skip to main content

Dr Diane Silverthorne

Stage Leader BA Criticism Communication and Curation
Central Saint Martins
Researcher Research
Diane  Silverthorne


Diane qualified as an art historian at Birkbeck, University of London, specialising in the modern period, particularly the art and design of fin-de-siècle Europe. She wrote her BA dissertation on the paintings of composer Arnold Schoenberg, and then pursued an MA in Cultural Memory at the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies (now The Institute of Modern Languages Research), focusing on memory discourse, visual culture and museum studies. Her PhD on art, performance and design in fin-de-siècle Vienna was sponsored by the AHRC as part of a major research project on Vienna Cafe Culture 1900, under the auspices of Birkbeck and the Royal College of Art.

Diane has been an Associate Lecturer at Birkbeck since 2008 teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and was appointed to her post at CSM in 2013. She is a published author on fin-de-siècle Vienna, and on music, art, and modernism, and a public speaker, notably for art institutions such as the South Bank Centre's The Rest is Noise Festival. She is currently editing and contributing to an anthology on music, art and performance for Bloomsbury.

My research interests include fin-de-siècle Vienna as a manifestation of modernism in the arts and of the impact of spontaneous inter-disciplinary impulses particularly those relating to music and visual culture. I am particularly interested in exploring affect in the visual arts emanating from music and musical ideas, and on tracing the impact of 'Wagnerism' and Nietzsche's philosophies on twentieth century and contemporary art. I am currently working on an anthology on music, art and performance 'from Romanticism to Postmodernism', for Bloomsbury Academic (2017). I am also investigating the 'behind-the scenes' relationships between theatre, music and art in fin-de-siècle Vienna, centred on the figure of stage designer Alfred Roller. My interests in memory discourse specifically relate to traumatic events of the twentieth century and their mediation in art, museums and monuments.

I am interested in supervising PhD students who are working on fin-de-siècle visual culture in the German-speaking world, topics relating to music and the visual arts from 1900 onwards, manifestations of Vienna 1900 in visual culture, music and affect in art and culture, memory, politics, art and the museum.