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Discover & Research

Research fellows 2019

Each year our fellowship programme enables artists and researchers to develop their work.

In 2019 our visiting fellows included Elizabeth Johnson, Rebecca Senior, Will Atkin, Shantel Blakely, Luca Bochicchio, Marion Coutts, Heather Diack, Sean Dower, Natalie Ferris, Jennifer Sarathy, Catherine Spencer and Lauren Walden.

Elizabeth Johnson

University College London

Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship

The Figure of the Monument in Contemporary Art

Elizabeth Johnson is Henry Moore Foundation Post-doctoral Research Fellow at University College London, where she is researching the figure of the monument in contemporary art. Her research interests include sculpture, monuments, art and technology and digital technology.

In 2018 she held a research fellowship in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. In 2017 she successfully defended her doctoral thesis, What do you call a sculptor who doesn’t make sculptures? Bruce Nauman, 1965-1974, at the London Consortium, Birkbeck College.

Rebecca Senior

University of Nottingham

Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship

Allegories of Violence: Histories of the British Empire and Monumental Sculpture

Rebecca Senior is an art historian specialising in sculpture and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century visual cultures in Britain. She has a particular interest in allegory, monuments and histories of British imperialism, which is the subject of her research at the Institute.

Working in collaboration with the University of Nottingham, her post-doctoral project is titled ‘Allegories of Violence: Histories of the British Empire and Monumental Sculpture’. It explores the various manifestations of allegorical sculpture on monuments erected in honour of Britain’s imperial campaigns in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with a specific focus on how allegory occupied a unique space as a sanitiser of violence in visual histories.

In her role as an Impact Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham, she developed evidence collection methods and research strategies across the Department of Cultural, Media and Visual Studies ahead of REF 2021 that drew on her previous experience working on contemporary art publications and organising public engagement events.

Will Atkin

The Courtauld Institute of Art

Research Fellowship

Moore and the Animal Form in the Wake of Lascaux

During the 1950s Henry Moore produced a range of animal-themed sculptures which are noticeable anomalies within his wider oeuvre, representing a marked departure from his preferred human subject matter. This research project seeks to shine new light on this body of animal sculpture by situating it in the context of a much broader prehistoric reawakening in the cultural and intellectual milieux of post-war Europe.

Though often considered as a torchbearer of sculptural ‘primitivism’ within European modernism – featuring in The British Museum’s 2013 exhibition Ice Age Art: Arrival of the Modern Mind alongside Matisse, Mondrian and Picasso, for example – the exact circumstances of Moore’s artistic investment in prehistoric art remain unclear. Moore described his adventures in ‘the prehistoric and Stone Age room’ at the British Museum during the 1920s in various interviews, and in 1934 he went to see the prehistoric bison murals in the cave of Altamira in Cantabria, northern Spain.

After the Second World War a new wave of interest in prehistory swept across Europe following the wartime discovery of the Lascaux Caves in 1940, and Moore was one of the leading artists to be associated with these art historical revelations. In 1948, it was a natural decision for his works to be selected to represent ‘The Influence of the Prehistoric’ in the major ICA exhibition, 40,000 Years of Modern Art.

Whilst this association seems to have been made at the time simply on the basis of aesthetic and textural similarities between certain prehistoric forms and Moore’s sculptures, this project will explore how his animal sculptures in particular are more profoundly connected to the wider cultural and philosophical response to the discovery of Lascaux, when prehistory took on a radical new significance as the world tried to come to terms with and make amends for the wayward historical ‘advances’ of the twentieth century.

Dr Will Atkin was awarded his doctorate in 2017 from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London for his PhD thesis Theories and Practices of Magic in Surrealist Discourse on the Object. He now works as an Associate Lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art, teaching nineteenth- and twentieth-century Art History.

Shantel Blakely


Research Fellowship

Henry Moore and Herbert Read on the ‘Synthesis’ of Sculpture and Architecture

In a project on the aesthetic philosophy of Herbert Read, the twentieth-century English poet/critic/anarchist, Shantel Blakely is critically investigating Read’s argument that art is intrinsically educative for both practitioner and observer; and by extension that architecture and design, as art forms, can make a non-institution-dependent contribution to social harmony. Her research at the Henry Moore Foundation will consider the relationship between Read and Henry Moore, whom Read often cited as a model of the artist as public figure. She will focus on their respective views of the ‘synthesis of the arts’, a collection of claims that were embraced by architects and artists between 1945 and the mid-1960s, regarding the integration of painting, sculpture, and architecture into an immersive aesthetic totality.

