• 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
  • Eloise Bennett – Intermediality: The Transformation of Art and Literature in the International Avant-garde, 1945–1975
  • Andrew Cummings – New Media Art Histories in Asia
  • Ambra D’Antone – Translating Collectivity: Surrealism of the Levant
  • Amina Diab – Re-Displaying the Modern: A History of Art Practices, Artistic Networks and Institutions in Egypt 1939–2000
  • Karen Di Franco – Forms, Strategies and Contexts of Publishing in Modern and Contemporary Art Practice (1960s to the Present Day)
  • Janine François – In What Ways Does Art in the Museum Context Provide a Safe Space to Ask Difficult Questions around Culture and Race?
  • Inga Fraser – Towards Artists’ Moving Image: Film and Cinematic Consciousness, Britain 1896–1966
  • 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
  • Eleanor Jones – Beyond Bloomsbury: Queer/Race/Art
  • Louisa Lee – Conceptual Art in Britain, 1964–1979
  • Jonty Lees – Can We Create a Creative Community?
  • Amy Lim – Art Patronage and Court Influence, 1660–1714
  • Cristina Locatelli – Digital Engagement Beyond the Gallery: Art Maps, A Case Study
  • Jessie McLaughlin – Queering Curatorial Learning Practice: Enhancing Access for Young and Diverse Audiences within the Art Museum
  • Marianne Mulvey – What is the Queer Potential of the Public Programme within the Arts Institution?
  • Katy Norris – The Emancipation of Women Artists: Strategies of Promotion and Influence in the Edwardian Art World, 1880–1918
  • Anya Smirnova – Net Art East: Postsocialist Artists’ Networks and New Media after 1989
  • Patricia Smithen – The Development and Impact of Artist Acrylic Paints in the United Kingdom

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’.

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.

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

Translating Collectivity: Surrealism of 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 –

In 1938, André Masson defined Surrealism as ‘the collective experience of individualism’ (Robert S. Short, The Politics of Surrealism 1920–1936, 1966, p.21). The harmonious co-existence of two seemingly irreconcilable entities arguably constituted one of the core drives behind the production of Surrealist art. In my thesis, hinging primarily around Turkey and Syria as areas of influence and the artists Fateh al-Moudarres (1922–1999) and Yüksel Arslan (1933–2017) as critical figures, I analyse the emergence and significance of Surrealism in the Levant region as an instance of translation and of inspired creativity which informed an experience of collectivism and individualism as non-binary and subversive, within the area’s rich modern artistic production.

Through a thematic approach, I offer a trans-national methodology which aims to understand the art of Syria and Turkey as imbricated in artistic, literary and ideological networks on a regional and global level. The overarching scope of my analysis is to provide an alternative method for the study of Surrealism as a global phenomenon: I do not only focus on the convergences of Levantine Surrealist practices with French Surrealism, but principally on their differential aspects, which inform Surrealism as a global phenomenon characterised by a tenable pluralism and challenging ideas of French Surrealism as an ‘ideal type’ in the space of alterity.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Jessie McLaughlin

Queering Curatorial Learning Practice: Enhancing Access for Young and Diverse Audiences within the Art Museum
Goldsmiths, University of London
Supervised by Professor Kristen Kreider, Head of Fine Art Research, Goldsmiths; Dr Michelle Williams Gamaker, Lecturer in Fine Art, Goldsmiths; and Mark Miller, Head of Programme and Practice, Learning and Research, Tate
October 2018 –

My thesis by practice considers the ways in which genuinely radical programming in the art museum might be realised, specifically through working with and listening to young and diverse audiences to transform the art museum into an ‘artistically adventurous and culturally inclusive’ civic space which actively promotes access and diversity of perspectives. As the demographic of audiences change – London’s white British population is no longer the city’s most dominant group and young people are increasingly identifying as something other than heterosexual and cisgendered (to identify with the gender one is assigned at birth) – how can we work with audiences to inform a new vision?

Using three interlocking elements – art museum learning programmes and the staff who curate and create them, collection artworks and texts by queer theorists and writers – this project explores how cultural institutions can remain relevant, radical and sustainable in the 21st century and beyond.

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.

Anya Smirnova

Net Art East: Postsocialist Artists’ Networks and New Media after 1989
Courtauld Institute of Art
Supervised by Prof. Julian Stallabrass, Courtauld Institute of Art and Juliet Bingham, Curator, International Art, Tate
October 2019 –

Funded by AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Award

My research focuses on new media art practices in the region of Central and Eastern Europe and ex-Yugoslavia in the aftermath of the dissolution of socialist governments after 1989. The fall of the Cold War political order was accompanied by rapid developments in communication technologies, with the Internet facilitating transnational communication on an unprecedented scale. In this context, new media and internet access were widely lauded as essential support for the developing civil society that would facilitate the process of transition from socialism to Western-style liberal democratic systems in post-socialist states.

Drawing on interviews, as well as online and physical archives, my thesis will examine regional networks associated with new media art practices that emerged with the aim of facilitating artistic communication within the ‘former East’ and internationally. It will position these endeavours in the historical context of post-1989 political, economic and social transitions, and examine the ways in which local histories of art of the twentieth century – actively researched, archived, exhibited and increasingly made accessible online throughout the 1990s – have informed activist and critical responses to the neo-liberalisation of former Eastern Europe through the lens of new media art.

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.