History of Art



The History of Art Department at UCL is committed to innovative thinking and an expansion of the traditional boundaries of our discipline

As one of the first History of Art departments in the UK to pursue feminist studies, explore issues of class and inequality, and visual studies of difference, these explorations formed the groundwork for the pioneering critical approaches for which we are now known. While our research is not simply organised by periods or geographic areas, we are committed to historical inquiry from the Middle Ages to the present and collaborate in research networks on contemporary art and theory; early modern, colonial and postcolonial histories (Britain and British India, Europe, South Africa, the Americas); histories of the body (gender, sexuality, psychoanalysis, ethnicities, biopolitics); and the formation of art historical knowledge itself. 

The Department also has a longstanding expertise in the study of print culture, particularly in relation to social change. From a foundation of French eighteenth- and nineteenth-century art, especially the visual and material culture of the French Revolution, it has developed a recognised concentration on multiple visual technologies (print, photography, film, digital). This concentration has emerged in tandem with the department’s longstanding commitment to materials and conservation, a focus of research served by our unique Material Studies Laboratory.   

In our efforts to extend the boundaries of our discipline, we have not lost sight of the importance of the visual image, which we consider to be a catalyst for innovative thinking and an effective means of exchanging knowledge with wider and more diverse audiences.



The Centre for the Study of Contemporary Art is a lively research community for graduates and staff working and researching in the field of contemporary art.


Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect is a visual culture research seminar series that shares and explores recent concerns with the past and its place in the present.


Research Staff

Listings of all our Research Staff, including contact details, research interests, publications and more.

UCL culture public engagement

Public Engagement

Find out how members of UCL's History of Art Department engage with new and diverse audiences.


Material Studies

The Material Studies Laboratory is a research and teaching facility housed within the Department of History of Art, UCL.


Institute of Advanced Studies

The Department of History of Art is closely connected to the UCL Institute of Advanced Studies, a research-based community of scholars committed to critical thinking and engaged enquiry both within and across disciplinary and institutional boundaries.

Staff publications

Staff Publications

An online bookshelf with a selection of publications authored and edited by staff past and present.

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Laidlaw Scholars

The department is very pleased to host Laidlaw Scholars undertaking research projects with us. Laidlaw scholars are ambitious undergraduate students who undertake a programme of activities during their three years with us. 

Image: Autumn Maples with Poem Slips, Tosa Mitsuoki, c. 1675