Visual Cultures Research Students


Aimar Arriola


The Animal, Touch and the Book: Surface Matters in the HIV/AIDS Archive

This project considers lesser-known, often overlooked cultural responses to HIV/AIDS. More than three decades after its onset, the HIV/AIDS crisis continues to be a global phenomenon with biomedical, economic and cultural implications. However, much of the scholarly work done as part of the ongoing “AIDS Crisis Revisitation” (Kerr, 2014) has been dominated by cultural productions about HIV/AIDS in the US, ignoring other realities. The project responds to this urgent situation by analysing and creatively discussing selected case studies from “the South,” with a focus on Chile and Spain, two countries with mirroring contexts in terms of their respective political and cultural trajectories. As a specific viewpoint or critical approach to the HIV/AIDS archive, the project resorts to the notion of surface as a driving concept; it aims at showing how deeply rooted surface is in Western dualist thought as well as in the discourses and representations of HIV/AIDS. For the purposes of the project, the AIDS archive will refer to a complex set of material and semiotic articulations grounded in colonial and capitalist violence, the undoing of which requires a creative dialogue between different epistemic/ethical positions. This is a dialogue where ‘the human’ is ethically imbricated with other beings, both living and non-living, organic and non-organic. Methodologically, the project consists of two components: a theoretical dissertation and a practical, collaborative curatorial project. The dissertation is divided into three chapters, each focusing on an overlooked problematic in the AIDS archive –the animal, touch, and the book; the three lie in conceptual proximity in their figuration as surface. Among other formalizations, including seminars, workshops, and publications, the practical component has been staged twice as an exhibition in the course of the production of the thesis. Altogether, the thesis expands existing work on the HIV/AIDS archive through geography and language, culture and representation.

(Last updated: September 2017)

 Academic qualifications

MPhil/PhD, Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths, University of London, since 2014.

Curatorlab - Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, 2010.

PEI - Independent Studies Programme, MACBA, Barcelona / MA Arts/Humanities Museum Studies and Critical Theory, UAB University of Barcelona, 2008-2009.

 Professional activities (selected)

-2009-present, independent curator and researcher. Selected Projects, Recognitions, & Accomplishments:

-2014 International curator in residence Visual AIDS, New York.

-2012-2013 Research Resident, Reina Sofía Museum, Madrid.

-2012 Nominee for the ICI Independent Vision Curatorial Award, New York.

-2012 – present. Founding member of Declinación Magnética, 2012 – present.

-2010 – present. Founding member of Equipo re.

-2001 - 2008, Curatorial assistant, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain.

Research interests

Politics of the body; HIV/AIDS visual cultures; the “global South”; the animal/human divide; material culture; performing the archive; the curatorial.


CHASE Consortium of the Humanities and the Arts South-East England (fees only). 


Catherine Backhouse

The Collective Phantom: Mail Art, Autonomy and the Production of Subjectivity: reconsidering the contribution of Post-Situationist and Mail Art countercultures to the struggle for political subjectivation.

Sarah Charalambides

Thesis title

Self-Precarisation and Becoming Common 


In the current conditions of governance, cultural producers seem to willingly subordinate themselves to the dispositions of power, by aligning to the neoliberal model of labour through the adoption of entrepreneurial self-practices. The strong desires for freedom and autonomy driving those who work freelance or self-employed can lead to a process of subjectivation that political theorist Isabell Lorey has called ‘self-precarisation’. My PhD explores how this highly ambivalent notion is debated and negotiated through Kamera Läuft! (Rolling!), a video project made in 2004 by the Berlin-based feminist research and activist group kleines postfordistisches Drama (small post-Fordist drama). Situating the everyday lived experiences of cultural producers in a mediatised public sphere, kpD problematises the possibilities for critical agency and collective resistance under the conscious and voluntary acceptance of precarious labour in the 21st century. Comparing kpD’s radically open-ended methodology with other feminist cultural practices that provoke discussions about common precarisation – such as Helke Sander’s film Die allseitig reduzierte Persönlichkeit: Redupers (The All-round Reduced Personality: Redupers) (1977), Precarias a la Deriva’s publication and video project A la Deriva, Por los Circuitos de la Precariedad Femenina (Adrift Through the Circuits of Feminised Precarious Work) (2002), and Tatjana Turanskyj’s Eine flexible Frau (The Drifters) (2010) – I investigate to what extent self-precarisation challenges dichotomous distinctions between the individual ‘I’ and the collective ‘we’, in order to create new socio-political alliances between precarious subjectivities in fragmented and individualising societies.

