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PhD Art History and Theory

University of Essex

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Course options

  • Qualification

    PhD/DPhil - Doctor of Philosophy

  • Location

    Colchester Campus

  • Study mode

    Full time

  • Start date

    OCT

  • Duration

    4 years

Course summary

Art History features a dynamic group of art historians investigating the production and reception of images and built environments, across cultures and media from the early modern period to the present. While we adopt a diverse range of approaches in our writing and teaching, our work demonstrates a commitment to three key ideas:

The social and political implications of art, architecture, and visual culture

All forms of visual culture – from paintings to building interiors, from medical imagery to tattoos – emerge from and contribute to the mediation of social and political forces. Scholars at Essex investigate the role of art, architecture, and other forms of visual culture in the assertion, negotiation, and contestation of power in relation to a variety of topics. These include the planning of tyrants’ cities in the Italian Renaissance; the entanglement of the historical avant-garde with the politics of Fascism; and the production of objects by contemporary activists in pursuit of social change. Throughout our work, we emphasise issues of autonomy, agency, dissent, and the contestation of the public realm.

Space, place, and locale

Art historians at Essex are strongly concerned with the conceptualisation, production, experience, and representation of spaces and places. We investigate topics that include the ideologies that drive urban change; architectural metaphors in software design; the fusion of real and imaginary places in religious paintings; the design of exhibition spaces and the implications of curatorial practice; and the varied locales and landscapes of the county of Essex itself.

Art produced beyond its historic institutions

We are committed to bringing the approaches of art history into contact with other disciplines and discourses in order to interrogate objects of our shared visual and material culture, including body art, wax casts, activist placards, and Fascist floor mosaics. Our transdisciplinary approach facilitates critical engagement with an array of artworks and visual culture that stand both within and beyond the traditional canons of art history.

Tuition fees

Students living in United States
(international fees)

£ 15,460per year

Tuition fees shown are for indicative purposes and may vary. Please check with the institution for most up to date details.

University information

University of Essex

  • University League Table

    41st

  • Campus address

    University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex, CO4 3SQ, England

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