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Professor Oriana Baddeley

Dean of Research
University of the Arts London
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Researcher Research
Oriana  Baddeley


Professor Oriana Baddeley is Dean of Research at UAL, she is also a member of the research centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation (TrAIN).

She studied History and Theory of Art at the University of Essex. Her doctoral subject, researching the historiography of definitions of ‘art’ in relation to Ancient Mexico, formed the basis for work on the 1992 Hayward exhibition, The Art of Ancient Mexico. She has written extensively on contemporary Latin American art, including Drawing the Line: Art and Cultural Identity in Contemporary Latin America (Verso 1989, co-author Valerie Fraser) and collaborated with Gerardo Mosquera to produce Beyond the Fantastic: Art Criticism from Contemporary Latin America (inIVA/MIT 1996). With Toshio Watanabe and Partha Mitter, (2001–04), she worked on a major AHRC funded project, Nation, Identity and Modernity: Visual Culture of India, Japan and Mexico, 1860s–1940. She is on the Inter-national Advisory Committee of the University of Essex Collection of Latin American Art, and the editorial board of Art History, is a Trustee of the St Catherine Foundation in London and New York, and the Ashley Family Foundation.

As a co-founder of the UAL research centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation (TrAIN), my research is undertaken within the context of globalization, identity studies and contemporary art practice. My earlier doctoral research grew out of attempting to understand the values and meanings of the ancient cultures of the Americas and the ways in which colonization and the discourses of post-colonialism had impacted on the interpretation of those cultures.

With a focus on Mexico and Latin America, I have also worked in detail on the histories of ‘exhibiting’ the art of these regions and explored how traditions of display and categorization have been responded to within the global structures of contemporary art expositions.

Running throughout much of my writing has been a fascination with the ways in which different geographic contexts impact on definitions of creative practice and how such definitions are then interpreted. In recent years, my publications have included a comparative discussion of the work of Ernesto Neto and Gabriel Orozco, and an exploration of the work of Teresa Margolles in relation to stereotypes of Mexican identity. From 2011, working with a previously unknown archive of his work, I have curated an exhibition of Swiss photographer Fred Boissonnas that explored themes of identity and myth in the area of travel photography.

More recent research revolves around what constitutes the ‘indigenous’ in the contemporary context of the transnational.

Grants and awards

(Figures indicate amount awarded to UAL)

  • EFG Bank European Financial Group SA, Boissonnas in Egypt, £14,150.00, (2017-2017)
  • St Catherines Foundation, Boissonnas Archive, £36,000.00, (2010-2010)
  • HEFCE, Newton Fund Official Development Assistance (ODA) allocation, £11,193.00

Research Outputs

Conference, Symposium or Workshop item



Current research students

  • Madeline Yale, Import/Export: The Rise of Contemporary Art Photography from the Middle East (Lead supervisor)

Past research students

  • Maria Arango Velasquez, Drawing the mechanics of memory in the context of an ever-present violence in Colombia: a contemporary art practice considered through practice–led research. (Lead supervisor)
  • Michael Asbury, Helio Oiticica: Politics and Ambivalence in 20th Century Brazilian Art (Lead supervisor)
  • Sonia Ashmore, Liberty's Orient: Taste and Trade in the Decorative Arts in Late Victorian and Edwardian Britain, 1875–1914. (Lead supervisor)
  • Naren Barfield, Integrated Artworks: Theory and Practice in Relation to Printmaking and Computers, and the Influence of 'Non-Euclidean Geometry' and 'The Fourth Dimension@ on Developments in Twentieth Century Pictorial Space (Lead supervisor)
  • Voon pow Barlett, Spectacle as myth: The relational and the quotidian in contemporary Chinese art (2005-2008). (Lead supervisor)
  • Norma Copa-Schenke, Exposed Visions: Disappearance and re-appearance of the Indigenous in Patagonia. (Lead supervisor)
  • Sara Angel Guerrero-Rippberger, Thirty degrees from the Northern Tropic: Art, City-life and Collectivisms from the Twenty-first Century South (Lead supervisor)
  • Cindy Lisica, Superflat Art: Meaning and Merchandise for the 21st Century. (Lead supervisor)
  • Ope Lori, The Oppositional Gaze: Contemporary Image-Making Practice and the Implications of (Lead supervisor)
  • Elizabeth Manchester, From the inside out: Models of language from the vagina.
  • Amy McDonnell, Why do we Associate?: Artists' Group Work between Cuba and the UK (Lead supervisor)
  • Marcela Montoya Ortega, Re-situation the Cultural Meanings of Lucha Libre Mexicana: A Practice-Based Exploration of Diasporic Mexicaness. (Lead supervisor)
  • Cian Quayle, The Aesthetics of Distance: Photographic image and found object. An investigation of travel as a pradigm for artists' practice (Lead supervisor)
  • Mara Romero Ramirez, Limp, laced-case binding in parchment on sixteenth-century Mexican printed books. (Lead supervisor)
  • Fabiola Martinez Rodriguez, Civilising the Pre-Hispanic: Constructions of the nation via neo-prehispanic imagery during the Porfirian regime (Lead supervisor)
  • Sally Rynne, Hybridity, Style and Identity, the Court Art and Architecture of Lucknow 1770-1850 (Lead supervisor)
  • Nenita Simoes, Culture and Politics: Interventions by the Theatre of the Oppressed in Brazil's Landless Movement. (Lead supervisor)
  • Zoe Tillotson, Ephemeral Art; A Philosophical Proposition About the Nature of Time and Being. (Lead supervisor)
  • John Tran, Responding to the Scopic Regimes of Meiji, Taishō and pre-war Showa photography (Joint supervisor)
  • Markéta Uhlírová, Fashion in Cinema: Reframing the Field (Lead supervisor)