Academic qualifications

  • Postgraduate Certificate in the Management of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, Teaching and Learning Innovation Centre, Goldsmiths University of London, degree obtained in 2018
  • MRes Art History, Goldsmiths University of London (UK), degree obtained in 2014; distinction
  • BA Art History, Universiteit van Amsterdam (NL), degree obtained in 2013; cum laude
  • BDes Graphic Design, Gerrit Rietveld Academie Amsterdam (NL), degree obtained in 2008

Professional activities

  • Graduate Trainee Tutor, Department of Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths University of London (UK)
  • Convenor Curatorial/Knowledge programme, Department of Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths University of London (UK)
  • Teacher Visual Arts at Stichting Buitenkunst, Randmeer and Elp (NL)
  • Independent Graphic Designer, Amsterdam (NL) and London (UK)


MPhil/PhD Visual Cultures (2014-present):

  • Graduate School Goldsmiths University of London (UK)
  • Erasmus+ Goldsmiths University of London (UK)
  • Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Amsterdam (NL)
  • VSBfonds, Amsterdam (NL)
  • Genootschap Noorthey, Bussum (NL)

MRes Art History (2013-2014)

  • Fundatie van Renswoude, The Hague (NL)
  • Stichting Bekker-La Bastide-Fonds, Rotterdam (NL)
  • Vreedefonds, Voorburg (NL) 

Research interests 

Aesthetics and ethics of the precarious; (histories of) feminist theory and practice in modern and contemporary art; methods of militant research, situated knowledge, non-hierarchical, collaborative and participatory modes of art and knowledge production; relationships between micro- and macro-politics in contemporary culture; notions of (self-)precarisation and the feminisation of labour in neoliberal, post-Fordist capitalism; the coming together of art and activism around issues of subjectivation, (self-)care and reproduction; theories and politics of identity, re/presentation, in/visibility, intersectionality, institutional critique and globalisation within the fields of art history and visual culture.

Ifor Duncan

The Flood Imaginary: Watermarks, Memory and submerged futures

Tristam Adams

Tristam Adams is a theorist, writer and PhD candidate. His first book, The Psycopath Factory: How Capitalism Organises Empathy, has been published in December 2016 on Repeater Books. He is currently writing his PhD thesis, The Horrors of Voice, exploring the relations between voice and horror. He blogs theory here

Rachael Finney

Thesis (working) title

Towards A Common Voice: Experiencing Vocal Multiplicity and Collective Utterance

Research interests

Voice, aural cultures, philosophies of identity, ritual, performativity, affect.

Academic qualifications

MA Contemporary Art Theory, Goldsmiths, University of London

PGCE University of Brighton

BA (Hons) Fine Art Critical Practice, University of Brighton

Professional activities


Lecturer (London College of Communication, University of Arts London) 

Simon Ford

Thesis title

Re-arming photography: poetic strategies to critically reveal landscapes of work, capital and power.

A practice based research project which will investigate, propose and argue for a practice of photography that has a politicised preparedness to overcome what have become required platitudes when describing social landscapes.

