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Research Student Profiles _________________________

Emma Black

Emma Black image‌‌

Emma Black

For seven years, I worked in public engagement for The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, specialising in developing medical collections for use with community groups.  I have also worked with patient communities including Waverley Care, Willow, Circle Edinburgh and Craigmillar Community Arts to explore arts and advocacy. I am currently the Festival City Volunteers Development Manager for Festivals Edinburgh, and work to develop arts opportunities in the largest cultural event in the world for intersectional communities.

I have a BSc (hons), MSc in Classical Art from The University of Edinburgh, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, with specialism in equity, diversity and educational practice.

Thesis: Beyond Curiosity and Towards Equality: 21st Century Uses for Medical Collections

Practice-based PhD Thesis considering how medical collections can be used to develop community learning. This work focuses on bringing equality to medical museum display, outreach and education.

Supervised by: Jeremy Howard/Morven Shearer, School of Medicine (Joint)

Research interests: Medical Humanities including medical museums, art and collections, medical ethics, patient advocacy, community engagement and education. I am also interested in interdisciplinary research projects and enjoy working collaboratively to create dialogues between arts and science.  My current projects are:

  • Dissecting Art, Imaging project with Dr Ourania Varsou, Anatomist, University of Glasgow 
  • Project Venus, Community medical art exhibition programme with Tricia Kerr (Co-Coordinator), Theresa Malaney (Artist) and Consuelo Servan (Artist)

Contributing Expert: International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China

Recent invited talks and lectures:

Keynote Speaker ‘Dissecting Art’ , Science in Culture, Second International Conference, University of St Andrew, 4th October, 2018

Conference speaker ‘Dissecting Art Workshop’ with Dr Ourania Varsou, University of Glasgow and Dr Jonathan McFarlane, University of Senchov International Medical English Conference, University of Exeter:, 22nd September, 2018

Invited Speaker, ‘Case Study, Festival City Volunteers’ Volunteer Managers’ Conference in partnership with the Association of Volunteer Managers (AVM) and the Stirling Festival of Volunteering, Inclusive volunteering, Inspiring participation – Stirling:, 19th September, 2018

Teaching, ‘Medicine in Art, an interdisciplinary teaching afternoon in collaboration with The School of Medicine, English Language Teaching and Rare Books, University of St Andrews, 9th March, 2018 (annual event since 2016)

Selected activities:

2017: Co-author of successful funding bids which secured £50,000 Spirit 2012 and £140,00 Big Lottery funding for The Festival City Volunteer project

2014 – 2015: Touring Exhibition Coordinator and Curator for Words and Deeds, Weapons and Wounding, in partnership with The Royal College of Surgeons and The Centre for Modern Conflict, The University of Edinburgh.

2014: Coordinator and Curator of Word of Mouth exhibition in partnership with Edinburgh College of Art, The University of Edinburgh and Craigmillar Community Arts.

2013 – 2015: design and delivery of the activity plan for The Lister Project, a £4.2 million Heritage Lottery Fund redevelopment project for The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

Selected publications:


  • Black, E. Capturing the Queen: Travelling Ideologies and Cultural Innovations on the Chessboard, from The Lewis Chessmen: New Perspectives, David Caldwell (ed) The National Museums of Scotland, 2014


  • Lest we forget: The Deserter’s Tattoo, Surgeons News, September 2015
  • Anatomy on a Plate: The Work of Emil Ponfick, Surgeons News, June 2015
  • ‘Embarrassing illness on tour: Syphilis and The American Civil War, Surgeons News, March 2015
  • The Enigma of the Neanderthal Skull, Surgeons News, September 2014
  • The Tibia of Charles Anderson, Surgeons News, Surgeons News, June 2014
  • Cut from the Bladder: The Calculus of Thomas Murray, Surgeons News, vol.13, issue 1, March 2014  
  • The Death Cast of John Brogan, Surgeons News, December 2013

Words and Deeds: Women, Caregivng and Warfare, Surgeons News, vol.12, issue 3, September 2013  

  • The Case of Robert Penman’s Tumour, vol.12, issue 3, September 2013 
  • The Gunner with the Silver Mask, Surgeons News, vol.12, issue 3, June 2013



Natalie Boerder

Natalie Boerder

I have a BA in the History of Art as well as Film Studies from Southern Methodist University. In 2014, I completed my Masters at the Courtauld Institute of Art in Medieval Art. Prior to starting my PhD I worked as a paid intern at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. 

Thesis: The Art of Storage

Supervised by: Dr. Kathryn Rudy

In the Middle Ages the act of storage, the placing of one item within another for the purpose of mental or physical preservation, endowed the contained with qualities of significance and uniqueness. Whether the contained remained visible or became veiled, this action put the item on display. Instead of focusing directly on those items preserved, I seek to examine their storage containers—boxes, pyxes, coffrets, high chairs, cassoni, credenzas and reliquaries.  Large or small, a container’s shape, materials and styles provide insight into not only why the contents were acknowledged as special but also how the storage container helped to separate, distinguish the preserved, promote the owner,  and abstractly helped produce and preserve memory. Whether to maintain the finger bone of a venerated saint or hold a lover’s lock of hair, storage containers represent a vast genre of medieval artifacts. While ornamentation, size, and shape may initially disassociate these items, these containers remain linked by the powerful duty to hold, preserve, promote, and memorialize.

