Past Events

Cambridge Away Day: Creative and Digital Art Histories

ECRN Events – Kathryn Brown, David Farrell-Banks, Dr Leonardo Impett, Andrew McDowall

  • 19 May 2023
  • 10:00 – 4:00 pm
  • Trumpington Street, Cambridge, CB2 1RB

Join the Early Career Researchers Network for a series of talks and workshops designed to highlight and prompt conversation around digital art historical methods that challenge and augment how we view material culture. Speakers include: Dr Kathryn Brown; artist and technician Andrew McDowall; Dr Leonardo Impett; and Dr David Farrell-Banks, who will lead sessions including topics such as AI, design technologies, web-based software and participatory research. Join them and your fellow network members for learning, discussion, coffee and lunch.


10am: Arrival

10:25am: Welcome – Luke Syson, Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum

10:30am: Keynote – Dr Kathryn Brown, “The Artwork as Data”

11:30am: Tour of the Dyson Building and digital labs – Andrew McDowall

12:30pm: Lunch

2pm: Workshop – Dr Leonardo Impett, “Digital Art History and Critical Computer Vision”

3pm: Workshop – Dr David Farrell-Banks, “Going Analogue to Build Collaborative Digital Research”

4pm: Close

We have funding to cover travel expenses for participants travelling within the UK. If you are travelling from outside of the UK, please contact us before booking your travel (Alex Gushurst-Moore, [email protected] and Nick Mols, [email protected]).

About the speakers

  • Kathryn Brown

    Kathryn Brown researches at the intersection of art history, art markets and digital humanities. Her books include Women Readers in French Painting 1870–1890 (2012), Matisse’s Poets: Critical Performance in the Artist’s Book (2017), Henri Matisse (2021) and Dialogues with Degas: Influence and Antagonism in Contemporary Art (2023). She has edited several essay collections, including Digital Humanities and Art History (Routledge, 2020) and is currently undertaking various projects involving the computational analysis of paintings. Kathryn’s research has been supported by numerous funders including the Association of Art History (UK), the British Academy, the Independent Social Research Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art. In 2021 Kathryn was a Paul Mellon Visiting Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (Washington DC). She is a senior lecturer in art history and visual culture at Loughborough University.

  • Cambridge Study Day - David

    David Farrell-Banks’s background is in museums and heritage research. David completed his PhD at Newcastle University in 2021, with his research into representations and uses of the past in museums, heritage sites and political discourse now published as the monograph Affect and Belonging in Political Uses of the Past (published by Routledge). He has since worked on the Museums, Crisis and Covid-19 project at Ulster University, and has published on a variety of topics including: activist pedagogies in museums, galleries and heritage studies; co-creation of museum exhibitions; and the relationship between far-right action, urban heritage and memory. His work at the Fitzwilliam Museum supports the development of participatory methodologies and practice across the museum, with a primary focus on supporting new and existing research projects.

  • Cambridge Study Day - Leo

    Dr Leonardo Impett is a university assistant professor in digital humanities and convenor of the MPhil in digital humanities. He was previously assistant professor of computer science at Durham University. Leonardo has a background in information engineering and machine learning, having worked or studied at the Cambridge Machine Learning Lab, the Cambridge Computer Lab’s Rainbow Group and Microsoft Research Cairo. His PhD, with Sabine Süsstrunk and Franco Moretti at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), was on the use of computer vision for the “distant reading” of the history of art. In 2018 Leonardo was a digital humanities fellow at Villa I Tatti – the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, from 2018–2020 he was scientific assistant, then scientist, at the Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History in Rome. Alongside his research in digital art history, he frequently works with machine learning in arts and culture, including for the Liverpool Biennial, the Royal Opera House and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

  • Cambridge Study Day - Andy

    Andrew McDowall is a teaching associate in fabrication and design. He has designed and fabricated artworks for artists such as Phyllida Barlow and Conrad Shawcross. He has also worked as a designer for the Great Britain Cycling Team, where he designed enclosures for prototype electronics for the Manchester Velodrome and models for wind tunnel testing, as well as contributing towards developments for the 2016 Olympic team. He has set up digital fabrication labs at Middlesex University and Anglia Ruskin University, focusing on using both analogue and digital technologies in multidisciplinary areas and course subjects. Andrew has worked extensively with structured light scanning software and hardware as well as designing and installing a full body photogrammetry rig using eight digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras and an automated turntable. It is Andrew’s aim to develop the facilities in the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art, to expand the use of digital technologies alongside the traditional methods used across the department.