History of Art


Katarzyna Falęcka



Katarzyna Falęcka is a Lecturer in Art History in the School of Arts and Cultures at Newcastle University. Her research and teaching interests span modern and contemporary art from North Africa and the Middle East, archives, photography, gender, and memory. Prior to joining the School of Arts and Cultures, she was a CAORC/Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Humanities Fellow at the Centre d’Études Maghrébines à Tunis (CEMAT). She currently co-leads and coordinates a programme in modern art history at CEMAT and serves as interviewer for the Modern Art in the Maghrib podcast series as part of Maghrib in Past and Present. Her exhibition proposal was selected in the apexart NYC open call and she curated Beyond Metaphor: Women and War at apexart, New York in 2021. She held fellowships at the Merian Centre for Advanced Studies in the Maghreb, Tunis; the African Art Department, Free University Berlin; the John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress, Washington DC; and Tate Modern, London.


Archival Excavations: Photography, the Algerian War of Independence and the Afterlives of Images

The thesis discussed the work of contemporary artists who draw on photographic archives of the Algerian War of Independence, one of the most prolific wars of decolonisation. It situated their engagements with archives in close relation to ongoing debates surrounding the return of these contested collections from France to Algeria.

Research interests

Photography; Modern and Contemporary Art; Postcolonial theory; Archives; War Photography; Middle East and North Africa; Circulation of Images


  • 'Archiving the Algerian Revolution in Zineb Sedira's Gardiennes d'images', African Arts (2022)
  • 'Unworking the Icon: On the Intersections of Gender and Decolonization in the Work of Nadja Makhlouf and Marwa Arsanios', in In Search of Archives, ed. Sarah Dornhof (Berlin: Archive Books, 2022)
  • 'Photography as Relation in Africa', Art History (2022), pp. 20-26 (book review)
  • 'Baya Mahieddine (25 February-31 July, 2021), Sharjah Art Museum', H-AMCA (2022), online (exhibition review)
  • Julia Bryan-Wilson, Fray: Art and Politics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017); Jessica Gerschultz, Decorative Arts of the Tunisian Ecole: Fabrications of Modernism, Gender, and Power (University Park: Penn State University Press, 2019), Journal of Visual Culture (2022) (book review)
  • 'Beyond Metaphor: Women and War', exhibition essay, apexart, New York, 2021 (available in English and Arabic)
  • 'Monika Weiss - Biography', in Monika Weiss. Nirbhaya, exhibition catalogue, Center of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko, 2021, pp. 147-158 (bilingual, Polish and English)
  • 'Whoever owns heritage is a temporary custodian: an interview with Akram Zaatari', Blog for Transregional Research, 2020
  • Future Imperfect. Contemporary Art Practice and Cultural Institutions in the Middle East, ed. Anthony Downey (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2016), in Journal of Arabian Studies, volume 7, 2017, pp. 119-121. (book review)

Selected talks

  • 'Archival Excavations: The Algerian War of Independence and the Afterlives of Images', chair: Michael Allan, Mecam Spectrum Series, Merian Centre for Advanced Studies in the Maghreb, Tunis, 2021
  • Curator's tour of 'Beyond Metaphor: Women and War' exhibition, apexart, New York, 2021
  • Panel speaker at 'Nirbhaya: The Future of Collective Memory', CEL Center for Architecture + Design, St Louis, 2021 (with Michael Arad, Leila Sadat, Buzz Spector, Monika Weiss)
  • 'Sites of Retrospective Reading: Video Art and Distant Pasts', Association for Art History Annual Conference, 2021
  • 'Mohamed Kouaci and the Photographic Infrastructures of the Algerian Revolution', 'Photobook Africa. Tracing Stories and Imagery' Conference, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, 19 February 2020
  • 'Archives of the Algerian Revolution, Visual Remediations and the Making of Photographic Heritage', College Art Association Annual Conference, Chicago, 15 February 2020
  • 'Photography's Routes: Revisiting the Visual Cultures of the Algerian War of Independence', American University of Beirut, 27 August 2019
  • 'Filming the Revolution after its End: Zineb Sedira's Image Keepers (2010)', Kolloquium zur Kunst Afrikas, Freie Universität Berlin, 9 July 2019
  • 'Extending the Photographic Encounter: Agency and Identity in Marc Garanger's Retour en Algérie (2004/2007)', Memory and Borders: Examining Identity and Nationalism through Material Culture, Victoria and Albert Museum, 11 February 2019
  • 'Framing Bodies and Battlefields: The Politics of Marc Garanger's Return to Algeria in 2004', AAH 'New Voices' Conference (Art and Conflict), The University of Edinburgh, 9 November 2018
  • 'Mohamed Kouaci's Practice, and its Afterlives', Work-in-progress talk, John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress, Washington, DC, 30 August 2018
  • 20th French Graduate Conference, Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge, 27 May 2016


  • Second-place winner of the apexart Curatorial Program (NYC Open Call)
  • DAAD Research Grant, Department of African Art, Freie Universität Berlin
  • Fellowship, John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress, Washington DC 
  • LAHP Studentship, UCL
  • Edgar Wind Scholarship, University of Oxford 
  • Dean's Prize for an Outstanding Dissertation, Courtauld Institute of Art

Research Activities


  • Modern and Postmodern Photography; Contemporary Art and Globalisation, Newcastle University
  • Histories of Modern and Contemporary Art in North Africa, Centre d’Études Maghrébines à Tunis (CEMAT)
  • Modern and Contemporary Art in London, UCL

Other Experience

  • Secondment with Public Programmes, Tate Modern (2016-2017)
  • Researcher, Jewish Museum, London (2016)
  • Curatorial Intern, Hamburger Bahnhof Museum, Berlin (2013)