Research interests: Material Culture, Medieval Art, Phenomenology, Social Anthropology

Publications, Activities, and Conferences:

  • “The Art of Public Storage and Display” Cultural History of the Interiors (Bloomsbury) edited by John Turpin and Mark Taylor – Forthcoming
  • Assistant Editor of the North Street Review
  • University of Cardiff, September 2015- “Manipulations of the ‘Other’: Images and Writings of Conquest and Defence.”


Laura Castro Royo

Laura Castro Royo

Laura Castro Royo

I have a BA in Art History from the Universidad de Valencia and a MA in Medieval Studies from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

Thesis: “The mythical bird Simurgh in the text and iconography of medieval Persia”

Supervised by: Dr. Ilse Sturkenboom and Dr. Saeed Talajooy

My PhD thesis aims to analyse the mythical bird Simurgh as a literary and as a visual motif in medieval Persia. In Islamic times, the Simurgh features as an important figure in the Shahnameh (‘Book of Kings’) of Ferdowsi, which he completed around 1010 CE, and keeps recurring in Persian books thereafter such as in Sohravardi’s philosophical treatises (c. 1190 CE), and in ?Attar’s Mantiq al-?ayr (‘Conference of the Birds’) of around 1200.

Research interests: Persian Literature, Mythology, Zoroastrianism, Manuscripts

Publications and activities:


· «El fenómeno del Mudejarismo y sus debates, ss. XIX-XX», in Roda da Fortuna. Revista Eletrónica sobre Antiguidade e Medievo, 2016, vol. 5, n. 1, pp. 57-71. ISSN: 2014-7430.

· «El erotismo de Oriente y los escritos del Cannibal Club», in Herejía y Belleza. Revista de estudios culturales sobre el movimiento gótico, 2016, vol. 4, pp. 156-171. ISSN: 2255-193X.

· «La legitimación del poder en la Persia medieval a través del Š?h-n?meh, El Libro de los Reyes», in Roda da Fortuna. Revista Eletrónica sobre Antiguidade e Medievo, 2014, vol. 3, n. 2, pp. 78-94. ISSN: 2014-7430.


April 2017 — Madrid, I Jornadas de Ciencias de la Edad Media. Paper: Creación y Destrucción. La memoria de la Montaña Sagrada en la Literatura Persa Medieval.

November 2016 — Córdoba, International Conference Artistic Dialogue during the Middle Ages. Islamic Art – Mudéjar Art. Casa Árabe Córdoba. Paper: La dialéctica estructural en el 'revival' andalusí como parte identitaria de la España romántica: el redescubrimiento del arte islámico y su inserción en el pasado nacional.

November 2016 — Madrid. Encuentro Internacional Cultura Persa, Miradas hacia el Pasado y el Presente. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Paper: Introducción al Zoroastrismo y sus textos sagrados.

October 2016 — Murcia. VI Congreso Internacional de la Sociedad Española de Iranología. Universidad de Murcia. Paper: “May that time never come”: El mito del Fin del Mundo y la Renovación en el Zoroastrismo.

September 2016 — Zurich, International Conference The Power of Symbols. The Almhabra in a Global context. Univerity of Zurich. Paper: La inserción del pasado islámico en la identidad nacional española a través de la arquitectura revival: el caso del Palacio de Laredo.

June 2016 — Lleida, 6th International Medieval Meeting. Universitat de Lleida. Paper: Epiphany, creation and destruction: the memory of the Sacred Mountain in Persian Literature.

June 2016 — Nantes, 1st Atlantys International Conference. The End of the World, a Universal imagination? Université de Nantes. Paper: From Destruction to Resurrection: the Zoroastrian particular vision of the End of the World.

May 2016 — Together with MA Lucía Triviño Guerrero. Madrid, I Simposio de Estudios Medievales. Retos de la investigación. Ateneo de Madrid. Paper: La otra cara de la historia. La divulgación a través de los proyectos «Las plumas de Simurgh» y «Las hojas del Bosque».

May 2016 — I Congreso de Investigación Tobed Mudéjar – Patrimonio Mundial. Paper: La búsqueda de la identidad nacional a través de la arquitectura: Neo-Mudéjar versus Neo-Andalusí.

May 2016 — Madrid, XV Encuentro de Jóvenes Investigadores de Historia Antigua, Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Paper: Monoteísmo en la Antigüedad: el Zoroastrismo y sus formas de culto.

April 2016 — Madrid, VI Jornadas de Estudios Medievales Hispánicos, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Paper: ¿Arquitectura “mudéjar”? Revisión terminologica e historiográfica.

February 2016 — Lleida, III Winter School, Universitat de Lleida. Paper: Hidden Heritage: Neo-Moorish Architecture in Spain.

November 2015 — Cáceres, IV Congreso Internacional de Jóvenes Medievalistas Ciudad de Cáceres, Universidad de Extremadura. Estudiar la Edad Media en el siglo XXI: herencia historiográfica, coyuntura académica y renovación. Paper: El fenómeno del mudejarismo y sus debates (ss. XIX-XX).

October 2015 — Madrid, IV Congreso sobre arte, literatura y cultura gótica urbana. Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Paper: El erotismo de Oriente y los escritos del Cannibal Club.

September 2015 — Lisboa, 1st International Congress: The Birds in Natural History, in Prehistory and in History, Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal. Paper: Stormbird in Mesopotamia: from Avesta to Š?h-n?meh.

July 2015 — Lleida, 5th International Medieval Meeting, Universitat de Lleida. Paper: The identity of the griffin bird in Avesta: Sa?na as a prefiguration of Ferdows?’s Simurgh.

