History of Art announces headline appointments in the history of architecture and photography

Professors Crinson and Edwards will lead department into expanded areas of teaching and research

The History of Art department at the School of Arts has made two senior appointments to its academic programmes in the history of architecture and photography.

Professor Mark Crinson will join the school in July as its new Professor in the History and Theory of Architecture. His arrival will be quickly followed by that of Professor Steve Edwards who will join in September as Professor in the History and Theory of Photography.

Leading figures in their respective fields, Professors Crinson and Edwards will spearhead expanded teaching and research activities within Birkbeck.

About Professor Mark Crinson

Professor Crinson (pictured right) joins the school from the University of Manchester, where he is Professor of Art History – a position he took in 2007 following a 14-year lectureship at the university. An alumnus of the Universities of Sussex and Pennsylvania, Professor Crinson has also held teaching positions at the Open University and Loughborough College of Art, as well as a research position at the University of Essex.

Research interests during his career have included: the relation of architecture to colonialism; and the role of architecture in the cultural mediation of industrial production. He has explored these themes within a series of his books – including ‘Stirling and Gowan: Architecture from Austerity to Affluence’ (Yale 2012) which won the Historians of British Art Prize in 2014 – and in more than 40 articles.

Shortly after joining Birkbeck, Professor Crinson will commence a one-year Leverhulme/British Academy senior fellowship, undertaking a project called ‘Shock City: Image and Architecture in Industrial Manchester’. During this sabbatical he will remain in close contact with the department to plan new developments. He will also join the school’s Architecture, Space and Society Centre.

Professor Crinson said: “I am thrilled to be joining Birkbeck this summer. It's so exciting to become part of a place renowned for its collegiality and its unique blend of students, and I know that my interests in architectural history, its relation to art history and other disciplines, will really find fertile ground here.”

About Professor Steve Edwards

Professor Steve Edwards (pictured left) joins the school in September from his position as Professor in Art - History - Materialism at the Open University (OU). He joined the OU in 1997 as research lecturer in Art History following his education at South Glamorgan Institute of Higher Education (BA) and the University of Leeds (MA and PhD). During 2006, he was visiting professor in Art History at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

In addition to Professor Edwards’s research interests in contemporary art, and art and social theory, he has written extensively on the history and theory of photography, plus Marxist and social thought. He has explored these within his published books, including ‘Photography: A Very Short Introduction’ (Oxford, 2006); and ‘Martha Rosler: The Bowery in Two Inadequate Systems’ (Afterall, 2013).

When he begins at Birkbeck in September, Professor Edwards will also join the school’s History and Theory of Photography Research Centre.

Offering an insight into what he aims to develop at Birkbeck, Professor Edwards said: “I look forward to developing a broad materialist approach to the area that encompasses both historical studies of a range of practices and attention to contemporary photography and theory. In particular, I will be emphasising archival studies, critical historiography and close attention to images.”

Dr Kate Retford, Head of the Department of History of Art at the School of Arts said: “We are delighted to have Professors Crinson and Edwards join our History of Art department. The expertise they bring will further bolster the strength of teaching and research activity in the school, while also developing exciting expansions of our studies in the history of architecture and photography.”

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