Art History & Visual Studies (AHVS) is one of the UK’s foremost art history departments. We have a thriving research community that includes 11 full-time members of staff, 3 postdoctoral fellows, and an AHRC-funded research centre. AHVS is ranked fourth nationally in research, ahead of such departments as Cambridge and University College London.
We are located, with Music, Drama and Museology, in the School of Arts, Languages, and Cultures. AHVS has a strong interdisciplinary orientation and actively collaborates with other disciplines and research centres across the university, including notably the Centre for Museology.
AHVS maintains close links with the Whitworth Art Gallery, which is undergoing a spectacular £12 million refurbishment. Our students benefit from an in-house teaching library as well as the John Rylands Library at Deansgate, which houses renowned collections of pre-modern manuscripts and early printed books. The proximity of other resources such as the Manchester Art Gallery and Tate Liverpool make Manchester an exciting place to study art history.
Founded in the 1950s, Art History at the University of Manchester is one of the oldest departments in Britain. The Pilkington Chair in Art History was created in 1956, at the time, the only endowed chair in art history in Britain. A succession of important scholars have held this post. The first Pilkington Chair was John White, who was also Director of the Whitworth Art Gallery — the department has had close ties to the Whitworth from its beginnings. Other eminent art historians who have served as Pilkington Chairs include Reg Dodwell, Marcia Pointon and Amelia Jones. More recently, we have appointed a series of prestigious Visiting Pilkington Professors, including Stephen Bann, Briony Fer, Martin Kemp, and Griselda Pollock.
Our degree programmes have produced a number of high-achieving graduates, many of whom have gone on to outstanding international careers in the arts, journalism, auction houses, curating, and academia.
Our alumni in these fields include:
Oliver Barker: Sotheby’s, Senior International Specialist Contemporary Art
David Bellingham: Sotheby’s Institute, London
Adam Chodzko: contemporary artist, showed in 'Sensation'
Melanie Clore: Chairman, Sotheby’s Europe
Lily Dunn: journalist and novelist
Alex Garland: novelist
Waldemar Januszczak: art critic, television presenter
Samantha Lackey: Curator, Wakefield Hepworth Museum
Debbie Lewer: Lecturer in Art History, University of Glasgow
Honey Luard: Artist Liaison, White Cube
David Morris: Curator, Whitworth Art Gallery
Gavin Parkinson: Lecturer, Courtauld Institute of Art
Darren Pih: Exhibitions Curator, Tate Liverpool
Richard Pomeroy: Artist
Rick Poynor: writer, lecturer, and curator
Elisabeth Reissner: Lecturer in Conservation, Courtauld Institute
Chrissie Shearman: International Senior Director, Yvon Lambert Gallery, Paris
Josephine Berry Slater: editor of 'Mute'
Stephen Snoddy: Director, The New Art Gallery, Walsall
Robin Vousden: Senior Director, Gagosian Gallery
Simon Wallis: Director, Hepworth Museum, Wakefield
Richard J. Williams: Professor of Art History, Edinburgh