April 2014 — Valencia, Instituto Valenciano de Conservación y Restauración IVC+R. Lecture: La visión del Islam en las Cantigas de Alfonso X.



Alexandra Chiriac

A.Chiriac photo

I hold an MA in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art. Prior to embarking on my PhD I worked for Sotheby’s, as well as curating public programmes and a number of critically acclaimed exhibitions for GRAD, a non-profit space for Russian and Eastern European arts in London.

Thesis: ‘Oriental Constructivism’? The Search for Modernity in Decorative & Applied Arts in Interwar Bucharest

Supervised by: Dr Jeremy Howard

Funded by: SGSAH AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership

My doctoral research aims to examine the history of applied arts and design in interbellum Bucharest, highlighting the interchanges between modernist movements in Eastern and Western Europe. Existing research in the field has focused on the emergence of the historicist neo-Romanian style and as a result the history of decorative and applied arts in Romania has become subsumed with that of traditional crafts. Through my research I wish to address this imbalance by excavating the contribution made by Romanian artists to international design practices and pedagogy, including the foundation of a Bauhaus-inspired Academy of Decorative Arts and the creation of artist-led design studios, avant-garde journals and international exhibitions. It is my intention to add to the growing number of works that expand the definition of modernism away from Western European practices, emphasising the mobility of the international avant-gardes and the shifting boundaries between the applied and fine arts.

Publications and activities:


  • ‘Fedor Lopukhov and the Bolt’, Studies in Theatre and Performance, special edition in collaboration with the Victoria & Albert Museum, Vol. 36, No. 3, August 2016.
  • ‘Soviet Cinema and the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ in Elena Sudakova and Alexandra Chiriac (eds), Kino/Film: Soviet Posters of the Silent Screen, GRAD: London, 2014.
  • ‘Soviet Textiles: Between Communism and Commerce’in Elena Sudakova (ed), See USSR. Intourist Posters and the Marketing of the Soviet Union, GRAD: London, 2013.

 Conference papers:

  • ‘Oriental Constructivism? Romanian Modernism between East and West’. Borders of Modernism conference, Centre for European Modernism Studies, University of Perugia, December 2016.
  • ‘Oriental Constructivism? The Carpet Designs of M. H. Maxy’. Central European Art and Culture Seminar, Barber Institute of Fine Art, University of Birmingham, June 2016.
  • 'A Woman's Place: To be or not to be Avant-Garde’. Biennial conference of the European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies (EAM), Université Rennes 2, June 2016.
  • ‘How to Make Friends and Influence People. Hospitality as a Feminist Weapon’. Hospitable Modernisms conference, University of Sussex, May 2016.

Other activities:

  • In my capacity as Curator and Public Programmes Coordinator at GRAD: Gallery for Russian Arts and Design, London, I was involved in several exhibition projects. ‘Work and Play behind the Iron Curtain’, which I co-curated in 2014, was selected as one of the Guardian’s top 10 design exhibitions of the year.
  • Co-producer & editor of 'Bolt', an iPad app and website created to accompany an exhibition of the same name, December 2014.
  • Conference co-organiser for ‘A Game in Hell. The Great War in Russia’ held at the Courtauld Institute of Art, September 2014.

 Grants and awards:

  • Santander Research Mobility Award (2017)
  • German History Society DAAD Grant (2017)
  • AHRC Research Training Support Grant (2016)


Christian Clarkson

Christian Clarkson profile photo

I have a BA in History of Art from the University of Cambridge and an MPhil in medieval Irish architecture from the same university. Alongside my studies I worked in the University Library’s Rare Books and Maps departments.

Thesis: Medieval Scottish Monastic Planning

Supervised by: Julian Luxford and by Kirsty Owen at Historic Environment Scotland; formerly supervised by Richard Fawcett

Funded by: the AHRC as part of the Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme between the AHRC and the Scottish Cultural Heritage Consortium; my research is supported by Historic Environment Scotland in partnership with the University.

My thesis examines Scottish monastic planning between the introduction of reformed monasticism to Scotland c.1070 and the Reformation in the late 16th century, with a particular focus on the buildings of the wider precinct. I am interested in the identification of these buildings and how they would have affected monastic experience of the precinct. The types of building which form the subject of my study can be grouped into four general categories: accommodation buildings, including abbots’ and commendators’ houses, guesthouses and almshouses; infirmaries; agricultural and industrial buildings including barns, bake- and brew-houses, doocots and mills, and networks and systems of enclosure, access, drainage and water supply. My project involves the collation of information on these types of building from abbeys, nunneries, priories and friaries across Scotland and to assess how what we know about these buildings affects our understanding of monastic life.

Publications and activities:

  • Member of editorial team for the North Street Review 2015-16
  • ‘An architecture of mortality: monastic and secular infirmaries in medieval Scotland’, Death and Identity in Scotland conference, Edinburgh, January 2016
  • Contributor to forthcoming Historic Environment Scotland guidebook to Melrose Abbey



Julia Faiers

Julia Faiers

I hold an MA in art history (first class) from the University of St Andrews (1995) and an MA in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art (1997). Prior to starting my PhD I worked as a research assistant at a private Bond Street gallery, then for 15 years as a journalist in consumer magazines and national newspapers. For the past seven years I’ve worked as a social media marketing consultant for clients across a diverse range of industries.

