Cristina Locatelli’s research will explore the nature of participation and engagement at Tate and other national museums, analysing activities that use physical and digital media in conjunction with one another. The research focuses on identifying how user-generated knowledge may relate and add to canonical records of artworks in collections and archives.

Locatelli will investigate Art Maps, a digital application developed by Horizon and Tate, which explores artworks in relation to places, sites, landscapes and environments. Art Maps allows audiences to encounter, geotag and annotate artworks from Tate’s collection outside the museum.

The research will examine how the application is used by different audiences, seeking to better understand the nature of their learning experience; whether they are keen to share it with others; and the resulting value of the collective knowledge to others and to Tate.

Isabella Maidment

Performance, Action, Event
Supervised by Briony Fer, Professor of Art History, University College London, and Catherine Wood, Curator of Contemporary Art and Performance, Tate 
October 2011 –

Performance, Action, Event examines the art historical and curatorial issues arising at the interface between performance-orientated practice and the contemporary art museum. Made possible by an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award, this research project will be anchored in case studies drawn from Tate’s recent history and form an integral part of Tate’s interdisciplinary research initiative, which is dedicated to examining performance and performativity as part of a broader investigation into the role of the modern art museum.

With particular focus on the re-presentation of live art, which can necessarily only exist in the present, this thesis seeks to reassess the imaginative potential of inherently ephemeral work – from the radical event-orientated gestures of the 1970s to interventionist strategies in contemporary artistic praxis. Artists to be studied include Francis Alÿs, Lygia Clark, Keren Cytter and Tino Seghal.

In the light of the provision of dedicated space for performance and live events with Tate Modern’s forthcoming expansion, this project will examine the positing of performance-orientated work in the ritualistic space of the contemporary art museum and problematise the complex status of the art museum as both site and stage. What is at stake in the performative construction of meaning in this context and how might its broader societal implications be understood given the pivotal place occupied by performance in contemporary art today?

Nicola Sim

Circuit: Investigating partnerships between visual arts and youth organisations
University of Nottingham
Supervised by Dr Emily Pringle, Head of Learning Practice, Research and Policy, Tate, and Professor Pat Thomson, School of Education, University of Nottingham
October 2013 –

This research explores the politics and performance of partnership between visual arts organisations and the youth sector, using Circuit, a four-year national programme, as the context for a multi-sited ethnographic study. Launched in 2013, Circuit connects 15–25 year olds to the arts in galleries and museums working in partnership with the youth and cultural sector. Led by Tate and funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, it seeks to provide opportunities for young people to steer their own learning and create cultural activity across art disciplines. Circuit involves Tate Modern and Tate Britain; Tate Liverpool; Tate St Ives and partners from the Plus Tate network: firstsite, Colchester; MOSTYN, Llandudno; Nottingham Contemporary; Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; and Wysing Arts Centre and Kettle’s Yard, Cambridgeshire.

The programme offers an unparalleled opportunity to understand how the category of ‘youth’ is constructed and portrayed through different organisational cultures and across different geographies. The research will consider the motivations, challenges and consequences of a partnership-based approach, focusing, for example, on negotiations of risk, authority and expertise in collaborative work. The study will deconstruct discourses around ‘hard-to-reach’ young participants, and examine the multiple ways in which exclusion may be reduced and reproduced through creative practices and partnerships.

The dynamics of cross art-form collaboration and the role of digital networks in supporting organisational partnerships will also feature as subjects of the fieldwork. By accumulating local knowledge and reflecting on the politics and cultural values of young people, as they appear in regional and national contexts, the research will aim to define what is at stake when the gallery goes out and invites in.

This research is funded by the AHRC

Rachel Rose Smith

The International Context of the Art of St Ives 1948–60
University of York 
Supervised by Dr Michael White, Senior Lecturer in History of Art, University of York, and Dr Chris Stephens, Head of Displays, Tate Britain
October 2011 –

This AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award is intended to contribute towards a forthcoming exhibition at Tate St Ives in 2014, touring to the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima). The doctorate will contribute directly to the exhibition by establishing new connections and contexts surrounding the art created in St Ives between 1948 and 1960.

