Key Research Clusters

Twentieth-century art

David Hopkins, Debbie Lewer, Dominic Paterson and Tina Fiske have developed a body of research around the avant-garde, related to PhD study and the MLitt in Art: Politics: Transgression: 20th-Century Avant-Gardes.

We have established an international profile in Dada studies, exemplified by Lewer’s award of a Senior Humboldt Fellowship in 2009-10 to pursue research on German modernism, Hopkins’s recent appointment as editor of the Blackwell Companion to Dada and Surrealism and numerous published outcomes including contributions to The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines.

Paterson has been actively involved as a critic, working alongside artists and curators in the Scottish contemporary art scene. Fiske’s work on public collections policy, through her work on the National Collecting Scheme Scotland project with Creative Scotland, complements the activity of this cluster, tying it to public support systems for the arts.

Nineteenth-century art

This cluster builds on Glasgow’ s longstanding strengths in nineteenth-century art. Scholars are working across a range of interdisciplinary areas, including:

We have expanded our continued international expertise on Whistler scholarship by Margaret Macdonald’s online catalogue raisonné of Whistler’s etchings (2011) and Macdonald and de Montfort’s exhibition ‘An American in London: Whistler and the Thames’ (Dulwich 2013; Addison Gallery, MA; and Freer Gallery, Washington DC, 2014). A key research partner for this cluster is the Stirling Maxwell Centre for the study of Text/Image Cultures, of which Hilary Macartney’s research is a core part.

Medieval and renaissance art

The recent appointment of Tom Nichols builds on the research strengths of John Richards and Debra Strickland. This cluster now encompasses c.1250-1600. This group is currently developing an innovative MLitt titled The Renaissance in Northern Europe and Italy (currently awaiting approval).  

Nichols’ and Richards’ research engages with historiographic issues in Italian art with an emphasis on key figures (Petrarch, Tintoretto, Titian). This cluster has strong thematic crossovers, for example, Strickland’s innovative work on pejorative representations of non-Christians in medieval Christian art connects with Nichols’ widely published work on representations of the poor and outcast in the early modern period. Sally Rush’s work on sixteenth-century Scottish court culture complements the research of this cluster, whilst external contacts exist with, for example, the Glasgow Network for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, The Society of Renaissance Studies and the international group, Cinquecento plurale.

Conservation, Technical Art History and Textile History

With a new home at Kelvin Hall and significant investment in facilities, the Kelvin Centre for Conservation and Cultural Heritage Research, with Christina Young as Director, brings together conservators, scientists, technical art historians, and dress and textile historians. Our focus remains on interdisciplinary research and research-led teaching into making, meaning, conserving in cultural heritage.

Established links with a wide range of national and international cultural institutions underpin our focus on object-based research. Examples include working with the Hunterian, Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, and the Smithsonian on Situating Pacific Barkcloth in Time and Place; with the National Trust at Knole House on IMPASTOW; and with Glasgow Museums, Museo Nacional del Prado, and the National Trust for Scotland on Unwrapping an Icon.

Support from the AHRC Capability for Collections Fund (CapCo) has enhanced our infrastructure and expanded our conservation science capability for cultural heritage research into both our own university collections and our partners' collections.

Projects such as Tapestry Monitoring and Modelling and our involvement in The Getty's Conserving Canvas Initiative reflect our interest in translating research into museum practice and conservation practice.

Engagement activities to complement our research include exhibition curation such as Barkcloth: Revealing Pacific Craft (The Hunterian, 2019), outreach events such as the Glasgow Science Festival, and online learning resources such as an Interview on Historic Royal Fashion.