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.


Tate has up to five fully funded AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) studentships to allocate each year. 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. Please see the left-hand menu for studentships currently open for applications.

Proposals for new studentships are made jointly by a member of Tate staff and a member of academic staff at a UK university. The deadline for proposals is the end of November for studentships to start in October of the following year. The scheme does not allow for applications directly from potential students.

Tate welcomes proposals from academics to examine, or use as a starting point, any of the objects or artworks in our collection from any disciplinary perspective.

Applications are assessed by a panel with members drawn from universities and other cultural heritage organisations as well as Tate. The successful studentships are selected on their academic strengths and clear support for the organisation’s objectives.

The studentships are then advertised in the spring by the university partner to recruit the right student.

Further information about Collaborative Doctoral Partnership studentships is available on the Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships website.

Click here for past studentship profiles


Contact us

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

Current studentships

  • Rhian AddisonThe Landscape Painter’s Studio in the Age of Exhibitions: Private Galleries in London, from Gainsborough to Constable and Turner, c.1780–1850
  • Hazel AtashrooCreative Communities in Art and Design in the 1980s
  • Eloise BennettIntermediality: The Transformation of Art and Literature in the International Avant-garde, 1945–1975
  • Helena BonettBarbara Hepworth: Practice, Interpretation, Legacy
  • Kat BraybrookeHacking the Museum, Together: Peer-to-Peer Interactions at Shared Machine Shops in UK Cultural Heritage Institutions
  • Amy ConcannonThe ‘Unnatural’ Landscape: Visualisation of the Urban Scene 1800–50
  • Andrew CummingsNew Media Art Histories in Asia
  • Ambra D'AntoneNetworks of Individual Subversion: Surrealism in the Levant
  • Amina DiabRe-Displaying the Modern: A History of Art Practices, Artistic Networks and Institutions in Egypt 1939–2000
  • Lina DžuverovićHybrid Practices: Interdisciplinarity and Pop Art Sensibilities in Yugoslav Art in 1960s and 1970s
  • Tom EnsomTechnical Narratives: Method, Purpose, Use and Value in the Technical Description and Analysis of Software-Based Art
  • Karen Di FrancoForms, Strategies and Contexts of Publishing in Modern and Contemporary Art Practice (1960s to the Present Day)
  • Janine FrançoisIn What Ways Does Art in the Museum Context Provide a Safe Space to Ask Difficult Questions around Culture and Race?
  • Inga FraserTowards Artists’ Moving Image: Film and Cinematic Consciousness, Britain 1896–1966
  • Sofia GurevichThe Form and Content of the Early Soviet Book: A Study Through the Country’s Publishing Industry Institutions of the 1920s and 1930s
  • Amy HarrisCanonising British Sculpture: Sir Francis Chantrey and the Chantrey Bequest
  • Alex HodbyTate Modern and the Expansion of ‘New Institutionalism’: New Developments in Art and Public Programming Practices
  • Louisa HoodFamily Learning in Art Galleries
  • Eleanor JonesBeyond Bloomsbury: Queer/Race/Art
  • Judith LeeModern British Oils: History, Formulation and Use
  • Louisa LeeConceptual Art in Britain, 1964–1979
  • Jonty LeesCan We Create a Creative Community?
  • Amy LimArt Patronage and Court Influence, 1660–1714
  • Cristina LocatelliDigital Engagement Beyond the Gallery: Art Maps, A Case Study
  • Marianne MulveyWhat is the Queer Potential of the Public Programme within the Arts Institution?
  • Katy NorrisThe Emancipation of Women Artists: Strategies of Promotion and Influence in the Edwardian Art World, 1880–1918
  • Louisa PenfoldInvestigating the Value of Experiential Learning and Play in the Design of Learning Spaces for Young Children at Tate
  • Nicola SimCircuit: Investigating Partnerships between Visual Arts and Youth Organisations
  • Patricia SmithenThe Development and Impact of Artist Acrylic Paints in the United Kingdom
  • Alison WrightBritish Sporting and Animal Art, 1760–1840. A Critical History of its Production, Reception, Collection and Display
  • 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

Current studentship profiles

Rhian Addison

The Landscape Painter’s Studio in the Age of Exhibitions: Private Galleries in London, from Gainsborough to Constable and Turner, c.1780–1850
University of York
Supervised by Dr Richard Johns, Lecturer in History of Art, University of York and Dr Martin Myrone, Lead Curator (British Art to 1800), Tate
October 2017 –

Recent scholarship has redefined the London art world of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries as an ‘age of exhibitions’. The focus on the capital’s exhibitions culture has meant that attention has not been given to the artist’s studio as a site of display of creative encounter; this particularly applies to the studios of landscape painters. This project will establish a greater understanding of how the production and reception of rural landscape painting was moulded by the urban studio-cum-gallery. It is an opportunity to explore lesser known artists among Tate’s collection of British landscape painters such as Richard Wilson (The Thames near Marble Hill, Twickenham c.1762, Tate N04874), whose studio was in Covent Garden, and George Morland (Roadside Inn 1790, Tate N02641), who had successive London residences.

