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Dr Renate Dohmen

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Art
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Art His, Class St, Eng&CW, Mus
  • Art History
  • renate.dohmen

Professional biography

Visual Communication & Cultural Studies, Diplom (Berlin University of the Arts), PhD Art History (University of Newcastle)

Renate Dohmen joined the Open University in February 2015. Prior to this position she was Assistant and then Associate Professor in art history at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Before taking up her position at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette she taught at the World Arts and Artefacts Programme, Birkbeck College & British Museum, was Associate Lecturer for the course 'Art and its Histories' (Open University, A216), summer school tutor for the course 'Modern Art: Practices and Debates' (Open Univerrsity, A316), and worked as visiting lecturer for Goldsmiths’ College, Middlesex University and Birkbeck College as well as other London universities. She also was research assistant, Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King’s College London, research associate at the Ferguson Centre for Asian and African Art at the Open University, Milton Keynes, and participated in the AHRB Research Project ‘Art and National Identity: Mexico, Japan, India, 1860s-1940s’, University of the Arts, London. She has given gallery talks at Tate Modern, Tate Britain, the British Museum and the V&A, is a regular contributor to international conferences and has convened conference panels on art and visual culture.

Research interests

Renate is interested in questions of the global and visual culture in contemporary and colonial contexts. Her approach is interdisciplinary and encompasses art, anthropology and cultural history with a particular focus on issues of cultural encounter and cultural translation, post-coloniality and gender. Her work engages with questions of criticality in relation to contemporary art, and questions of art and empire focused on British India. She would be happy to supervise PhD theses in these areas.



‘Encounters Beyond the Gallery: Relational Aesthetics and Cultural Alterity?’ (IB Tauris, 2016)


‘Colonial Art in British India. Power, Gender and Race under the Raj’ (IB Tauris)

Book Chapters:

‘The Global, the Post-Abyssal and the Cosmopolitical: Casting a Creative Post-Underdeveloped, Post-Peripheral, Tropical Eye’, in Di Paola, M. (ed) Cosmopolitics and Biopolitics. Ethics and Aesthetics in Contemporary Art, Barcelona: University of Barcelona Press, 2018, pp. 77-94.

‘A fraught challenge to the status quo: The 1883-4 Calcutta International Exhibition, conceptions of art and industry, and the politics of world fairs’. In: Kate Nichols, Rebecca Wade, Gabriel Williams (eds) Art versus Industry? New Perspectives on Visual and Industrial Cultures in Nineteenth-Century Britain, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016, pp. 199-216.

‘Material (Re)collections of the ‘Shiny East’: A Late Nineteenth-Century Travel Account by a Young British Woman in India’ in: Mary Henes, Brian H. Murray (eds) ‘Modes of Transport: Travel Writing, Form and Visual Culture, 1760-1900’, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, pp. 42-64.


‘Counter-Epistemologies of the Global: Indian Floor Drawings Re-envisaged.’ South Asian Popular Culture, Vol 4, No 2, pp. 1-10 (2019)

‘Towards a Cosmopolitan Criticality? Relational Aesthetics, Rirkrit Tiravanija and transnational encounters with Pad Thai.’ Open Arts Journal (inaugural issue), Vol 1, No 1, pp. 35-46 (2013)

Memsahibs and the “Sunny East”: Representations of British India by Millicent Douglas Pilkington and Beryl White.’ Victorian Literature and Culture, Vol 40 No 1, pp. 153-177 (2012)

‘The Home and the World: Women, Designs and Performative Relations in Contemporary Tamil Nadu, S. India,’ Ecumene, A Journal of Cultural Geographies, Vol 11, No 1, p. 7-25 (2004)

'Happy Homes and the Indian Nation: Women's Designs in Post-colonial Tamil Nadu', Journal of Design History, Vol 14, issue 2 (June), pp. 129-139 (2001)

‘Proposing a (new) Fishiness for (Indian) Art in the 21st Century', Journal of the Habitat Centre, Delhi (2001), Vol 1, Issue 1 (March), pp. 14-21 (2001)

‘Liminal in more Ways than One: Threshold Designs in Contemporary Tamil Nadu, S. India,’ in R. J. Wallis & K. Lymer (eds) A Permeability of Boundaries? New approaches to the Archaeology of Art, Religion and Folklore, British Archaeological Reports, International Series 936, Oxford, pp. 9-18 (2001)

Exhibition Review

‘Art and Empire’ exhibition Tate Britain Third Text,, 2016

Catalogue Essay

‘Polycentricity and Visual Culture,’ Catalogue Essay for Sidewinder, International Art Exhibition, organised by CIMA (Centre of International Modern Art), published by Cima Gallery Pvt. Ltd , Kolkata, (touring Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai, sponsored by the British Council) (2002)

Book Review

‘Mollie Molesworth: A Ladakhi Diary with Watercolours of a Himalayan Trek in 1929’, HerStoria, Issue 8, Spring 2011


‘A daughter of the Empire: Edwardian life in India, 1901-03,’ a collaborative project between King’s College Archives, Birkbeck College and the London Centre for Arts and Cultural Enterprise (LCACE) which traces the life of Beryl White based on her scrap album. Accessible at (June 2007) 

Teaching interests

Renate is Module Chair for A843 the first year of the MA in Art History and Deputy Module Chair of A844, the second year of the MA in Art History and authored a section on women's street art in India for this module. She is a member of the module team of A344 Art and its global histories, and has contributed to this module as book editor and co-author of Empire and Art: British India ( Book 3 of this module) and editor of the section Empire and Art: British India in the course reader Art and its global histories: A Reader. She also serves on the module team of A226 Exploring art and visual culture and has contributed to A111 Discovering the arts and humanities.


External collaborations

She is on the advisory board of Third Text and is actively involved with the Historians of British Art, a College Arts Association (CAA) affiliate.


Encounters beyond the Gallery. Relational Aesthetics and Cultural Difference? (2016-08-29)
Dohmen, Renate
International Library of Modern and Contemporary Art
ISBN : 9781780763712 | Publisher : I.B.Tauris | Published : London
A fraught challenge to the status quo: The 1883-4 Calcutta International Exhibition, conceptions of art and industry, and the politics of world fairs (2016-02)
Dohmen, Renate
In: Nichols, Kate; Wade, Rebecca and Williams, Gabriel eds. Art versus Industry? New Perspectives on Visual and Industrial Cultures in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Studies in Design and Material Culture (pp. 199-216)
ISBN : 978-0-7190-9646-4 | Publisher : Manchester University Press | Published : Manchester
Material (Re)collections of the ‘Shiny East’: A Late Nineteenth-Century Travel Account by a Young British Woman in India (2016)
Dohmen, Renate
In: Henes, Mary and Murray, Brian H. eds. Travel Writing, Visual Culture and Form, 1760–1900. Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture (pp. 42-64)
ISBN : 978-1-137-54339-4 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke
All Bark and No Bite: India at Tate Britain’s ‘Artist and Empire’ Exhibition (2016-03)
Dohmen, Renate
Third Text Forum: Artist and Empire Part 1: Tate

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