Imperial Encounters

Responding to recent and ongoing efforts to decolonise the art history curriculum and the museum, this research stream seeks to critically address the legacy of empire and its multifaceted manifestations in visual imagery and material culture.

Ongoing research under this theme ranges from work that explores the mobility of both Victorian paintings and the art materials, models (human and animal), and objects essential to their fabrication, in the context of British imperialism, to work that seeks to develop a culturally inclusive representation and contextualisation of Non-European objects in European museums, which builds on the multilingual digital archive exhibition Maker Unknown (funded by Arts Council England, 2022).

Key to this work is bringing together researchers, curators, and practitioners, from higher education and museum sector, to develop ways of challenging Eurocentric frameworks in the field of art, art history, and art education and considering how images and artworks can become catalysts for productive, and perhaps uncomfortable, conversations around race, racism, and empire.

Our people

  • Dr Kate Nichols: colonialism and the materials of Victorian art; visual cultures of imperial animals; British Art Network Research group: Race, Empire and the Pre-Raphaelites: Decolonising Victorian Art and Design?, working with museum professionals wishing to foreground histories of empire and racism in Victorian art collections. 
  • Dr Deniz Sözen: contemporary art practices and decolonising theories in the context of globalisation and diasporic art

Our researchers talk about their work:

Art, Animals and Empire - Kate Nichols



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