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Bee Hughes, Dys-men-o-rrho-ea, 2019, performance documentation, digital photograph with thanks to Milos Simpraga (Artist in Residence at the St Andrews Centre for Contemporary Art, 2020-21)


The St Andrews Centre for Contemporary Art is based in the School of Art History at the University of St Andrews, and draws together researchers from Schools including International Relations, Modern Languages, English, Film Studies, Social Anthropology, Management, and University Museums. The Centre’s main aim is to provide a space for staff, undergraduates, post-graduates and post-doctoral researchers to come together and share their interests and expertise in contemporary art, and to devise new programmes and projects in this constantly-evolving field of study.

Key themes include:

  • Technologies and media
  • Feminism, gender and sexuality
  • Globalisation and transnationalism
  • Art and politics

We aim to explore these themes though a combination of:

  • Regular work-in-progress sessions
  • Research seminars and invited talks
  • Conferences and symposia
  • PhDs, including Collaborative Doctoral Awards
  • Artist Residencies
  • Participation in the St Andrews Global Fellowship Scheme

Contemporary art is an area of study that is as diverse and exciting as it is contested and complex. While there are now multiple definitions of ‘the contemporary’ and when it might be said to ‘begin’ with regards to art practice, there still remains much work to be done to address the radically interdisciplinary nature of contemporary visual production; its relationship with key dynamics such as globalisation, precarity, decolonisation, ecology and technology, as well as the constructs of gender, sexuality, race and class; and its communication through theory, curatorial strategies, institutional programming and art writing as well as practice.

We believe that exploring these issues in contemporary art demands an interdisciplinary framework, which can draw on scholarship in economics, management, sociology, film studies, international relations, languages and literature, history, geography, gender studies, and the sciences. The St Andrews Centre for Contemporary art welcomes researchers and staff from across the university and beyond to discuss contemporary practice and theory together.

NEXT EVENT: 13 SEPTEMBER 2023: ‘Beyond Portraits: Tradition, Art and Activism in the Kifaananyi Kya Kabaka,’ with Dr Angelo Kakande

Image: Sanaa Gateja, ‘Outfit for Muteesa’ (2016-17)

Art History Research Lecture
Dr Angelo Kakande (Makerere University; Global Fellow, School of Art History, University of St Andrews 2023-4)
Wednesday September 13th 2023, 4pm
School II, St Salvator’s Quad, St Andrews (KY16 9AL)

‘Outfit for Muteesa’ by Sanaa Gateja (2016-17) is based on a photograph taken by John Speke, during his visit to the palace of Kabaka (king) Muteesa I of Buganda, in 1862. Gateja is a modernist Ugandan artist. He presented his work in an exhibition hosted at Makerere Art School in 2017 in which many artists returned to Speke’s photograph to produce a variety of artworks in which they went beyond celebrating the kingdom of Buganda, and its kings, and began to critique social issues.

Dr Kakande’s talk will start from this exhibition but will also cover other artists who have used the portrait of the kings of Buganda to make art in which they celebrate traditions and campaign for social and political justice.