Thesis: Power, prestige and piety: patronage of the d’Amboise family in fifteenth-century Languedoc

Supervised by: Dr Kathryn M Rudy

My doctoral research focuses on how Louis I d’Amboise, a wealthy 15th-century bishop of Albi, used architecture, painting and sculpture to reinforce the power of the church, promote his own personal brand and shape the visual culture of Languedoc. I investigate how he used his political and royal connections to command the finest artists from all over France and the Burgundian Netherlands. Framing my analysis using Sherry Lindquist’s social approach, I argue that Louis I d’Amboise was merely one agent in a larger web of influence that draws upon monarchic and ecclesiastical institutions, the former a national force of authority, the latter the dominating and driving culture in western Christendom. I intend to show how his involvement as a powerful prelate not only communicates his own agenda, and that of his ambitious family, but forcefully underpins and glorifies the power structures of the period.

Research interests: Performance theory; medieval ecclesiastical ritual; medieval women and gendered spaces.

Publications and activities:

I collaborated with Dr Catherine Spencer on the 2017 Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon.

Book: Exotic Retreats: Eco resort design from barefoot sophistication to luxury pad (Brighton: RotoVision, 2005)

Grants and awards: I crowdfunded my tuition fees for 2016/17.


Clare Fisher

Claire Fisher

I hold an MA in Art History and Modern History from the University of St Andrews (2011-2015), and completed my MSt in the History of Art and Visual Culture (Distinction) at the University of Oxford (2016-7). In 2015, I undertook a research internship at the Henry Moore Institute on the 1972 City Sculpture Project, which was the subject of the Institute’s Winter exhibition in 2016-7.

Thesis: Monuments in the Wake of Minimalism

Supervised by: Dr Alistair Rider

My doctoral research explores the relationship between Minimalist sculpture and contemporary memorial design.  It will consider examples from North America and Europe to examine how and why a Minimalist aesthetic has come to dominate recent memorial projects, and assess its suitability for this purpose. In doing so, it seeks to address broader questions regarding the nature of memorialisation and how we use objects to navigate the past. The implications this trend on current understandings of Minimalism as a historical movement will also be explored.

Funded by: SGSAH AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership.  

Research interests: Modern sculpture, Minimalism, Monuments and memorials, Public art, Memory Studies.

Publications and Activities:

‘Memorials to Shattered Myths: From Vietnam to 9/11’ [Book Review]. The Sculpture Journal, 25:2, Liverpool University Press.

‘Monumental Protests: Sculpture and the Vietnam War’ at Place of Memory, Memory of Place International Conference (upcoming), London Interdisciplinary Foundation, Cambridge, UK. October 2017.

Grants and Awards:

Trinity College Academic Prize, University of Oxford, 2017.

Oxford-King Graduate Scholarship, University of Oxford, 2016-2017.

O.E Saunders Prize for Art History, University of St Andrews, 2013 and 2015.

Dean’s List Award, University of St Andrews, 2015.

School of History Book Prize, University of St Andrews, 2012. 

Henry Bloom Noble Scholarship, Isle of Man Government, 2011-2014.


April Game

April Game‌‌

April Game

I have a BA in English Literature and History (Hons) from the University of Hertfordshire and an MPhil in Art History from Trinity College, Dublin. Prior to starting my Master’s Degree at Trinity, I was the Executive Director of a non-profit arts agency in Southern California.

Thesis: Representations of trees in early medieval English art and poetry

Supervised by: Dr. Julian Luxford, School of Art History; Dr. Chris Jones, School of English.

My research focuses on representations of trees in early medieval English art and poetry. My goal is to better understand the relationship between linguistic, poetic and visual representations of trees and the conceptual metaphors these visual/textual images may have been intended to convey. By understanding how the tree was used symbolically during the long conversion period, we will gain fresh insights into early medieval English iconography and into the values of the Anglo-Saxons themselves.

Research interests: Early Medieval English Art; Mythology and Folklore, Early English Christianity; Postcolonial theory.



Maria Golovteeva


I hold a BA degree in Economics from Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) and an MLitt in Art, Style and Design: Renaissance to Modernism from Christie's Education London and the University of Glasgow. I have experience in insurance and banking, but over the last few years I have worked worked for an art dealer, several galleries, an art publication, an art fair and an auction house.

Thesis: Fernand Khnopff: art and photography in the nineteenth century

Supervised by: Dr Linda Goddard

My research looks into the early avant-garde discourse on art and photography and the late-nineteenth-century interactions between various forms of art using works of the Belgian Symbolist artist, sculptor and designer Fernand Khnopff. My project aims to bridge the gap in existing literature about his use of the medium at different stages of his creative process. It also investigates how his photographic practices influenced his exploration of his artistic identity, his artistic vision, and creative methods. Another aspect analysed in my work involves relations between Khnopff’s photographic and non-photographic works, how his application of photography influenced the public promotion of his œuvre. In a broader sense, my research addresses relations between art and photography and artists’ role in the nineteenth century. Furthermore, it looks into changing concepts of perception and observation resulting in a developing modernist paradigm of representation.

