Sophie Hatchwell

Sophie Hatchwell

Colleges, School and Institutes


I joined Birmingham as a Teaching Fellow in 2017 and took up a lectureship in 2018. Prior to this, I taught History of Art at Bristol School of Art, and the University of Bristol, where I obtained my PhD in 2015. I have been a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy since summer 2017. 

Research interests

My research centres on visual culture in Britain and Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries, with a particular focus on the relationships between art writing, display and aesthetic experience.  Beyond a strictly geographic and historical context, my work considers how text intervenes in an audience’s experience of art objects, and I’m interested in tracing the diverse range of texts implicated in this dynamic.

My work to date has centred on the relationship between art writing and display practices at the fin de siècle, culminating in a monograph, Performance and Spectatorship in Edwardian Art Writing (Palgrave, forthcoming 2019), which uses a phenomenological-semiotic methodology to explore the embodied or performative nature of reading about art.

Ongoing research will consider the means by which texts frame or condition display and reception of 20th century modernism in local or peripheral contexts.  This work engages in debate about the formation of cultural identities, and considers the role played by word-image relationships in mediating between the local and transnational.

This research on word and image also feeds into my pedagogic interest in the impact of digital technology on the reading and understanding of art history in higher education.

Education/Academic qualification

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Bristol

  • Master of Arts, Courtauld Institute of Art, The

    MA British Modernism 1890-1970

  • Bachelor of Arts, University of East London

    BA Visual Theories

Professional Qualifications

  • Fellow, Higher Education Academy,

    1 Sep 2017

Willingness to take PhD students


PhD projects

I would welcome enquiries from prospective postgraduate students hoping to undertake research relating to my interests in the interrelationship of word and image, art theory and criticism in the 19th and 20th centuries, art and literature, 20th Century British art, art and intertextuality, and display, spectatorship and phenomenology.