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Explore our research

Explore our research

Find out how research from the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures is making an impact on the world.

Explore some of our recent research projects and activities, and the wider impacts and effects they have achieved, below.

Research in Languages, Literatures and Cultures: Insights and Impacts

In 2017-18 Professor Eric Robertson was the co-organsier of a major international retrospective exhibition on the work of the German-French artist Hans Arp (1886-1966). The exhibition drew directly on Professor Robertson's research on Arp, and ran in two major, publicly funded galleries in the Netherlands and the UL: the Kröller-Müller Museum (20 May 2017-17 September 2017) and the Turner Contemporary Gallery, Margate (12 October 2017-14 January 2018). The exhibition was viewed by approximately 190,000 visitors at the two venues, and encouraged appreciation of this extraordinary, multifaceted and transnational artist.

View the Exhibition leaflet in PDF form.

The exhibition also created educational benefits for visitors, with a specially designed programme of activities for schools and younger visitors. At the Turner Contemporary visiting schools made used of educational materials and lesson plans designed for KS1 and 2. You can read more about the results here.

The Guardian wrote of the exhibition: “In the age of Brexit, an exhibition of this sculptor who transcended Europe’s borderlines is a timely reminder of how art can defy national boundaries.”

Dr Ruth Hemus, author of a groundbreaking studies of the contribution of female artists to the Dada avant garde movement (Dada's Women, 2009;The Poetry of Céline Arnauld: From Dada to Ultra-Modern, 2020), is the driving force behind a collaborative creative project that has produced accessible multimedia performance interpretations of Dada’s extradordinary pioneering women such as Hannah Höch and Céline Arnauld. These have taken place in public spaces, such as at the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle (November 2018).

Ruth's work has also provided the direct inspriration for an exhibition staged a three Swiss art galleries between 2014 and 2016, which was the centenary of the founding of Dada in Zürich. In 2017 and 2018 she and her creative team ran educational Dada workshops at the Tate Exchange, and in 2019 she spoke at The Academy of Arts in Oslo (KHIO) at the launch of the 'The Great Monster Dada Show', Henie Onstad, Norway (see above image). Ruth continues to develop collaborations and partnerships around Dada's Women.

Find out more about Ruth's work.

Professor Giuliana Pieri is the current principal investigator for the AHRC-funded project Interdisciplinary Italy 1900-2020: Interart/Intermedia, working alongside her co-investigators Clodagh Brook (TCD) and Florian Mussgnug (UCL). This ambitious project emerged from a smaller AHRC networking grant (‘Interdisciplinary Italy 1900-2015: art, music, text’) which ran from 2012 to 2014. It has reassessed 20th-century Italian cultural history through an inter-artistic and interdisciplinary lens.

Giuliana's contribution to the project focuses on Italian Modernism and the intersection between the fine arts, design (pre- and postwar) and Italian culture. The key insights delivered by Professor Pieri’s research (see for example her 2018 essay ‘Italian Studies: An Interdisciplinary Perspective’) challenge the narrow focus of monodisciplinary research to reveal a more comprehensive picture of interartistic encounters and new kinds of experimentation. As part of the project, Pieri curated an exhibition at the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, London: ‘The Making of Modern Italy: Art and Design in the Early 1960s’ (Jan-April 2019).

The project has had an educational impact through collaboration with a cluster of UK schools and secondary school teachers, leading to the production of new teaching resources and a range of cross-curricular activities.

Learn more about 'Interdisciplinary Italy' at the project website and blog.

In 2019 Dr James Kent co-curated the exhibition ‘This is Cuba: Documentary Photography after Fidel’ in Royal Holloway's Exhibition Space. It showcased work by world-renowned photographers such as Raúl Cañibano and Michael Christopher Brown, and was accompanied by a series of talks and workshops including: masterclasses with Cañibano, curator’s talks, and workshops with other academics, practitioners and specialists. It led to a follow-up exhibition at the Photographers’ Gallery London, one of the most important forums for photography in the UK. ‘Raúl Cañibano: Chronicles of an Island’, for which James acted as Exhibition Liaison, ran September-November 2019.