Research interests: interdisciplinary research, digital humanities, art market research, the long nineteenth century, fin-de-siècle, decadence, photography, sculpture, literature, materiality, Impressionism, Symbolism, Modernism, Expressionism, Pre-Raphaelites, avant-garde


  • Santander – St Leonard’s College Research Mobility Scholarship 2018
  • Grant Summer Course for the Study of the Arts in Flanders 2018
  • Fine Art Bursary of the Catherine and Alfred Forrest Trust 2017
  • Van Gogh Museum Research Grant 2016
  • Elizabeth Gilmore Holt Scholarship 2016



  • Petit Palais – Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris (26 February 2019) – lecture L’art de Fernand Khnopff et la photographie au 19ème siècleexpected to be given as a part of Fernand Khnopff (1858-1921). Le maître de l’énigme exhibition



  • Conference ‘Art as Commodities. Commodities as Art’ (University of York, 14 June 2019) – Commodifying Congo in late-nineteenth-century Belgium: Ivory in Art and Writings of Fernand Khnopff
  • Conference ‘Women’s Spaces, Pleasure, and Desire in the Belle Époque (St Hilda’s College, Oxford, 3-4 June 2019) – Theresa Feodorovna Ries: The Rebel of Belle Époque Vienna
  • Symposium 'The Camera, Social Networks and The Inaccessible, from the 19th Century to the Present Day' (Broughton House & Garden, Kirkcudbright, 9 April 2019) - Belgian Colonialism in Fin-de-Siècle Art and Photography
  • Conference ‘Reassessing Burne – Jones’ (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 21-22 February 2019) - Edward Burne-Jones and Fernand Khnopff: The ‘Last Pre-Raphaelite’ in Belgium
  • London Nineteenth-Century Studies Graduate Conference (Senate House, University of London, 19 January 2019) – Fernand Khnopff: art and photography in the nineteenth century
  • Digital Humanities Congress (University of Sheffield, 6-8 September 2018) – Digital Art History Projects
  • Summer Course for the Study of the Arts in Flanders: Belgian Fin de Siècle, 1880 – 1914 (Various museums and institutions across Belgium, 24 June – 4 July 2018)
  • Fifteenth Annual Graduate Student Symposium in Nineteenth-Century Art (Dahesh Museum of Art, New York, 18 March 2018) – Photography as Sketch in the Works of Fernand Khnopff
  • NICA, OSK, University of Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum and Coventry University Masterclass ‘From Reception Studies to Transhistorical Art History: Method and Theory in the Study of the Nachleben of Art and Literature’ (University of Amsterdam, 28 June 2017)
  • Conference ‘Empires and Nations, Beyond the British Case’ (University of Bristol, 25 April 2017) – The Exotic Vision of Fernand Khnopff.
  • Society of Dix-Neuviémistes Annual Conference ‘Spleen et Idéal’ (University of Kent, 10-12 April 2017) – Fernand Khnopff: Fosset and Bruges – the scenes of the soul.
  • Conference ‘Domestic Space in France and Belgium’ (Queen’s University, Belfast, 16-17 September 2016) – Villa Khnopff: the Home of an Artist and the Palace of Art.
  • Society of Dix-Neuviémistes Postgraduate Conference ‘Fragments’ (Trinity College, Cambridge, 10 September 2016) – “Souvenirs lointains, mais très précis”: memories, dreams and visions in the art of Fernand Khnopff.
  • Conference ‘Books and the City’ (University of Maastricht, Van Eyck Academy, Maastricht, 22-24 June 2016) – The Symbolist City: The first edition of Georges Rodenbach’s ‘Bruges-la-Morte’.
  • Conference ‘Visions of the North: Reinventing the Germanic North in the Nineteenth-Century Art and Visual Culture in Britain and the Low Countries’ (Compton Verney Museum, Warwickshire, 17 June 2016) – “Discoloured Memling”: Netherlandish and Germanic artistic traditions in works of Fernand Khnopff (1858 – 1921).
  • Edinburgh Nineteenth-Century Research Seminars (University of Edinburgh, 28 January 2016) – “Illuminated by reciprocal reflections”: Fernand Khnopff and Georges Rodenbach’s ‘Bruges-la-Morte’.



  • “Villa Khnopff: the Home of an Artist and the Palace of Art” in Domestic Space in France and Belgium, ed. Claire Moran (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019).
  •  “Princess Nocturne’s Conversations with the Ghosts in the House of Impressions/ Conversations entre Princesse Nocturne et les fantômes de la Maison des impressions”, Espace art actuel, No. 117, Autumn 2017, pp. 26 – 33.
  • “Des Esseintes of Brussels: artifice of the Villa Khnopff and its photographic representations”, North Street Review: Arts and Visual Culture, Spring 2017.
  • “Forming the Symbolist identity: materiality of Fernand Khnopff’s sculpture”, North Street Review: Arts and Visual Culture, Spring 2016.
  • Golovteeva, Maria, Irina Matveeva, “International Art Insurance Practice”, Insurance Law, No. 4, Moscow, 2011, pp. 13-17.
  • Golovteeva, Maria, Irina Matveeva, “International and Russian Legal Regulations of Art Insurance”, Insurance Law, No. 3, Moscow, 2011, pp. 8-20.



Valentina S. Grub

Valentina Grub photo

I have a BA in Medieval & Renaissance Literature and Classical Civilization (with Honors) from Wellesley College and an MA in Medieval Studies from the University of St. Andrews.

Thesis: "Ritual Opulence: Medieval English Embroidery in Motion"

Supervised by: Dr. Kathryn Rudy

My project looks at the dynamic aspects of opus anglicanum, embroidery made in England roughly between 1250-1350. Textiles were medieval England's greatest export and were instrumental in forging elaborate, pan-European networks of trade and commerce. English embroidery in particular was highly sought after, and extant examples can be found in collections across Europe to this day. I argue that English embroidery was essential to the development of these networks and to the propagation of the English aesthetic in countries as far flung as Sweden and Serbia.

