School of Arts and Cultures

Staff Profiles

Dr Fiona Anderson

Lecturer in Art History

Background

I teach Art History within the Fine Art department. My research is concerned with art and queer culture from the 1960s to the 1990s, with a particular focus on the HIV/AIDS crisis. At the moment, I am completing a book on the art and gay cruising scenes on New York’s derelict waterfront in the years immediately preceding the HIV/AIDS epidemic, looking most closely at the work of David Wojnarowicz and Peter Hujar. I am working on new projects on HIV/AIDS activism in the arts, and queer cultures in Europe in the 1970s.

I am UK PI for Cruising the 1970s: Unearthing Pre-HIV/AIDS Queer Sexual Cultures (CRUSEV), a three-year cross-European research project funded by Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA). CRUSEV will attempt to unearth queer archival materials from the 1970s that are in danger of being lost, or that have been sidelined. It will ask what use and value these materials can have for contemporary LGBTQ people. The project involves researchers from four partner countries: Germany, Poland, Spain, and the UK.

I received my PhD from King’s College London (2012) and my BA and MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art (2006, 2007). Prior to working at Newcastle, I was Senior Teaching Fellow in History of Art at the University of Edinburgh, Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Art at the University of York, a Visiting Lecturer and Visiting Research Fellow in American Studies and English Literature at King’s College London, and a Visiting Lecturer at Arcadia University’s College of Global Studies. 

Research

Research interests

My research deals with representations of non-normative, queer sexualities in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, particularly the relationship between sexuality, site, memory, history, and temporality and how these are explored and expressed through the visual arts. I am particularly interested in where, why and how queer sexual cultures and interstitial spaces intersect and in the activist imperatives behind queer art making.

At the moment, I am completing a book based on my doctoral thesis on the art and cruising scenes on New York’s derelict waterfront in the years immediately preceding the HIV/AIDS epidemic, looking most closely at the work of David Wojnarowicz and Peter Hujar. I am also working on a new project on the culture and politics of the drug AZT in the context of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and another on the spaces of HIV/AIDS activism in New York, looking at how artists engaged with sites such as hospitals, churches, bookshops, municipal buildings, and 'public' urban spaces like parks and sidewalks. I am interested in contemporary queer theory, particularly queer theories of temporality and nostalgia.

I am UK PI for Cruising the 1970s: Unearthing Pre-HIV/AIDS Queer Sexual Cultures (CRUSEV), a three-year cross-European research project funded by Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA). CRUSEV will attempt to unearth queer archival materials from the 1970s that are in danger of being lost, or that have been sidelined. It will ask what use and value these materials can have for contemporary LGBTQ people. The project involves researchers from four partner countries: Germany, Poland, Spain, and the UK. As part of this project, I am undertaking research into gay and lesbian experience in art schools in the UK in the 1970s.

