York-Tate Collaborative Doctoral Partnership PhD studentship

Posted on 16 March 2015

Re-displaying the Modern: A History of Art Exhibitions, Artistic Networks and Institutions in the Middle East and North Africa 1930–1989.

The Department of History of Art at the University of York in partnership with Tate invites applications for this PhD studentship fully-funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council to commence in October 2015. 

This doctoral research project focuses on the institutional history of modern art practices in the Middle East and North Africa between 1947 and 1989. While revisionist narratives have brought into view previously neglected spatial and temporal networks, art historical scholarship tends to overlook the fact that artworks today praised as ‘discoveries’ in the West belong to a local narrative of a pre-globalised history of art and exhibitions. This project thus aims to provide a critical framework to map the development of galleries, festivals, biennials, journals and other platforms for artistic exchange in the region. The dominant historiographies of modernist art have, until recently, ignored art from the Middle East or cast it as derivative of its European sources. The successful candidate will thus be encouraged to engage broadly with institutional practices across the region and to frame the project in such a way that it re-evaluates the adoption and adaption of modernist paradigms.

The PhD supervisors are Dr Chad Elias (University of York) and Morad Montazami (Research Curator, Middle East and North Africa, Tate). The student may be based in London and will examine the histories of works of modern Middle Eastern and North African art within Tate’s collection, utilising the museum’s records, as part of his or her thesis. The student will produce c.40 summary texts about individual artworks in Tate’s collection for publication on Tate’s website, following existing guidelines, or a smaller number of related texts, such as catalogue entries. Such texts will relate closely to the themes and areas that the student is researching, and the experience of writing for a broad public about the works will provide valuable training. The student will be asked to share research findings with staff at Tate, both informally and formally through seminars and a range of possible publishing outcomes with Tate. The assembling of documents relating to the history of art in the region could be a further valuable outcome of the doctoral project.

Candidates should have a strong interest in modern art from the Middle East and North Africa. It is also desirable that they have a strong grounding in postcolonial theory, cultural studies, visual culture or political histories of the region (comparative studies and transnational approaches may be also privileged). The successful applicant will have excellent command of English, spoken and written, and experience with independent archival research. Written and spoken fluency in one of the major languages of the region (Arabic, Farsi or Turkish) is highly desirable.

For more information about the project, and for entry criteria and application details, see:

Re-displaying the Modern (PDF , 315kb)

The deadline for applications is 5.00pm on Monday 27th April 2015. Short-listed applicants will be invited for interview at Tate Britain on 14th May.