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Postgraduate research in Art History & Visual Culture


We are an internationally recognised centre for research and we have a strong culture of excellence in learning and teaching provision.

Art History & Visual Culture at Exeter provides the opportunity for you to carry out postgraduate research and contribute to knowledge in a number of interdisciplinary subject areas including art history and cultural studies. It will particularly appeal to you if you have a background or interest in the history of art and design, performance, architecture, visual culture or feminist, queer and decolonial approaches to cultural history, and if you are keen to further your understanding of the importance of images and artefacts in our lives.

Our research in Art History & Visual Culture is interdisciplinary in scope. Art History & Visual Culture staff publish on the history of art, design and cultural studies. They curate exhibitions, work with a variety of arts and culture institutions, and lead major externally-funded research projects on topics as diverse as curatorial engagements with performance archives; the history of French art and its institutions; Renaissance architecture and public spaces; exhibitions and colonialism; visual cultures of health and illness; or the history of erotica and pornography.

Explore our research centres and research projects to find out more about our current research topics.

Visit our staff profiles for details on the research interests and publications of individual staff.

Supervisors - all students have a primary and a secondary supervisor who provide regular, high quality advice, support and direction in their academic endeavours. You will work closely with your supervisors over three to four years (full time PhD) or six to seven (part-time PhD) to develop, investigate and write-up a project at the cutting edge of theological research.

Visit our staff profiles for more information about individual research interests or use the search box on the right of this page to find a supervisor.

Mentor - each student will also be assigned a mentor who will take on a pastoral role and mediate on any problems that arise during the period of study. Your mentor will keep in regular contact and will provide background stability and support.

Our current PhD students

We're proud of the research carried out by our PhD students. There are currently around 15 PhD students in Art History & Visual Culture, many of whom maintain an online personal profile detailing their research activities. Follow the links below to find out more about them and their research projects.

StudentResearch titleLead supervisor
Mie Al-Missned Ritual performativity in transnational networks of contemporary art: Adrian Piper, Cuco Fusco and Janine Antoni Dr João Florêncio
Najla Alsalamah Visual Representation Saudi Women in the British Professor David Houston Jones
Nihan Cetintas TURQUERIE AND CONSUMPTION IN BRITAIN 1717-1775 Professor Emma Loosley
Chloe Edwards Listen Without Prejudice: Male Homosexuality in the Popular Music Cultures of Thatcher’s Britain  Dr João Florêncio and Dr Benedict Morrison 
Mark Hodge The Last Castle in England: Castle Drogo and the effect of its construction on International Modernism in the South West of England Dr Sabrina Rahman
Anna McGee Dynamic Interiors: Transitional and Liminal Spaces in Florence’s Early Modern Palazzi Professor Fabrizio Nevola
Cristina Mosconi Geo-locating the spatial and architectural history of pre-modern cities Professor Fabrizio Nevola
Michelle Reynolds The New Woman Illustrator at the British Fin de Siècle Dr Patricia Zakreski
Sarah Spencer The Impact of the Venetian Republic on the piazze of its subject towns on the Terraferma and the Stato da Màr Professor Fabrizio Nevola
Jo Sutherst The ‘algorithmic gaze’ and its impact on our identity and sense of being human Professor Gabriella Giannachi and Professor David Houston Jones
Estrella Torrico Cuadrado The Talking Statues of Venice, Florence and Naples and their impact on public spaces during the Early Modern Age Professor Fabrizio Nevola
Sebastian Tym Gustave Doré's History of Holy Russia Professor Melissa Percival
Si Xiao Yuanmingyuan’s Treasure: Biographies of the Qianlong Emperor’s Manuscript Dr Yue Zhuang
Cathy Zhang Enhancing the family learning in museums Professor Gabriella Giannachi
Qi Zhou  Visual Culture of Chinese Ceramic for External Communication in 17th to 18th Century Professor Martin Pitts

View list of funding opportunities available to students on our research degree programmes in Art History & Visual Culture. 

We are committed to ensuring you receive high quality research supervision to maximise your potential and prepare you for a rewarding career.

Postgraduate students have access to the wide range of support offered by our Career Zone. In addition, postgraduate research students can access our Postgraduate Researchers' Programme, which covers a range of topics to help you to succeed during your research degree and to act as a springboard for your research career.