Elizabeth Fisher

Accepting PhD Students

Willing to speak to media

  • Source: Scopus
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Personal profile

Research interests

My current research project, ‘Negotiating Modernism: experimental/expanded practice in the rural North, 1945-1980’ will examine how remote, rural places functioned as sites of critical enquiry and artistic experiment in postwar British art. Looking at examples of pioneering artistic practice in the Lake District, Pentland Hills and North Pennines, this project will also consider the ways in which experiences of exile and outsiderness have shaped creative encounters with place through a range of curatorial, art historical and interdisciplinary research methods. 


My background is in curatorial practice and I continue to develop exhibitions and other creative projects with contemporary artists alongside my research which focuses largely on C20th/post-war artistic practice. I also have an ongoing interest in museology and early C20th curatorial and philanthropic models.

Prior to pursuing my PhD I worked as a curator both independently and within a range of institutional contexts in the UK and US, from small artist-run and commercial galleries to the Whitney Museum in New York and Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge. I spent over twenty years managing visual arts programmes and working closely with artists on commissions, exhibitions, publications, events and residencies. I have also been responsible for the care, conservation and display of, as well as research into, historical collections and archives.

I have written and edited numerous publications on contemporary and C20th art, from exhibition catalogues on, among others, Sarah Sze, Tony Feher, Dave Muller, Fred Sandback, Helena Almeida, Arturo Herrera, Andy Holden and Edmund de Waal to guidebooks on modern British artists Winifred Nicholson, Christopher Wood and Alfred Wallis. More recent publications include On Not Knowing: How Artists Think co-edited with Rebecca Fortnum (Black Dog Publishing, 2013; 2nd edition forthcoming 2022); The Experimental Generation: interdisciplinary practices in British art 1950-70 co-edited with Bronac Ferran (Interdisciplinary Science Reviews vol.42 issues 1&2, 2017); and contributions to Andrea Gregson: Seeing Through the Ground (Grizedale Sculpture, 2019) and Becoming Gustav Metzger: Uncovering the Early Years, 1945-59 ed. Nicola Baird (Ben Uri Research Unit, 2021).

I continue to work with contemporary artists to develop new projects such as Sarah Dobai’s ‘The Donkey Field’ (2021), and for the last ten years I have been researching and working with the late Gustav Metzger (1926-2017), on exhibitions (Cambridge 2014 & King's Lynn 2019), articles and most recently an online platform for environmental discourse within the arts: www.earthminusenvironment.org.

Education/Academic qualification

History of Art, PhD, University of Cambridge

1 Sep 20141 Oct 2018

Award Date: 1 Oct 2018

MA, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, New York, NY

1 Sep 20001 Jun 2002

Award Date: 1 Jul 2002


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