Critical & Historical Studies Research

The research themes and interests of the CHS programme reflect its role as a college-wide provider of critical and historical discourse to all MA students at the RCA. CHS staff are thus authorities in the disciplines of fine and applied arts, architecture and design, fashion and communications, but their emphasis is on nurturing a commentary that acknowledges the shared concerns of these disciplines in an international contemporary framework. 

Research in CHS is by thesis; however, in an environment where the majority of programmes are studio-based, the approach is to fully engage with the theoretical positions that art and design practice embodies. The writing of a thesis in CHS is viewed as a complementary form of reflective practice to the development of studio work in other programmes. Practitioners might choose to base their research in CHS where their purpose is to write a thesis that takes them beyond the specificities of a particular discipline. Researchers are also welcomed from outside the art-school environment, for example from universities with art history, material culture, environmental and architectural or cultural studies programmes.

Current or Recent Areas of Research

Current and recent PhD and MPhil research in CHS includes:

Post-Representational Strategies in Contemporary Lebanese Art;  Visual Surveillance in the City of London; Parafictional Artists; The practice of Pilgrimage; Art Criticism; Translating Practice; The Presentation, Reception, and Discursive Context of Text as Art Since Conceptualism; The Virtual Landscape in Contemporary Rover Imaging; Languages of Exhibition Making and their Impact on a Culture of Craft; Translation in Artistic Research; Haptic Aesthetics of the 'Dressed Body' in the Contemporary Exhibition Space; Fictive Materialities of the Objectile; The Rhetoric of the Singular Line; The London Postal Map; Future Territorie; The Staging of Loss in Contemporary Crafts; Rethinking the Architecture Exhibition; The Externalisation of the Object; Crisis and the Body Transformed in Interwar Futurology.