History of Art


Daisy Silver

PhD supervisor: Professor Briony Fer
PhD Title: 'The Form that Surrounds Us: Encounters in Modernist Art and Design between Mexico and California 1945-1968’

My doctoral research, supervised by Professor Briony Fer, explores a series of case studies of artists and designers working between Mexico and California from 1945 to 1968, including Clara Porset, Ruth Asawa, Mathias Goeritz, Julius Shulman, Armando Salas Portugal, and Charles and Ray Eames. It examines how these figures cultivated a new vision of modernism through collaborative, interdisciplinary practices which spanned international borders. A unifying thread throughout the thesis is a preoccupation with the interior as a site for the articulation of their modernist vision. The modern interior served as the ground for a more generative materiality through a shared belief in the meaningful potential that exists between architecture and form. This ideal encapsulated in Porset’s quote, ‘design is the form that surrounds us’ which the title draws from, continues to carry weight with contemporary artists, Iñaki Bonillas, Leonor Antunes and Jill Magid, which is the subject of the final chapter. My PhD is funded by the UCL History of Art Department. I hold an MA in History of Art, also from UCL, and an MA (Hons) Fine Arts from the University of Edinburgh.

Conference papers and presentations:

  • ‘Imaging and Imagining Mexican Modernism’, presented at ‘Art of History’, University of Nottingham, 13-14 June 2024
  • ‘Rethinking Domestic Space: Clara Porset's El Arte en la Vida Diaria 1952’ presented at the Design History Society Annual Conference 2023: ‘Displaying Design: History, Criticism, and Curatorial Discourses’, 07-09 September 2023
  • ‘Designed to be Constructive: Ruth Asawa & Clara Porset’ presented at ‘Ruth Asawa Symposium’, Modern Art Oxford, 07 June 2022
  • ‘Knots, Seams, Hinges: Discrepancias con C.P. Leonor Antunes’, presented at ‘Sculpture, Art, Craft or Industry’, University of York, 29 January 2020



  • 2024: Associate Lecturer, ‘The Modern Interior’, The Courtauld Institute of Art
  • 2024: Associate Lecturer, ‘The Global City: Urban Issues in Contemporary Art’, The Courtauld Institute of Art
  • 2023: Course Tutor, ‘Public Art, Graffiti and the Right to the City’, UCL
  • 2023: Course Tutor, ‘Architecture in London’, UCL
  • 2022: TA to Dr Jacob Paskins, ‘First Year Survey Course’, UCL


  • 2023 UCL History of Art Department Research Travel Grant
  • 2019 UCL History of Art Departmental Bursary
  • 2017 Art Collection Acquisition Award, The University of Edinburgh
  • 2016 Andrew Grant Bequest Scholarship, The University of Edinburgh