I welcome enquiries from prospective postgraduate students wishing to research any subject that overlaps with my interests.
PhD students include:
- Azadeh Sarjooghian on Identity and Gender Stereotypes: The Representation of Muslim Men’s and Women’s Bodies in Contemporary Middle Eastern Art
Gender-related research in the Middle Eastern context has mainly addressed the female body and the plight of Muslim women in Islamic societies. Muslim masculinity has had little attention paid to it, in comparison with Muslim femininity and the Western obsession with the figure of the veiled Muslim woman. My research attempts to further the analytical research on Middle Eastern art and gender by considering the impact of globalisation on local gender relations, and by taking masculinities into account so as to assess the interactions between the stereotypical representation of Muslim men’s and women’s gender practices.
To this end, I will focus on the relationship between audience interest in Middle Eastern art and the Western curatorial policies and explore the impact of critical discourses, such as the notion of hybridity and social construction of gender identity, on the curators’/artists’ intentions to trace their changing trends. My research engages with various fields including Middle Eastern art criticism, the social aspects of contemporary curatorial practices, Muslim feminist theory, critical studies of men and masculinity, and postcolonial theory.
- Stacey Kennedy on Women's agency in the African Contemporary Art World; exploring Afropolitan art networks
My research addresses women’s agency in the African contemporary art world, through an exploration in real time of the spaces in which the art world is made - for example art fairs, galleries, auction houses, exhibitions, museums. I specifically focus upon women who work as curators, art fair directors, gallery owners or managers, art practitioners, art historians and scholars in this sector of the art world, gathering rich empirical data through a series of in depth interviews. Here women of colour are more visible in positions of power than are women in the contemporary art world more broadly, which is notoriously dominated by the white western male. An investigation into the concept of ‘Afropolitanism’- cosmopolitanism with a connection to Africa- is crucial to this work, as I investigate how women negotiate and connect global art spaces.
The research penetrates a vibrant and expanding global African art scene whose players live and work between major cities. Field research will focus upon West and North Africa and include visiting art organisations in key sites- trips planned include field work in Accra, Dakar, Lagos, London, Marrakech and New York. The public nature of the art world allows me to visit events and exhibitions, accessing the wealth of visual material available and making contact with the women on the scene, whose voices and experiences I will centre in my research. I work in an interdisciplinary way, amalgamating Anthropology and Art History methodologies and research practices to contribute to the study of African Art History and debates around gender and feminism within Africa and its diasporas in the contemporary moment.
Find out more - our PhD History of Art page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.