CRIA non-logoCRÍA is a research collective in the School of Museum Studies that undertakes research on those institutions where art is created, negotiated, performed and displayed. These include: national, regional and local public museums and galleries; art fairs and biennials; artists’ cooperatives, and public and private studios; commercial galleries, dealerships and auction houses; the art media (books, television, journals, magazines, online); academic departments and institutes; societies and academies.

Our aim is – in our own research, in our research collaborations, and in the work of our students and associates – to become a centre for multivariate research looking at social, aesthetic, political, economic, intellectual and professional performances in the visual arts. We are particularly interested in developing new collaborative projects with partners around the world, acting as a centre for contemporary debate and as a hub for PhD study.

So as to facilitate this multidimensional aspect, CRÍA possesses no director. It works on the basis of a cooperative.

CRÍA is:

  • Dr Stacy Boldrick looks at the art institution as a site of performance and the expanded field of iconoclasm, from the defacing of medieval religious sculpture to the toppling of confederate monuments. Her recent monograph Iconoclasm and the Museum examines the long history of iconoclasm and the ways in which historic and contemporary acts of iconoclasm are addressed, obscured or fictionalised in the museum.
  • Dr Stephanie Bowry is interested in transhistorical studies of visual representation and cultural performance. She is currently looking at the relationships between the Early Modern garden and the emergence of the art gallery.
  • Prof Simon Knell is a specialist in the performances of institutional, disciplinary and object cultures. He recently completed a global study of national galleries and national art and explored situated modernisms. His most recent book is The Museum's Borders: On the Challenge of Knowing and Remembering Well which includes a discussion of borders in art museums and art history.
  • Dr Janet Marstine (emeritus) views the art institution through an ethical lens and is particularly interested in the shaping of professional practice, gender issues, censorship, human rights and feminist discourse.
  • Dr Isobel Whitelegg focuses on contemporary art in relationship to institutional histories, particularly those of non-collecting institutions. She specialised in Latin American art, and has published widely on its international reception.

CRÍA (which means 'offspring' in Spanish) was established in April 2016 to mark the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of the School of Museum Studies.

PhD Research

Dr Olatunde Barber completed a cultural study of national art and the national gallery in Nigeria.

Dr Brenda Cocotle completed a study of institutional territories looking at the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico City.

Dr Yon Jai Kim completed an investigation of the dynamics, debates, agents and contexts of the development of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in South Korea.

Kuan-Yin Liu is exploring the cultural dynamics of contemporary art spaces in Taiwan.

Dr Sipei Lu completed as study looking at the opportunities, tensions and other dynamics brought by socially engaged art practices to curatorial models and structures of art institutions.

Dr Kate McPhail completed a study exploring the legacy of feminist art histories on art museums today by looking at its impact on women-only art spaces.

Sarah Plumb is interested in the contemporary art gallery as mediator in socially-engaged practices and in the ethics of collaborative making.

Laura Diaz Ramos examines the tensions between feminist curating and institutional ways of working in art museums and galleries.

Dr Martina Santillan completed a study of contemporary art museums and socially-engaged contemporary art practice in Mexico City.

Kristina Wright is examining the role of the arts in cross-cultural exchange between Asia and Africa, and particularly between South Korea and Kenya.


Dr Romina Delia, Internationalisation Associate at Arts Council Malta, explores the Baroque through contemporary, immersive and ritualistic art performances. She is interested in the promotion of unity in diversity through intercultural dialogue.

Dr Catharina Hendrick, Lecturer at University College London, Qatar, researches organisational culture and organisational structures within art institutions

Dr Mette Houlberg Rung, Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen and Honorary Research Fellow, is concerned with personal and temporal meetings between the exhibition, the artwork and the user.

Dr Sophie Kazan, Honorary Research Fellow, recently completed a study of the effect of modernity and traditions on the development of contemporary art in the UAE. More broadly her interests concern artists working in the Arab world and their international connections.

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