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Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Miss Helen Underhill

MA Anthropology of Media (SOAS), BA (hons) Fine Art (University College Falmouth).


Helen Underhill
Miss Helen Underhill
Email address:
Thesis title:
Arts education in Palestine: how are artistic skills and visual sensibilities constructed? (Working title)
Year of Study:
1st year
Internal Supervisors

PhD Research

My research will explore the impact of social interaction on artistic training, practice and production, by investigating how and why different media matter to a community of arts practitioners and students at an art school in Ramallah, Palestine.    

This study will question the extent to which individual sensibilities are developed and altered by formal artistic training, by mapping the political and social frameworks which dictate the design of such educational programmes.  How do artists from this community develop the technical and perceptive skills necessary to produce work which is accepted by their institution, their peers, and the wider community?  

Specific areas of investigation will include visual outputs, curriculum design, teaching and assessment methods, availability of resources and opportunities for exhibition and discussion of artwork.
Central questions include: How do young artists receive formal training in Palestine?  What is the significance of specialised art education for narratives of individual and national identity?  How do funding conditions and the desire for legitimisation within established international discourses of Fine Art influence curriculum design?  To what extent, and why, are European models of higher education followed in this case?  How do students and teachers view this hybrid curriculum?  Where is the status of Palestinian art and artists negotiated within the international art scene?