Art History research

Art History staff at the University of Plymouth contribute to a research environment that was rated 100% ‘world-leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’ in the national assessment of UK research (REF2014). Our research specialisms stretch from the late medieval to modern periods and encompass expertise in the major art historical periods, from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance to Realism and Modernism. Our strengths lie in meta-painting in Western visual culture; political iconography in Renaissance Italy; the reception of Renaissance artists from 1750 to the present; the history and practice of art historical writing in Europe; international mural painting and public art of the 20th century; the visual arts and cultural politics of the interwar period; Viennese modernism; modernist exhibition cultures; the entanglement of modernism and medicine; the medical humanities.

Art History

Art History research

What does an art historian do? Dr Gemma Blackshaw, Professor of Art History at Plymouth University, speaks about her work as a researcher, curator and lecturer

Art History Projects: The Wallflower Project

In 2020, a series of cultural projects will help Plymouth commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s sailing to America.

The Wallflower Project is the brainchild of Dr Jody Patterson, Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Plymouth, and art collective Loci, which is made up of graduates from the University’s Fine Art programme. It will see a series of murals created across the city between now and 2020, in conjunction with heritage and community groups, which will further Plymouth’s burgeoning identity as a city of culture. The project is being supported by Plymouth Culture, which is involved in preparations for the city’s Mayflower 400 celebrations, and seeks to uncover emerging talent and engage the community with culture projects. 

 Dominic Jinks, Executive Director of Plymouth Culture, said: “I am delighted to see the development of the mural project led by the University of Plymouth. There is a significant growth of visual contemporary arts in Plymouth typified by brilliant projects such as The Plymouth Art Weekender. It is great to see this project being a part of such a vibrant scene in the city that will clearly engage a range of people in the exciting work produced.”

A Crowdfunder campaign has now been launched to fund future murals, and for more information about how to get involved visit