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Mara Polgovsky Ezcurra

  • Overview


    Extended absence from the college

    On research leave until September 2021, Leverhulme Fellowship 


    I am an art historian and cultural theorist of Latin America. I joined the History of Art Department at Birkbeck in 2018, as part of the department’s interest in expanding its global focus. Previously, I held a Junior Research Fellowship at Queens’ College, Cambridge, and taught at the departments of History of Art, Spanish, and the Centre of Latin American Studies, University of Cambridge.

    I run the film production company Tecolote Films and have worked as director, scriptwriter and editor for documentary films. I have also curated a number of research-led exhibitions, including, most recently, Reality Machines: An Art Exhibition on Post-Truth (CRASSH, Cambridge, 2018).



    • BA, El Colegio de Mexico & Harvard University
    • MPhil in History, History, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris
    • PhD, Latin American Cultural Studies, University of Cambridge

    Web profiles

    Professional activities

    Co-convener of the Decolonial Feminist Forum

    Member of the editorial board of the Oxford Art Journal.

    Professional memberships

    • Association for Art History (AAH)

      Association for the Study of the Art of the Present (ASAP)

      International Council of Museums (ICOM), UK

    Honours and awards

  • Research


    Research overview

    My research focuses on contemporary Latin American Art and Intellectual History, with a particular emphasis on the politics of aesthetics and on the study of liveness, presence, corporeality, and agency in artistic practice —including live, performance, and ecological art, together with dance and the moving image.

    My publications include the monograph Touched Bodies: The Performative Turn in Latin American Art (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2019), the forthcoming essay collection Marcos Kurtycz: Corporeality Unbound (Fauna-Jumex, 2020), and the edited volumes Sabotage Art: Politics and Iconoclasm in Contemporary Latin America (NY-London: I.B. Tauris, 2016, edited with Sophie Halart), Eugenio Polgovsky: Poetics of the Real/La poética de lo real (Mexico City: Ambulante-Tecolote Films, 2020), and Re-Public: The New Public Art in Mexico (in preparation).

  • Supervision and teaching

    Supervision and teaching


    I welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students interested in undertaking research in any of my areas of specialism. 

    Current doctoral researchers



    My teaching is centred on non-Western art histories and fosters a critical awareness of questions related to race, gender, colonial legacies, cultural transference, and migration. I welcome proposals for PhD research on these topics and on a range of issues related to modern and contemporary art Latin American.

    Teaching modules

    • Art and Society Between 1900 and the Present (AHVM011S5)
    • The Arts: Perspectives and Possibilities (ARAR008S3)
    • The Arts: Questioning the Contemporary World (ARAR009S3)
    • Art History: A Survey (ARVC205S4)
    • Doing Art History (ARVC206S4)
    • Material and Process in Art (ARVC207S4)
    • Dummy module - change event title (ROOM000Z0)
  • Publications




    Book Section