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.