Modern and Contemporary cluster


About the Modern and Contemporary Cluster

The History of Art Department of York has a large number of staff and students who work on modern and contemporary art, artistic practices and theories. We have particularly close links with colleagues in other departments at York through the Centre for Modern Studies. Staff also work closely with museums, galleries and institutions around the world.

Our research

We have research expertise in the following areas:

  • Film and film theory
  • Feminist art practices and theory
  • Contemporary art writing
  • Avant-gardes and neo-avant-gardes
  • Abstract art
  • Modern and contemporary sculpture
  • Postcoloniality, art and visual culture
  • Post-war American art
  • Queer theory






  • James Boaden
    Post-war American Art; experimental film

  • Whitney Davis
    Queer theory; theories of visual culture 

  • Jason Edwards
    Director of the Centre for Modern Studies; Queer Theory; Animal Theory; complex and other world systems
  • Cadence Kinsey

    Contemporary art; art and the Internet; digital media; histories of art and technology; live art and performance from the 1960s to today

  • Teresa Kittler

    Artistic practices from 1945 to the present day 

  • Michael White
    Interwar avant-gardes; theories of abstraction; sculpture in the twentieth century


Research students

Current students

  • Gabriella Beckhurst
    Caring for the queer body: Imagining afterlives and posthuman futures through art practice in the UK and US, 1980–2000
  • Thomas Bromwell
    Interwar British Art and the Apocalypse
  • Ilaria Grando
    Visualizing AIDS: Re-codify the body to re-codify society
  • Louisa Lee
    Conceptual Art in Britain 1964–79 (AHRC funded CDA)
  • Kyveli Lignou-Tsamantani
    (In)visible Atrocity Images in Contemporary Art: Towards a Reconsideration of the Ethics of Photographing and Viewing Atrocities
  • Grace Linden
    The Work of the Bowery School in New York
  • Simon Marginson
    The Art of Picabia
  • Jessica Schouela
    Documenting modernist form, architecture, and environment 1910-1940

Recent students:

  • Kirsty Breedon
    Herbert Ward: Sculpture, Politics and Exploration in the Atlantic World, 1884 to the Present
  • Elizabeth McCormick
    Casts, Catalogues, and Curators: Acquisition and Display of Early Medieval Sculpture in National Museums, c. 1850 to 1950
  • Ariane Mildenberg
    Marks, buttons and notes: phenomenology and creative production in Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein and Wallace Stevens
  • Kuang (Vivian) Sheng
    Female artists 'fantasy' of 'home-making' in the world: Mona Hatoum, Yin Xiuzhen and Nikki S. Lee
  • Catherine Spencer
    Fieldwork: performing social science in North America, 1961-75
  • Kostas Stasinopoulos
    Elsewhere: Women Artists in Exile and Protest since 1960
  • Amy Tobin
    Working together, working apart: experimental feminist art practices 1970-1985


Courses run by staff associated with the Modern and Contemporary Cluster include:


  • Subjectivity and Sexuality in Art Since 1960
  • The Modernist Object
  • The Making of a Modern Style, 1889-1933
  • Theories of Abstraction
  • Modernism
  • The Italian Avant-Garde
  • Art After the Internet
  • Action/Re-Action
  • Art in America, 1800-1913
  • Mirrors and Screens: The World of Andy Warhol
  • Originality and Reproduction: Avant-Garde, Neo-Avant-Garde and After
  • Global Encounters: Art and the British Empire, c.1800-195



  • The Bauhaus and Weimar Culture
  • Visualising Conflict in the Twentieth Century
  • Encountering Modernism: Modern Art and Theory Since 1945
  • Art on Show
  • Toil & Trouble: Feminism & Art Now!
  • Adventures in the Anthropocene
  • Tate Britain Module: Art School Education: from Hockney to Hirst
  • Queering Theory: Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
  • Fat Art, Thin Art: Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick as Fibre Artist
  • Framing the Contemporary




Spring/Summer 2018 Events

  • 20 July to 16 September 2018
    Refuse/Refuge exhibition at York Art Gallery. Curated by PhD students Kyveli Lignou-Tsamantani and Martha Cattell. Further details here

  • 6, 10, 13 June 2018
    Film Screening of Liquid Traces: The Left-to-Die Boat Case (2014) by Forensic Oceanography as part of York festival of Ideas. Details here
  • 18 May 2018 - 1pm to 6pm
    Atmospheres Symposium, Tree House BSB. Please email Marie Allitt for details.
  • 25 April 2018 - 5.30pm to 7pm
    Artist Talk with David Birkin in Bowland Auditorium BSB

Autumn 2017 Events

  • 21 October 9am to 5pm
    Visit to Hull Turner Prize 2017 and Turner & The Whale. Numbers are limited so please sign up on the sheet outside Michael White's office.


Past Events

  • 24 January - 2pm
    Visit to Alive at York Art Gallery (meet at the gallery)
  • 15 February 2017 - 8.45am 
    Visit to Robert Rauschenberg at Tate Modern with curator Fiontán Moran. Meet at staff entrance. Spaces are limited so please email Cadence Kinsey to register your interest.
  • 7 March 2017 - 10am
    Visit to Andy Warhol: ARTIST ROOMS at Whitworth Manchester (meet at the gallery)
  • 22 March 2017 - 10am to 5.30pm
    MerzNorth4 Tree House, Berrick Saul Building