Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies

The Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies was established in 1990 and it has grown steadily in staff and student numbers since then. Teaching takes place in the Barber Institute. This houses an excellent and representative collection of post-medieval European art. The Department is recognised internationally for both its high level of student satisfaction and the quality of its research output.


17 April 2018

Continuity and rupture

Professor Matthew Rampley awarded a €2.4 million Advanced Grant by the European Research Council.

11 April 2018

Midlands Arts Papers is now live

Bringing together 11 public art collections across the Midlands and researchers from the University of Birmingham, issue one of new online research resource and journal 'Midlands Art Papers' (MAP) is now live.

10 April 2018

Press Release: Creative Rage Exhibition at The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery

Creative Rage is a group show of artists exploring themes of bravery, aggression and trailblazing combative non-conformity. The three generations of artists in this exhibition are proud, committed and uncompromising members of the progressive LGBTQ artistic community and create work that is powerful and flamboyant, liberating and often witty as well as visually startling.

07 February 2018

February's Digbeth First Friday

This month's Digbeth First Friday saw the opening of a range of exciting and thought-provoking works and exhibitions. Here are just a few which can be found in the galleries at Minerva Works and mustn't be missed!

01 February 2018

Sculpture at University of Birmingham's Campus!

University of Birmingham has a great collection of public sculptures which are dotted around campus. A sculpture trail is available on the UoB website and gives further detail about the sculptures, as well as where they can be found. Follow this link to find out more...

11 December 2017

'Coming Out' Exhibition at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

'Coming Out' has recently opened at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, this exciting new exhibition marking the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in England and Wales. It is thought to be the largest LGBTQ+ exhibition in the UK and brings together the work of various artists exploring themes of gender and sexuality. This includes works such as Hadrian Pigott's Boy, ?, Girl (1994) which deals with problems surrounding gendered products that enforce stereotypes separating male and female behaviour.

29 November 2017

New Acquisition and Loan at the Barber Institute

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts have recently acquired Naum Gabo's Linear Construction in Space No. 1 (1942/3), made during the wartime period spent in St Ives. Sculptural abstraction is evoked through the thermoplastic properties of the perspex used to create the work, a new form of plastic provided by a chemist friend.

20 April 2017

Student awarded a Doctoral Research Fellowship

Cosmin Minea, PhD researcher in our department and Midlands3Cities scholar, has been awarded a Doctoral Research Fellowship at the Leibniz Institute for European History in Mainz.

06 July 2016

Suggested reading for new undergraduates

These books offer introductions to periods and concepts in the History of Art. They also offer introductions to theories about art and its history and introductions to key art-historical methodologies

11 March 2016

Hear from our alumni

We interviewed History of Art alumni during a career event. They talk about their time at Birmingham and their career since leaving university.

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Forthcoming Events

We are proud to offer throughout the academic year a series of events and research seminars closely tied to the department academic work.

Our research blog

The Golovine

The Golovine is the official Blog for the Department and takes its name from one of the most popular artworks in the collection of The Barber Institute of Fine Arts: Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun’s c.1797 Portrait of Countess Golovine.