The research will begin with statistical analysis of exhibitions and sales of rural landscapes in London at sites such as the Royal Academy and British Institution, serving as an indicator of the commercial flow and appeal of British landscape painting at the time. To refine the research artists will be selected as case studies, drawing on qualitative data, such as anecdotal records and visual material, to understand the experience of visiting these artists in their studio galleries, their working practice and how the urban environment shaped the viewer’s encounter with the rural subject matter. The locations of these artists, their residences, their studios/galleries and en plein air locations will be mapped to understand their movements, the challenges and experiences of being a landscape artist in an urban area. Visually analysing a selection of works can help form a greater understanding of how the working space was a factor in the resulting landscape painting.

Funded by the AHRC, the research will feed directly back into the Tate collection, potentially providing revised interpretations and contextualising landscape painting in the wider socio-political and economic context of the ‘age of exhibitions’.

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.

Eloise Bennett

Intermediality: The Transformation of Art and Literature in the International Avant-garde, 1945–1975
University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art
Supervised by Professor Neil Cox, University of Edinburgh, Dean Hughes, Edinburgh College of Art, and Adrian Glew, Archivist, Tate Britain
October 2017 –

This research explores intermediality, experiment and connection in art and literature from 1945 to 1975. At the core of this project are the materials relating to the international avant-garde of this period held in the archive of Nimai Chatterji (1933–2010), acquired by Tate in 2006.

The archive comprises notes, books, journals and magazines, photographs, prints and works on paper by individual authors, artists and collectives. The research will cover experimental and modernist literature, concrete and visual poetry, and movements such as Lettrism, Pataphysics, Situationism and Fluxus. I aim to connect, contrast and examine these movements in parallel, reflecting both their temporal condition of creation and contemporary site alongside one another in the archive. The theory of ‘intermedia’ – a phrase coined by Fluxus artist Dick Higgins to cover art practice which collapsed boundaries of recognised media – will be central to this approach.

The Chatterji archive was assembled through years of letter writing and correspondence that operated irrespective of national borders. Critically re-examining the ‘post-war’ moment and the very notion of an ‘avant-garde’ post-1945, this research will build upon recent studies which adopt a truly international focus, taking note of continued colonial proxy wars, which are often erased in considerations of the ‘post-war’ period.

The project will enrich the understanding of intermedia research and provide insight into the structure, form and contents of this newly catalogued and under-researched archive. Through a critical examination of ephemera – often only peripheral in art historical surveys, accounts and exhibitions – an understanding of political and social conditions within a context of reading, writing and the exchange of art and ideas may be reached.

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.

Kat Braybrooke

Hacking the Museum, Together: Peer-to-Peer Interactions at Shared Machine Shops in UK Cultural Heritage Institutions
University of Sussex
Supervised by Dr Tim Jordan, Head of University of Sussex School of Media, Film and Music, Dr Caroline Bassett, Director of University of Sussex Humanities Lab, and Dr Rebecca Sinker, Curator, Tate Learning
September 2015 –

Funded by the University of Sussex Humanities Lab, this doctoral project is inspired by Braybrooke’s 2011 ethnographic study of gender and identity concerns amongst 30 Millennial-aged F/LOSS (Free, Libre, Open Source) hackers across Europe for her MSc Digital Anthropology at UCL, which concluded that embodied, physical experience had become an essential element of human-machine interactions, even when engaging online. Braybrooke’s doctoral project builds on these findings by examining the effects of hacking and making ontologies in the cultural heritage sector, exploring emergent relationships between actants (humans, machines and spaces) at shared machine shops (makerspaces, fab labs, digital hubs) in UK cultural heritage institutions. Tate’s Digital Studio and its ground-breaking programmes will be primary case studies for this work.

Shared machine shops like the Tate’s Digital Studio are open workshop sites which prioritise the sharing of materials and source code. Their historical practices and hackerspace origins have been inspired by decentralised peer-production and hands-on learning methods. The focus of this project is to look at the widespread cultural effects of these interactions for communities. What kinds of relationships are being crafted between actants (users, machines and facilitators) at these sites when they are situated within cultural heritage institutions? How might these sites be influenced by genealogical practices of hacking, making and museology? What happens when once-closed cultural artefacts are (re)produced digitally by participants using peer-production methods?

