About

CK2_7684 (3)

I am a post graduate researcher at Manchester Metropolitan University. I am researching mainly 19th Century paintings, and one in particular detail which frames the research. This is the Pre-Raphaelite artist William Holman Hunt’s work, The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple of 1860.

My current work considers the role of “history” and how we understand what we refer to as “the past”. I am also researching a historiography of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. It’s very interesting to observe how the movement has been treated by mainstream art historians. The accounts are very mixed. This brings me to the matter of art history. What is art history the history “of” exactly?

With art history, I am confronted by competing and contradictory structures with the organising of knowledge and assumptions about what it is the scholarly discipline of art history “does” and how it is “done”. The myriad of options and approaches open to the modern scholar of visual culture in its many forms compounds the complexity. These choices range from the philosophical thinking of Hegel, notions of connoisseurship, formalism, iconography and a plethora of contextual methods, amongst other approaches.

It is not my intention to recreate the story of Holman Hunt’s artistic and spiritual journey that led to his painting The Finding with a view to revealing some new nugget of empirically underpinned information that “proves” a thesis. (Does this mean that I am not “doing” history?) In many ways, what I will contend in this work cannot specifically be “proved” as “true”. In a sense, my examination of The Finding will necessarily involve some unravelling of the very notion of the past and how we get to it, or rather, how it gets to us. I will argue that The Finding taps into a discourse that can only be recognised with greater distance and hindsight.

Biography in Brief

Currently a Ph.D. Research Student at Manchester Metropolitan University in Art History. “Disputing Jewish and Christian Identities in Nineteenth Century Paintings”.
My project will investigate the representation of Jews in a selection of British and European nineteenth century paintings with the aim of making a contribution to Art History, Pre-Raphaelite scholarship and the diverse field of Jewish studies. It will examine paintings undertaken by non-Jewish and Jewish artists.

I am interested in inter-disciplinary approaches to Jewish studies, Biblical/Religious studies, Hebrew Bible, Jewish-Christian relations, understanding and representing the Shoah. I am particularly interested in visual culture, especially painting and film and how such human made cultural objects carry meaning.

Awarded MA (Religions and Theology/Jewish Studies) with distinction from Manchester University in 2015. Awarded the Bernard Jackson Prize for the highest mark in a Jewish studies related dissertation. 2015.

In 2011, I accepted voluntary severance from a post as Head of Department at a sixth form college and decided to return to higher education to pursue an academic career. I had led and managed two departments, one of them I established from scratch. Whilst working at the college, I completed a part time MA in Screen Studies, and a graduate certificate in Religions and Theology (as a distance learner) amongst other short courses.

Since leaving my most recent post, I have undertaken workshops and demonstration sessions, photographic assignments and some private teaching.
Before taking that post, I worked in a number of adult centres, further education colleges and a hospital as an art and/or media teacher.
I also undertook freelance work as an artist and photographer. As a student I worked in a theatre as lighting operator, stage hand, photographer and set painter.