History of Art


Katarzyna Falęcka


Katarzyna Falecka graduated from the Courtauld Institute of Art with a BA in the History of Art and was awarded The Dean's Prize for an outstanding dissertation. She completed a MA in the History of Art and Visual Culture (Distinction) at Worcester College, University of Oxford where she was recipient of the Edgar Wind Scholarship. Her AHRC-funded doctoral research is supervised by Professor Tamar Garb and Dr Azzedine Haddour. She held fellowships at the John W. Kluge Centre, Library of Congress (2018) and at the Department of African Art, Free University Berlin (2019).


Archival Excavations: Photography, the Algerian War of Independence (1954-62) and the Afterlives of Images

This thesis investigates the re-emergence of historical photographs from the Algerian War of Independence (1954-62) in visual culture since the early 1980s. Against ongoing political disputes surrounding the return of archives pertaining to the war from France to Algeria, artists and photographers including Dennis Adams, Marc Garanger, Zineb Sedira, Bruno Boudjelal, Nadja Makhlouf, Marwa Arsanios and others have all mined, queried and re-mediated both state and private collections within their own practices. By focusing on the mobility and circulation of selected war photographs, this thesis examines the political, cultural and social motivations behind these resurfacings in close relation to the shifting memorial landscapes of the conflict in Algeria and in France. While scholarship on the memorial legacy of the Algerian War of Independence has tended to assign collective memories to specific groups, the archive-based practices discussed in this thesis flesh out the tentative nature of such clear-cut delineations. Instead, they reveal that historical photographs articulate a range of possible subjectivities which become foregrounded based on the specific, and ever-shifting, needs of the present. The thesis argues that as much as these practices shed light on the photographic archives of the war, they equally speak to the contemporary moment, urging us to think critically about what the politics of archival excavations might be.

Research interests

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


Conference papers and talks

  • '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
  • 'Figuring Women: Marc Garanger's Return to Algeria and the Collapse of Temporal Borders', Liminal Borders: Constructing and Deconstructing Borders in World History, University of Cambridge, 17-18 May 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
  • 'The Muslim Veil: Histories from Algeria', UCL Festival of Culture, 8 June 2017
  • On air interview about the burqa bans, interviewed by Thabo Mdluli for POWER 98.7 radio (Johannesburg), 6 February 2017
  • 'Manière de Voir: Seeing Algeria 50 Years after Independence', Postgraduate Research Seminar, UCL, 20 June 2016
  • 20th French Graduate Conference, 27 May 2016, Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge, 27 May 2016


  • DAAD Research Grant, Department of African Art, Freie Universität Berlin (2019)
  • Research fellowship at the John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress, Washington DC (2018). Awarded by the International Placement Scheme, AHRC.
  • LAHP Studentship (2015-2019)
  • Edgar Wind Scholarship (2014-2015)
  • Dean's Prize (2014)

Research Activities


Other Experience

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