Dr. Shantel Blakely is an independent scholar and critic based in America. She focuses on architecture at the dawn of postmodernism, and has taught courses in architectural history, theory, and urban design at Columbia, Barnard, and Parsons School of Design. Her writings and translations have appeared in several journals of architecture history and theory. In 2017 she was a recipient of the Richard Rogers Fellowship from Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Luca Bochicchio

University of Genoa

Research Fellowship

Clay and Ceramic Sculpture at the End of Modernism: An American-European Critical Approach

Luca’s current research focuses on the preservation of cultural heritage, as well as the international connections of the 1950s-60s Italian avant-gardes, with particular reference to the use of clay and ceramics in sculpture and architecture. His research project aims to match sources related to the European and American ceramic sculpture avant-gardes, to take into account a dual geographical perspective, as a methodologic starting point for the understanding of common references, languages, techniques and forms in ceramics sculpture across continents, with a focus on the 1950s and 60s.

The development of European avant-garde ceramic sculpture between 1930 and 1960 was heavily influenced by the work of Japanese and Californian practitioners, encouraging a significant emphasis on the ‘sign’ on clay, as well as on a modernist, synthetic shape due to the energy of the ‘gesture’ (which in the case of ceramic sculpture should be always defined as ‘action’). We find unexpected similarities between the practices of the European artists Leoncillo Leonardi, Lucia Fontana, Asger Jorn and Carlo Zauli, and those of American artists such as John Mason, Ken Price, and Peter Voulkos. Subsequently in the 1960s the tendency of artists working in clay was to overcome the ‘object identity’, anticipating contemporary trends in painting and other media.

Dr Luca Bochicchio is an art historian, critic and curator, and Director of the Asger Jorn House Museum in Albissola, Italy. He obtained his PhD in 2011, with a dissertation on the diffusion of Italian sculpture in America between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He has written extensively on artists such as Enrico Baj, Lucio Fontana, Asger Jorn, Wifredo Lam, Leoncillo, Piero Manzoni and Arturo Martini. He also works with living artists such as Salvatore Arancio, Pablo Atchugarry, Arianna Carossa, Anders Herwald Ruhwald and Franz Stähler. In 2013-14 he received a bursary to carry out research at Jorn Museum Archives, Silkeborg and in 2019 at the Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, Yale University.

Marion Coutts

Artist / Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Goldsmiths, University of London

Research Fellowship

How to Create a Fictional, Mid-career, Female Artist?

Marion will spend time in the Institute’s Archive looking at the collection of twentieth- and twenty-first-century female artists’ papers in depth including, among others, Rose Finn-Kelcey and Helen Chadwick. Her interest is to explore the texture and grain of a material working life as generated through fragments: sketchbooks, notes, plans, lists, methods, jokes, samples, arguments, drawings, letters, photographs, digressions and other ephemeral forms.

Marion Coutts is an artist and writer and a Senior Lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her work has been exhibited widely, including solo shows at Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool, Chisenhale Gallery, London, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Foksal Gallery, Warsaw. She has held fellowships at Tate Liverpool, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge and The British School at Rome. Her first book, The Iceberg, won The Wellcome Book Prize in 2015 and was shortlisted for the Costa Book Award, The Samuel Johnson Prize, and was a finalist in the US National Book Critics Circle Awards, 2017. In 2018 she was the recipient of The Islands Arts Writing Residency, Fogo Island. Canada. Pluton, a new book of short form texts and photographs, will come out with Art Metropole, Toronto in 2019. She writes on art for 1843, the Economist’s ideas and culture magazine.

Heather Diack

University of Miami

Research Fellowship

Things That Matter: Migratory Passages in Contemporary Sculpture

Heather’s research project studies the sculptural work of artists who grapple with the ethical evasions of the ‘unthinkable’ by material means, paying close attention to the significance of commonplace and discarded objects in ways that are poignant, suggestive and, sometimes, problematic.

