Dr Stephanie Bowry

Teaching Fellow

Stephanie BowryEmail: sjb129@le.ac.uk

Twitter: @StephanieBowry

I am a historian interested in cultures of collecting, art and visual representation, with a particular specialism in the early modern period. I am particularly interested in how past forms, concepts and strategies of visual representation influence those of later periods in history, and in the changing relationships between different types of cultural institutions.

I recently concluded a three-year postdoctoral research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust, entitled 'Cultivating the Art Gallery in the Early Modern Garden'. This interdisciplinary project combined methods from history, art history and museum studies to explore the physical, conceptual and experiential relationships between gardens and galleries from the 1500s to the 1750s. The project focused on a single case study: Ham House, an early seventeenth-century National Trust property near Richmond in Surrey. However, it also considered significant developments in garden and gallery design elsewhere in Europe, particularly in Italy, France and the Netherlands. This research investigated how, and to what extent, the cultural practices of the garden influenced those of the gallery, and helped shape its development. By focusing on the web of spatial, social and emotional engagements connecting these two cultural forms, this study moved beyond matters of representation that have dominated studies of the early modern gallery.

This project stemmed directly from my AHRC-funded doctoral research, completed in 2015, which examined the concepts and visual strategies which governed sixteenth-and seventeenth-century curiosity cabinets, and how these concepts and strategies have been echoed in contemporary art practice in Europe and the USA from the 1990s to the present. The completed thesis may be accessed via the Leicester Research Archive:  http://hdl.handle.net/2381/32594

Previously, I have worked in a number of part-time research support roles as well as in student support as a sighted guide and student mentor. I have also worked and volunteered for a variety of museums and heritage institutions across the UK, including The Garden Museum, Leicester Museums Service, The Royal Collection, The Household Cavalry Museum, The Ashmolean Museum, The Museum of London, Kensington Palace, The Galleries of Justice Museum and Southend Central Museum.


2010-2015: PhD Museum Studies, (no corrections), University of Leicester

2008-2009: MA Museum Studies, (Distinction), University of Leicester

2001-2004: BA (Hons.) History, (First Class), University of Kent

Awards and Funding

2016-19 Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship ECF-2016-464 (£86,240.58)

2013 Teaching Partnership Award (£200)

2012 First Prize, Hanwell Instruments Ltd Conference Competition, Museum Utopias (for identifying a potential future conservation issue, with solution) (prize value £200)

2012 AHRC Collaborative Skills Development Funding (co-written bid, for Museum Metamorphosis PhD conference) (£3,000)

2012 College of Arts, Humanities and Law Postgraduate Fund (for translating a 16th-century Latin text) (£500)

2012 Research Training Support Grant for AHRC-supported researchers (for presenting at an overseas conference) (£500)

2012 Graduate School Researcher Development Fund (for Museum Utopias PhD conference) (£500)

2010-13 AHRC Block Grant Partnership Studentship (PhD Scholarship) (£40,270)

Academic Roles


June 2020 - present: Early Career Representative, School of Museum Studies

October 2019 - present: Plagiarism Officer


June 2018 - 2019: Early Career Researcher Representative, College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities ECR Group, University of Leicester

October 2018: Early Career Researcher Representative, College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, Research and Enterprise Committee (previously RSPPC), University of Leicester

2018: Early Career Researcher Representative, Early Career Researcher and Research Staff Career Enhancement Group, University of Leicester

2017 - 2018: Early Career Researcher Representative for Research Strategy, Policy and Performance Committee, College of Social Sciences, Art and Humanities, University of Leicester

2016 - 2017: Book and Exhibition Reviews Editor, Museum & Society


I have taught sessions for Museum Studies and Art Museum and Gallery Studies Masters students on early modern gardens, the history of museums and galleries, cabinets of curiosity, contemporary art, research methods and study skills. I have also mentored and supported Humanities students with a broad range of disabilities from undergraduate to PhD level. In 2013, I was awarded the Teaching Partnership Award in recognition of a 'positive contribution to the School of Museum Studies as characterised by a pro-active and considerate approach to supporting the learning of others.'

