Dr Gill Saunders (V&A, Word and Image Department)
I am currently doing my PhD as a Collaborative Doctoral Award holder (Arts and Humanities Research Council funded) in a partnership with SOAS and the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Previously, I studied at SOAS, where I completed the BA programme in History of Art and Archaeology, and the MA programme in Contemporary Art and Art Theory of Asia and Africa.
I also studied at the Sotheby's Institute of Art in New York and at The Art Students League of New York.
My PhD is positioned as part of new approach in understanding trajectories of contemporary urban African art and design in their various art worlds; both local, regional and intercontinental.
This project addresses the role of contemporary art and design as situated practice within civic spaces, considering the ways in which it constructs both public and private spheres. Freetown, in Sierra Leone, is selected as the main focus of this research in order to consider local urban art contexts and the networks constituted between their local productions and the ways they embody diasporic experiences in the United Kingdom (with London as the key site). The diasporic networks entailed is explored in terms of how the materiality of art and design are utilised to articulate these identities negotiated within the differing and diverse urban/cultural spaces. Key institutions, practitioners and patronage (whether painters, tailors, masquerade carvers, photographers, fashion designers, and other participants), are considered in the originating urban spaces of Freetown (that also include local museums) and how these are refashioned within diasporic context in London. In so doing the role of museums in London as significant sites in representing ‘other spaces’ and diasporic experiences, is analysed in relations to these new London publics.
- Research Department, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
- Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts, SOAS, University of London
- Department of History & African Studies, Fourah Bay College, Freetown, University of Sierra Leone
- AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council), Doctoral Studentship
- CHASE (Consortium of the Humanities and the Arts South-east England), Associate Studentship
- CASA (Arts Council of the African Studies Association), Member