Discipline of Art History

Discover five hundred years of human creativity by investigating and interpreting works of art from the Renaissance period to global contemporary art.


Students of art history and visual culture are equipped with critical skills in thinking, writing and speaking about the production and reception of past and present images and objects.  


  • Our teaching

    We offer undergraduate and postgraduate programs in art history on campus and online.  Our courses are not only aligned with research specialisations of academic staff, but combine digital technologies with direct engagement of material objects held in Adelaide’s culturally vibrant museum and gallery collections, alongside a dynamic street art scene and heritage of public art.

    PG Art History  UG Art History and Visual Culture 

  • Our people

    Academic Staff
    Name Role
    Associate Professor Katie Barclay Head of Department of Historical and Classical Studies
    Dr Lisa Mansfield Senior Lecturer
    Professor John Carty Professor of Museum & Curatorial Studies
    Associate Professor Sally May Associate Professor and ARC Future Fellow

    Titleholders/Research Associates
    Name Role
    Professor Catherine Speck Emerita Professor of Art History and Curatorship

    Dr Melanie Cooper

    Research Fellow, Adjunct Teaching Staff in Art History
    Dr Nerina Dunt Research Fellow, Adjunct Teaching Staff in Art History
    Dr Susan Fereday Adjunct Teaching Staff in Masters of Arts (Curatorial and Museum Studies


  • Our research

    Our academic staff includes research-active scholars in art history along with museum and gallery professionals.

    Research areas are focused on early modern European art (1400-1800), particularly Northern Renaissance (Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, England, and France), modern and contemporary Australian art, and representations of gender, portraiture, and images of war. Prof Catherine Speck and Dr Lisa Mansfield have both been recipients of ARC (Australian Research Council) funding for several research projects. 

    Dr Mansfield is currently a Chief Investigator on a collaborative ARC Discovery Project “Gendering the Italian Wars, 1494-1559” (2018-2020) with Professor Susan Broomhall (University of Western Australia) and Associate Professor Carolyn James (Monash University). Dr Mansfield’s research investigates the impact of violence encountered in the Italian Wars on Swiss artist-mercenaries and representations of camp women. In 2017, Dr Mansfield was awarded a Renaissance Society of America Samuel H. Kress Short-Term Residential Fellowship at the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, University of Toronto, for her research on the sixteenth-century Dutch artist-polymath, Jan van Scorel.

    Both Prof Speck and Dr Mansfield are widely published and regularly present papers on aspects of their research in Australia and overseas.

    Higher Degrees by research

  • Our scholarships

    The School of Humanities has a number of History scholarships and prizes available. Visit the Faculty of Arts for more information.

    Our scholarships

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