Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies

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Joanne Crawford

Director of Student Education | Associate Professor in History of Art

0113 34 31824

Room 305 Fine Art Building

Office hours: Monday 2-3pm (term time only)

BA, MA, PhD, Leeds

French and American abstract art of the 1950s (specifically Rothko, Michaux and Wols), exploring how notions of death, as philosophical concept embedded within structures of aesthetics, informed production and subsequent ‘readings’ of abstract art.

Research Interests

My research primarily centres on mid 20th century French and American abstract painting, drawing and sculpture (including art by Rothko, Michaux and Wols). My work examines how notions of death, as philosophical concept embedded within the complex structures of the ‘aesthetic’, informed the production and ‘readings’ of such art by art historians and philosophers alike. Thus by engaging with philosophical writers such as Sartre, Hegel, Bataille, Kierkergaard, Nietzsche and Blanchot I explore the relationship between philosophical thinking on death, notions of subjectivity and duration and the production and (social) interpretations of the artist and his work.


I am a module leader for 2 of the main core courses; Elements of Visual Culture 1 & 2 (level 1 for History of Art and Fine Art students; which trains students how to ‘read’ a whole range of visual images, from painting through to photography and film) and Aesthetics 1 (level 2 for History of Art and Cultural Studies students; subjects range from Aristotle through to Hegel, Nietzsche and Schopenhauer and their theories on truth, censorship, artistic education, beauty etc). My optional modules at level 2 are The Avant Gardes (subjects range from Futurism, Cubist collage, Russian Constructivism, Dada through to Surrealism as an alternative to the Modernist notion of the ‘avant-garde’); The New York School (which looks at the relationship between Cold War rhetoric and the rise of Abstract Expressionism and the neo avant-garde in the USA in the 1940s and 50s). At level 3 I offer a module entitled The Ripped and the Raw (which engages with the huge social, cultural and philosophical shifts of the 1940s and 50s in Europe by investigating the art of artists such as Wols, Dubuffet, Michaux, Wols, CoBrA and the Situationist International). For taught post-graduate programmes I’m a module leader for a module entitled Aesthetics and Politics which engages with relationship between the philosophy on/of art and the social/political) and give seminars on the MA History of Art core module (on Hegel’s philosophy of history).


Director of Student Education


Journal articles

PhD & Postdoctoral Supervision

I am willing to supervise PhDs on the following topics

The relationship between theories of/on the aesthetic, politics and society; Mid c20th abstract art, including painting, drawing and sculpture (especially European and American); Continental philosophies and their engagement with art histories and theories.

Current and Past PGRs

Simon Constantine (History of Art) ‘Aspirations towards Social and Aesthetic “Totality” within Contemporary Art’: submission date 2014 (co-supervised with Gail Day)

Chrysi Papaioannou (History of Art) ‘Ahead of its Time: The Concept of the Avant Garde after Modernism’: submission date 2015 (co-supervised with Gail Day)

Sarah Kate Wilson (Fine Art) ‘An Examination of the Strategies Employed in Contemporary ‘Durational Painting’ Practices’: submission date 2016 (co-supervised with Catherine Ferguson)

Andrew Broadey (Fine Art) ‘Unfolding Visibility – Re-thinking the Articulation of Subjectivity’ (co-supervised with Roger Palmer). Examined and passed 2013.




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