Publications and activities:

conference papers and invited talks:

  • Anticipated paper about embroidered English relics (Leeds, 2016)
  • Anticipated paper about the material culture of medieval warfare (Kalamazoo, 2016)
  • ‘A Needle’s Breadth Apart: The Unexplored Relationship Between Medieval Embroidery and Manuscript Illumination’ (University of St. Louis, 2015)
  • ‘Sewing the Scene: Embroidery and Its Uses in Medieval Films’ (Queen’s University, Belfast, 2015)


  • 'Review: Gothic Wonder by Paul Binski' (Sequitur: Boston University Art History Journal, May 2015, vol. 1, issue 2).
  • ‘Letter To The Editor’ (Wellesley News, October 23, 2014)
  • ‘In Over My Head: Anxiety and Anemones’ (Counterpoint: Wellesley College Journal of Campus Life, October 2011, vol. 34, issue 2).? 


  • Art History Research Support Fund, University of St. Andrews (2015)
  • Wellesley College Graduate Studies Grant for Higher Education, Wellesley College (2012)
  • Anne Wolf Scholarship for Music Students, Wellesley College (2010 and 2011)


Nicola John

Nicola John

I have an undergraduate degree in Art History from the University of St Andrews and an MA from the University of Chicago, where I worked mostly in the field of Egyptology. Before coming back to St Andrews I spent three years on the curatorial team at the National Gallery Singapore.

Thesis: Self, Other, and Self as Other: Negotiating Identity in Southeast Asian Modernism

Supervised by: Dr. Jeremy Howard

Funded by: Carnegie PhD Scholarship

My research explores the role of traditional fabrics, ceramics and metalwork, as well as motifs inspired by these objects, in the work of Western-trained Southeast Asian artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Focusing on visual art by artists from Indonesia and the Philippines, I will investigate the use of these objects and motifs firstly as an expression of local identity and even nascent nationalism and secondly as part of the wider interest in blurring the boundaries between the fine and applied arts during this period. I also consider the role of colonial-led archaeology, ethnography and art education in the development of these trends. In studying the use of vernacular motifs comparatively across various colonial contexts, I also seek to understand the impact of differing approaches to the documentation and administration of the region on artists trained within these separate systems.

Research interests: material culture, applied arts, colonialism and nationalism, cross-cultural communication, cultural appropriation and re-appropriation, mythology as motif, reception

Publications and activities:


‘Moulding Meaning: Iskandar Jalil’s Tile Murals’ in Iskandar Jalil: Kembara Tanah Liat (Clay Travels), National Gallery Singapore, 2016.


Iskandar Jalil: Kembara Tanah Liat (Clay Travels)

Siapa Nama Kamu?: Art in Singapore since the 1900s

Between Declarations and Dreams: Art of Southeast Asia since the 1900s

Grants and awards:

2012-13: University of Chicago half-tuition scholarship, partial funding at Masters level

2008-12: Loke Cheng Kim Foundation Scholarship, full funding at undergraduate level


Kate Keohane

Kate Keohane

I completed my undergraduate degree in the History of Art at the University of St Andrews (1st class hons) (2011-2015), and my MA in Art Theory at UCL (Distinction) (2015-2016). Throughout my studies I have worked as a research assistant for a number of private contemporary art galleries and collections.

Thesis: ‘Some Otherwhere: Édouard Glissant and the Circulation of the Caribbean Landscape in Contemporary Art’

Supervised by: Dr Karen Brown and Dr Catherine Spencer

Funded by: EU-LAC-MUSEUMS, Horizon 2020

My thesis approaches the art historical application of Édouard Glissant’s writings as a method through which to decolonise approaches to landscape and globalisation. The interrogation of Glissant’s conception of the landscape-as-schema in relation to recent art that places the Caribbean landscape as setting, scene and sight, destabilises perception and raises questions about precarity, progress, (in)visibility and belonging.

Research interests: Contemporary Art, the Caribbean, feminism, landscape, photography, text and image


‘Becoming Collateral: Scotland+Venice from 2003 - 2017,’ Journal of Curatorial Studies, 9.1 (Spring 2020).
Catherine Spencer and Kate Keohane, interview with Jessica Taylor and David A. Bailey, ‘Diaspora Pavilion: Venice to Wolverhampton,’ Journal of Curatorial Studies, 9.1 (Spring 2020).


2018: Founding Member, Contemporary Institute, University of St Andrews, May – present.
2017: Writer in Residence, Fresh Milk, Barbados.
2017/18: Member, Invisible Knowledge public engagement initiative, CCA Glasgow, October – present.
2017/18: Leader, Transnationalism and Artistic Exchange Research Cluster, History of Art, University of St Andrews. September – present.
2017/18: Advisory Board Member, Museum and Gallery Studies Institute, St Andrews University, January – present.
2016/18: Founding Member, Tate funded Contemporary Art in Scotland Research Group, October – present.

Grants and Fellowships:

2018: Paul Mellon Research Support Grant, Yale Studies in British Art.
2018: Elizabeth Gilmore Holt Scholarship.
2018: Forest Trust Bursary.
2018: CAPOD External Funding Award, University of St Andrews.
2017: Santander Mobility Scholarship.
2016: Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust Award.
2016: Full doctoral project funding EU-LAC Horizon 2020.
2014: Trethowan Bursary for Dissertation Research.
2014: Cross Trust Vacation Scholarship.