The research will focus on particular connections formed between the artists of St Ives and other leading exponents of international abstraction. It will consider the awareness these artists had of contemporary practices abroad – through publications, correspondences and visits to exhibitions – and investigate whether a sense of artistic exchange was an important factor for each artist’s practice. The aim of this research is to demonstrate the vast networks of exchange, in which many of these artists played a vital role, and to question the tendency in the critical history of St Ives to describe its art in regional or national terms.

Robert Sutton

Henry Moore: Sculpture and Media in Twentieth-Century Britain
University of York
Supervised by Dr Michael White, University of York, and Professor Anne M. Wagner, The Henry Moore Foundation Research Curator, Tate
October 2010 –

This doctorate is part of an AHRC-funded research and curatorial project aimed at redisplaying and cataloguing Tate’s extensive holdings of Henry Moore’s work, with the intention of exploring the interface between twentieth-century visual cultures and Moore’s material practice. Robert Sutton’s approach to this project places translation at its centre, positing the artist’s creativity as a translation of his experiences and his ideas and see the artist’s role as that of interpreter or mediator.

Sutton intends to look at the multi-directional exchange between Moore’s sculptures, his drawings of sculptures, and his drawings in advance of sculptures. Investigating Moore’s changing relationship with both his own works and those of others, with special regard to the meaning intended – and to be found – in the resulting dialogues helps to contextualise his practice artistically. The materials he chose to use in both two and three dimensions become key in his translation of ideas, while the many media he responded to enable us to explore his cultural milieu and map cultural transformations across the twentieth century, notably the internationalisation of the art world and the growth of mass media. It enables us to approach Moore’s ‘big view’ of sculpture as something necessarily global rather than something to be kept within the confines of British or European modernism.

Stephen Vainker

Experiences and Engagement: An Investigation of Young Persons’ Visits to ARTIST ROOMS on Tour
University of Exeter
Supervised by Dr Adrian Bailey, University of Exeter, and Dr Emily Pringle, Head of Learning Practice, Research and Policy, Tate
2010 –

ARTIST ROOMS seeks to engage new, young audiences with contemporary art by touring round the UK the work of important post-war artists, including Andy WarholRobert Mapplethorpe and Damien Hirst. Each room is devoted to the work of one particular artist, with the aim that audiences will be able to gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of that artist’s work.

Stephen Vainker’s research will look at how young people (aged 13–25) respond to ARTIST ROOMS. It will investigate whether, through being faced with a room of art reflecting a worldview that is not their own, their identities may be transformed. Semi-structured interviews will be used with young people in order to gain insights into the outcomes of the ARTIST ROOMS experience for self-reflection and personal transformation. Vainker’s research will also examine the different types of young participants at ARTIST ROOMS exhibitions and events, and in their varied experiences. He will work with Tate, National Gallery of Scotland and partner galleries to identify the different categories of young people who visit, the different methods of engagement used by these young people, and the impact of the frequency and duration of young peoples’ visits on their experience.

Lynn Wray

Art, Process and Propaganda on the Political Left
Liverpool John Moores University
Supervised by Dr Alison Rowley, Professor Juan Cruz, Liverpool John Moores University, and Dr Christoph Grunenberg, Director, Tate Liverpool
September 2009 –

Propaganda art has generally been conceptualised both in art exhibitions and academic literature as something utilised by totalitarian regimes during wartime. Lynn Wray’s thesis aims to re-situate propaganda art as something that also takes place within a democratic context in peacetime by examining how artists have interpreted political ideology through their artistic practice in various emerging and established democratic nation states.

Within this broad theme Wray has chosen to examine the fundamental historic relationship between the visual arts and the global political left. This research project will demonstrate that the artistic visualisation of left-wing ideology cannot be reduced solely to the socialist realist model and is, in fact, characterised by aesthetic heterogeneity. Her research will elucidate this aesthetic dimension in a comparative analysis of materials, production processes and modes of display above and beyond any direct reference to historical and political events at the level of the narrative content or subject matter of the work. In charting this history her thesis aims to identify how the global decline in leftist politics has affected the production of propagandistic or politically engaged artworks in the recent past and in the present, and to provide a platform for debate about the future potential of artistic processes within politics.