Recent talks and events

  • 'Between Coldstream and Clause 28: critical pedagogy and queer experience in the British art school', part of the panel Cruising the 1970s: Unearthing and archiving pre-AIDS sexual cultures in Europe in the visual arts (April 2017)
  • 'The whole world and the cemetery: Peter Hujar's queer landscapes', University of Nottingham Institute for Research in Visual Culture (March 2017)
  • Artists Who Write: Strategies, The Northern Charter, Newcastle (January 2017)
  • Four Films by Jim Hubbard: Screening and Q+A, The Cinema Museum, London (December 2016)
  • Close to the Knives: Art, Activism, and HIV/AIDS, film screening and panel discussion, the Courtauld Institute of Art, London (December 2016)
  • COMPULSIVE PRACTICE, film screening for Day With(out) Art and World AIDS Day, in collaboration with Visual AIDS (November 2016). 
  • Method Maker, Collective Summer School, Edinburgh (July 2016)
  • 'The Queer Matter of Ruins,' LGBT/Queer Visibility Matters, Keele University, (June 2016)
  • Keywords: Critical. Collective Gallery, Edinburgh (March 2016)
  • ‘We Were (Not) Here: The Queer Temporality of Contemporary AIDS Activist Art,’ University of Essex Art History Research Seminar Series (January 2016)
  • ARTISTS ROOMS Café des Artistes: Robert Mapplethorpe. Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh (November 2015)
  • ‘AIDS as History: the queer temporality of AIDS activist art’, University of St Andrews History of Art Research Seminar Series (September 2015)
  • ‘Mighty Real: Art, AIDS and Retroviral Memory in the work of Robert Blanchon,’ Facing America: viewing the face in American art and visual culture, a SAVAnT (Scholars of American Visual Art and Text) symposium (July 2015)
  • How to do the History of the 1970s. One-day symposium at Edinburgh College of Art with Dr. Glyn Davis (May 2015)
  • 'We Were (Not) Here: AIDS activism and the queer temporality of collective action,' Association of Art Historians annual conference, University of East Anglia (April 2015)
  • ARTIST ROOMS Café des Artistes: Diane Arbus. Panellist. Kirkcaldy Galleries (March 2015). Listen to a recording here.
  • Experimental Histories: Queer Lives on Film. Screening at the University of Edinburgh (February 2015)
  • 'Monks of the Dead River': Cruising the Queer Ruins of Old New York. University of Glasgow Institute of Art History Research Seminar Series (February 2015)
  • Alternate Endings. A film screening for Day Without Art and World AIDS Day, in collaboration with Visual AIDS (December 2014). More information about the project can be found here. This was the only UK screening.
  • In the Shadow of Forward Motion. Screening and discussion with Ben Neill (November 2014). A rare screening of a collaboration between the late artist and HIV/AIDS activist David Wojnarowicz and the musician and composer Ben Neill. First UK screening of the 4-channel version.
  • 'Guys Who Were 35 Last Year Are 70 This Year: Poetry and Retroviral Time,' at 'Fat Art, Thin Art': Eve Kosofsky as a Poet, University of York (February 2014)
  • The Downtown Arts Scene. Speaker and panellist with Lydia Yee at The Rest Is Noise Festival, Southbank Centre, London (November 2013). Listen to a recording of the event here.
  • AIDS: A New Time of Fear. Chair of session with Sarah Schulman and Simon Watney at The Rest Is Noise Festival, Southbank Centre, London (November 2013).

Recent grants and awards

  • Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) funding for Cruising the 1970s: Unearthing Pre-HIV/AIDS Queer Sexual Cultures (CRUSEV) (July 2016 - September 2019).
  • Edinburgh College of Art Devolved Researcher Funding for How to do the History of the 1970s, a one-day symposium at Edinburgh College of Art with Dr. Glyn Davis (28 May 2015).
  • Terra Foundation for American Art Research Travel Grant for a research trip to New York City for the book project Monks of the Dead River: Cruising the Queer Ruins of Old New York (August 2014.





Teaching

Undergraduate teaching

Semester 1, 2016/17

  • Gender and Contemporary Art (Stage 2/3) (Module Leader)
  • Critical and Contextual Writing (Stage 4) (Module Leader)
  • Art History Dissertation 

Semester 2, 2016/2017

  • Art and Protest (Stage 2/3) (Module Leader)
  • Critical and Contextual Writing (Stage 4) (Module Leader)
  • Art History Dissertation

PhD supervision

  • Aleksandra Gajowy, Disabled, Diseased, Silence - the Forming of Queer Identity in Polish Body and Performance Art 1970s - 2000s. 
  • I co-supervise two PhD students with the University of Edinburgh, Cole Collins and Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay

I welcome PhD applications from students with interests in queer theory, queer cultures, LGBT history, HIV/AIDS, modern and contemporary art making in New York, and art and activism.

Roles and Responsibilities

Art History Co-ordinator

SACS Freedom City 2017 Programme Leader

Early Career representative, School Executive Board

External examiner, MA History of Art, University College Cork





Publications