Academic awards

2016: Commendation for MA dissertation, University College London.
2015: St Andrews Award for Undergraduate Research Assistantship Programme.
2014: St Andrew’s OE Saunders Prize.


Carine Chelhot Lemyre

Picture of Carine Chelhot Lemyre

I hold a BA in Studio Art and Philosophy from the American University of Beirut (2012-2016) and an MA in Art History from the University of Toronto (2016-2017) where I was the recipient of the W. Bernard Herman Graduate Scholarship in Art History.

Thesis: The Maison Bonfils in the Middle East (1867-1932)

Supervised by: Dr. Luke Gartlan and Dr. Natalie Adamson

Over the course of its commercial activity in the Middle East, the Maison Bonfils, a photography studio that was established in Beirut, Lebanon by Félix Bonfils (French 1831-1885) in 1867, and that would become one of the most prominent studios of the region, produced photographic albums, individual photographs, stereographs, and coloured postcards that were sold primarily to a European audience. Drawing upon theories of Orientalism, imperialism, and postcolonialism, my dissertation aims at critically analyzing this vast amount of material by narrowing it down to individual case studies. 

Research interests: the history of photography, more specifically during the nineteenth-century, colonialism, text and image relationship. 

Awards: Dean’s Honor List, American University of Beirut, 2015 and 2016

W. Bernard Herman Graduate Scholarship in Art History, University of Toronto, 2017


Ramsay Mackenzie-Dodds

Ramsay Mackenzie-Dodds

MA University of St Andrews, graduated 2015.

Awards: ‘Dean’s List’ for academic excellence 2013.

Thesis: A study of ornithological representation, exploring the relationship between the visual arts, natural science, and conservation.

Supervisors: Dr Alistair Rider (School of Art History) and Dr Sarah Easterby-Smith (School of History).

There is a mass of commentary on the advances made in the natural sciences during the last three centuries; equally, there is presently a surge of interest in the general notion of ‘conservation‘. There is, however, considerably less discussion about the fundamental role played by the artist in both these fields. It is this omission that my research would seek to rectify, for it is only by careful and detailed examination of the aims and intentions of the artists, by tracing the gradual shift over time from scientific dispassion to emotional compassion, that one may pinpoint the key factors in artistic representation that result in an awakening of all aesthetic and emotional understanding of the importance of the preservation of natural heritage. The focus on avian representation will allow me to study the proposed concepts in depth, with the intention not only of establishing in what way the arts may effectively increase the impact on public awareness in promotion of the aims of the conservation agencies, but also, whilst being of undoubted historical and educative value, of acting as a model of study that may be applied to a wider field in the future.

Other activities: I have been elected a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, and am fortunate to have strong study connections with the Special Collections  Sections at the Natural History Museum, South Kensington and Tring. I am a part-time research student, otherwise employed in the local golf tourism industry.


Martyna Majewska

Martyna Majewska profile photo

I hold an MA in Art History (First Class) from the University of St Andrews (2016) and a MA in History of Art (Distinction) from the Courtauld Institute of Art (2017). Prior to my doctoral studies, I gained experience at a number of modern and contemporary art galleries and museums in Italy, Poland, the USA and the UK. Most recently, I worked as a research assistant for Poland’s largest auction house.

Thesis: African American Artists Performing for the Camera from the 1970s until Today

Supervised by: Dr Catherine Spencer and Dr Luke Gartlan

My project establishes performing for the camera by African American artists as a key weapon against the racist representations and violence—both physical and psychological—that continue to be inflicted upon black people in the USA. As such, it combines two subjects in Art History whose intersections have yet to be thoroughly analysed: performing for the camera and African American art. My research seeks to demonstrate why works sitting at these intersections have been instrumental to critical examination of the images of blackness disseminated by colonisation and by neo-colonial, white American culture. By combining research on colonial imagery and today’s American visual culture with an in-depth analysis of contemporary performative photography and video, my doctoral project aims to highlight the subversive and didactic potential of this mode of artistic practice.

Funded by: The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland

Research interests: Performance Art, Photography, Video Art, Film Theory, Activism, Feminist Art, Queer Art, Civil Rights Movement

Publications and activities:

‘New York City's Art Museum and Activism: The Evolving Relationship,’ presented at the ‘Los límites del arte en el Museo’ international conference held at the Complutense University of Madrid, November 2017.

‘The “Past Disquiet” Project: Curatorial Masterclass,’ Hyperkulturemia Fanzine, vol. 6, July – August 2016.

Co-curator of the DO/TELL exhibition, The Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia, 22 April – 16 August 2015.

Grants and awards:

The Principal’s Scholarship for Academic Excellence, University of St Andrews (2015/2016)
Deans' List, University of St Andrews (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Dean’s List, University of Pennsylvania (2015)
Saunders Prize for Art History, University of St Andrews (2013, 2014, 2016)
Italian Book Prize, University of St Andrews (2013, 2014)


NicĂ´le Meehan

Nicôle Meehan

I have degrees in Applied Mathematics and Archaeology from the University of Glasgow, an MLitt in Museum and Gallery Studies from the University of St Andrews and an MA in American Studies from Brown University.  I have previously worked at the National Galleries of Scotland, Historic Scotland and the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery.

Thesis: Digital Memory Objects: Curating and creating digital memory in museums

Supervised by: Ms Ann V. Gunn

My research considers the role played by museums in constructing individual and group memory in the postdigital era. Through identifying and defining what I propose to term ‘digital memory objects’, I will trace and characterise networks of implicit and explicit visitor interaction with digital collections. 

