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Durham University

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Professor Janet Stewart, MA, PhD (Glasgow)

Executive Dean (Arts and Humanities) in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42900
Professor / Executive Dean (A&H) in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Room number: ER246, Elvet Riverside II
Member of Steering Group in the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture

Contact Professor Janet Stewart (email at

Janet Stewart took up the post of Professor of Visual Culture and German in 2014 and upon appointment became the founding Director of the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture.

From 2015 - 2018, she served as Head of School of Modern Languages and Cultures.

Professor Stewart holds a Ph.D in German and Sociology from the University of Glasgow. In 1995, she was awarded a Junior Fellowship at the International Research Centre for Cultural Sciences in Vienna and in 1997-1998 she held a Leverhulme Trust Study Abroad Studentship at the Karl-Eberhardts-Universität Tübingen. Between 1998 and 2013, she was Lecturer and, latterly, Senior Lecturer in German and Film & Visual Culture at the University of Aberdeen, where she founded a Masters programme in Visual Culture.

Professor Stewart is the author of two monographs, Fashioning Vienna: Adolf Loos’s Cultural Criticism (2000) and Public Speaking in the City (2009) and has published widely on Austrian and German literature and visual culture, cultural sociology and urban history.

Her current research project develops her interests in modernity and visual culture in a new context, connecting them to the study of energy and, more specifically, petroleum. She is working on a research monograph, ‘Curating Europe’s Oil’, which explores the role that oil plays in twenty-first century cultural memory, and writes a related blog on Energy and Culture. She is also co-editing, with Graeme MacDonald (Warwick) a Routledge Handbook of Energy Humanities.

In 2012, she curated an international exhibition on ‘OilScapes’ at Peacock Visual Arts in Aberdeen, on whose curatorial board she served from 2006-2012. She also served on the Advisory Board of ‘Capturing the Energy’, a multi-partner initiative to document Scotland’s energy history, and is an associate member of the ‘Petrocultures’ Research Group' at the University of Alberta, Edmonton. 

Together with Graeme MacDonald (Warwick) and Rhys Williams (Glasgow), she organised the Third International Petrocultures Conference which took place at the University of Glasgow in 2018. She was also the co-organiser of a workshop on 'Decarbonized Futures' that took place at the Lorentz Centre, Leiden in 2017.

She is currently part of an international collaborative research project funded by the Swedish Reserach Council investigating Climate Imaginaries.

Research Groups

Durham Energy Institute

Indicators of Esteem

  • 2019: Editor of German Life and Letters:
  • 2014: Member of AHRC Peer Review College (2012 - present):
  • 2014: Member of the Advisory Board for the Austrian Studies Yearbook, published by W. S. Maney under the aegis of the MHRA (since 2001):
  • 2014: Member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Austrian Studies (US) (2012-2015):
  • 2005: Secretary and Treasurer of the Scottish Conference of University Teachers of German (SCUTG) [Feb 2002 - May 2005):

Selected Publications

Authored book

Chapter in book

Conference Paper

  • Stewart, Janet C. (2010), Flows of Capital Between Energy Cities - paper presented at the World Energy Cities Partnership Conference held in Perth, Australia, World Energy Cities Partnership Conference. Perth, Australia, Perth.

Edited book

Journal Article

Show all publications


Selected Grants

  • 2018: Narrating socio-cultural transitions to a post-fossil society. Climaginaries is a project funded by the Swedish research council Formas. Researchers from Utrecht University, Warwick University and Durham University collaborate with researchers from Lund U
  • 2013: Carnegie Trust Grant to undertake archival work in Vienna (£910)
  • 2011: British Academy Small Research Grant to undertake archival work in Berlin ('The Energetic Imperative: Wilhelm Ostwald's Contribution to the Sociology of Energy') (£1400)
  • 2010: AHRC Beyond Text Student Initiative. Funding for conference on 'The Forgotten Voices of the Avant-Garde [Supervisor]
  • 2009: University of Aberdeen College of Arts & Social Sciences Research Project Award for 'Translating Cultures' (Eight 3-year PhD studentships over two years) (£60,000)
  • 2008: AHRC Beyond Text Student Initiative. Funding for conference on 'Resistance and Complicity' and for associated online journal [Supervisor]
  • 2004: British Academy Small Research Grant to undertake archival work in Vienna and Berlin and secure illustrations (£1900)
  • 2003: Austrian Cultural Institute funding for Continuities and Discontinuities in Austrian Culture Conference (£12000)
  • 2003: Carnegie Research Grant to undertake archival work in Berlin (£1700)

International Collaboration

  • External Member of the Petrocultures Resource Cluster at the University of Alberta, Edmonton