Victoria Young

Art Museum Attendance and the Public Realm: The Agency of Visitor Information in Tate’s Organisational Practices of Making the Art Museum’s Audience
London South Bank University
Supervised by Professor Andrew Dewdney, London South Bank University, and Dr Victoria Walsh, Head of Adult Programmes, Tate Britain
October 2010 –

In recent years the policy emphasis upon a socio-political instrumentality of audience development and its role in engaging audiences of broad social and cultural diversity has given way to a demand-led model, in which existing consumer or visitor needs are identified and met via strategic marketing. This adjustment towards a narrowed model of cultural consumption challenges the notion of the representational nature of existing audiences compared with the wider public realm.

Victoria Young’s research aims to generate new knowledge and understandings of how art museums construct notions of audience and visitor experience. In particular, the research is interested in how practical notions of the cultural value of museum attendance and visitor interaction circulate within Tate through curatorial and gallery education practices, as mediated and framed by marketing. The research objective is to support new thinking about audience development based upon qualitative measures of visitor experience, with the core part of the research taking the form of an embedded organisational study.

Ioanna Zouli

Digital Tate: The Uses of Video in the Construction of Audiences
Supervised by Andrew Dewdney, Professor of Educational Development, London South Bank University, Victoria Walsh, Tate Research, and Jane Burton, Head of Content and Creative Director, Tate
October 2011 –

Ioanna Zouli’s research seeks to investigate the hypothesis that the modes and practices through which museums embrace new media technologies are changing the way visitors engage with and experience the museum and its display of objects. 

The research seeks to establish whether, and how, aesthetic experience as traditionally conceived is changing as a result of contemporary network culture and the use of digital technology. It also investigates how this relates to Tate’s own understanding, strategy and deployment of new media in communication and educational design, and what kinds of correspondence there might be between the museum’s and audiences’ digital habits. The research is framed by the question of whether digital technology is rapidly bringing about a convergence between producers and consumers of cultural content. 

The research seeks to produce new understandings about the use of digital video in the mediation of the experience of and value for the art museum and to draw upon the conceptual insights of the AHRC/DMI-funded Tate Encounters research programme (2007–10). 

More specifically, this study’s desired outcome is to contribute to knowledge via a new understanding of how digital video is deployed in Tate as a powerful medium, through which meaning is constructed and communicated in different contexts across the institution. It will draw attention to a narrative account of the working assumptions about the use of video as a medium across and within Tate’s departments, as well as reflecting the institution’s approach to digital technology. 

The BMW Tate Live programme has been chosen as the core case study to observe Tate working with digital technologies. The project’s observations and its development may illuminate the ways in which digital projects are delivered and how the institution perceives the concept of curating digital spaces and platforms. Moreover, the dissertation aims to explore how new audiences are created through Tate’s video production and other media-based projects.

Past students

Elena Crippa

When Art Schools Went Conceptual: The Development of Discursive Pedagogies and Practices in British Art Higher Education in the 1960s
The London Consortium
Supervised by Professor Nigel Llewellyn, Head of Research, Tate
November 2009 – April 2013

This PhD is part of a Leverhulme Trust-funded project at Tate entitled Art School Educated: Curriculum Development and Institutional Change in UK Art Schools, 1960–2010. Today, teaching in British art colleges and in fine art departments in universities mostly takes place through verbal exchanges and discursive formats, such as tutorials, seminars, group discussions and sessions of group criticism. Yet, until the post-war period, most teaching used to take place in the life room, where tutors would supervise and correct the work being made by the students, mostly drawing and painting from the model. When, how and why did such a pedagogical shift take place?

My dissertation seeks to unravel the complex and multifaceted history that, in the 1960s, saw art schools shift their focus from the teaching of art making to the creation of an environment that fosters discussion and critical reflection about the work produced by the students. It can be argued that such a shift redefined art schools as ‘conceptual’ in the sense that priority was given to conception over execution, while the experience of the work produced by students was to become inseparably bound to its framing discourse. 

