Past Events

Activating Art History: Digital Art History

Research Lunch – Adjoa Armah, Lucy Steeds, Stacey Clapperton, Cathy Courtney

  • 18 May 2021
  • 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Activating Art History is a series of panel discussions with curators, scholars, academics and authors who have all contributed to the study of British art history through the Paul Mellon Centre fellowships & grants scheme.

The aim of these sessions is to give insight into the many ways in which British art history research can be activated through exhibitions, books, digital projects and more. It is hoped that as well as being engaging and insightful, these sessions will also provide practical advice for those wishing to activate their own research.

Recipients of Paul Mellon Centre Digital Project Grants join the Centre’s Lucy Andia for a panel to discuss the different ways art history can be activated through digital methods. Each speaker will give a short presentation on their Paul Mellon Centre funded digital project before questions are invited from the audience.

Image: We are grateful to Eddie Chambers for letting us use his image from Manchester in 1989 of this poster, which reproduces the work of Sonia Boyce to promote 'The Other Story' exhibition.

About the speakers

  • Adjoa for insta (1) (2)

    Adjoa Armah comes through Afterall Research Centre at Central Saint Martins (CSM) and University of the Arts London (UAL). Adjoa pursues research on the Black Atlantic Museum initiative for Afterall, as funded through a PMC Digital Project Grant. Adjoa is associate lecturer in Fine Art: Critical Practice at CSM.


  • Lucy Steeds

    Lucy Steeds comes through Afterall Research Centre at Central Saint Martins (CSM) and University of the Arts London (UAL). Lucy is reader in Art Theory and Exhibition Histories at UAL and, for Afterall, senior research fellow on the Exhibition Histories publishing project. Lucy additionally convenes the doctoral Research Network across UAL. She worked with Afterall colleagues on a microsite dedicated to 'The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Post-War Britain' (1989–90), with the support of a PMC Digital Project Grant.

  • Stacey Clapperton

    Stacey Clapperton joined Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village in September 2019 as the first of four Collections Online Early Career Research Fellows, a position funded by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and the Marc Fitch Fund. Prior to that she was an Art Researcher at HENI working on behalf of the Estate of Francis Bacon and HENI Talks, a non-commercial initiative dedicated to sharing insights about art history on film. She was awarded her PhD in Art History from the University of Glasgow in 2019 and is currently Assistant Curator at Watts Gallery – Artist’s Village.


  • Cathy Courtney head and shoulders shot.

    Cathy Courtney is Project Director of Artists’ Lives, which she and others established in 1990, an on-going oral history project for National Life Stories, based at the British Library. Now numbering over four hundred in-depth audio recordings, averaging twenty hours each but many considerably longer, the project captures, via informal conversations, the life stories of artists and those whose careers are associated with them. Cathy Courtney was co-curator with Elena Crippa (Curator Modern and Contemporary British Art) of the exhibition Artists’ Lives: Speaking of the Kasmin Gallery at Tate Britain (2016–2018), presenting extracts from Artists’ Lives alongside works in Tate’s collection. She is also Project Director of a sister NLS oral history project, Architects’ Lives.

    Between 1995–1997 she held a Fellowship in Book Arts at Camberwell College of Art, and between 1983–c.1999 wrote a regular column on book art for Art Monthly. In 1995 she was co-curator with Maria White (former Tate Chief Cataloguer, Artists’ Books) of the exhibition, Artists’ Books at Tate Britain. 

    She is a Trustee of the Jocelyn Herbert Archive (theatre design) now housed at the National Theatre Archive. Publications include Jocelyn Herbert: A Theatre Workbook.