Dr Joanne Crawford


French and American abstract art of the 1950s (specifically Rothko, Michaux and Wols), exploring how notions of death, as philosophical concept embedded within structures of aesthetics, informed production and subsequent 'readings' of abstract art. My research primarily centres on mid 20th century French and American abstract painting, drawing and sculpture (including art by Rothko, Michaux and Wols). My work examines how notions of death, as philosophical concept embedded within the complex structures of the aesthetic, informed the production and 'readings' of such art by art historians and philosophers alike. Thus by engaging with philosophical writers such as Sartre, Hegel, Bataille, Kierkergaard, Nietzsche and Blanchot I explore the relationship between philosophical thinking on death, notions of subjectivity and duration and the production and (social) interpretations of the artist and his work. I am a module leader for 2 of the main core courses; Elements of Visual Culture 1 & 2 (level 1 for History of Art and Fine Art students; which trains students how to read a whole range of visual images, from painting through to photography and film) and Aesthetics 1 (level 2 for History of Art and Cultural Studies students; subjects range from Aristotle through to Hegel, Nietzsche and Schopenhauer and their theories on truth, censorship, artistic education, beauty etc). My optional modules at level 2 are The Avant Gardes (subjects range from Futurism, Cubist collage, Russian Constructivism, Dada through to Surrealism as an alternative to the Modernist notion of the avant-garde); The New York School (which looks at the relationship between Cold War rhetoric and the rise of Abstract Expressionism and the neo avant-garde in the USA in the 1940s and 50s). At level 3 I offer a module entitled The Ripped and the Raw (which engages with the huge social, cultural and philosophical shifts of the 1940s and 50s in Europe by investigating the art of artists such as Wols, Dubuffet, Michaux, Wols, CoBrA and the Situationist International). For taught post-graduate programmes Im a module leader for a module entitled Aesthetics and Politics which engages with relationship between the philosophy on/of art and the social/political) and give seminars on the MA History of Art core module (on Hegels philosophy of history). Director of Student Education


  • Director of Student Education
<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) Philosophy and History of Art
  • MA Social History of Art
  • PhD History of Art

Student education


Director of Student Education.

Module leader for ARTF1014 Elements of Visual Culture I; ARTF1201 Vision and Narrative: Literature and the Visual Arts; ARTF2003 The New York School; ARTF2072 Art History and Art Historiography; ARTF2117 The Avant Gardes; ARTF3166 The Ripped and the Raw: Aspects of European Art 1945-1960.

Also teach on ARTF1046 A Story of Art 2; ARTF5033M Aesthetics and Politics.

Research groups and institutes

  • PRIA
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/research-opportunities">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>