Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Dr Claudia Tobin

Dr Claudia Tobin is a writer, curator and lecturer specialising in the intersections between modern and contemporary literature and the visual arts. She is currently writing a book about colour and the imagination in modern literature and visual culture. In 2017 she was awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the University of Cambridge and she has held fellowships at the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art, Huntington Library California, and Paris Diderot University. She is a Senior Research Associate at the Intellectual Forum, Jesus College Cambridge.

Claudia's first book, Still Life and Modernism: Artists, Writers, Dancers will be published by Edinburgh University Press in March. It explores the genre of ‘still life’ across different media, in prose, poetry, painting, dance, and sculpture of the early- to mid-twentieth century. Claudia’s ongoing collaboration with the Royal Drawing School led to the recent publication Ways of Drawing: Artists' Perspectives and Practices (Thames & Hudson, 2019), which she co-edited with Julian Bell and Julia Balchin. The book positions drawing as among the most direct ways of engaging with the world; a way not just of seeing, but of understanding what you see. 

Claudia's interdisciplinary research has been energised by curatorial and research projects with museums and galleries including Tate Gallery, the Fitzwilliam Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery, where she worked on the exhibition Virginia Woolf: Art, Life and Vision (2014). She is currently curating an exhibition with Lily Farhoud titled Jerusalem in Exile: Artist's Books by Kamal Boullata. The exhibition opens on 24 January at West Court Gallery, Jesus College Cambridge. It will travel to Beirut later in 2020.

Alongside her work on colour and the imagination, Claudia is developing a new project on the sensory lives of plants, which aims to involve collaborations with the Fitzwilliam Museum on their botanical art collections and an exhibition on twentieth-century women writers, artists and their gardens at the Garden Museum, London.