In avoiding manifest truisms such as sentimentalised "post-industrial"ruins or contemporaneously landscapes of capital emblematic of late modernist anomie the project will engender candor in its questionsfrom the outset: What of the unmapped global circuits that such landscapes are inserted: just in time networks, virtual tradingmatrices and the reticular flow of global commodities? What of the undisclosed nature of work and labour that service such illusorylandscapes: dispossessed and transient, exploited and brutalised, erased and fetishised? What of the contradictory and paradoxical alliance between the sanitised forward facing brand and the actuality of the operations of capital?. It would aim to reveal and bring into representational forms that which is very often unaddressed: the hidden, obliterated or erased within capitalised landscapes. In bringing about an appropriate criticality it would be contended that an expanded documentary photographic practice is needed, one that adopts imaginative devices and strategies to controvert subsumptive (and hence ideological), normative, reductionist and determinative forms of social documentary photography. Visibility alone tells us nothing, multiple perspectives are needed to bring reality into sight, as Sergi Eisenstein said, to reveal labour does not show what labour is. A deployment of dissociative devices in elaborating photography’slexicon: faithfulness and fictionalising, performance and documentary and the macro and the intimate would conspire to open dialogues and possibilities. 

Oriana Fox


‘Performance Art Can Change Your Life for the Better: Attacking Shame as a Feminist Practice of Freedom’ 

My practice-based research project investigates performance art as a resource for feminist self-care. More specifically, I am interested in the relationship that performance artists have with themselves that enables them to shamelessly self-disclose, revealing their bodies and personal details in defiance of societal norms and convention. I explore this through various art projects, most notably The O Show, my self-styled chat show on which I invite contemporary artists to be guests, encouraging them to discuss the personal impact of making art and performance works. 

In my writing I rely on the late theories of Foucault around care of the self and parrhesia alongside an understanding of the therapeutic gleaned from the work of the psychologist Albert Ellis, founder of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, who prescribed ‘shame attacking’ as one of its key methods. I explore the concepts of my two key thinkers in relation to second-wave feminist art and performance, and contemporary work that revisits those precedents, including work by Martha Wilson, Cassils, Oreet Ashery, Mark Aguhar and Katherine Araniello, paying particular attention to the politics of feminism and self-help under neoliberalism.

Academic qualifications

MA in Fine Art, Goldsmiths, University of London (2003)

BFA, Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri (2000)

Professional Activities 

My multi-media artwork mixes sincerity and humour to explore personal identifications with a spectrum of pop cultural, avant-garde and feminist representations of women, investigating the emotional repercussions of both rebellion and belonging. I have shown my work in renowned art venues in the UK and abroad including Tate Modern, London; The Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool; Baltic, Gateshead; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; and Orchard Gallery in New York. I have been the recipient of grants from The Arts Council England and The Danish Arts Council as well as a bursary from Women’s Art Library/Feminist Review.

My academic achievements include having been a Lecturer in Fine Art at The Cass, London Metropolitan University and Southampton Solent University and a visiting tutor at numerous other universities. My writing has been included in peer-reviewed publications by Courtauld Books Online and Intellect Books, as well as journals such as Feminist Review and Dance Theatre Journal. In addition to having been an Associate Researcher for the AHRC-funded research project ‘Performance Matters’ from 2009 to 2012, I have given papers, performances and participated in panel discussions at a number of academic symposia and conferences including Performance Studies International in Utrecht and Leeds; Motherhood and Creative Practice at London Southbank University; MIRAJ Feminisms and The Moving Image at Chelsea College of Art, London; and Reactivating the 1970s: Radical Film and Video Culture at Open School East, London. 

Research Interests

feminist/queer art, theory, politics and subjectivity, Foucauldian feminism, the women’s liberation movement, sincerity, parody, autobiography, psychotherapy, self-help, art therapy, shame, affect theory, performance studies and socially engaged practice.

Oriana Fox's website

Astrid Korporaal

Academic qualifications

MA Global Arts, Goldsmiths University, 2012.

BA Arts, Culture and Media, University of Groningen, 2010.

Professional activities

Associate Curator of Education Partnerships, ICA London

Curator and co-founder of Almanac Projects, London and Turin.