In order to articulate and ground my argument, I analyse a set of programmes which, in the 1960s, established new and influential art pedagogies: early and often radical examples that marked the shift towards discursive formats of teaching and learning, while fostering concept-driven approaches to making. These include Roy Ascott’s Groundcourse at Ealing College of Art; the development of group criticism in the Sculpture Department of St. Martin’s School of Art, London; the critical responses developed in the same department, when students started staging performances that addressed the critical discourse dominating the school at the time; and the Art Theory programme taught at Coventry College of Art by Art & Language, one of the most radical examples of discursive art pedagogy, which turned verbal discussion and writing into the very subject of the work.

Corinna Dean

Establishing Tate Modern Cultural Quarter 
London School of Economics
Supervised by Professor Robert Tavernor, London School of Economics, and Donald Hyslop, Head of Regeneration and Community Partnerships, Tate
January 2007 –

Corinna Dean’s research seeks to explore the impact of the Tate Modern cultural quarter on regenerating the area around Bankside in Southwark. She looks at the currency of the term ‘cultural quarter’ and examines its role in relation to the promotion of London as a world-class cultural city. When culture is competing on the same level as the economic prowess of a city, how does this affect the cultural narrative?

Much debate has centred on the role of the museum as cultural and urban regenerator, often leading to an oversimplification of events. In order to examine this late twentieth-century model of regeneration and to assess the extent of social and cultural regeneration Dean will examine the precedents. Culture plays a key role in the promotion of cities, but without strong programming and curatorial leadership the success of a building can be undermined.

Dean will explore Tate’s role and its relationship to hegemonic practice in the context of concepts of display and public mandate. Between 1975, when the National Theatre was completed, and 1997, when the British Library was opened, no major cultural buildings were built in London (in contrast to the ‘Grand Projects’ of François Mitterand, which were all financed and directed by the French government). Here she will examine the significance of Tate’s autonomy vis-à-vis government and its relationship to sponsors. Central to her research are the questions of whether and how Tate has introduced a new paradigm of contemporary culture, unique to the institution.

As part of the collaborative element of Dean’s doctorate, Tate made available records relating to the creation of Tate Modern and allowed her to discuss my work with key figures in the Tate organisation.

Caroline Donnellan

Establishing Tate Modern: Vision and Patronage
London School of Economics
Supervised by Professor Robert Tavernor, London School of Economics, and Dr Victoria Walsh, Head of Adult Programmes, Tate
September 2006 –

Spectacular architecture has come to play a major role in museum design in the global arena. The converted Bankside Power Station building is a key feature in the success of Tate Modern. It is today the most visited museum of modern art in the world. Caroline Donnellan’s research aims to provide an in-depth study of the cultural, economic and political aspects on how the gallery of modern art was established. An analysis will be undertaken on the governance, the artworks and the building which constitute Tate Modern. She aims to promote a better understanding of Tate Modern’s building andcollection; to raise awareness of the relationship between landmark architecture, culture and art in a world capital; and to estimate the importance of Tate Modern locally and nationally.

Donnellan’s work at Tate includes using its unique Library and Archive, drawing on TG 12: Tate Modern Project, 1986–2000 and TG 1/ 3: Minutes of Trustee’s Meetings. She has also looked at the architectural competition submissions.

Susannah Gilbert

Latin American Art in an International Context
University of Essex
Supervised by Professor Dawn Ades, University of Essex, and Tanya Barson, Curator, Tate
October 2008 –

In some Latin American countries conceptual art grew out of artists’ responses to authoritarianism. Susannah Gilbert is particularly interested in Mail Art since the 1960s, the use of systems of circulation and exchange and the written word in art, and the relationship between Mail Artists from Latin America and those from the US and their links with Fluxus.

The artists who will feature in this analysis include Eugenio DittbornPaulo BrusckyLuis Camnitzer and Mira Schendel. She will try to establish how this anti-art framework has been carried into the art of the 1990s and the present day. The preoccupation with non-art spaces and with mass media and circulation continues, with some artists attempting to challenge transnational capitalism.

