Professor Amy Bryzgel

Professor Amy Bryzgel

Personal Chair

Professor Amy Bryzgel
Professor Amy Bryzgel

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 272852
The University of Aberdeen Office: OBF 17 (Old Brewery)
For my office hours, please contact me via email to make an appointment.
Film and Visual Culture
School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture
King's College
Aberdeen AB24 3UB
Web Links

Research Website: Performing the East

Pedagogic Practice Website: Teaching Performance 

Follow me on


My articles for The Conversation UK:

Why today's art world owes a great debt to a certain networking genius (August 2016)

Walking on water: the power and politics of installation art (June 2016)

First foreign band to play North Korea famed for its 'fascism' (August 2015)

Chopped earlobes and the long history of political shock art in Russia (December 2014)


I am Director of Postgraduate Studies for the School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture, overseeing all of the postgraduate taught and research programs. From 2016-2019, I was the Director of the George Washington Wilson Centre for Visual Culture, for which I designed and launched the VIEW public engagement series. I am an elected senator for the School of LLMVC, and have previously served as the chair of the Athena SWAN committee in LLMVC.

In September 2020, I am launching a new MLitt in Performance Studies - please get in touch if you are interested!



Staff and students recognised for public engagement with research (awarded the Principal's Prize for Public Engagement with Research)

Invitation to Attend Dr. Amy Bryzgel's Lecture, "Miervaldis Polis, East and West" (article in Latvian news portal TVNet, about my lecture in Riga, 6 May 2016)

Miervaldis Polis: Egocentre Returns on a White Horse (article in Kulturas Diena, culture section of the Latvian main daily, Diena)

American Art Historian's Monograph on Miervaldis Polis (Latvian National Radio Culture segment)

Miervaldis Polis's Egocentre (Latvian National Television Cultural News segment on book launch)

Launch of monograph on Miervaldis Polis (Latvian National Television Panorama segment)

Neputns publishes Amy Bryzgel's book on Miervaldis Polis (in Latvian)

Art historian's research uncovers cultural links between East and West

Record Number of Aberdeen researchers selected for prestigious Scottish Crucible programme

Performance artist and filmmaker to discuss her unique style at Aberdeen event

Final PechaKucha of the year to look at Visual Culture

East Art Map is my Phone Book (interview with Liisa Kaljula)

History of Art students present an exhibition based on Soviet poster art and the student experience

Soviet style inspires student poster exhibition

Student Response to Soviet Propaganda

Students take inspiration from Soviet artwork in showcasing Aberdeen

The Ultimate Conceptual Art (Article about Amy Bryzgel in the Latvian daily Diena, in Latvian)


Research Interests

My area of specialization is contemporary art from Eastern Europe and Russia from the second half of the 20th century, in particular, the genre of performance art.  

I have written the first comprehensive history and analysis of performance art in Central and Eastern Europe, a monograph entitled Performance Art in Eastern Europe since 1960, which was published as part of Manchester University Press's Rethinking Art's Histories series in February 2017. I have created a website about the research and writing of the book:

My first book, Performing the East: Performance Art in Russia, Latvia and Poland since 1980, was published in 2013 by IB Tauris. My second book was a monograph on the Latvian painter and performance artist Miervaldis Polis, published by Neputns in Latvia in 2015.

Current Research

My current research projects look to expand my comparative approach to performance art to include other peripheral performance histories from across the globe. I am also looking at the networks and exchanges established by performance artists throughout the world. Lastly, I am working on producing a collection of interviews of performance artists in East-Central Europe from different generations.


In 2014, together with Dr. Pavlina Morganova, I guest-edited a special volume of Centropa: a Journal of Central European Architecture and Related Arts dedicated to performance art in Central and Eastern Europe, featuring articles on Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Romania and Fluxus performances in Eastern Europe.