Looking at recent art practices, she is interested in works that engage productive ambiguities while proposing ways to understand and potentially challenge geo-political disparities in the present. This is particularly the case for installations that stage issues of displacement, dispossession, and salvage, while situating the status of contemporary sculpture as an invitation and as a socio-political act. Her project investigates how contemporary sculpture navigates the tides of materiality and migratory aesthetics in tandem, considering works by a wide-ranging group of artists including Allora & Calzadilla, Doris Salcedo, Isaac Julien, Kalliope Lemos, Hew Locke, Mike Nelson, and Michael Rakowitz, among others.

Dr Heather Diack is Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Miami. Diack received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto and is a graduate of McGill University and the Independent Study Program of the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY. Her recent writing has appeared in Photography Performing Humor (Leuven University Press, 2019) and Bruce Nauman: A Contemporary (Basel: Schaulager, 2018). Co-editor of a special issue of photographies (Fall 2017 no. 10.3) Not Just Pictures: Reassessing Critical Models for 1980s Photography, Diack’s forthcoming monograph is entitled Documents of Doubt: The Photographic Conditions of Conceptual Art (University of Minnesota Press).

Sean Dower


Artist Research Fellowship

Stephen Cripps and the legacy of the expanded sculptural idiom

Born in 1965 in Walsall, UK, Sean Dower was active in the UK industrial music scene in the early 1980s before going on to work with the radical performance art group Bow Gamelan Ensemble. He studied Sculpture at Camberwell School of Art London (1988-1991) and attended the residency programme of the Rijksakademie van Beeldenden Kunsten in Amsterdam (1993-1995).

Dower’s varied output explores the expanded field of sculpture and often incorporates other media such as film, live performance and sound. Much of his recent work draws upon his historical involvement in live performance and addresses the spatial, physical and material aspects of sound. Dower has been exhibiting his work publicly since the early 1990’s and has been included in exhibitions at MOMA New York, Matt’s Gallery London, Tate Britain, W139 Amsterdam and De La Warr Pavilion, UK.  A monograph of his work was published by Dom Omladine Belgrade and the Franklin Foundation in 2017.

During his Fellowship at the Henry Moore Institute, Dower will be studying the archive of sculptors’ papers relating to Stephen Cripps (1952–1982), an artist known for his ground-breaking work with pyrotechnics, sound, kinetic sculpture and performance. More broadly, his intention is to explore the legacy of the expanded sculptural idiom, particularly with reference to historical conceptual and performance art. Dower is particularly interested in how performance art and temporary or unrealised art-works can occupy the territory of conceptual art through their documentation and become mythical through their potential to exist in the imagination. He will be researching the above in relation to a number of his own ongoing projects and will be exploring how other artists working within the expanded field of sculpture have often incorporated traditional sculptural concepts into their work.

Natalie Ferris

University of Edinburgh

Research Fellowship

Technicities of Illusion: Dynamism and Deception in Post-War Literature, Art and Design

During her Fellowship Natalie will conduct preliminary research for her present monograph project, which explores the implications of the kinetic in modern and contemporary literature, art and design. Key to her line of enquiry is to ask what constitutes movement, direction, linkage – essentially kineticism – in literature and visual culture. How does it animate the divisions that exist between what we see, what we perceive, and what we think we know?

Tracing the lineage of technological literacy in the arts and consulting archival collections of artworks, optical devices, digital design, filmic and literary responses, this project will build a new history of the ways we manage and visualise information to deepen understanding of how we read, think, create, and write now. Central to this project will be to sensitise readers to the existence of a language of movement – be that material or virtual – what the art historian Guy Brett maintains as ‘one of the twentieth-century’s great unknowns’. Of particular interest to this project are the Stephen Cripps papers held at the Henry Moore Institute – his use of pyrotechnics, and his pyrotechnic performances, explore how movement can be both controlled and out of control, both creative and destructive. The extensive correspondence held in the Institute’s Archive, particularly with Herbert Read, as well as the Read archive in the Leeds University Library, and those with whom he corresponded in the later decades of his life, will also inform this research.

Dr Natalie Ferris is the Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures at the University of Edinburgh. She is currently finalising her monograph, Abstraction in Post-War British Literature 1945–1980, for publication with OUP. She is the Deputy Editor of the Cambridge Humanities Review and the English Editor of the architecture journal SPACE. She has contributed to publications such as Frieze, the Guardian, The White Review, Tate Etc., Textual Practice, Word & Image and has written catalogue essays for artists such as Allen Jones, Veronika Hauer, and Germaine Richier.

