Art History research opportunities


The research expertise of the Department of History of Art is best expressed through publications, exhibitions, conferences of individual members of staff, full details of which are given on the staff pages of the departmental website. Recent achievements include

  • Fintan Cullen, Ireland on Show: Art, Union and Nationhood (2012)
  • Richard Wrigley, Roman Fever: Influence, Infection and the Image of Rome (2013)
  • Mark Rawlinson, American Visual Culture (2009)
  • Ting Chang, Travel, Collecting and Museums of Asian Art in 19th Century Paris (2013)
  • Members of staff also work in mid-20th century Italian film and art (Lara Pucci), post-war American art, photography and film (Lucy Bradnock).

The department's record in producing exhibitions of international significance is fundamental to its character and status as a research centre; recent projects include 

  • Art of the Garden (Tate, 2004)
  • Conquering England: Ireland in Victorian London (National Portrait Gallery, London, 2005)
  • Ruination: Photographs of Rome (Djanogly Gallery, 2008)
  • Land Art in Britain (Southampton Art Gallery, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff)


The MPhil is an internationally recognised research degree. Most PhD students who pursue a PhD register first for the MPhil and upgrade.


The PhD requires an original contribution to knowledge and a dissertation thesis of at least 80,000 words.

Research culture

The vibrant research culture of the department contributes to the popularity of the programmes, which is evident in both a consistent record of attracting and retaining doctoral students, and a steady increase in MA applications.

Our staff not only publish and curate internationally, but contribute to the life of the department through conferences and symposia held at the University. Key areas of overlapping research that continue to provide a rich context for graduate study include:

  • French art 1750 - 1850
  • Italian travel and imagery
  • American visual culture
  • Representations of landscape in Britain and Italy
  • Representations of the everyday
  • 20th-century North American photography and visual culture 

Research in Art History within the University is supported by the Nottingham Institute for Research in Visual Culture (NIRVC), a forum for the presentation of research by and to postgraduate students. NIRVC has an exemplary record of hosting international conferences including Art Criticism Now(2014), Cinematic Rome (2005), Cultures of the Copy (2015), Display and Spectacle (2007), Museum Metaphors (2013) and Pollution and Propriety (2007).

Research training

Research students have access to an extensive range of modules provided by the Graduate School, including beginner language courses, The Tradition of Critique, and general modules such as 'Getting Going on Your Thesis', and An Introduction to Creating and Publishing Web Pages.

Key Facts

  • The department has a dedicated research institute, the Nottingham Institute for Research in Visual Culture (NIRVC)
  • 23/24 teaching score in the latest independent review of quality.
  • 7th among UK history of art departments for world-leading research*
  • 87% of research is of international quality in terms of originality, significance and rigour*
  • In the latest postgraduate taught experience survey, 100% of respondents in the School of Humanities said, “The course is intellectually stimulating” and “The course has enhanced my academic ability”

*Research Excellence Framework 2014



Department of History of Art

The University of Nottingham

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