Latin American Art collected in the UK in recent years has tended to reflect a social and political agenda, whereas cultural institutions had previously approached the field in an apolitical way. Gilbert aims to explore the sudden growth in collecting Latin American Art in Britain in the 1990s and, in particular, this focus on politically engaged art.

For the collaborative element of the doctorate Gilbert will contribute to research into Tate’s Latin American collection through writing texts about individual works and, where possible, interviewing artists.

Cora Gilroy-Ware

The Classical Nude in Romantic Britain
University of York 
Supervised by Professor Elizabeth Prettejohn, University of York, and Dr Martin Myrone, Curator, Tate Britain 
October 2010 –

This thesis traces the shifting currency of Greco-Roman corporealities in British academic art during the period 1800–40. The ‘classical nude’ is defined as any unclothed or lightly draped figure in painting or sculpture whose appearance follows the templates provided by ancient Hellenic sculpture. This project does not centre on the human body. Rather, the classical nude is held as an abstract projection of that body, a fantasy of human physicality in which meaning is concentrated in contour, outline and surface.

In the years leading up to 1800, the classical nude possessed a political charge related to the utopian ideals of radical and republican politics, both in Britain and in France. For certain artists and politicians, the beauty of the classical nude embodied the apex of human potential, and thus became a symbol of egalitarian rights and the rhetoric of universal liberty. Yet, with the exception of the arguably anti-classical William Hogarth, the fine arts in Britain had virtually no history outside of aristocratic patronage and upper-class grand tourism.

Since the founding of the Royal Academy in 1768, casts of ancient statues had become the primary tool for academic artistic practice, making the classical nude a fundamentally institutional entity in an establishment under the auspices of the King. Classical culture itself remained largely the preserve of the ruling elite, both Whig and Tory, while patronage remained private and the Academy remained ‘Royal’. It is in this dual function as radical icon and establishment cornerstone that the classical nude existed in British art at the beginning of this project. The Napoleonic Wars changed the geographical and material boundaries of British artistic production, and as the period advanced, the polemical uses and political meanings of the classical nude mutated. In sharp contrast to the ideological emblem it had been just decades earlier, the classical nude became seen as an evasion of depth, meaning and politics.

As part of the collaborative element of the degree, Cora Gilroy-Ware has prepared catalogue entries on a number of works in Tate’s collection.

Rob Knifton

Centre of the Creative Universe: Liverpool and the Avant-Garde
University of Liverpool
Supervised by Professor Jim Aulich, University of Liverpool, and Dr Christoph Grunenberg, Tate
2005 –

Rob Knifton’s thesis discusses the nature of the urban environment as evidenced in the practice of art galleries. Beginning with an extended analysis of the 2007 exhibition at Tate Liverpool, Centre of the Creative Universe: Liverpool and the Avant-Garde, he will develop a theoretical framework around three key topics related to the city and museum: the application of narrative forms, equivalence of space, and archives of anamnesis and amnesia.

At Tate Liverpool Knifton researched and co-curated Centre of the Creative Universe alongside Tate Liverpool Director Christoph Grunenberg and Assistant Curator Darren Pih. He contributed to, and co-edited, the catalogue, published by Liverpool University Press. The exhibition examined perceptions of Liverpool from the perspective of a number of artists, including: Bernd and Hilla Becher, Yoko Ono, the Boyle Family, and Rineke Dijkstra. It also included a specially-commissioned work on Brian Epstein by Jeremy Deller and Paul Ryan. He also helped to establish and manage the Tate Liverpool Postgraduate Research Forum, which offers postgraduate students a platform for presenting their work.

Ali MacGilp

The London Art Market and the Formation of a National Collection at Tate 1926-1950
University of Reading
Supervised by Dr Anna Gruetzner Robins, University of Reading, and Robert Upstone, Curator (Modern British Art), Tate
September 2006 –

Ali MacGilp’s thesis looks at the way the London art world functioned in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, and Tate’s position within that system. It examines the works that entered Tate’s collection and the circumstances surrounding their acquisition. It also explores the important works that did not enter the collection, through lack of enterprise or the over-cautious attitude and conservative taste of Tate staff and Trustees.