Conference Papers

8 October 2019, ‘The Curiosity Cabinet Reimagined’, keynote presentation, Landesmuseum fur Vorgeschichte, Halle, Germany

24 February 2019, 'This practice [...] is descended on the Italians, whose Gardens are the Mirrors of the World [...]’: Exploring the Relationships between Early Modern Gardens and Art Galleries', Gardens: History, Reception, and Scientific Analyses, Nagoya University, Japan

4 July 2018, ''A casket full of rich jewels […] For the Ornament, and Adorning, both of the minde and Habite': Manipulating Space in the Renaissance Garden and Art Gallery', Society for Renaissance Studies 8th Biennial Conference, University of Sheffield

23 February 2018, ''A goodly Gallery with a most pleasaunt Prospect […]': Early Modern Gardens and Galleries as Entangled Spaces', Medieval and Early Modern Spaces and Places, The Open University, Milton Keynes

28 May 2016, 'Ghosts of Power in the Past, Present and Future Museum', panel discussion, American Alliance of Museums 2016 Annual Meeting and Museum Expo, Washington, D.C., USA

5 June 2015, '"You join together materials almost with no end": Samuel Quiccheberg's Theatre of the World as a Model of Sixteenth-Century Collecting Activity', at Collectors and Collecting from the Early Modern Period to the Present, Centre for Studies in Literature, University of Portsmouth

5 November 2013, 'Before the Museum: The Curiosity Cabinet as Cultural Object and Metamorphe', at Museum Metamorphosis: The Adaptable and Changing Museum, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester

26 July 2012, 'A World of Wonders in One Closet Shut: The Construction and Compression of Knowledge in the Miniature Curiosity Cabinet of the Seventeenth Century', at Knowledge in a Box: How Mundane Things Shape Knowledge production, Municipal Tobacco Warehouse, Kavala, Greece

28 March 2011, 'Bodies of Memory: The Use of Architectural Space in Understanding Medical History at The Old Operating Theatre, Museum and Herb Garret, London', at Curiouser and Curiouser: Challenging Conventions and Celebrating the Unusual in Museums and Heritage, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester

Research Seminars

14 November 2019, ''My Galleries were fayer; both large and long [...] My gardens sweet enclosed with walles strong': Exploring the Relationships between Early Modern Gardens and Art Galleries in England', invited research seminar at the Institute of Historical Research, (History of Gardens and Landscapes series), London

21 November 2018, ''A goodly Gallery with a most pleasaunt Prospect [...]': Understanding the Relationships between Early Modern Gardens and Galleries', invited research seminar at the Centre for Research in Visual Culture, University of Nottingham

19 February 2018, ''Wonderfull and Stupendious Plants': Displaying Nature and Art in the Early Modern Garden and Gallery', Early Modern Research Seminar, University of Leicester

25 September 2017, 'The Garden and the Gallery in Early Modern Thought', CSSAH Researchers' Networking Forum, University of Leicester

10 May 2017, 'Our cockney gardens […] smell more of paynt th[a]n of flowers': Art Galleries and Gardens in the Early Modern World', Research Seminar, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester

12 October 2016, 'Cultivating the Art Gallery in the Early Modern Garden', invited presentation at the Institute of Education, University College London

25 May 2016, 'Curatorial Practice in the Past, Present and Future Museum: A Perspective on Power', panel discussion, Lunchtime Colloquium, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., USA

11 December 2014, 'A World of Worlds: Exploring the Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Curiosity Cabinet', Café Research Presentation, University of Leicester

8 June 2011, 'From Faustian Lair to Theatre of Knowledge: Towards a New Interpretation of the Curiosity Cabinet', Research Week paper presented at the School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester

Public Lectures

28 June 2019, 'Exploring a Miniature Garden from the Seventeenth Century', public lecture, Leicester Adult Education College