Centropa cover

Research Grants

Total research grant income since 2009: £194,999

  • 2016 Principal's Prize for Public Engagement (Senior Category)
  • 2015 Scottish Crucible Participant
  • 2014 AHRC Early Career Fellowship (AH/M005585/1)
  • 2013 Leverhulme Research Fellowship
  • 2013 Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies Emerging Scholars Research Grant
  • 2012 Royal Society of Edinburgh CRF Visiting Research Fellowship
  • 2012 Royal Society of Edinburgh Small Research Grant
  • 2012 Carnegie Trust Research Grant
  • 2012 Royal Society of Edinburgh Bilateral Exchange Grant: Slovak Academy of Sciences
  • 2012 Royal Society of Edinburgh Bilateral Exchange Grant: Hungarian Academy of Sciences
  • 2011 Latvian State Culture Capital Fund for the writing of a monograph on Miervaldis Polis
  • 2011 Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies Emerging Scholars Research Grant
  • 2011 Royal Society of Edinburgh Bilateral Exchange Grant: Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic
  • 2010 Carnegie Trust Illustration Grant
  • 2010 British Academy Small Research Grant
  • 2009 Carnegie Trust Research Grant
  • 2009 British Academy Overseas Conference Travel Grant
  • 2007-2008 Rutgers University Mary Bartlet Cowdrey Dissertation Fellowship (partial award)
  • 2005-2006 Rutgers University Dodge Graduate Assistantship
  • 2005 The Kosciuszko Foundation Graduate Study and Research Grant
  • 2004-2005 J. William Fulbright Award for independent research in Latvia
  • 2004 American Council of Learned Societies Language Training Grant for study in Latvia
  • 2004 Rutgers University Mary Bartlet Cowdrey Dissertation Grant
  • 2002-2004 Rutgers University Dodge Graduate Assistantship

Teaching Responsibilities

In Autumn 2021 I will be starting a new Master's programme (MLitt) in Performance Studies.


I teach courses on performance art, postmodern and contemporary art—all with a focus on Eastern Europe—and a course on 20th century Russian art.

I welcome inquiries from prospective PhD students who would like to pursue a research project on a topic related to contemporary art in Eastern Europe, in particular performance art.


Completed PhD students:

Keava McMillan (2017)

Denisa Tomkova (2019)

Jasmina Zaloznik (2020)

Current PhD students:

Camilla Salvaneschi (2017)

Belinda McElhinney (2019) - SGSAH-funded Collaborative Doctoral Partnership project (with Imaginate, Edinburgh)

Peter Tuka (2020), University of Glasgow School of Culture & Creative Arts (co-supervisor) - SGSAH-funded


Visiting PhD students

Liis Kibuspuu (Spring 2017)

Barbara Barreiro-Leon (Spring 2017-present)

Víctor Ramírez (Spring 2018)

Further Info

External Responsibilities

Current external responsibilities

Corpus Mundi editorial board, 2020-present

EEPS (East European Politics and Societies) Advisory Committee, 2020-present

Counselor for the European Postwar & Contemporary Art Forum, 2017-present

Grant reviewer for the Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS), 2017-present

Member of AHRC Peer Review College, 2016-present

External Examiner for the Open University, American College in Greece, 2016-2019

Mentor for the Association of Slavic East European and Eurasian Studies, 2015-present

Grant reviewer for Scottish Universities Insight Institute Knowledge Exchange Programme, 2014-present

I have reviewed articles for Art Journal, The Russian Review, Public Art Dialogue, Journal of Baltic Studies, The Third Text, East Central Europe Review, East European Politics and Society and Aspasia: The International Yearbook of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern European Women's and Gender History

I have reviewed book proposals for MIT Press, Chicago University Press, Manchester University Press and Transnational Press London

I have been an external tenure reviewer for Syracuse University and the University of Tel Aviv


Past external responsibilities

Director of the Demarco Archive Trust, Ltd., 2016-2018

Elected Board Member and News Editor, SHERA (Society of Historians of East European and Russian Art), 2016.

Admin Responsibilities

Current Admin Responsibilities

Director of Postgraduate Studies, School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture (2016-present)

Elected member of Senate (2016-2020)

Elected member of Senate Business Committee (2019-present)

Elected member of the Estates Committee (2020-present)

Member of the Dignity at Work and Study Committee (2020-present)


Past Admin Responsibilities

Director of the GWW Centre for Visual Culture (2016-2019)

Co-Director of the School of LLMVC Athena SWAN Committee (2016-2017)

Conference Performance Art East Northeast West

In October 2015, I organized the international conference, "Performance Art East, Northeast, West" at the University of Aberdeen. The conference explored the development of performance art in Eastern Europe, North America, and the Northeast of Scotland, highlighting connections between artists that occurred along the way. It featured a roster of researchers who specialise in the performance art, as well as performances by artists from Eastern Europe.