It considers the structure of Tate as an institution, including its budget and function, and the relationships of its staff and Trustees with dealers, artists and collectors, mostly based in London. It was these social and professional networks, together with critics’ judgements in the national press, which influenced purchases. The thesis examines the backgrounds and perspectives on art of the Tate Trustees and senior staff in order to ascertain the factors that contributed to the conservative nature of Tate’s acquisition policy during this period.

The thesis uses Tate Trustee Board Minutes and correspondence alongside dealers’ sales records, press cuttings and correspondence with artists. It locates works from Tate’s collection by British artists Matthew Smith, Paul Nash and the British surrealists, and the European surrealists and modernist masters, back into the London art market of the time of their acquisition. The galleries focused on are Alex Reid & Lefevre, Arthur Tooth & Sons, Zwemmer Gallery, Mayor Gallery, Guggenheim Jeune and the London Gallery.

Marion Martin

Tragic Hope – Sentiment and Critique in the Art of J.M.W. Turner
University of Leicester
Supervised by Dr Matthew Potter, University of Leicester, and Dr David Blayney Brown, Curator (18th and 19th century British Art), Tate
September 2009 – September 2013

This thesis focuses on historical meanings in J.M.W. Turner’s art. As a starting point, it examines the cultural backdrop and the mission of theorists at the Royal Academy, specifically Joshua Reynolds, to improve society. This mission owed much to a strand of thinking, aligned with the recently formed utopian concept of the bourgeois public: sentimentalism. Turner’s art, the thesis proposes, pursued a utopian ideal throughout. 

While landscape art around 1800 tended to be interpreted in contexts which abstracted art from societal significance, Turner’s earliest composite works, exhibited in 1798 and 1799, guided their audience’s understanding towards the moral effects of tragedy through their paratexts (a term from literary studies meaning the texts accompanying a published work, here the titles and texts appended by the artist to paintings at exhibitions).

In addition to these early works, the thesis studies three more groupings in Turner’s œuvre. The first is a body of works exhibited around 1800, some with appended texts supposedly written by Turner himself, which refer to an artist persona and artistic mission. A further group is from the period when Turner’s ‘Fallacies of Hope’ were in use. These paintings specifically promoted a pacifistic, anti-heroic ideal. The third are works relating to Venice. All of the groups, but particularly the last two, use paratexts to combine an educational mission with sharp criticism of reigning aesthetic and ethical approaches.

Alex Massouras

The Emergence of the Emerging Artist in London, 1960–2010
The London Consortium
Supervised by Professor Nigel Llewellyn, Head of Research, Tate
November 2009 –

This PhD is part of a Leverhulme Trust-funded project at Tate entitled Art School Educated: Curriculum Development and Institutional Change in UK Art Schools, 1960–2010. Alex Massouras’s thesis investigates how pedagogical reforms in London’s art schools have responded to and shaped changes in the identity of the artist since the first Coldstream Report. The research will focus on the metamorphosis of art schools into academic institutions, through the assimilation of art history and theory; their varying approaches to divisions among media disciplines; and their engagement with notions of professionalism and vocation. The conflict between institution and autonomy, or insider and outsider, will be explored in order to track shifts in the reception of young artists, and to contextualise the emerging artist phenomenon.

Antoinette McKane

 Tate Liverpool as a Force for Social Renewal? A Critical Study of Tate Liverpool’s Interpretation and Education Policies and Practices (1988–2008)
University of Liverpool’s Centre for Architecture and Visual Arts (CAVA)
Supervised by Jonathan Harris, University of Liverpool, and Lindsey Fryer, Head of Learning, Tate
September 2007 –

Tate Liverpool was founded in 1988 on the premise that the new gallery would ‘in no way be a poor relation of its London counterpart but would have the distinct identity of being a gallery dedicated to showing modern art and encouraging a new younger audience through an active education programme’. The aim of this project is to assess this claim historically in the context of the enlarging of the Tate family of galleries and the changing nature of the city of Liverpool.