Jennifer Sarathy

PhD Candidate in Art History at the CUNY Graduate Center, New York

Research Fellowship

Expanded Cartographies: Postwar British Land Art 1966-79

In contrast to scholarly accounts that place British Land art within an international avant-garde, Jennifer Sarathy’s research investigates the relationship between early Land art and Britain’s vastly altered postcolonial landscape. Her work examines how radical artistic interventions in the landscape related to negotiations of new borders, citizenship and belonging that defined a crisis of British identity in the postwar years.

Jennifer Sarathy is a PhD Candidate in Art History at the CUNY Graduate Center, New York. She holds a BA in Art History from Johns Hopkins University and an MA in Southeast Asian Studies from the National University of Singapore.

Catherine Spencer

University of St Andrews

Research Fellowship

Green Unpleasant Land: Art, Abstraction and the Politics of Location

During her Henry Moore Institute Visiting Fellowship, Catherine will be conducting preliminary research for a new project entitled Green Unpleasant Land: Art, Abstraction and the Politics of Location. This project will look at how artists working in a range of media including sculpture, painting, performance and installation used abstraction to explore the complex and shifting politics of the 1970s and 1980s in Britain, from industrial disputes, through to the conflict in Northern Ireland, and the development of feminist and decolonial agendas. It seeks to address how abstraction, rather than being detached from contemporary politics, provided a powerful way for artists including Prunella Clough, Rita Donagh, Rasheed Araeen and Veronica Ryan to grapple with issues of displacement, atomisation, mediation and deindustrialisation.

Catherine Spencer is a Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Art at the University of St Andrews. With Jo Applin and Amy Tobin she is the co-editor of the book London Art Worlds: Mobile, Contingent, and Ephemeral Networks, 1960-1980 (Penn State, 2018). Her essays have appeared in Art History, Oxford Art Journal, Tate Papers, Parallax and British Art Studies. In 2018 she is the holder of a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship for a project on performance art, communications theory and the counterculture.

Lauren Walden

University of Hertfordshire

Research Fellowship

Africa in the Surrealist Imaginary: Photography of Sculpture in Minotaure and Documents

Surrealist journals Documents (1929-30) and Minotaure (1933-39) sought to overturn the euro-centric hegemony of art history, especially the notion that Greece formed the original cradle of civilisation. Although the Surrealists attempted to attenuate the colonial legacy of art history, the movement seems to reside in a state of exception apropos the provenance of sculpture featured in their periodicals.

Due to close-knit linkages with anthropologists in these periodicals, the Surrealist’s understanding of indigenous art was far from superficial nor was it limited to mere aesthetic borrowings as was presented in William Rubin’s controversial Primitivism exhibition (1984). The African sculptures in both journals testify to a much wider influence upon Surrealist thought, embodying notions of otherness, ritual, and freedom of the spirit, the occult, automatism and non-national limits. As such, the original use-value of sculptures within their indigenous African cultures will be interrogated beyond purely aesthetic concerns and aligned with core Surrealist ideas.

Although the Surrealists attempted to attenuate the colonial legacy of art history, the movement seems to reside in a state of exception apropos the provenance of sculpture featured in their periodicals. Indeed, Minotaure publishes Marcel Griaule’s Mission Dakar-Djibouti and its treasure-trove of looted African wares that would become the property of France. Ultimately, photomechanical reproduction of these sculptures did not satiate the colonial powers’ lustfulness for possession. The original, ‘auratic’ object still reigned supreme, creating an uneasy complicity between Surrealism and the ideology of Colonialism they vehemently protested against.

Dr Lauren Walden was granted a doctorate from Coventry University in 2019 where she interrogated instances of cultural exchange between Surrealism and Africa, Oceania, Latin America and China through the prism of photography. Her PhD utilised primary sources in French, Spanish and Chinese and she received a fellowship from the Centre for Creative Photography in Arizona to consult the archives of Mexican photographer Lola Alvarez Bravo. She also holds a BA from the University of Cambridge and an MA from Newcastle University. Amongst others, Dr Walden has an upcoming publication in Taylor and Francis’s Visual Resources Journal entitled ‘British Museum Ethnographic Photography at the 1936 International Surrealist Exhibition’. She is currently a visiting lecturer in Art History at the University of Hertfordshire.

Previous Research Fellows

Find out more about previous research fellows and their projects.