To explore these concepts, a qualitative critical making framework is proposed, combining S. Nascimento’s action-oriented methods with the epistemological toolkits of B. Latour’s actor-network theory and D. Haraway’s post-humanist figurations. Taking inspiration from transdisciplinary, interventionist and hands-on community practices, this research aims to understand both the physical uniqueness of each site and the situated conditions of power, culture and embodiment that may perforate and reinforce its boundaries.

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.

Andrew Cummings

New Media Art Histories in Asia
Courtauld Institute of Art
Supervised by Dr Wenny Teo, Courtauld Institute of Art, and Dr Sook-Kyung Lee, Senior Research Curator, Tate Research Centre: Asia
October 2017 –

New Media art has been the subject of many recent studies in art history and media, but despite the significance of artists from Asia pioneering and working in New Media there remains a distinct lack of research focusing on the vast output of New Media art from the region. This project seeks to fill this gap by taking New Media art from Asia as its broad subject. The research will focus on responses to globalisation and technology in art from East Asia, involving an exploration of how artists working in New Media have conceived of, constructed and pieced together the relationship between globalisation, technology and identity, including national, pan-regional and global identities.

This research seeks to question canonical frameworks for understanding art outside of Euro-America and gesture towards new frameworks for understanding art, including New Media art, in Asia.

Ambra D'Antone

Networks of Individual Subversion: Surrealism in the Levant
Courtauld Institute of Art
Supervised by Dr Gavin Parkinson, Senior Lecturer in 20th-century European Art, Courtauld Institute of Art, and Dr Matthew Gale, Head of Displays, Tate Modern
October 2017 –

This AHRC-funded project brings to academic attention the emergence of Surrealist ideas and practices in countries of the Levant after the 1940s. The analysis of Surrealism as a transnational movement has been the object of renewed scholarly interest in very recent years, effectively initiating a process of de-centring of Surrealism out of its conventional frameworks. The publication of Sam Bardaouil’s Surrealism in Egypt: Modernism and the Art and Liberty Group (2016) contributed to this global understanding by opening a whole geographical area to new investigations. Yet, while some isolated research has appeared on Surrealism in the region, this project offers the first systematic study of the reception and adaptation of French Surrealism in Syria and Turkey from an art historical perspective.

In 1938, André Masson defined surrealism as ‘the collective experience of individualism’ (Robert S. Short, The Politics of Surrealism 1920–1936, 1966, p.21). This seemingly contradictory coexistence of collectivism and individualism constitutes a key concept when analysing the emergence of surrealist practices as a transnational movement, instead of a primarily French-centric cultural phenomenon. The aim of my analysis is to assess how surrealism emerged and developed in the areas of Turkey and Syria, differentially. I focus on two artists: Syrian Fateh al-Moudarres (1922–1999) and Turkish Yüksel Arslan (1933–2017). In my thesis, I analyse how the tension between individualism and collectivism was instantiated in their work, by teasing out the artists’ connections to local collectives, to the French surrealist movement and their personal understanding of surrealist ideas and practices, in order to reveal productive connections between them and similar strategies exploited by Arslan and al-Moudarres in their processes of cultural negotiation. The overarching aim of my analysis, moreover, is to provide an alternative model for the study of surrealism on a world scale to the traditional methods exploited in the existing literature.

Amina Diab

Re-Displaying the Modern: A History of Art Practices, Artistic Networks and Institutions in Egypt 1939–2000
University of York
Supervised by Dr Jo Applin, Senior Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Art, University of York, and Morad Montazami, Research Curator, Middle East and North Africa, Tate
October 2015 –

This AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award focuses on the institutional history of modern art practices in Egypt between 1939 and 2000. The last decade has seen a renewed academic interest in modern and contemporary Middle Eastern art. Unlike previous scholarship that approached Middle Eastern art through a teleological prism, in which the trajectories of local art had always been considered as somehow essentially ‘Islamic’ – explicitly or not reinforcing Western-centered narratives – revisionist narratives consider local art as always socially constructed and therefore only intelligible within its particular local historical, social and political contexts. Similarly, this project follows a critical analysis of how different kinds of aesthetic expression, judgement and reception in the Egyptian art sphere articulate a distinct aesthetic language and artistic practice that is both unquestionably modern and yet deeply local. In such a way, the project re-evaluates the adoption and adaption of modernist paradigms.

This project maps out the development of galleries, festivals, biennials, publications and other platforms for artistic exchange in Egypt from 1939 to 2000. The state patronage of the arts is one angle this project pursues. One observes a number of similarities and consistencies in the articulation of cultural policies, under presidents Abdel Nasser and Mubarak. Rather than rethink the defunct Nasserist cultural machinery, the Mubarak regime decided to revive old Nasserist policies, notably the High Council of Culture. Alongside a growing number of privately owned galleries, artists continued to navigate state institutions such as biennials, youth salons and other state-run initiatives for support. By surveying artworks, art publications and conducting oral histories with artists, art critics and art professors in Egypt, this research will also examine the emergence and reception of new artistic styles and the development of aesthetic discourses that move beyond frameworks of the nation-state.