Speakers and performers included Jana Pisarikova (Czech Republic), Luchezar Boyadjiev (Bulgaria), Catherine Spencer (St. Andrews), Bozidar Jurjevic (Croatia) and Branko Miliskovic (Serbia).

Poster Exhibition Project

As part of the assessment for HA3074: From Gulag to Glasnost: Modern Russian Art, students create a poster advertising the University of Aberdeen utilising the style and approach evident in Soviet avant-garde posters. Then, they create an exhibition of those posters that is put on display at the University. This is an article from the Evening Express featuring the poster exhibition that took place in 2011-2012.

Performance Art in Eastern Europe

With support of funding from the Royal Society of Edinburgh, The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, and a Leverhulme Research Fellowship, in 2013-2014 I conducted field research for my next book, Performance Art in Eastern Europe. I documented the process of conducting that research on my website, which also functions as a database for the artists that I meet and interview across the former communist and socialist countries of Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe.  

The website is and I am now in the process of building this web-based archive of contemporary performance art in Central and Eastern Europe.

Selected Publications


Performance Art in Eastern Europe since 1960
(Manchester University Press, 2017)

Miervaldis Polis (Neputns, 2015)

Performing the East: Performance Art in Russia, Latvia and Poland Since 1980 (IB Tauris, 2013)



Reviews of Performance Art in Eastern Europe Since 1960

A selection of reviews of my book, Performance Art in Eastern Europe since 1960, published in 2017 by Manchester University Press.

"By highlighting an instance in which documentation functioned as a substitute for presence, Bryzgel weighs in on art-historical debates regarding the relationship between live art and photography. It is at moments like this that Performance Art in Eastern Europe since 1960 most succeeds in its stated aim of 'looking not from the centre to the periphery but the reverse, to see how such an approach might not only challenge but also overturn perceptions regarding art history, artistic styles, and the canon' (p. 5)." - Michelle Maydanchik, University of Pittsburgh, Slavonic and East European Review (vol. 95, no. 4, October 2017) 

"Like any good art historical study the book goes beyond shedding light on an obscure moment in history, bearing much relevance to contemporary artists working in the West today. In this respect, a great strength of the book is its intimate analysis of the operation of the strategy of 'Subversive Affirmation' in the communist era." - Pil and Galia Kollectiv, Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe 

"The material provided contributes to the expanded fields of performance studies and art history by offering a rich and fascinating overview of the overlooked artistic practices in Eastern Europe. Furthermore, Bryzgel's approach should challenge the reader's perception of histories of art and performance shaped through the lens of the West." - Sofia Vranou, Queen Mary University of London, Contemporary theatre review, Volume 28, 2018 - Issue 1 

"Bryzgel's text will interest especially those invested in the rapidly expanding field of Central and Eastern European art history and Cold War cultural studies. Its wide swathe of information illustrates the variety and intrigue of performance art in the Cold War East and will surely entice many curious onlookers to storm the field." - Sara Blaylock, University of Minnesota-Duluth, CAA Reviews, April 16, 2018


"This is a richly researched and beautifully illustrated book, which makes a major contribution to the field's ability to connect the art histories of these countries to the global history of performance art. It will be an indispensable tool for teachers looking to expand offerings in this area, which as Bryzgel observes, Anglophone art history curricula most often exclude (4)." - Adair Rounthwaite, University of Washington in Seattle, Art Journal Volume 77, 2018 - Issue 1


"Bryzgel's consistent comparison of works from different Eastern European countries helps (re)construct a performative space on its own cultural and political terms. In addition, the many illustrations are a visual treat and help readers imagine the performances discussed. As a Romanian-born writer and director who resided and worked in Bucharest until 2000, I must agree with Bryzgel: given the linguistic, political, and economic barriers, living in Eastern Europe before and even after 1989 does not guarantee that one knows the work of artists there, nor that they know of each other's work. In this and many other ways, the informative value of Bryzgel's study is remarkable for both Western and Eastern scholarship." - Diana Manole, Ryerson University, Theatre Survey Volume 59, Issue 2, May 2018, pp. 298-300


"With this recent study, she [Bryzgel] introduces much-needed perspectives from artists who were challenged by socioeconomic conditions while maintaining their artistic research, in spite of the political regimes under which they were forced to live. The new material explored in this book usefully documents and analyzes works that have led to the beginnings of performance studies in Eastern Europe." - Cristina Modreanu, art curator and critic, New York/Bucharest, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, Volume 40, Number 2, May 20187 (PAJ 119)