Our research forms part of the overall research activities and strategies of the Faculty of Arts and the Bristol Institute for Research in the Humanities and Arts (BIRTHA).
Bristol’s Department of History of Art is a leading centre for art historical research, recognised internationally in terms of its intellectual leadership in particular branches of the discipline and its excellence in general. With research strengths ranging from Medieval and Renaissance art, Victorian aestheticism, French and British modernism, Soviet visual culture, German Expressionism and aspects of contemporary art, the Department benefits greatly from being a member of a forward-looking and well-resourced Faculty of Arts, which encourages and facilitates inter-disciplinary research.
Staff and postgraduate students in the Department of History of Art are engaged in a wide range of individual and collaborative research activity. The Department plays a key role in University research initiatives, and in developments with collaborators across a wide range of institutions, nationally and internationally. There are critical masses of activity in a number of areas (British art history and European Modernism especially) and these are complemented by research on other themes and periods.
If you are interested in pursuing a research degree (MPhil, MLitt, PhD) in the department please make contact in the first instance with Beth Williamson (firstname.lastname@example.org) who coordinates our postgraduate activities. You are also very welcome to contact any of the academic staff that you think may be able to supervise your proposed research topic.
The weekly department research seminars, attended by all academic staff and taught and research postgraduates (respectively known as PGTs and PGRs), form the focus for all research activity.
Speakers are a combination of invited external authorities and Bristol researchers, including PGRs who present several papers during their studies. It is here that staff and students are able as equals to receive and criticise new research. This is also the forum in which new ideas have emerged for research projects which have subsequently received British Academy, AHRC, Leverhulme and other external institutional funding, most recently with The Embodiment of Devotion: Art, Music and Affect in Late Medieval England (Williamson; AHRC Fellowship); Weimar Women: Photography and Modernity (Rowe; Leverhulme Research Fellowship) and The Visual Culture of Sport and the Olympic Games (O’Mahony; Leverhulme Research Fellowship).
Through this forum several conferences have been organised. Williamson recently co-organised a conference on Medieval art and architecture at Bristol Cathedral, Brockington co-organised a conference on Internationalism and Cultural Exchange and Prettejohn co-organised a conference on The Modernity of Ancient Sculpture with the IGRCT and a J.W. Waterhouse Conference with the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. Department seminars are supplemented by Faculty of Arts Research Events including those regularly hosted by BIRTHA in which staff members from History of Art are actively involved. The Department's research environment thus seeks to maximise the potential synergies offered by School and Faculty structures. History of Art staff are also closely involved in the dissemination of research via public events including the programming of the University of Bristol’s prestigious Autumn Art Lectures series, the organisation of the Annual Association of Art Historians Conference (Lilley Conception/Reception 2005) and most recently the AAH Student Summer Symposium (June 2009) organised and hosted by PGR students from within the department’s lively postgraduate research community.
History of Art oversees two major research clusters. Please visit the relevant webpage for further information on each one:
Members of the Department are closely involved in the following Faculty and cross-Faculty research centres:
In addition, the department is involved in the following cross-faculty research themes:
For more information on all of the research activities across the Faculty of Arts please visit the Bristol Institute for Research in the Humanities and Arts (BIRTHA) website.
Staff and students from the department engage widely in the activities of Bristol Institute for Research in the Humanities and Arts (BIRTHA) and the Worldwide Universities Network.
Close links also exist with national scholarly institutions such as the British Academy, the Association of Art Historians, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, the National Portrait Gallery, the Holburne Museum of Art, Bath and other such organisations.