Dr Marta Filipová

Dr Marta Filipová

Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies
Research Fellow

Contact details

My research focuses on identity construction in the visual arts of modern Central Europe, the politics of displays at national and international exhibitions and more generally on the relationship between the global and local in art and design.


  • PhD University of Glasgow
  • MA Masaryk University, Brno


I hold a PhD in History of Art from the University of Glasgow which was preceded by my Master degree in History of Art and English from Masaryk University in Brno (Czech Republic). Before joining the University of Birmingham, I worked at Newcastle University, Nottingham Trent and the University of Wolverhampton as in teaching and/or research positions.


I am currently working on the project Continuity or Rupture? Art and Architecture of Central Europe: 1918-1938 (CRAACE), funded by the ERC, together with Prof. Matthew Rampley and two other researchers. The project focuses on the impact the year 1918 had on artistic life in a selection of states that came out of Austria Hungary (Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Austria), questioning its habitual association with a moment of rupture and discontinuity. Instead, we look at deeper continuities and link the art and culture of Austria-Hungary with that of the new nation states. My focus is on state sponsorship of art and architecture at international exhibitions and world’s fairs and the ways identity politics was displayed to global audiences at these venues.  

Outside of this project, my interests are the visual arts of modern Central Europe in relation to identity formation and the politics of displays. My recent monograph Modernity, History, and Politics in Czech Art (Routledge, forthcoming in 2019) analyses how Czech artists, art critics and art historians formulated the notion of modern Czech art in their theoretical and historical debates between 1895 and 1939. I examine contemporary writing and exhibitions on the background of political, social and cultural changes in Central Europe, specifically, the collapse of Austria-Hungary and the creation of the new democratic state of Czechoslovakia. I argue that modernism was given a nationalising role in the formation of the modern Czech nation which was deliberately associated with the modernist project. At the same time, Czech authors routinely nationalised modernism by identifying what original and “authentic” Czech art could bring to the modernist project.

I also edited a volume on international exhibitions Cultures of International Exhibitions 1840-1940: Great Exhibitions in the Margins (Routledge, 2015) which explores the network of smaller-scale industrial and trade exhibitions around the world and focuses on their contribution to global exhibitonary cultures.


Other activities

In July 2018 I organized a symposium Small Nations and Global Identities: Czech Questions together with Ikon, Birmingham. It examined the formation of modern Czech identity in the arts, politics and media in relation to key historic events of the 20th century.  

In 2012 I organised an international conference Great Exhibitions in the Margins, 1851-1938, which challenged the established reading of world’s fairs and international exhibitions as located in the most economically advanced countries and cities.  

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and an occasional translator between Czech and English. In my spare time I run a Czech supplementary school and a Czech commun



  • Modernity, History, and Politics in Czech Art (Routledge, forthcoming in 2019)

Edited books and journals

  • Cultures of International Exhibitions 1840-1940. Great Exhibitions in the Margins (Ashgate Publishing, 2015)

Authored chapters

  • “Introduction” (pp. 1-22) and “’The Forefront of the Great Commercial Centres of England.’ Wolverhampton’s Exhibitions of 1869 and 1902” (pp.137-166).
  • Rituals and ceremonies in Central and Eastern Europe. A special issue of Centropa. A Journal of Central European Architecture and Related Arts, vol. XII, no. 1 (2012).
  • Možnosti vizuálních studií. Obrazy-texty-interpretace [Visual Studies and its Futures. Images-Texts-Interpretations]. Co-edited with M. Rampley (Brno: Barrister & Principal, 2007). Authored chapters: “Úvod“(Introduction), pp. 5–20; “Vizuální studia v českém prostředí” (Visual studies in the Czech context), pp. 213–226.

Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals


  • “What shall we do with it?’ Finding a place for Alfons Mucha’s Slav Epic,” The Austrian History Yearbook 46 (2015), pp. 203-227.
  • “Between East and West. The Vienna School and the Idea of Czechoslovak Art,” The Journal of Art Historiography 8 (2013) [http://arthistoriography.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/filipova.pdf] (10,000 words).
  • “National treasure or a redundant relic? The roles of the vernacular in Czech art” RIHA Journal (Journal of the Research Institutes of the History of Art) 0066 (26 February 2013) [http://www.riha-journal.org/articles/2013/2013-jan-mar/filipova-national-treasure-or-a-redundant-relic] (12,000 words).
  • “Peasants on display: The Czechoslavic Ethnographic Exhibition of 1895”, Journal of Design History 24, no. 1 (2011), pp. 15-36.
  • ”The Construction of a National Identity in Czech Art History,” Centropa. A Journal of Central European Architecture and Related Arts VIII, no. 3 (2008),pp.257–271.