In seeking to improve access for diverse audiences, museums are increasingly creating digital interventions in physical spaces whilst also emulating physical environments in digital spaces.  Through describing visitor interaction with digital objects in newly defined hybridised physical/digital spaces as an evolving network existing transculturally, I hope to interrogate the manner in which digital memory objects are consumed by the public.  This research will ultimately offer new ways in which to think about and display digital museum collections as objects in their own right and objects with the potential to articulate multi-perspective narratives of the past, present and possible futures.

Research interests:  Digital museum environments, digital access, memory, material culture

Publications and activities:

Conference papers:

  • July 2017 – Placeless memories: digital constructions of memory and identity, University of York, “Digital Memory Objects” in Museums: Explicit and Implicit Networked Interactions’.
  • March 2017 - Co-organiser of ”Measuring up”: ways of capturing social value and more intangible outcomes’, annual conference of the Visitor Studies Group.
  • October 2015 – Museums Galleries Scotland Fighting Fit: Ready for Anything, John McIntyre Centre, Edinburgh, ‘How to win at projects and influence people: the power of the trainee‘.
  • April 2015 – Museum Librarians and Archivists Group (MLAG) Conference 2015, Wellcome Collection, London, ‘Skills for All: The Tangential Benefits of Digitisation at the National Galleries of Scotland‘.
  • May 2014 – E(race)d But Not Forgotten, Brown University, ‘Contrasting Views of Chinese Immigrants in American from 1848-1910‘.

 Other activities:

  • December 2013, Exhibition - ‘Presence or Absence‘ in Ruins, Rubble, Relics, Ritual, John Nicholas Brown Center of Public Humanities (Video Installation). A study of the 9/11 memorial, Manhattan Island, NYC though Charles Sanders Peirce triad of symbol, index and icon.
  • November 2013, Exhibition - Monumentally Re-creating the Stones of Stenness, Main Green of Brown University, Providence, RI. An open air installation contextualising monumental structures and their construction in present day.

Grants and awards:

Museums Computer Group bursary (2017)

UK-US Elsevier Fulbright Award in Bibliometrics (2013-14)


Isabelle Mooney

I completed my BA in Art History at the University of St Andrews (2013-2017) and have recently graduated from the Courtauld Institute of Art with an MA in the History of Art, specialising in British Modernism. Whilst studying, I have worked for a number of auction houses, contemporary art galleries and have completed two research assistantships at St Andrews.

Thesis: Ruin to Reconstruction: Post-war British Art in the Transnational Field

Supervised by: Dr Catherine Spencer and Dr Natalie Adamson

Funded by: The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland

Until recent decades, studies of art in post-war Britain have often treated this body of work as belated, fixed within national schools, stylisations and ‘isms’. This field has been predominantly discussed within geographical frameworks and definitions of ‘Britishness’, and such frameworks have unfortunately caused the obscurity of artists who have not been placed within these stylistic or indeed, geographical, boundaries. By contrast, a number of initiatives including the major 2010 conference ‘New Approaches to British Art 1939-1969’ have introduced unfamiliar framings and the use of new material from neglected archives to open an ongoing dialogue that addresses transnational histories and geographies. This research project proceeds from the conviction that post-war British art needs to be studied as part of this transnational cultural field. It seeks to prise British art of the post-war period away from a narrative that traces modernism alongside a distinct notion of ‘Britishness’, challenging previous historical claims that link nationalist ideologies with modernity. Alternatively, this project will explore how the language of modernism was not monolithic, but offered a transnational aesthetic that echoed notions of independence and de-colonisation, and how an engagement with abstract and formal experimentation facilitated this.

Research Interests: British modernism, landscape, photography, materiality, transnationalism

Grants and awards:

O E Saunders Prize for the most outstanding student in Art History (2017)

O E Saunders Memorial Long Dissertation Prize (2017)

Deans’ List, University of St Andrews (2016, 2017)

Undergraduate Research Assistantship Programme (2015, 2016)


Ana Sol Gonzalez Rueda

Ana Gonzalez picture

I have a BA in Art History from Universidad Iberoamericana and an MA in Curating Contemporary Art from the University of Essex. Prior to starting my graduate studies I worked as adjunct curator at Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Mexico City

Thesis: Radical Pedagogies and Curating

Supervised by: Dr Karen Brown and Dr Catherine Spencer

Funded by: Conacyt and Jumex Foundation

The educational dimension of the contemporary art exhibition and the positions it organises between curator, artists, works, and the public, remain mostly unnoticed even by those apparently attempting to question and move away from authoritative, explanatory or overly didactic models. My research seeks to bring these implicit educational relations to the foreground. Generally, education is not regarded as a curatorial responsibility, with most institutions having a separate department to that end. My thesis examines specific critical curatorial approaches and discerns their educational propositions as well as the contradictions they entail. Additionally, I aim to identify ideas from radical pedagogies that are relevant to curatorial practice. The thesis investigates the viability of resistant practices in the context of an educational crisis and looks for openings to propose a different kind of experience to that of entertained consumption.

Research interests: Curating, Contemporary art, Museum Studies, Education

Publications and activities:

-Project Coordinator and Mediation Strategies, Possessing Nature, Mexican Pavilion, Venice Biennale, 2015

-Guest-curator: Laure Prouvost: Mientras No Mirabas, Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Mexico City, 2014