Past Events

British Art History in Practice: Roundtable on Access

DRN Events

  • 15 March 2021
  • 2:00 – 3:00 pm

This is an event for DRN members only. You can find out more about the network here.

Art history as a discipline is still commonly regarded as the domain of the elite – both in terms of its historical subjects and its contemporary practitioners. Serious contributions to the field over the past few years have broadened the sphere of people involved, as well as pointing to the numerous reasons why many groups still remain excluded from cultural institutions and the stories they tell. Major barriers to access still remain. This roundtable will ask how ableism, racism and classism prevent people from contributing to the telling of art histories, and how these barriers can be dismantled.


Dr Angela Stienne is a cultural historian, museum researcher and consultant, working at the intersection of museum ethics, medical humanities and science communication. She is the founder of The Lyme Museum, a virtual museum exploring the lived experience of individuals with invisible illnesses and disabilities (

Dr Melissa Bennett is a researcher and community engagement professional working at the intersection of heritage and public policy. She is currently working on a number of projects related to diversity in public space, community storytelling and photographic history. Her PhD ‘Picturing the West India Regiments’ investigated connections between race, photography and empire.

Susuana Amoah is a PhD researcher at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she is studying decolonial curatorial practices in contemporary art galleries. She is also a member of the Black Curators Collective and is the Campaign Manager at the Free Black University.

This event is part of the DRNs British Art History in Practice series.

Within British arts and educational institutions there is a long-overdue need for reflection, change and action. For those of us carrying out doctoral research within these sites for the production of knowledge and power, there is a renewed urgency to our work. This urgency is acutely felt when connected to questions of Britishness, race, disability and class, questions which are inherently relevant for any researcher now working in the context of a global health crisis, the renewed visibility of white supremacy and its manifestation in ‘the culture wars’. These roundtables will seek to engage with the work of researchers and artists who question British art history’s categorisations and narratives to explore the ways in which academic and arts institutions might respond to historic and contemporary injustices.

This series will provide a space for doctoral research students to explore their own subjectivities, positionalities and emotions, in order to rethink how they approach, reproduce and critique structural inequalities in their work. It will demonstrate how centring questions of access, care and pedagogy can transform British art history, its approaches and methods, its subject matter and its narratives.