Category Archives: Events

Cambridge Visual Culture Seminar: Queer Curation and Aesthetic Practices: Gayatri Gopinath and Sunil Gupta in Conversation

  • 10 February 2022, 5:30 PM
  • Lecture Theatre G.19, Faculty of Classics, Sidgwick Avenue
  • (in person, no pre-booking required)

In Unruly Visions: The Aesthetic Practices of Queer Diaspora (2018) Gayatri Gopinath examines a range of contemporary visual practices to understand the relationship between queer diaspora and visuality. She demonstrates how the process of queer curation allows for new intimacies and archives to form. The work of photographer Sunil Gupta (b. New Delhi 1953) epitomizes this practice of curation. By making gay bodies visible, Gupta’s work brings the intersection of the political and personal and the public and private to the fore. This conversation between Gopinath and Gupta will seek to understand the stakes of creating and interpreting archives of the contemporary queer diaspora.

Gayatri Gopinath is Professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, and the Director of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at New York University. She works at the intersection of transnational feminist and queer studies, postcolonial studies, and diaspora studies, and is the author of two monographs: Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures (Duke University Press, 2005), and Unruly Visions: The Aesthetic Practices of Queer Diaspora (Duke University Press, 2018). She has published numerous essays on gender, sexuality, and queer diasporic visual art and culture in anthologies and journals such as Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, GLQ, and Social Text, as well as in art publications such as PIX: A Journal of Contemporary Indian Photography, Tribe: Photography and New Media from the Arab World, and ArtReview Asia.

Sunil Gupta (b. New Delhi 1953) MA (RCA) PhD (Westminster) lives in London and has been involved with independent photography as a critical practice for many years focusing on race, migration and queer issues. His retrospective will open at Ryerson Image Center, Toronto 2022. He is a Professorial Fellow at UCA, Farnham. His latest book is “London 1982” Stanley Barker 2021 and his current exhibitions include; “The New Pre-Raphaelites” the the Holburne Museum, Bath. His work is in many public collections including; Tokyo Museum of Photography, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Royal Ontario Museum, Tate and the Museum of Modern Art. His work is represented by Hales Gallery (New York, London), Stephen Bulger Gallery (Toronto) and Vadehra Art Gallery (New Delhi).

Cambridge Visual Culture Seminar: A Visual Membrane: Some Reflections on the Camera Lucida

Prof. Erna Fiorentini (Institut Kunst- und Baugeschichte, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology)

Prof. Fiorentini’s research addresses the ideas, practices, media and technologies of image making that challenge vision and our understanding of visibility and visualization. She has published widely on the histories of vision and image-making, most recently her co-authored book with James Elkins, Visual Worlds: Looking, Images, Visual Disciplines (Oxford University Press, 2020). In this talk she returns to reflect on a subject she has discussed in several publications, the Camera Lucida, and related technologies of vision. 

To join the seminar by Zoom, please register on Eventbrite

Organizers: Cambridge Visual Culture. If you have any queries please email Dr Donal Cooper at 

Thinking about Migration through latinx art

Wednesday 3 November, 5pm
The Yusuf Hamied Theatre
, Christ’s College (in-person lecture)

  • Prof. Charlene Villaseñor Black
  • UCLA Department of Art History
  • César E. Chávez Department of Chicana/o Studies
  • Terra Foundation Visiting Professor of American Art, Oxford University (2021-22)


Can art effect political change, and if so, how? Can it move us to action, empathy, and hope? I consider these questions as I investigate Chicanx (Mexican American) artists’ responses to global migration, in particular, Los Angeles artist Sandy Rodriguez (born 1975). Her 2019 installation, You Will Not Be Forgotten, comprised of twenty works, was created with traditional Indigenous materials and techniques. Featuring an unusual series of portraits, it commemorates seven Central American child migrants who died in US Customs and Border Protection during 2018 and 2019. The portraits are unusual in Rodriguez’s artistic production and within the larger history of Chicanx art. I consider the process of the portraits’ creation, then place them in the context of practices of memorialization, both contemporary and historical, secular and sacred. What haunting ghosts rise to visibility? How is Rodriguez’s engagement with the past visible here? To deepen our understanding, I turn to theoretical considerations of memory, hospitality, trauma, and hope. Why talk about art in the face of such heart-wrenching injustice?