Chapters in edited books

  • “Regional Modernity and the Global Exhibition Network. Prague’s exhibitions of 1891 and 1895,” in Grace Brockington and Sarah Turner, eds., Imagined Cosmopolis: Internationalism and Cultural Exchange 1870-1920 (Peter Lang, forthcoming).
  • “Exhibiting continuity and rupture. Exhibitions of arts and industries in Austria Hungary and Czechoslovakia,” in Paul Miler – Claire Morelon, eds. As If There Had Been No Revolution At All.” Continuity and Rupture With the Habsburg Regime, 1914 to Today (Berghahn Books, forthcoming in 2018), pp. 114-143.
  • "Czech Crystal or Bohemian Glass? The Nationality of Design in the Czech Republic," in Kjetil Fallan and Grace Lees-Maffei, eds., Designing Worlds: National Design Histories in an Age of Globalization (Berghahn Books, 2016), pp. 141-155.
  • “Ephemeral Ideologies. Exhibitions and the Politics of Display, 1891-1958,” in Miklos Szekely, ed. Ephemeral Architecture in Central-Eastern Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries (L’Harmattan, 2016), pp. 221-234.
  •  “Podoby vizuálních studií,” [The many faces of visual studies] Iluminace, časopis pro teorii, historii a estetiku filmu [Illuminations: the journal for film theory, history and aesthetics] 21, no. 1 (2009), pp. 68-80.
  • “Vizuální studia: obsahy, východiska, metody,” [Visual studies: contents, histories, methods] in Média dnes: reflexe mediality, médií a mediálních obsahů [Media today: reflexions on mediality, media and media contents] (Olomouc: Univerzita Palackého, 2008), pp. 141–152.
  •  “Czechoslovakia and Czech art history between nationalism and internationalism. Challenges to art history in the new state,” Études balkaniques 4 (2008): Political Culture and Cultural Politics in Central and South-Eastern Europe 1850-1950, pp. 148-164.

 Exhibition and book reviews

  •  Review of Design and National Identity by Javier Gimeno-Martínez (Bloomsbury, 2016), Journal of Design History 30, no. 4 (2017), pp. 425-427.
  • Review of Art and Life in Modernist Prague: Karel Čapek and His Generation, 1911-1938 by Thomas Ort (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), Austrian History Yearbook XLVIII (2017), pp. 320-322.
  • Review of Silent Revolutions in Ornament: Studies in Applied Arts and Crafts from 1880–1930 by Lada Hubatová-Vacková, West 86th: A Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture 2, no. 2 (2013), pp. 240-242.
  • Review of Prague: The Capital of the Century. A Surrealist History by Derek Sayer, The Times Education Higher, 30 May 2013, p.48.

Encyclopaedia entries

  • “František Hudeček,” Grove Art Online. Oxford University Press (2012)
  • “Milan Knížák,” Grove Art Online. Oxford University Press (2012)
  • “Roman Ondák,” Grove Art Online. Oxford University Press (2012)


Translations from Czech into English (selected)

  • Vincenc Kramář, “Franz Wickhoff, obituary,” The Journal of Art Historiography (2013), [https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1P3-3151029301/vincenc-kram-r-obituary-of-franz-wickhoff-1].
  • Vincenc Kramář, “The Origin and State of Modern Still-Life. The Creative Act of Caravaggio”, (originally published in Volné směry XXIII, 1924-1925, pp. 129-60 and 177-188). In Art in Translation 4, no. 3 (2012), pp. 301-334.
  • Emil Filla, “Edvard Munch and Our Generation,” (originally published in Volné směry XXXVI, 1938-49) in Art in Translation 4, no. 2 (2012), pp. 137-147.
  • Bohumil Kubišta, “Towards Spiritual Essence of the Modern Age” (originally published in Česká kultura 2, 1913-1914), Art in Translation 3, no. 1 (2011), pp. 27-35
  • František Šmejkal, “Kurt Schwitters and Prague”, translated by Marta Filipova from Czech (‘Kurt Schwitters a Praha’, Umení, 1986/ 34, No. 6) Art in Translation 3, no. 1 (2011), pp. 53-68.
  • Hubert Guzik, “The Diogenes Family. The Collectivization of Accommodation in Bohemia 1905-1948”, (originally published in Umění, Prague, 2006), Art in Translation 1, no. 3 (2009), pp. 381-417.

 Translations from English into Czech (selected)

  • Mikš, F. – Kesner L., eds., Gombrich: Porozumět umění a jeho dějinám (Brno: Barrister and Principal, 2010).
  • M. Filipová – M. Rampley, eds., Možnosti vizuálních studií (Brno: Barrister and Principal 2007)