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.

Tom Ensom

Technical Narratives: Method, Purpose, Use and Value in the Technical Description and Analysis of Software-Based Art
King's College London
Supervised by Dr Mark Hedges, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London and Professor Pip Laurenson, Head of Collection Care Research, Tate
October 2014 –

The term ‘software-based art’ refers to art where software is the primary artistic medium. Such works form complex systems, exhibiting a range of dependencies on changing hardware, software and technological environments. Such characteristics raise significant challenges for their long-term preservation, yet there is little consensus regarding preservation strategies, nor how a sense of what these works are like might be conveyed to people unable to visit Tate’s galleries.

The technical and behavioural complexity of these artworks makes it essential to capture detailed technical information about the components of an artwork and the digital environments in which they are created, curated and stored. The central research question of this AHRC-funded Collaborative Partnership Award therefore concerns how to describe or represent a software-based artwork. This will be examined from various perspectives, ranging from that of a broad viewing audience, to a conservation specialist making decisions about the conservation and display of an artwork. The secondary research question will explore the notion of technical art history for software-based art. Technical art history is an evolving field that focuses on the material choices of the artist, how a work was made, and the relationship of these to the meaning, history and context of the work. So far these questions have mostly been examined in the context of artworks that use traditional artistic materials such as paint. This research project will reframe these questions and consider what kind of analogous studies of software-based art might be undertaken, using digital analytical techniques used instead of chemical and physical ones.

In approaching both of the key research questions, an emphasis is to be given to the novel application of analytical techniques (such as digital forensics) and principles from software engineering. This research represents the first detailed technical study of software-based art to be based on the application of such methods to the software and systems on which they were developed and displayed.

Karen Di Franco

Forms, Strategies and Contexts of Publishing in Modern and Contemporary Art Practice (1960s to the Present Day)
University of Reading
Supervised by Dr Ruth Blacksell, Programme Director in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication, the University of Reading and Maxine Miller, Library Collections Manager, Tate Britain
October 2015 –

This project explores the peripheral and perhaps more ephemeral items created through artists’ publishing to narrate a more inclusive history of modern and contemporary art. Materials held within the library and archive collections at Tate will be brought together with artworks and specially produced artists’ interviews, to draw out the relationships between them, and so better consider the effects that these works have had on practitioners and audiences in recent decades.

Artists’ publishing is often considered – and held – separately within institutional collections. However, by considering the book as artwork, as object, and as a mode of dissemination and distribution, the project will emphasise the importance of publishing within contemporary practice, and provide the basis from which to explore a wide variety of themes, materials, and formats, whether analogue or digital. The library space will become a testing ground both for display and for discussion, with the works selected becoming part of a constellation of histories to be engaged and further extended by Karen Di Franco and others.

This research will also focus on the expansion of cataloguing, archiving and curatorial terms and contexts, to explore the gaps in art historical knowledge of past works (the works and connections between them) and the need to understand contemporary works, which are embedded within these terms and contexts.

Janine François

In What Ways Does Art in the Museum Context Provide a Safe Space to Ask Difficult Questions around Culture and Race?
University of Bedfordshire
Supervised by Professor Uvanney Maylor, University of Bedfordshire (Director of Institute for Research in Education) and Alice Walton, Convener, Schools and Teachers at Tate.
October 2016 –

This project is funded by the AHRC and was born out of the realisation by Tate’s Schools and Teachers Team (STT) (a majority white staff team) that it was mainly engaging with white, women art-teachers who attended its programmes. The STT is situated in the Learning department and is tasked with engaging and supporting teachers and students from the formal education sector to engage with the collection and exhibitions at Tate.

The research question – In what ways does art in the museum context provide a safe space to ask difficult questions around culture and race? – draws on the STT’s previous work and was developed through their discussions with Professor Maylor as part of developing this collaborative PhD. My starting point in exploring this question is: for whom is Tate a ‘safe’ space and why? This work seeks to explore what a ‘safe’ space looks like for art teachers and whether this be achieved within Tate. As a part of Tate’s infrastructure, can the STT be a starting point for Tate to be seen as a ‘safer’ space to discuss issues of race and culture?

The questions that have so far been raised will act as provocations to explore these disruptions by expanding Tate as a ‘frontier’, a concept proposed by Dr Viv Golding (Learning at the Museum Frontier, 2016). I will be using embodied and experiential learning, taking inspiration from pedagogies used in Theatre of the Oppressed, action learning, as well as framing the research through the lens of critical race theory.

