History of Art



UCL History of Art overall best in London for Art and Design (REF 2021)

Our department’s research has been ranked 1st in London and 3rd in the UK for Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory by REF 2021 (overall GPA rankings). Read about the REF. 

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. 

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. The Department also has a longstanding expertise in the study of print culture and other visual technologies (photography, film, digital), which 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.

UCL culture public engagement

Public Engagement

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

ms research

Material Studies

The Material Studies Laboratory is a research and teaching facility housed within the Department.

Staff publications

Staff Publications

Explore an online bookshelf with publications authored and edited by staff past and present.

Gordon Square

Postdoctoral Research Opportunities

There are several opportunities for talented postdoctoral researchers to join us.

people 3

Laidlaw Scholars

Find out about the ambitious undergraduate Laidlaw Scholars we hosted in the department.

Stones are in the ocean

Research Seminar Series

Explore the latest exciting events from the Department's Research Seminar Series.

The Past Imperfect Research Seminar logo is a swirling black and white clock.

Past Imperfect

Visual culture seminars that explore recent concerns with the past in the present.

Centre for the Study of Contemporary Art research community.


Find out about the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Art research community.


Institute of Advanced Studies

The IAS is a partner community of scholars committed to critical thinking and enquiry.

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