Student Satisfaction

1st in the UK

Art History is 1st in the UK in the National Student Survey 2023*


The Art History staff at Aberdeen have a wide and thriving range of research interests, ranging across different periods, geographies and media: from Early Modern printmaking in Britain, and late medieval Alpine art, to art historiography, exhibition history and contemporary art and Feminism, to name just a few.

Art historical research in Aberdeen benefits from an exceptional archive and museum at the University, whilst at the same time, members of staff foster strong links with researchers worldwide.

In recent years, the Department has spearheaded a range of major initiatives, for example the “Buildings of Scotland” Project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, and the creation of the St Vigeans Museum, funded by Historic Scotland. Recent third-party funded projects include, among others, ‘Fundaments of Knowledge: Art History in Britain: c. 1940-1970’

The Department is co-hosting the George Washington Wilson Centre for Art and Visual Culture, bringing together scholars from across the University with an interest in the visual. A regular Research Seminar brings a range of international speakers to Aberdeen to share their cutting-edge research, as well as allowing members of the department to give papers on work in progress.


We are interested in hearing from students wishing to undertake postgraduate level work in Art history at the MLitt or doctoral level. Please contact one of the supervisors below if you are thinking about applying for an MLitt or PhD in their subject area. We are also keen to hear from postdoctoral researchers who are interested in developing their projects at Aberdeen.

Dr Joanne Anderson: Supervision is offered in the history of late-medieval and Early Modern art and visual culture, particularly in the Alpine countries and Italy; Art and Religion; and the history of exhibitions.

Dr Hans C. Hönes: Supervision is offered in the history of European art and visual culture of the 18th and 19th centuries; art historiography and art theory; and the intersections of Art and Ecology. Hans is co-Director of the George Washington Wilson Centre for Art and Visual Culture.

Dr Helen Pierce: Supervision is offered in the history of Early Modern British and Scottish Art; Print Culture in Early Modern Europe; and the history of collecting.


PGR Students

The Art History department offers research supervision to PhD and research MLitt students across a wide range of areas, reflecting the research interests of our staff. All research students are assigned a supervisor; joint supervision may be suitable in some cases. We also offer a PhD by Distance Learning which is suitable for students who cannot come to campus regularly.

Some current (and recently graduated) students at the Department include:

Andrew Popple, Art of Social Engagement in Scotland, 1939-1987: contributing to socio-political debate?

Wendy McGlashan, Enlightenment Society Observed: The Edinburgh Portraits of John Kay 1784-1822

Lindsey Cordiner Vyse, The Architecture of Healing

Genevieve Strong, The Depiction of Gender and Technology in Neo-Victorian Art

Funded Project: “Fundaments of Knowledge”: Art History in Britain, c. 1940-1970

Funded by Paul Mellon Research Collections Fellowship 2021/22

Dr Hans C. Hönes

This project proposes to reassess the institutional history of art history in Britain between c. 1940-70. Looking beyond the usual focus on art history as a university discipline, the project looks to the informal networks and (semi-) institutional nodes that fostered disciplinary discourse in postwar Britain.

Art History Research Seminar

The Department’s regular Research Seminar brings a range of international speakers to Aberdeen to share their cutting-edge research, as well as allowing members of the department (including doctoral students) to give papers on work in progress.


Talks Usually Take Place in 50/52 College Bounds Room 009 at 5.15pm.




31ST January

Isabelle Gapp

All Aboard the Nascopie: Image-making and Coastal Memory in the Eastern Canadian Arctic

27th March

Simon Constantine

On the George Washington Wilson Collection


24th April

Sarah Smith



4th May

Arpita Shah

In Conversation with Dr. Catriona McAra.




Sandra Cardarelli (University of Aberdeen), Visual Networks in Renaissance Florence: Filippo Lippi’s Alessandri Altarpiece in the Met Collections

Abigail Jubb (University of York), Reimagining the 'Thin Ideal': An Alternative Materiality of the Fashionable Silhouette c.1880-1930

Bárbara Barreiro León (University of Aberdeen), Identity and Myth of the Spanish Folklorica in Art and Visual Culture

Sam Rose (University of St Andrews), David Hockney and the Early 60s Rediscovery of Representation



Edwin Coomasaru (Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art), Brexit and the Occult: Gendered Ghosts of Empire

Hannah Ryan (St Olaf College), How to Hold Onto a Hurricane

Frances Sands (Sir John Soane’s Museum, London), Architectural Drawings in Context: the Collection of Robert and James Adam

Katherine Weikert (University of Winchester), Architecture, Senses and Emotion: Eadmer's Canterbury



Simon Constantine (University of Aberdeen), Street Photography Revisited: Garry Winogrand and the ‘Look of Non-Art’

Rebecca Gill (National Gallery London), Virtual Veronese

Eleanor Neumann (University of Virginia), Maria Graham and the 1822 Chilean Earthquake

Stephanie Schwartz (University College London), Recursive Histories and American Physiognomies: Revisiting Walker Evans’s “American Photographs”

Lieke Wijnia (Museum Catharijne Convent, Utrecht), Mary Magdalen in the Museum