Inga Fraser

Towards Artists’ Moving Image: Film and Cinematic Consciousness, Britain 1896–1966
Royal College of Art
Supervised by Professor Barry Curtis, School of Critical and Historical Studies at the Royal College of Art, and Dr Andrew Wilson, Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary British Art and Archives at Tate.
October 2016 –

Focusing on the UK in the first half of the twentieth century, this research project focuses on instances when cinematic form, theory, technology, architecture, discourse, ephemera and ideology influenced traditional artistic media of painting, sculpture and printmaking alongside instances when artists worked both in commercial and avant-garde/ experimental film production. Tracing artists’ engagement with cinema and associated moving image technology, it catalogues artists’ films made and screened in the UK during the period and examines the archives of artists, collectives and art critics held at the Tate and elsewhere, as well as published accounts in journals and the national and local press.

The research questions this project seeks to address include: how British artists received cinema in its early years and subsequently; whether they sought to celebrate or denigrate the qualities of the moving image in traditional media; how the relation between cinematic, painterly, sculptural and performative modes of vision evolved during the period; what roles were assumed by artists within commercial cinema; what films were made by artists during the period; how moving image technology impacted upon artists’ other material processes; how institutions helped or hindered artists’ engagement with cinema; how far cinema engendered a space of diversity within art; and how via the conscious or unconscious assimilation of an notion of the cinematic, writers of the period developed of a new critical language for art.

Funded by the AHRC, this project is a Collaborative Doctoral Partnership between Tate (Curatorial, Conservation, Archive) and the Royal College of Art (Critical and Historical Studies) and aims to connect our current knowledge of artists’ moving image to historical precedents that extend beyond experimental film of the 1960s to works in different media, made by a range artists working in quite different material and theoretical contexts, thereby opening up the possibility for a new genealogy of contemporary work.

Sofia Gurevich

The Form and Content of the Early Soviet Book: A Study Through the Country’s Publishing Industry Institutions of the 1920s and 1930s
The Courtauld Institute of Art
Supervised by Dr Klara Kemp-Welch, Lecturer in 20th-century Modernism, The Courtauld Institute of Art and Dr Matthew Gale, Head of Displays, Tate Modern
October 2015 –

The focus of this AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award is the renowned David King Collection, comprising the vast array of printed media material from the early Soviet epoch, including propaganda posters, photographs, books, periodicals and related forms of ephemera. The research will also contribute to an exhibition planned at Tate Modern for October 2017, to coincide with the centenary of the October Revolution.

Sofia’s research project is an inquiry into how Soviet artists, including those from outside the Constructivist camp, generally seen in Western scholarship as its exclusive innova-tors, have approached the topic of early Soviet book design.

The research will explore how the artists of varied theoretical and stylistic affiliations con-tributed to the issue of interrelation between form and content within the early Soviet book, in view of its multiple function as a tool of enlightenment, an instrument of agitation and a promoter of the Soviet regime’s reputation abroad. The investigation will be carried out through a study of major institutions related to the country’s burgeoning publishing industry. These will include the editorial processes within major publishing houses of Moscow and Petrograd/Leningrad, including The State Publishing House (Gosizdat), World Literature (Vsemirnaia literatura) and Academia; the international activity of the publishing branch of the All-Union Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries (VOKS); and the teaching of graphic art and book design at The Higher Art and Technical Studios (VKhuTEMAS) and its successor, VKhuTEIN, both in Moscow and Leningrad.

One of the artists, whose work will be reassessed in light of this research, is Vladimir Fa-vorskii, a Soviet wood engraver, book artist and professor of the VKhUTEMAS’s poly-graphic faculty, who has been almost entirely overlooked in Western scholarship, and whose book-related activity throughout the 1920s was in many ways a lot closer to that of the Constructivists, than has generally been considered.

Amy Harris

Canonising British Sculpture: Sir Francis Chantrey and the Chantrey Bequest
University of York
Supervised by Professor Jason Edwards, University of York, Dr Greg Sullivan, Curator of British Art 1750–1830, Tate, and Dr Caroline Corbeau-Parsons, Assistant Curator of British Art, 1850–1915, Tate
October 2014 –

This AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Partnership between Tate and the University of York considers the status, characterisation and canonisation of British sculpture in the long nineteenth century. Sir Francis Chantrey has become the subject of increasing revisionary understanding in recent years, as a potential paterfamilias of a nineteenth-century British school of sculpture invested in British materials, themes and subjects. This project will consider the breadth of his influence, from his debut at the Royal Academy, through the influential characterisations of the artist and his peers as a nascent British school in the early 1830s, the consolidation of his reputation by Lady Chantrey following his death in 1841, to the formation of the Chantrey Bequest in 1977 and the arrival of that sculptural bequest at the National Gallery of British Art, now Tate Britain.