Research Interests

(artistic) practices of vulnerability in relation to embodiment, experimental subjectivities, posthuman agency, passivity, traces and relationality. Strategies connected to deconstruction, feminism, speculation, ethics, exposure, inscription and confession.

You can contact Astrid at ankorporaal (

Ksenija Krapivina

'Madness in the Archive: Occupying the Gap between Reason and Non-reason'

Paula Lopez Zambrano

Thesis title: 
Curating Contingency
My research focuses on the theoretical meaning and the creative possibilities of the element of contingency that appears in curatorial projects and budgets. It considers two notions of contingency by linking the administrative aspects of this term together with its complex philosophical meaning.
Contingency is used in institutions and cultural organisations as a strategy to avoid unforeseen and un-planned scenarios. It appears in Excel spread-sheets, risk assessment forms, contracts, and agreements. It responds to rules and regulations, and; it maintains order and control while protecting the values that sustain them. 
But beyond its bureaucratical usage, it is a complex theoretical concept widely explored throughout the history of Western philosophy. It derives from Aristotle’s debate about future contingents and has been studied in Giorgio Agamben’s studies of potentiality. It relates to language, time, and the occurrence or non-occurrence of events. It is located in at the threshold between being and non-being and has triggered further discussions about human destiny and free will. 
It also endures as a form of artistic, curatorial and critical research. It has been investigated through probability, intuition, randomness, chance, failure, risk, resistance, non-production and support structures. Where my research encounters the unforeseen and unplanned, I have selected potentiality, anachronism and flirtation as my modes of research. These are applied to critical theory together with the development of curatorial activities linked to the research question.
This thesis extracts contingency from the organisational scheme of budget templates and curatorial projects, digs into its conceptual significance, and tests its critical and creative possibilities.

Academic qualifications

MA Curating Contemporary Art, Royal College of Art, London, U.K.

BA Art History - Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico D.F., Mexico  

Christian Nyampeta

Research title

How To Live Together: Rwandan Thought and Life Practices Beyond the Limits of Living Together

Supervised by Kodwo Eshun and Dr Jean Paul Martinon

Academic qualifications

MPhil, Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths, University of London, 2017

MA Industrial Design, Central Saint Martins University of the Arts London, 2009

Research interests

Asceticism, histories of Christianity in Africa, design, alternative education and radical pedagogy, African philosophy and cinema, Rwandan philosophy, Roland Barthes, genocide studies

Professional activities

Artist, researcher and curator in visual cultures, African philosophy and cinema:

Semiha Muge Ozbay Aydogan

Research interests

Temporality, performance, gender theory, contemporary dance

Academic qualifications

2003–2006 MA, Yildiz Technical University, Art and Design

1991–1996 Bogazici University, English Language and Literature 

Guido Santandrea

Structures of feeling: on architectures and narratives

David Evans

Thesis (Working) Title

Online Asceticism as Emancipatory Digital Practice

Academic qualifications

MA(RCA) Printmaking, Royal College of Art, 20006

PG Cert Professional Practice in Fine Art, Central St Martins School of Art & Design, 2003,

BA (Hons) Sculpture, 1st Class, University of Wolverhampton, 1997

Professional Activities

2006-2016 Senior Lecturer, Fine Art, University of Lincoln.

2011-2013 Director, The Royal Standard, Liverpool.

Research Interests

Contemporary art, asceticism, streaming, local networks.

Rocca Gutteridge

Thesis (working) title
Visual arts and queer identity in contemporary Kampala. 
Starting with a single artwork made on the day of the passing of Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act 2014, my research is investigating connections between the production of art, queer aesthetics and identity politics in Uganda. 
Research interests
Contemporary art, queerness, homonationalism.
Academic qualifications
M.A., Contemporary Art Theory, Edinburgh College of Art, Students Awards Agency Scotland 
B.A. (Hons) Sculpture, Edinburgh College of Art 
BTEC Foundation, Art and Design, City College Brighton and Hove 
Professional activities
British Council, Head of Arts East Africa, (Kenya)
32º East | Ugandan Arts Trust, Co-Founder, (Uganda) 

