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Cross-Cultural and Artistic Networks

This research group is interested in issues of artistic encounter and exchange. It has the following two-part focus:

Art produced from the 14th through to the 16th centuries in a diverse group of territories, including Italy, the Low Countries, Spain and Byzantium.

Art’s connections to world economies and cross-cultural movement, during subsequent centuries (1550 and after).

The Cross-Cultural and Artistic Networks group aims to re-evaluate art history’s established methods and approaches in the light of emerging concerns across the wider humanities with processes of cultural encounter, movement and conflict. The geographical study of art has been championed recently as a foremost interest of art history as it undergoes its current ‘global turn’. We build on this awareness by interrogating how histories of art, place and location may be compared across diverse spaces and periods. Our research identifies both strategic practices of art scholarship and significant patterns in historical evidence in order to read ‘back and forth’ between diverse temporal contexts and regional locations.


Kathleen Christian specialises in Italian Renaissance art with a focus on the reception of antiquity, collecting, and patronage. Her recent publications inlcude the co-edited volume Patronage and Italian Renaissance Sculpture (Ashgate, 2010) and Empire without End: Antiquities Collections in Renaissance Rome, c. 1300-1527 (Yale University Press, 2010), which awarded the Society of Architectural Historians’ 2012 Elisabeth Blair MacDougall Book Award. She is currently co-editing a book on the Muses and their reception in early modern Europe and writing a monograph on Michelangelo’s Bacchus. In the USA and as a guest lecturer at the University of Zürich she has taught seminars on the ‘Global Renaissance’, centred on the visual contexts of cross-cultural exchange between Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. One of her current research projects considers the role of the female nude in early modern imagery of colonisation.

Leah Clark’s research explores the role objects play in creating networks in the fifteenth century through their exchange, collection, and replication. Her current book project examines the collection and exchange of objects in the Italian courts and she has published portions of this research in the Journal of the History of Collections and the Journal of Early Modern History. She is also working on a project that examines the intersections between collecting spaces in the Italian courts and cross-cultural mercantile and diplomatic exchanges in the Mediterranean. While teaching in America, she taught art history seminars on cross-cultural encounters in the early modern world, and she co-chaired a panel with Nancy Um ‘The Art of the Gift: Theorizing Objects in Early Modern Cross- Cultural Exchange’ at CAA 2013.

Steve Edwards has various strings to his bow. One aspect of his work focuses on art in the current global situation. He is an editor of Historical Materialism: Research in Critical Marxist Theory and an organiser of its annual London conference. Among many other things, this event brings together practitioners in various media, historians and theorists to discuss art and contemporary capitalism. He frequently works with the Russian-based group Chto Delat. He has recently written essays on art and contemporary capitalism and on photography and Imperialism and presented keynote lectures on photography and global politics.

Angeliki Lymberopoulou researches Byzantine and post-Byzantine art with particular focus on the art produced on Venetian Crete between 1211 and 1669. Under her leadership, the department has hosted the Konstantinos Leventis Fellowship in post-Byzantine art held by Dr Diana Newall 2008-2010. The fellowship resulted in a collaborative volume, Byzantine art and Renaissance Europe (Ashgate, Farnham, 2013), which she co-edited with Rembrandt Duits of the Warburg Institute, London. The book examines cross-cultural interactions between Byzantium and West withcontributions from experts from both sides of the spectrum. She currently comanages a pioneering, three-year Leverhulme-funded interdisciplinary project (2010-2013), concerned with representations of hell in the frescoes of Venetian dominated Crete (13th – 17th centuries). Her publications include The Church of the Archangel Michael at Kavalariana: Art and Society on Fourteenth-Century Venetian-dominated Crete (Pindar Press, London, 2006) and the edited volume Images of the Byzantine World. Visions, Messages and Meanings. Studies presented to Leslie Brubaker (Ashgate, Farnham, 2011)

Leon Wainwright has interrogated the complex field of a ‘globalising’ art history. A former member of the editorial board of the journal Third Text, he is Editor-in-Chief of the open access publication, the Open Arts Journal and Principal Investigator for three RCUK/EU-funded international research projects: Creativity and Innovation in a World of Movement, Disturbing Pasts: Memories Controversies and Creativity, and ‘Sustainable Art Communities: Creativity and Policy in the Transnational Caribbean’, supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK), and the Netherlands Scientific Organisation (NWO), in partnership with Prof. Kitty Zijlmans at the University of Leiden. Together with the OU’s Department of Geography he has set up the ‘Caribbean Urban Aesthetics’ network, a grouping of academics from several EU countries focused on urban place and aesthetics, and the curatorial laboratory of the Asia Triennial Manchester, the focus of a major book anthology. His first monograph Timed Out: Art and the Transnational Caribbean was published by Manchester University Press in 2011, followed by Phenomenal Difference: A Philosophy of Black British Art (Liverpool University Press, 2017). He was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize in the History of Art.

Kim Woods works on art produced in the Low Countries, particularly sculpture, addressing its export network through Europe and its impact within Europe, particularly in the British Isles and Spain. She is in the process of establishing an interdisciplinary research group around the theme of ‘Locating cultural identities in Medieval and Renaissance Iberia c.1100–c.1600’. Her publications include Imported Images: Netherlandish Late Gothic Sculpture in England c.1400-c.1530 (Shaun Tyas, Donington, 2007).

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