UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)

Dr Marko Ilic

Dr Marko Ilic

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow



Joined UCL
1st Oct 2017

Research summary

I am an art historian interested in the intersections between contemporary art and politics in post-socialist societies, especially in the post-Yugoslav context. I received a BA in Art History from the University of Cambridge (2011) and a MA (2012) and PhD (2016) from The Courtauld Institute of Art.

My current research interests stem from my PhD, which was the first comprehensive survey of Yugoslavia's alternative art spaces between 1968-1989, known as Students' Cultural Centres. By adopting an institutional lens, my thesis sought to problematise existing readings of Yugoslavia's alternative art production as being unofficial or dissident, and demonstrate in detail how it was both autonomous from, and operating in parallel with, the state's official cultural programme. It further traced how these institutions foreshadowed later subcultural developments in Ljubljana and Sarajevo during the 1980s. Highlighting the ways in which such spaces encouraged the cross-fertilisation of different cultures within the multi-national federation, I ultimately proposed that Yugoslavia's alternative art scene grew as a result of cultural engagement that existed beyond the borders of the republic, constituting what should be evaluated as a 'regional' space.

Although my PhD focused primarily on art in the former Yugoslavia, my research naturally led me to expand my field of interest to more recent developments in the post-Yugoslav contemporary art scene. As Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at SSEES, I will focus on the post-Yugoslav art space, and examine the wider socio-political shifts that have defined, and in many respects dictated, recent cultural processes in the region. While reading art developments as thoroughly embedded in institutional contexts, funding streams and cultural policies, this study will oscillate between local and global perspectives in order to reflect on the activist politics of contemporary art and the post-socialist condition more widely – the nexus of which has scarcely been interrogated in East and Central European studies.


Courtauld Institute of Art
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2016
Courtauld Institute of Art
Other higher degree, Master of Arts | 2012
University of Cambridge
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts | 2011


Before joining UCL SSEES, I worked as an Associate Lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art and as a Teaching Fellow in Art History at Newcastle University.