History of Art


Anna Mladentseva

PhD supervisor: Dr Hélia Marçal, Dr Pip Laurenson, Dr Oliver Duke-Williams (Information Studies), Dr Pedro Gaspar (V&A)
Working title for PhD: 'Material–Code–Stack: Conserving Complex Born-Digital Objects and their Infrastructures'

My research sits at the intersection of conservation, technical art history and digital preservation, contributing to an emergent field of study—the conservation of software-based art. Fundamentally, my PhD project looks at several case studies from the Victoria and Albert museum’s collection of complex born-digital objects of art and design (including software and other computer-based media) to investigate how museums can maintain the infrastructures supporting these objects and, in turn, conserve them considering their external—and often proprietary—dependencies. Responding to the gap in literature with regards to conserving the inter-relational identity of these objects, I address—by revisiting, prototyping and performing known conservation methods—the urgent needs of born-digital objects not only in terms of their material body and encoded environment, components which are most often subject to intervention, but also their technological and knowledge infrastructures, or their “stack”—a term originally used in computing to denote the infrastructural layers supporting the execution of software. 


Conference papers and presentations:

  • ‘Responding to obsolescence in Flash-based net art’, Lightning Talk, iPres 18th International Conference on Digital Preservation, Glasgow, 13th September 2022.
  • ‘Peer-to-Peer: Towards the Collective Conservation of Net Art’, Electronic Media Session, American Institute for Conservation 50th Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, 15th May 2022.
  • ‘Recursive Alterity: Experiments in Virtual Reality and Machine Learning’, Panel 5: Algorithmic Thinking, Multimedia Encounters: Experimental Approaches to Ethnographic Research, online, 15th January 2021.

Media appearances:


  • 2022. London Arts & Humanities Partnership Open Studentship (Arts & Humanities Research Council).
  • 2022. Overseas Research Scholarship (University College London).
  • 2022. Commendation for Best First Time Contribution at the iPres conference (Digital Preservation Coalition).
  • 2022. Foundation for Advancement in Conservation/Samuel H. Kress Foundation International Speaker Scholarship.
  • 2021. Zilkha Prize for achieving the highest set of grades, Department of History of Art (University College London).
  • 2021. Dean’s List and nomination for Faculty Medal, Faculty of Social & Historical Sciences (University College London).
  • 2021. Shortlisted runner-up for the Undergraduate Dissertation Award (Association for Art History).
  • 2020. Frances Stracey Prize for outstanding academic achievement in second year of studies, Department of History of Art (University College London).