Khairani Barokka

Thesis title:
Annah, Infinite? Relations, Assumptions, Power and Abuse in Queer-Cripping Annah La Javanaise
In delving into how inconsistently Annah, the young subject of Paul Gauguin’s painting Annah La
Javanaise (c. 1893-4), is written about in terms of historical facts, this creative and critical work queries assumptions of
ablenormativity in narratives surrounding her. This critique exposes how elements of white supremacy and of
patriarchy are linked to such ablenormative visual assumptions, and the real, often devastating effects
such interpretations have on Southeast Asian women and girls today: ablenormativity, in interpretations
of visual culture, as elements of imperial debris.
For further information please visit Khairani Barokka
PhD Visual Cultures, 2015-present (LPDP Scholarship)
2011 MPS, Interactive Telecommunications Program (new media and art), NYU Tisch School of the Arts
Tisch Departmental Fellowship and Tisch Departmental Scholarship
2006 BA, Sociology/Anthropology, Middlebury College
College Scholar
2017 Rope, Nine Arches Press
2017 Stairs and Whispers, D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (co-ed.), Nine Arches Press
2016 Indigenous Species, Tilted Axis Press
2016 HEAT: A Southeast Asian Urban Anthology (co-ed.), Fixi Novo

Dimitra Gkitsa

Thesis working title

Collective Curating in the post-socialist space: memory, transition, self-organisation



This thesis aims to explore the practices of collective curating in the post-socialist space. Through the analysis of collective curatorial and artistic practices in tandem with elements of memory, transition, trauma and historic past that have defined and shaped the geopolitical reality of Southeast Europe, this research project asks specifically for a possibility of generating new forms of knowledge production and actions of commoning within the curated encounter.


Academic Qualifications 

MFA Curating, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK. (2015)

MA Cultural Management, Panteion University of Social & Political Sciences, Athens, Greece. (2013)

BA Communication, Media & Culture, Panteion University of Social & Political Sciences, Athens, Greece. (2011)


Professional Activities

Dimitra Gkitsa is an independent curator based in London and Athens. Selected projects include: Legacies of Cyberfeminism, with Mihaela Brebenel (Goldsmiths Library & Res, London 2016), Artists, What is Your Collective Value (ICA, 2015), Τhe Standard Model: Curatorial Propositions (Hato Press, 2015 co-edited by Lucy Lopez, Nella Aarne, Adam Smythe), Machine Divas: The Archive (ICA, 2015).


Research Interests

Affect theories, memory, social reproduction, labour, the commons, and self-organisation in relation to contemporary art and curatorial practices.



Alexander S. Onassis Foundation, Full PhD Funding, 2016 - 2019.

Alexander S. Onassis Foundation, Scholarship, 2014 - 2015.

Greek State Scholarships Foundation, Academic excellence award, 2011.

Greek State Scholarships Foundation, Scholarship, 2009 - 2010.

Portia Malatjie

Thesis (Working) Title

The Black Fantastic in African Moving Image


Academic qualifications

2011 MA (History of Art), University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

2008 BA (Fine Art), University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg


Professional Activities (Selected)

2018 - present Adjunct Curator, Norval Foundation, Cape Town

2017 – 2018 Curator, Tiwani Contemporary, London

2015 Director, AVA Gallery, Cape Town

2013 – 2015 Head Curator, Brundyn+, Cape Town

2012 – 2013 Lecturer, Art History and Visual Cultures, Rhodes University


Funding and Awards

Oppenheimer Memorial Trust (2016 – 2018)

Goldsmiths, Visual Cultures Department Funding (2015 – 2018)

National Arts Council of South Africa (2009 – 2010; 2015)

Robert Hodgins Award, University of the Witwatersrand (2007)


Research Interests

Temporalities, the fantastical, video art, black feminism, black ontologies, spectral politics, voice