Antoinette McKane’s thesis charts the history of interpretation and education policy and practice at Tate Liverpool in relation to the mission of the institution as a whole, museum practice in general and the changing face of education, interpretation and artistic practice. This involves analysing and evaluating the work of Tate’s Learning Department in relation to selected exhibitions at Tate Liverpool, examining the close links that have been made over the years with other cultural organisations, academic institutions and community organisations in Liverpool, and how the department has grown within the structure of the gallery over the past 20 years. The project treats Tate Liverpool as a case study in order to provide an original analysis of the changing mission of the museum in the city and to give insight into the changing nature of the interpretation of modern and contemporary art, highlighting the centrality of discourse and mediation in relation to this area of practice and exploring the interface between education and exhibitions.

The nature of the work undertaken at Tate can be divided into three categories: archival; documentary and observational. As an essentially historical study, this research makes use of the archival resources available at the Hyman Kreitman Reading Rooms at Tate Britain, where the development of Tate Liverpool and its educational provisions can be traced through the analysis of original gallery records. At Tate Liverpool, analysis of working documents is employed to chart the development, from initial concept to final evaluation, of the key exhibitions and events. Observational research includes attending planning and project meetings at Tate Liverpool and participating in outreach activities undertaken in collaboration with Tate Liverpool’s external partners, such as HMP Altcourse. The advice and experience of Tate Liverpool’s staff also helps to direct and inform the research through regular supervision and more formal interviews.

Peter Moore

British Graphic Art, 1660-1735: An Atlantic Perspective
University of York
Supervised by Professor Mark Hallett, University of York, and Dr Martin Myrone, Lead Curator, pre 1800 British Art, Tate
October 2009 – September 2013

This PhD is part of an AHRC-funded research project at Tate entitled Court, Country, City: British Art 1660–1735. Focusing on a wide-ranging body of graphic art produced between 1660 and 1735, Peter Moore’s research explores the material, imaginative and personal links that helped tie Britain into an Atlantic economy during the period. As historians have come increasingly to recognise, North America and the Caribbean were a major focus of British overseas investment in these years, and colonisation in these regions had profound implications for the shaping of British cultural identity. The possibility of considering British art in an Atlantic context is especially provocative, given the assumptions which have traditionally been made about the development of a parochial or ‘native’ artistic tradition through these decades.

The scope of materials studied is necessarily broad, encompassing categories such as cartographic imagery and natural history engraving. Though such images have often remained absent from mainstream narratives of British graphic art (being seen more readily as illustrative forms of unmediated evidence), the thesis identifies the various ways in which they contributed to a more discernible ‘fine art’ tradition associated with the Atlantic world. Only by being filtered through a prescribed set of pictorial and artistic conventions, this research suggests, were representations of unfamiliar places, things and concepts, made legible to British viewers. 

Seph Rodney

Two Rooms: Locating the Meeting Place of the Visitor and the Museum
Birkbeck, University of London
Supervised by Dr Gordon Fyfe, Birkbeck, University of London, and Dr Marko Daniel, Curator ( Public Programmes), Tate Modern
September 2006 –

The subject of Seph Rodney’s research is what is known about the visitor outside the majority of standard institutional logics. Certainly, a great deal is known about visitors to museums of modern and contemporary art. Demographic information is readily available, as is knowledge of habitual behaviour in the museum, motivations, ways of learning, who will not come and in general terms why. Given the competing interests of stakeholders within and without museums, the visitor is understood and treated, not according to the individual’s needs, but according to the agendas that appear to coalesce in the room, at the moment and point of contact with art. Can an individual’s contextualised experience — read through the prism of the space of the room, the history of a particular institution, the models of consumerism, standards of tourism, stated interests of curators, visitor services staff, and other museum professionals — shed light on what is at stake and for whom in the seemingly unadorned, simple act of viewing a work of art? This project seeks to test what certain museums and their staff say about their interest in the viewer against the actual experience of one person in different museums and different times in his life.