Charlene Villaseñor Blackis Professor of Art History and Chicana/o Studies and Central American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, Associate Director of the Chicano Studies Research Center, editor of Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, and founding editor-in-chief of Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture (LALVC, UC Press). She publishes on a range of topics related to the early modern Iberian world, Chicanx studies, and contemporary Latinx art. To date, she has won six awards for her editing work, including most recently, two awards recognizing LALVC as outstanding new journal. Her most recent book, with Dr. Mari-Tere Álvarez of the Getty Museum, is Renaissance Futurities: Art, Science, Invention, published in 2019. She recently co-edited the new Chicano Studies Reader (2020); Autobiography Without Apology: The Personal Essay in Latino Studies (2020); and Knowledge for Justice: An Ethnic Studies Reader (2019); in addition to editing Shifra M. Goldman’s final book, Tradition and Transformation: Chicana/o Art from the 1970s to the 1990s (2015). Her monograph on colonial saints, tentatively entitled Transforming Saints: Women, Art, and Conversion in Spain and Mexico, 1521-1800 is forthcoming from Vanderbilt University Press in early 2022. Her 2006 book, Creating the Cult of St. Joseph: Art and Gender in the Spanish Empire won the College Art Association’s Millard Meiss award. In 2016 she was awarded UCLA’s Gold Shield Faculty Prize for Academic Excellence, bestowed annually on one faculty member in recognition of exceptional teaching, innovative research, and strong commitment to university service. She has held grants from the Fulbright, Mellon, Borchard, and Woodrow Wilson Foundations, the NEH, the ACLS, and the Getty. Currently, she is PI of “Critical Mission Studies at California’s Crossroads,” a $1.03 million dollar grant from the University of California’s Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives; in addition to serving as PI of “Verdant Worlds: Exploration and Sustainability across the Cosmos,” funded through the Getty Foundation’s Pacific Standard Time initiative, Art x Science x LA. She will be at Oxford University this academic year as the Terra Foundation Visiting Professor of American Art.

Figure: Sandy Rodriguez, Portrait of Jakelin Amei Rosemary Caal Maquin (age 7), natural pigments on amate paper, 2019, from You Will Not Be Forgotten, Codex Rodriguez-Mondragón

Centre for Visual Culture Seminar Series: New York, Lahore: In Dialogue with Shahzia Sikander and Salman Toor

March 10, 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM.

Shahzia Sikander changed the game of the art world with her breakthrough at the Whitney Biennial in 1997. This year, Salman Toor, debuted his first solo museum exhibition at the Whitney, How Will I Know. In June, Sikander will open a career retrospective, Extraordinary Realities, at the Morgan Library & Museum co-organised with the RISD Museum. Centered on issues of gender, identity, global affiliations, appropriation, and narrative, this conversation engages the relationship between two artists on how they have navigated the shifting worlds of New York and Pakistan. In dialogue, we will pause and reflect over how we got here and anticipate where we are going.

Convened by Vivek Gupta and moderated by Amy Tobin.

Registration link:

Projecting Alvar Aalto: New Perspectives in Research, Film and Curating

This event explores new perspectives on Alvar Aalto at the intersection of scholarly, artistic and curatorial practices. Widely recognised as the greatest Nordic modern architect of the twentieth century, Aalto holds a privileged place in the historiography of modernism. However, Aalto’s relationship to the moving image—a growing field of study in architectural history—has not yet been subject to extensive research.

This event launches a new collaborative project between the University of Cambridge and the Alvar Aalto Museum, which seeks to interrogate the interpretive possibilities of fiction and documentary film in the analysis of Aalto’s oeuvre and modernism more broadly.

Thursday 12 March, 3–5 pm

Old Library, Pembroke College

  • 3 pm:    3 x 20 min lectures
  • 4 pm:    Panel discussion + Q&A
  • 5 pm:    Drinks reception


  • Tommi Lindh: “Aino & Alvar Aalto: Groundbreakers of Modern Architecture & Design”
  • Virpi Suutari: “Narratives of Space: How to Make Architecture Alive and Tactile in Film”
  • Sofia Singler: “Analysing Architectural Archives on Site: The Case of Aalto’s Wolfsburg Churches”


Tommi Lindh is CEO of the Alvar Aalto Foundation, which works globally on all things concerning Alvar Aalto. He is currently working to advance the nomination of Aalto’s sites to the UNESCO World Heritage List and to widen the cooperation between the Alvar Aalto Cities of the world.

Virpi Suutari is an acclaimed Finnish documentary film director and screenwriter best known for her cinematic style and emotional narratives. Her works have been presented at several major documentary festivals.

Sofia Singler is a Gates Cambridge Scholar researching Alvar Aalto’s post-war religious architecture, and Director of Studies in Architecture at Girton College.

Maximilian Sternberg is Senior Lecturer in History and Theory of Architecture in the Department of Architecture in the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Pembroke College. Recent books include Phenomenologies of the City (Ashgate 2015) and Modern Architecture and the Sacred (Bloomsbury, forthcoming).

Nicholas Ray is Reader Emeritus in Architecture at the University of Cambridge, Emeritus Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, and Visiting Professor in Architectural Theory at the University of Liverpool. He is a Director of NRAP architects, and author of books on Alvar Aalto and Rafael Moneo (both Yale University Press).

