Dr Joanne Morra

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Dr Joanne Morra

Reader in Art History and Theory

Central Saint Martins


Dr Joanne Morra is Reader in Art History and Theory and convenor of The Doctoral Platform at Central Saint Martins, where she supervises PhD students and teaches on the Art Programme. Committed to education in the art school, Joanne’s research is dedicated to artistic practice and the politics and poetics of making, viewing and writing about art.

Joanne is Founding Principal Editor of the Journal of Visual Culture, Founding Executive Board Member of the International Association of Visual Culture, a member of the AHRC Peer Review College, on the Advisory Board of New Formations, a Board Member of the Nida Doctoral School and a member of the Freud Museum London Exhibition Group.

Joanne is regularly invited to give lectures in the UK and abroad. Places she has lectures include: Aarhaus University, Bigli University, Clark Art Institute, Freud Museum London, Gothenburg University, Harvard University, Hong-Ik University, National Gallery of Art Warsaw, Royal College of Art, Sigmund Freud Museum Vienna, University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, European Humanities University of Lithuania/Belarus, University of Bergen, University of Zurich, ZKM Centre for Art and Media Karlsruhe.

Joanne holds a PhD in Art History and Theory, an MA in Feminism and the Visual Arts, an MA in History of Art, and a BA Hons in History of Art and English.

Research interests

Modern and contemporary art; psychoanalysis as a theory and practice; critical theory; spaces of practice (writer's study, artist's studio, classroom, gallery/museum, and psychoanalytic consulting room); autographic narratives and subjectivity; translation and transcultural aesthetics; the question of materiality as it pertains to art-making.

Research statement

Committed to an understanding of the material, personal, historical, and political aspects of art, my research is concerned with the processes that take place in the spaces of artistic, cultural and psychoanalytic practices (the studio, the study, the classroom, the museum, and the consulting room).

My most recent publication in this area is the book Inside the Freud Museums: History, Memory and Site-Responsive Art (2018). Here I combine a detailed revisiting of psychoanalysis and contemporary art works, and posit the dynamic concept of site-responsivity as a means of revising the relationship between art and site.

Previous publications related to art, autobiography, psychoanalysis and the politics and poetics of memory include: ‘Being in Analysis: On the Intimate Art of Transference’ (2017); ‘On Use: Art Education and Psychoanalysis’ (2017); ‘Seemingly Empty: Freud at Berggasse 19, A Conceptual Museum in Vienna’ (2013); the curatorial project Saying It (Freud Museum London 2012); ‘The Work of Research: Remembering, Repeating and Working-through’ (2008); ‘Daughter’s Tongue: The Intimate Distance of Translation’ (2007); ‘Drawing Machine: Working Through the Materiality of Rauschenberg’s Dante and Derrida’s Freud’ (2006); and ‘Rauschenberg’s Skin: Autobiography, Indexicality, Auto-eroticism’ (2002).

Including these research interests, I have edited many books and issues of journals on visual culture, translation and the visual arts, and cultural theory: Intimacy Unguarded: how the personal becomes material, co-edited with Emma Talbot (Journal of Visual Art Practice, 2017); 50 Years of Art and Objecthood: History, Impact, Critique, co-edited with Alison Green (Journal of Visual Culture, 2017); Acts of Translation, co-edited with Mieke Bal (Journal of Visual Culture, 2007); Visual Culture: Critical Concepts in Media and Cultural Studies, 4 volumes, co-edited with Marquard Smith (Routledge, 2006); The Prosthetic Impulse: From a Posthuman Present to a Biocultural Future, co-edited with Marquard Smith (MIT, 2006); The Prosthetic Aesthetic, co-edited (New Formations, 2002); The Limits of Death, co-edited with Mark Robson and Marquard Smith (Manchester UP, 2000), and a series of issues of parallax - to jean-françois lyotard (2000); the re-Interpretation of dreams (2000); translator’s ink (2000); translating ‘algeria’ (1998); kojève’s paris/now bataille (1997); dissonant feminisms (1996); theory/practice (1996); and cultural studies and philosophy (1995). 

I am presently working on my next book In the Studio and On the Couch: Art, Autobiography and Psychoanalysis.


Current students and thesis titles

Slawa Danuta Harasymowicz-PowellDouble Exposure: Memory, Post Memory and Autobiography as Practice.

Armenoui Kasparian SaraidariThe materiality of photography and the memory of the Armenian Genocide.

Aviva Leeman, Reading the Material Text: Interactions between Art, Word, Object and Audience.

Aaron John Matthews, Derrida, and Writing the Events of 1968.

George UnsworthThe World is Getting Smaller: How spatial and temporal resources influence the production of contemporary art.

Sophie Carapetian, The Work of Art in the Age of Crisis: Interrogating the ‘Labour Turn’ in the Culture Industries.

Sasha Burkhanova, The co-constitutive ethics of a contemporary art curator.

Completed students and thesis titles

Evdoxia Baniotopoulou, Century City: Art and Culture in the Modern Metropolis: A Case Study of Institutional Curating of Contemporary Art in an Urban Context.

Silvana Macedo, From Fine Art to Natural Science through Allegory.

Zoe Mendelson, Psychologies and Spaces of Accumulation: The Hoard as Collagist Methodology (and other stories).

Louise Garrett,The Star of Hesitation and Delay: Conditions of Uncertainty in Contemporary Art Practice.


Project awards and grants

UAL Teaching Award, 2015

Arts Council of England, 2011

University of the Arts Sabbatical Leave, 2009-10

University of the Arts Sabbatical Leave, 2005-6 

AHRB Research Leave, 2004-5

Leverhulme Research Fellowship, 2004-5

Middlesex University, 2000

Oxford Brookes University, 1999-2001

University of Leeds, 1997

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, PhD Funding, 1997-1998

Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, PhD Funding, 1994-1997

Samuel H. Kress Foundation Travel Grant, 1996

Simcoe Scholarship, BA Award, 1991-1992

Marjorie Solomon Scholarship, BA Award, 1989-1990

Selected research outputs