Tate Modern is used as a case study. Rodney looks at a particular room at the gallery it and derives information through a phenomenological reading. This is reviewed against the narratives told by museum staff about the nature of the museum, what its aims are, along with what kinds of visitors they say they would like to welcome to the museum, what they hope these visitors get from the experience and how they should behave while in the museum. It appears that different departments have somewhat different views of these aims and of the desired visitor types. Through unstructured interviews with staff members and close reading of the texts produced by Tate, Rodney aims to test certain hypotheses concerning the comprehension of the visitor and the uses to which this understanding is put by this institution.

Philippa Simpson

The London Art Market, 1790-1815: The New Exhibition Culture and the Staging of the British School
Courtauld Institute of Art
Supervised by Professor David Solkin, Courtauld Institute of Art, and Martin Myrone, Curator (18th & 19th century British Art), Tate
October 2005 –

Philippa Simpson research is focused on the flood of imports entering London during the French War period, and the exhibition culture this generated. As the consumption of Old Master paintings became an increasingly high profile business, and as the works entering London were of a far greater range and quality than previously seen, spaces for their display began to emerge as sites for the consideration of different national schools. Important sales, such as those of the Orleans Collection, formerly owned by a branch of the French royal family, provided the opportunity for inaugural exhibitions of Old Master art, and introduced new audiences to the spectacle of the display as distinct from the business of the sale.

Philippa Simpson’s doctoral research formed part of the development of Tate Britain’s Turner and the Masters exhibition which travelled to the Grand Palais, Paris, and the Museo Nacionel del Prado, Madrid. Since the start of her doctorate, she has been heavily involved with the curatorial administration of this project, and has offered support in many aspects of its organisation, including: loans, logistics, design, publicity, sponsorship and conservation, as well as research activities. She has acted as a point of contact between partner venues, as well as communicating with lenders and registrars. her work on the PhD has tessellated extremely closely with the life of the project, and each has been shaped by the other in a variety of ways. She has also been involved with staging a number of displays, including Hockney on Turner Watercolours, and Visionary Landscapes, and has written interpretative materials and catalogue texts for shows, including a Turner exhibition travelling to Russia. She was involved with the funding proposals for Tate’s Imagine a Nation project, and developed a new display for the Clore Gallery at Tate Britain in 2009.

Stephanie Straine

Drawing Strategies in the 1960s and 1970s 
University College London 
Supervised by Professor Briony Fer, University College London, and Dr Mark Godfrey, Curator (Contemporary Art), Tate
September 2009 –

Stephanie Straine’s thesis addresses and attempts to account for the survival of figurative, illusionistic and gestural forms of drawing in the 1960s and 1970s – an era dominated by the diagrammatic and anti-aesthetic concerns of conceptualism and the radical deconstruction of the traditional art object. This research project will complicate the well-established theorisation of drawing as process or prototype, opening up the field to works, such as those in the ARTIST ROOMS collection, which fail to fit this model.

While the diagrammatic and working drawings of the 1960s and 1970s have received much critical attention, the idea of the finished drawing has been routinely overlooked. In this conception of drawing, the flux of process or the preliminary nature of working something out is substituted for a considered study of the activity, materials and techniques of drawing. In the work of Vija CelminsEd Ruscha and Joseph Beuys, and perhaps even Ellen GallagherAgnes Martin and Sol LeWitt (all featured in ARTIST ROOMS), drawing approaches a sensual, haptic quality that undercuts the received non-aestheticism of conceptual art. Straine’s thesis will reconfigure this relatively unexamined strand of drawing practice in terms of the oddity of perfection, extremity of finish, and a sustained, almost pressurised, model of looking.

During her collaboration with Tate Straine will be based at their Research Department, studying and researching works of art in order to write short texts on the ARTIST ROOMS drawings for publication on Tate Online. These texts will contribute to the interpretation and public awareness of these little-known drawings, the majority of which have been rarely studied or exhibited. By combining an academic thesis with the writing of accessible interpretative texts for the drawings, her collaborative PhD envisions a pluralistic approach to working with a permanent collection, the ultimate outcome being a significant scholarly reassessment of drawing’s myriad strategies at this crucial juncture in the history of modern art.

Contact us

To discuss possible research collaborations or projects with Tate, please email research@tate.org.uk.