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Our research

Material specificity united with historical precision and intellectual ambition.

Art historians at York are committed to theoretically informed object analysis across all periods and places, medieval to modern.

Our staff and students contribute to exhibitions, events, performances and media activities around the world. We collaborate extensively with museums, galleries, and heritage and conservation organisations.

We are one of the largest departments of history of art in the UK, with a vibrant research culture. Our community of more than 80 postgraduate research students energises our research environment.

Our staff Our research students

The Research Excellence Framework 2021

  • We’re a top ten UK research department. Our research is ranked first in the UK for its impact and environment - the support we give to researchers - according to the Times Higher Education’s ranking of the latest REF results (2021).

Learn more about the 2021 REF results

Research strengths

Our research clusters reflect our strengths: wide period coverage and close attention to the material specificity of artmaking. The clusters bring together postgraduate researchers, academic colleagues and a wide array of visiting scholars.

You can also explore our strengths and projects through our interactive research portal.

Postgraduate research

Our many postgraduate researchers enhance the intellectual diversity and vitality of the Department.

Their work spans all of the Department's academic specialisms, and many are engaged in research at leading museums and galleries.

Explore our postgraduate research

Sarah Brown working on stained glass

Impact and engagement

Collaboration is at the heart of our research. Our Department has always had a culture of openness to colleagues in museums, galleries and heritage organisations and to audiences in the wider community.

We have three priorities which form the core of our external engagement: preserving cultural heritage, enriching cultural life, and the education of civil society beyond the academic community.


York Art History Collaborations

We have a long-standing reputation for collaborating with museums, art galleries, and other heritage organisations.

Through YAHCs, we work in partnership with colleagues in museums and galleries, which enriches everything that we do.


We work closely with colleagues across the University through interdisciplinary research centres, including:

Many of the interdisciplinary centres are based in the Berrick Saul building, which is also home to the Humanities Research Centre.