Through a series of object-focused case studies, the project will consider a range of sculptors who rejected and embraced the Anglo-Roman or Parisian avant-garde ambitions of their peers and predecessors, and the changing fortunes of British themes, materials and indigenous educational protocols across the long nineteenth century. It will additionally consider the acquisition, display and loans of specific objects by these sculptors for the Chantrey Bequest, and re-evaluate the collecting histories of British art institutions, the emergence of new patrons for sculpture and the characterisations of a British School. The research will enhance online entries for works studied and enrich knowledge of overlooked sculptors and their works in the national collection.

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.

Louisa Hood

Family Learning in Art Galleries
The University of Exeter
Supervised by Professor Tim Coles, Dr Adrian Bailey, University of Exeter and Dr Emily Pringle, Head of Learning Practice and Policy Research, Tate
September 2015 –

Art galleries and collections have a reputation as conservative institutions in which art objects are viewed reverentially in an atmosphere that fosters quiet contemplation. This mode of experiencing art is popular with core visitors, such as ‘art enthusiasts’, less so with young audiences and families. The challenge for galleries seeking to engage with young people and families is to find ways of adapting their practice so that it is more closely aligned with the preferences of these visitors, without alienating existing audiences.

The aim of this research is to investigate current practices of family learning in order to gain insights into what is afforded by inter-generational engagement and learning in galleries and the potential for developing family audiences in art galleries. The project will produce new knowledge about family experiences, inter-generational pedagogy and co-production in gallery settings.

Understanding the audiences of the future is key to the resilience and sustainability of arts and cultural institutions moving forward. Hence the project also has potential to speak to important critical policy debates through some of the first work testing ideas of co-production in public services.

The project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and will include research conducted across all four of Tate’s sites.

Eleanor Jones

Beyond Bloomsbury: Queer/Race/Art
King’s College London
Supervised by Dr Clare Barlow, Tate Britain and Professor Mark Turner, King’s College London
October 2015 –

This AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award focuses on the intersections between ethnicity, queerness and desire in British art c.1900 to 1940.

In recent years, scholarship on ‘alternative modernisms’ and ‘colonial modernisms’ has revised and challenged our received knowledge of this period. Questions of race and queer sexuality in the field of the visual arts, however, remain a comparatively unstudied area. The doctorate will address this gap through a series of case studies centred on artists, artistic networks and various forms of representation.

Drawing on material found in Tate’s archive and collection, the thesis will concentrate on painters such as Duncan Grant and Edward Burra, photographers such as Angus McBean and Barbara Ker-Seymer, and artists’ models such as Henry Thomas and Patrick Nelson. It will consider the often exploitative relationship between artist and sitter, especially in the context of race, and will question how queerness complicates this troubling dynamic. In particular, Eleanor Jones is interested in work which establishes a sense of kinship and community within the frame, and she seeks to explore how certain artistic practices facilitate depictions of solidarity, as opposed to alienation.

The research will feed directly into the work of Tate, enhancing displays and online entries, as well as contributing to a forthcoming exhibition. In examining the relationship between ethnicity and queer sexualities, alternative narratives emerge, allowing for a radical reassessment of British art during this period and beyond.

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.

Louisa Lee

Conceptual Art in Britain, 1964–1979
University of York
Supervised by Dr Jo Applin, Senior Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Art, University of York, and Dr Andrew Wilson, Curator of Modern and Contemporary British Art, Tate
October 2014 –

This AHRC-funded doctoral award will examine the history of conceptual art in Britain from its genesis in the early 1960s through to the late 1970s, by which point the theorisation implicit within conceptual art fed into differently nuanced concerns. Despite international interest in conceptual art, there has been little research carried out into the specific history and conditions of conceptual art in Britain.

The research will investigate how conceptual art was displayed, collected and exhibited in this period with a particular focus on artists’ books and magazines. In order to re-evaluate British conceptual art’s position, it is necessary to examine it in relation to modes of distribution and exchange. International networks for conceptual art were enabled by a focus on ideas and concepts rather than objects, as well as advances in the technologies that supported both distribution and travel. The historical focus on conceptual art with relation to ‘dematerialisation’ has largely ignored the social contexts in which it was produced and received. It is also noticeable how absent women artists were in major exhibitions and publications from the period. These issues and unresolved areas will form the basis of this research and will contribute towards wider research into Tate’s collection, culminating in an exhibition in 2016.

Jonty Lees

Can We Create a Creative Community?
University of Southampton
Supervised by Professor Jonathan Harris, Birmingham City University, and Lindsey Fryer, Head of Learning, Tate Liverpool
October 2014 –

This is the third project in a series of four AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award partnerships between Winchester Centre for Global Futures in Art and Design, University of Southampton and Tate Liverpool.

