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Our Research

Visual culture studies address three distinct, but interrelated, areas of enquiry.

These are: the study of vision and perception; the analysis of how images, image-making technologies and ‘looking practices’ construct social realities; and the attentive interpretation of visual objects of different kinds, from artworks to scientific images.
Explore Our Three Research Areas

Current Research

Current research at Durham spans these three areas, with particular research expertise in:

  • architecture and the representation of urban space
  • theatre studies, with strengths in early-modern theatre and European theatre
  • photography, with thematic emphases on photographic books,
  • propaganda
  • cultural memory
  • the environment
  • landscape, tourism, and identity
  • film, with particular strengths in national cultures
  • sexuality
  • propaganda and public opinion
  • art history, including the Spanish Golden Age, Italian Renaissance, Dutch Golden Age, portraiture from 1600, the twentieth-century European avant-gardes and contemporary art
  • text-image relations, from classical Greece to the present; collecting practices, and museology
  • visual representations of myth and the sacred
  • the visual culture of science and medicine; philosophical aesthetics
  • visual and participatory research methods developed in anthropology, criminology, medical humanities and sociology; digital imaging, modelling, and the analysis of big data
  • curating and conservation
  • work with practicing artists
  • use of spectrographic analysis developed in chemistry to investigate historical visual works
  • physics, with strengths in ophthalmology and 3-D perception
  • biology, with a focus on lens research
  • mathematics and mathematical modelling, including rheological modelling and rope-in-the-eye modelling
  • engineering, with an emphasis on 3-D computer vision linked to human visual scene interpretation
  • psychology, with particular strengths in using advanced neuroimaging techniques and psychophysics to study the visual brain and its role in action (research questions include eye-movement control, visual attention, the perception of objects and surfaces, and visual development)
  • philosophy, including the perception of spaces and spatial properties.