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Staff Profile

Dr Kyveli Lignou-Tsamantani

Lecturer in Art History and Theory

I am an art historian, researcher, and curator of modern and contemporary art and visual culture. In 2022-23, I was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Humanities Research Centre at the University of York. I received my PhD from the History of Art Department at the University of York, UK, in 2021, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (WRoCAH) and the A.G. Leventis Foundation. My doctoral research looked at the ethics of spectatorship of atrocity images in contemporary art and visual culture, with a focus on questions of visibility. In summer 2019, I was a visiting doctoral student at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart, Germany. I hold an MA in History of Art from the University of York, UK, and a BA in Theory and History of Art from the Athens School of Fine Arts, Greece.


My research is primarily concerned with issues of spectatorship in contemporary art, photography and visual culture, with a focus on representations of political violence. My broader research interests include ethics of representation and curating; representations of suffering, death and human rights violations in modern and contemporary art and photography; and the visual politics of the 21st century refugee and migrant crisis in the Mediterranean.

I have worked in a curatorial capacity on exhibitions and public programmes in Greece and the United Kingdom. In summer 2018, I co-curated the contemporary art exhibition Refuse/Refuge at the York Art Gallery, which examined the visual politics of the contemporary refugee and migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. Since early 2023, I have curated a series of “micro-exhibitions” on contemporary social and political issues, including environmental matters, at various spaces in York. By using a small scale to present the work of one artist, this format has allowed me to explore temporalities of “looking” and to challenge the sustainability of exhibition-making through questions of scale.

I have participated in research projects in Greece, and presented my research at many conferences and symposia, including the AAH Annual Conference (2018) and the CAA Annual Conference (2019). Since 2022, I have co-organised the Visual Ethics Network, currently funded as a Research Strand of the Centre of Modern Studies at the University of York. The Network brings together researchers and creative practitioners who work at the intersection of visual culture, art and ethics, by organising various research and creative events. During my Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Humanities Research Centre, I co-organised “Between Image and Text: Experimental workshops with blackout poetry”, a series of workshops that utilised blackout poetry as a method of re-reading key theoretical texts of visual culture. For these I collaborated with Dr Elena Anastasaki at the University of Thessaly, and were held online as co-organised events between the Humanities Research Centre, University of York (UK) and the Cultural Relations and Comparative Arts Lab, University of Thessaly (GR). Since 2020, I have co-organised (with Dr Sophie Weeks at the University of York) an international online writing group, the Silent Zoom Writing Group (