The practice-based research explores the potential for artist, organisation and audience to have interchangeable roles, and poses the question, ‘What happens when the band members swap instruments?’.

This investigation seeks to understand and recognise the value non-experts offer in the creation of content and learning, and examines how the enhanced role of the audience impacts on the function of artists and galleries. Structured through a sequence of case studies, beginning with Tate Liverpool’s newly formed Community Collective, the work will identify how this active audience aims to engage with the gallery in meaningful ways.

The research draws on improvisation as a technique to develop imagination and creativity and suggests ‘doing’ activates stimulus and direction. The Community Collective setting employs discussion and debate to advance ideas, pinpoint goals, solve problems and create meaning. It also establishes a social environment where co-operation, skill sharing and respect combine to construct a productive and inclusive setting.

Amy Lim

Art Patronage and Court Influence, 1660–1714
University of Oxford
Supervised by Dr Hannah Smith, University of Oxford and Tabitha Barber, Curator (British art to 1800), Tate
October 2017 –

This research will investigate networks of art patronage linked to the later Stuart courts. This was a period of significant political upheaval, encompassing the Restoration of the monarchy, the forced abdication of James II, a shift in power from the monarch to the aristocracy following the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688 and a period of two Queens Regnant, in Mary II and Anne.

This research will question whether the erosion of the monarch’s political power during this period was reflected in matters of artistic taste and commissioning. To what extent did the crown relinquish its role as arbiter of taste, and to whom did this leadership pass? Leading members of the aristocracy, a growing mercantile class and new networks of power and interest were all significant commissioners of art. Following the upheaval of the mid-seventeenth century, wealthy individuals invested in building, decorating and furnishing lavish properties in London and the countryside, commissioning works of architecture, canvas paintings, decorative painting, wood carving, moulded plaster and tapestries. Focusing on case studies of key art patrons, this project will trace the influence of the court on their commissions, either directly, as leaders of artistic patronage and fashion, or indirectly, with the court as a centre of political, social and artistic networks.

Under the AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme, this research will contribute to the development of an exhibition of art from this period to be held at Tate Britain in 2020.

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.

Marianne Mulvey

What is the Queer Potential of the Public Programme within the Arts Institution?
Royal College of Art
Supervised by Dr Ben Cranfield, Senior Tutor in Curatorial Theory and History, Curating Contemporary Art, Royal College of Art, and Dr Marko Daniel, Curator (Public Programmes), Tate Modern
October 2016 –

In my PhD I am looking at public programming as a practice and theoretical field. Within all kinds of institutions – artistic, museological, scientific or academic – there are departments responsible for something called the ‘public programme’. In this notional space a variety of events may take place that can involve socialising, learning, making and communing. In art institutions what constitutes the ‘public programme’ might be labelled as art, education or marketing. Where the public programme, or elements of it, appear in scholarship they have largely been treated as adjunctive to the exhibition. In practice the public programme is frequently under-funded and under-archived by institutions, making it a slippery object of study at best. At the same time, through socially engaged, performative, discursive and digital practices the public programme is foregrounded as the conduit for new kinds of art and knowledge production.

My project utilises queer theory to open up the problems and opportunities thrown up by the overlapping discourses and practices that describe what a public programme might be, to break up the normative idea of a monolithic public and think about what the queer potential of the public programme within the arts institution might be.

Part of my project includes practice-based research in collaboration with three partner institutions: Tate, Open School East and Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. Through a set of collaborations with these institutions I will explore problems and opportunities thrown up by my initial literature review across museum and gallery education; the expanded curatorial; educational turn and new institutionalism; socially engaged art practice and critiques of ‘community’ and ‘participation’ from theatre studies, art theory and philosophy.

Katy Norris

The Emancipation of Women Artists: Strategies of Promotion and Influence in the Edwardian Art World, 1880–1918
University of Bristol
Supervised by Dr Grace Brockington, University of Bristol, and Dr Emma Chambers, Curator Modern British Art, Tate Britain
October 2016 –

The years between 1880 and 1918 were a period in which women artists exercised increasing authority. Formal art education became available to them, and art clubs, groups and societies began to admit them as members. The period also witnessed the growth of women-only arts organisations, while female artists found new creative outlets through their involvement in campaigns for suffrage and international movements. This AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award seeks to ascertain how, during an era when women continued to experience political disenfranchisement, they successfully navigated the systems of a male-dominated art world, exploiting the new professional opportunities that were available to them.

