CVAC is the home of interdisciplinary research in visual and material culture at Durham University.
Our term-time meetings feature collaborative discussions of work-in-progress, while regular conferences and workshops help us develop and contribute to larger projects. We also host an annual lecture in architectural studies, and we co-sponsor an annual lecture with the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies. Our research areas evolve to reflect the interests of CVAC members, including early career researchers and postgraduate students.
CVAC members include curators from Durham University’s Oriental Museum and art collection, and we work with museums, archives, and heritage sites across the UK and internationally, such as the Bowes Museum, the National Science and Media Museum, and the Palace Museum in China. Current projects include the impact of colonialism and empire on collections in our region, with its coal-mining and ship-building heritage, and research on networks of Anglo-Jewish and German-Jewish art collectors in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Photography and Film
From the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb to the novels of W. G. Sebald, and from the climate crisis to Japanese anime, photography and film mediate our experience of the world. Several CVAC members and affiliates are active in this area, including current research on the history of illustrated magazines and issues surrounding digitization and colourization. In addition, our Advisory Board member Hubert Locher, professor of art history at Philipps-Universität Marburg, is Director of Bildarchiv Foto Marburg and co-editor of leading German photography journal Rundbrief Fotografie.
Methods in Visual Culture
This flexible strand allows us to explore common concerns across a range of disciplines. CVAC members are working on the use of AI technologies in art history, image-making and identities in the ancient world, and questions related to decolonization, vision and memory, and sustainability.
Hear more about our Research
Sign up to our mailing list or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram; we also welcome suggestions for work-in-progress or training events, from colleagues at Durham University or elsewhere.