- Position: Deputy Head of School and Associate Professor in Renaissance Art and Culture
- Areas of expertise: Late-Renaissance art, architecture, technologies and philosophy; historical and critical approaches to materials
- Email: R.S.Checketts@leeds.ac.uk
- Phone: +44(0)113 343 5268
- Location: 3.15 Fine Art Building
I am Associate Professor in Renaissance Art and Culture, Deputy Head of School, and Programme Director for BA Art History and Art History with Cultural Studies, and the MA Social History of Art. Before returning to the University as a Lecturer, I had previously held a Leverhulme postdoctoral research fellowship, followed by two years at the Victoria and Albert Museum where I taught on the MA in Design History run jointly between the Museum and the Royal College of Art. My PhD, supervised by Professor Alex Potts and Professor Christine Stevenson, was on eighteenth-century art theory, and I held a Yale University Paul Mellon Centre postdoctoral research fellowship to work on the same topic. My undergraduate degree was in photographic practice.
I am currently an external examiner at the University of York (undergraduate), and at the University of St Andrews (taught postgraduate). I have previously acted in that role at Birkbeck, University of London, as well as serving as a panel member for the quinquennial review for Humanities at the University of Buckingham, where I also conducted an external review of all modules in Art History. I have served as an external PhD thesis advisor at the University of York, and on the PhD scholarship awards committee for the White Rose College of Arts and Humanities (linking the universities of Leeds, Sheffield, and York). From 2019–2022 I worked with colleagues in art history across the UK on the Association for Art History Higher Education Committee.
I am currently on the editorial board for Art History.
- Deputy Head of School
- Programme Director BA Art History and BA Art History with Cultural Studies
- Programme Director MA Social History of Art
I am an art historian of the late-Renaissance with particular interests both in the close analysis of objects and in philosophy. My research centres on materials as sites of social and political encounter, and the complex ways in which contestations around the nature of materials in artworks and architecture were linked to wider social structures and transformations.
My principal area of focus currently is seventeenth-century Rome, with a monograph in progress on cultures of building (particularly in the re-use of marble), natural philosophy, and the larger political framings of patronage. At present I am also completing an article on glass and complex questions of value that emerged in sixteenth-century Europe as a result of expanding global networks of exchange and conflict.
A chapter entitled ‘Adam van Vianen and Ghosts of Silver in the Late-Renaissance World’ is in press, as part of a volume edited by Professor Helen Hills, with the British Academy and Oxford University Press. I have also published on English art theory in the eighteenth century. Outside the Renaissance and Europe, I would welcome PhD enquiries for projects grounded in critical and historical approaches to materials in broader contexts (including in practice-led work), and in critical approaches to historiography.<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>
- BA (Hons)
My teaching covers a broad range of topics and approaches in late-Renaissance art and architecture, with more focused courses on ideas about materials in that period. I also teach on historiography, methodology and critical theory, leading the MA Social History of Art core module in this area. For the latter, my teaching covers a range of thinkers, including the ‘canonical’ texts in the discipline of Art History, but I am particularly interested in the work of Antonio Gramsci, Italian microhistory, and related intellectual frameworks.
I am passionate about research-driven teaching where students play an active role, and about the transformational potential of a challenging, dynamic and intellectually rigorous educational environment. Throughout my time at Leeds I have collaborated on improvements in student education, from assessment to module- and programme design. At present, I am co-ordinating major curriculum redesign in art history at undergraduate and taught postgraduate levels, as part of a University-wide project. More broadly within the School, I am interested in developing collaborations in the ways in which we might think about ‘practice’ as something integral to all forms of activity we carry out – in the seminar room as much as in the studio.
At Leeds I have supervised six PhDs through to completion, with a seventh in its final stages. I am keen to work on interdisciplinary projects, and this has meant that much of my supervision has been with colleagues in other Schools: in History with Dr Alex Bamji, and (for two projects) in Philosophy, Religion, and the History of Science with Professor James Stark, Professor Jon Topham, and Dr Adrian Wilson.
Current and recent PhD projects
- Lucy Crouch on materiality and drawing (practice-led, expected completion 2025)
- Li Huang on satire in visual and literary culture in the British Isles in the eighteenth century (as a visiting researcher, Zhejiang University, 2023)
- Fiona Sit on Bernini and clay (2023).
- Hannah Kašpar on Robert Adam and artisanal networks (2022).
- David Rowe on sexual health advertising (2021)
- Giulia Zanon on citizenship in early modern Venice (2019)
- Richard Bellis on making anatomical knowledge in late-Georgian Britain (2019)
- Luisa Lorenza Corna on Manfredo Tafuri (2016)