Since the early 1970s there has been an acknowledgement of the lack of knowledge about the careers and artistic production of women that has severely limited our ability to display and acquire their work. While previous literature on British art in the period 1880–1918 consists largely of biographies and surveys of male-dominated groups that present women as singular followers of men, this project aims to strengthen the position of women artists in art-historical discourse by situating their careers within the wider cultural networks of the day. Evidence for their inclusion in (and exclusion from) the art establishment will be sought in materials held in the Tate Archive, including those relating to exhibiting societies and galleries such as the Carfax Gallery, Goupil Galleries, New English Art Club, Camden Town Group, Bloomsbury Group and London Group. The project will address the significant gap in women’s art in museum collections and aims to draw out new narratives about little known or under-recognised women artists who worked across a range of disciplines, thus contributing to a deeper and more inclusive understanding of the art world between 1880 and 1918.

Louisa Penfold

Investigating the Value of Experiential Learning and Play in the Design of Learning Spaces for Young Children at Tate
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 2014 –

This doctorate will explore the intersection between children, artists, curators and play and how this can be used to inform the design of learning environments for children.

Based within the Early Years & Family programme, this research will seek to investigate the qualities of environments that lead to successful creative experiences for children at Tate. Frameworks around the concepts of ‘environment’, ‘childhood’, ‘play’ and ‘experience’ will be theorised in regards to their cultural, social and spatial constructs within an art museum context.

Through adopting an action-research methodology, this research will consider the pedagogical philosophies, challenges and outcomes in the development and implementation of spaces developed especially for early years learning. The study will focus on how the artistic process of contemporary artists can be used as both a source of inspiration and a method for the co-construction of art and knowledge with children.

This research is funded by the University of Nottingham, Brisbane City Council, The Ian Potter Cultural Trust and the Graduate Women Queensland Fellowship Fund.

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 AHRC-funded 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.

Patricia Smithen

The Development and Impact of Artist Acrylic Paints in the United Kingdom
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 2015 –

In the 1960s a new acrylic dispersion paint product was made and marketed in the United Kingdom, which rapidly grew in popularity and was taken up by influential artists. While the history of the development of this painting medium in the US has been investigated, less is known about the production of acrylic dispersion paint in the United Kingdom and Europe, and how it was adopted and used by artists within the UK. This doctoral research project will investigate the development of artists’ acrylic dispersion paint in the UK, its use by significant British artists and its ongoing legacy in the visual arts.

How and why did paint manufacturers in the United Kingdom produce and introduce acrylic emulsion paints into the fine art community and what was the impact of this new material on the production of artworks? How did acrylic paint become established as a key artistic medium following its launch in the United Kingdom and how has it remained relevant through to the 21st century? How have acrylic paints and their use by artists developed and changed following its initial launch?

The proposed approach is based on technical art history which draws together strands of information around artworks from direct examination and imaging of artworks, scientific analysis of the materials and structure, exploration of studio practices and into the social, economic, technological and philosophical context in which the art was produced. This interdisciplinary approach was championed by David Bomford as a method to examine the holistic influences on the production and subsequent changes of artwork. This direction can shed new light on artistic production and the proposed research is an opportunity to gather timely information at a point when many of the artists in question – including Peter Blake, Bridget Riley and David Hockney – remain able to evaluate the significance of this particular material on their own practices across their careers.

The initial focus will be on early developments and use by artists, centred on the years around 1963. Subsequent investigations will examine the market growth of acrylic paint products, influence on artistic styles and how acrylic dispersion paints have been adapted and continue to be a relevant and popular painting medium through to the early 21st century.

Alison Wright

British Sporting and Animal Art, 1760–1840. A Critical History of its Production, Reception, Collection and Display
University of East Anglia
Supervised by Dr Sarah Monks, University of East Anglia, and Dr Martin Myrone, Lead Curator Pre-1800 British Art, Tate Britain
October 2014 –

Despite the importance of sporting and animal art within the history of British art of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and its significant presence within the national collection, it has received little scholarly attention as an art form. Apart from a few isolated key figures such as George Stubbs, Thomas Bewick and Edwin Landseer, the works of animal artists popular in their day, including James Ward, John Ferneley, Benjamin Marshall, Abraham Cooper and John Frederick Herring, have often been interpreted as little more than visual documents.

Taking the hundred or so representative works in Tate Britain as a starting point and looking further afield into other UK collections, this AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Partnership will take a new look at the genre, critically re-evaluating it in the light of current methodological trends within the historiography of British art. Archival research will examine artistic practice, exhibition spaces, art collections, art criticism and print publishing to gain insight into the experience of artists working on animal subjects and the ways in which these pictures were understood by contemporaries and later collectors. The research will contribute to online information on the Tate’s website with the potential to inform the future display of animal and sporting art and discussions about the place of these works in the national collection.

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
London South Bank University
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.