Reconstruction: Methods and Practices in Research, Exhibitions, and Conservation

Centre for Visual Culture Inaugural Conference

24th– 25th February, Trinity Hall, Cambridge

Book tickets here.

24th February:

Lecture Theatre, Trinity Hall

9:00-9:20: Registration

9:20-9:30: Opening Remarks

Alexander Marr (University of Cambridge)

9:30-11:00: Session 1.

Chair: Joanna Norman (V&A)

Spike Bucklow (Hamilton Kerr Institute, Cambridge), Sharpening Perceptions: The Role of Reconstructions in Training the Mind, Eye and Hand

Tianna Uchacz and Tillmann Taape (Columbia University), Revisiting the Making and Knowing Lab

Marta Ajmar (V&A): Re-making and Mimesis: Corresponding with Renaissance Intarsia

11:00-11:30: Coffee

11:30-13:00: Session 2.

Chair: Christine Slottved Kimbriel (Hamilton Kerr Institute, Cambridge)

Donal Cooper (University of Cambridge) and Fabrizio Nevola (University of Exeter): Virtual (Un)Certainties: Reconstructing Historical Contexts for Florentine Renaissance Paintings

Daniel Pett (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge): Digital Embellishment of the Great Shrine of Amaravati

Petra Maclot (KU Leuven): Fact and Fiction: The Reconstruction of Sixteenth-Century Houses in Antwerp

13:00-14:00: Lunch

14:00-15:30: Session 3.

Chair: Amy Tobin (University of Cambridge)

Annette Tietenberg (HBK Braunschweig): The Way Beyond Art: The Kabinett der Abstrakten in Hanover under Reconstruction 

Hélia Marçal (Tate): The Body as Source: Practices of Re-enactment in the Preservation of Performance Art

Sanneke Stigter (University of Amsterdam): Conceptual Art and Reconstruction

15:30-16:00: Coffee

16:00-17:00: Session 4.

Chair: Melissa Calaresu (University of Cambridge)

Ivan Day (Independent Scholar): Covered Cups and Hackled Dishes: The Reconstruction of a Baroque Feast in a Museum Setting

Joanna Norman (V&A): Remaking the Period Room

Deborah Krohn (Bard Graduate Center): Practicing what we Teach

17:30-18:30: Keynote Lecture

Sven Dupré (Utrecht University, University of Amsterdam), Site Matters: Histories and Designs of “Re-Methods”

18:30: Drinks reception

25th February

Lecture Theatre, Trinity Hall

9:00-10:30: Session 5.

Chair: Donal Cooper (University of Cambridge)

Ulinka Rublack (University of Cambridge): “Be-feathered Men”: Reconstructing a Renaissance Fashion

Amandine Didouan (University of Cambridge):  Real or Ideal? Re-enacting Illustrated Riding Exercises of the Seventeenth-Century

Sophie Pitman (Aalto University): Making Material: Refashioning the Clothing of Early Modern Artisans

10:30-11:00: Coffee

11:00-12:30: Session 6.

Chair: Spike Bucklow (Hamilton Kerr Institute, Cambridge)

Edward Cheese (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge): Rebinding and the Reconstruction of Manuscripts

Charlene Vella (University of Malta): Reframing and Presenting Antonello da Messina’s Nephew’s Renaissance altarpieces

Amy Gillette (The Barnes Foundation) and Zachary Stewart (Texas A&M University): The Mancroft Font Canopy Project

12:30-13:30: Lunch

13:30-15:00: Session 7.

Chair: Sven Dupré (Utrecht University, University of Amsterdam’)

Mary-Ann Middelkoop (University of Cambridge): “Those Sumptuous Embassies”: Reconstruction Practices and German Art Exhibitions in Interwar Period

Annette Loeseke (NYU Berlin): Deconstructing Reconstructions: Berlin’s Pergamon Museum and the Panorama Exhibition by Yadegar Asisi

Nicola Foster(Solent University), Exhibition Reconstruction: When Attitudes Become Form, Bern1969/Venice2013

15:00-15:30: Coffee

16:00-17:30: Session 8.

Chair: Alexander Marr (University of Cambridge)

Elsbeth Geldhof (Blue Tortoise Conservation): The Many Faces of Reconstruction: Experiences from a Historic Paint Conservator

Georgios Artopoulos (Cyprus Institute Nicosia) and Anastasia Christophilopoulou (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge): Immersing in Virtual Island-scapes: A Case Study in Museum Virtual Environments

Ellen Handy (CUNY): Photography as Reconstruction: Hiroshi Sugimoto and W.H.F. Talbot, A Case Study

17:30: Close

Image credit: Chris Titmus, Hamilton Kerr Institute, University of Cambridge