24 March 2017, ''Places of never dying Pleasures': Art Galleries and Gardens from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Centuries', public lecture, Leicester Adult Education College

11 March 2016, 'What were Curiosity Cabinets?', public lecture, Leicester Adult Education College

7 May 2015, public lecture at PubhD event, Duffy's Bar, Leicester

6 December 2013, 'Before Museums: Exploring the Seventeenth-Century 'Cabinet of Curiosities'', public lunchtime lecture, Leicester Adult Education College


27 November 2019, 'Storm Clouds over Vaux-le-Vicomte', Images of Research, University of Leicester, www2.le.ac.uk/departments/doctoralcollege/researchimages/2019-competition/stephanie-bowry

5 December 2017, 'The Secret Garden', Images of Research, University of Leicester https://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/gradschool/researchimages/2017-competition/fly-pupae

29 June 2016, 'Power Point Design in an Accessible Curriculum: What Works for Students?', co-presented poster with Dr Claire Graham, Discover: The Learning and Teaching Conference and Exhibition, Leicester Learning Institute, University of Leicester

27 June 2013, 'Crocodiles on the Ceiling: How Contemporary Artists Stole the Curiosity Cabinet' (poster presentation), Festival of Postgraduate Research, University of Leicester http://www2.le.ac.uk/institution/fpgr/archive-of-past-festivals/2015/meet/2013/humanities/stephanie-bowry



(In preparation) Theatres of Art: A Cultural History of the Early Modern Gallery and Garden

(To be completed) The Curiosity Cabinet in Early Modern and Contemporary Art Worlds (in conversation with Routledge)

Journal Articles

(In press) ‘Canst not thou work such flowers in silk, wench?’ Encountering a Seventeenth-Century Garden in an Embroidered Cabinet’, Textile History (issue to be confirmed)

'Before Museums: The Curiosity Cabinet as Metamorphe', in Museological Review, 18, 'Change in Museums' (June 2014) http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/museumstudies/research-degrees/museological-review-1/museological-review

Book Chapters

‘Thinking Inside the Box: The Construction of Knowledge in a Miniature Seventeenth-Century Cabinet’, in Susanne Bauer, Martina Schlunder and Maria Rentetzi, eds., Boxes in Action: A Field Guide (Manchester: Mattering Press, 2020), doi: http://doi.org/10.28938/9781912729012

‘Their tattered mortal costumes will afford them none of the answers they seek’: Clothing vampires in the work of Anne Rice, Tanith Lee and Angela Carter', in Petrov, Julia, and Whitehead, Gudrun, (eds), Fashioning Horror: Dressing to Kill on Screen and in Literature (London: Bloomsbury, 2018)

Book Reviews

'Using the museum's past to critique its present', a review of The Museum of the Senses: Experiencing Art and Collections, Constance Classen, London, Bloomsbury, 2017, in The Senses and Society 13.3 (November 2018), 375-378 https://doi.org/10.1080/17458927.2018.1527595

'Art, Museums and Touch, Fiona Candlin, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2010', in Museum & Society, 11.2 (October 2013) http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/museumstudies/museumsociety/volumes/volume-11-2013

'The Greville Estate: The History of a Kilburn Neighbourhood', in London and Middlesex Archaeological Society Newsletter (May 2008)

Miscellaneous Papers and Reports

Μουσείον: Artists’ Reflections on Museums. Highlights from the Creative Symposium held at the School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, on 5 December 2012 (March 2013)  http://mouseionexhibition.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/stephanie-bowry-cebccebfcf85cf83ceb5ceafcebfcebd-creative-symposium.pdf

Professional Memberships

2017 - present: International Council of Museums (ICOM)

2016 - 2017: Association of Art Historians

2013 - 2017: Board Member Without Portfolio, Museums and Galleries History Group

2012 - 2017: Museums and Galleries History Group

2007 - present: Museums Association

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