Kent Monkman - A child is born


Why study Art History at uOttawa?

  • University of Ottawa is at the center of Canadian culture.  The region of Ottawa has 7 major national museums and a great number of smaller museums and galleries.  It is one of the few programs in Canada with such actual physical and geographical proximity to cultural institutions, galleries and museum because it is located in the downtown core of the city.  
  • Unlike other, often apparently ‘larger’ Art History departments, with offerings in a broader historical range, where usually only one faculty member focuses on contemporary art, the art history program focuses on contemporary art and culture. With four full-time art history and theory professors all specializing in contemporary art, we have a powerful concentration of contemporary art history and theory specialists.
  • ART 4990 Venice Biennial Field Research Course is open to graduate and undergraduate students and is offered every second year. The Venice Biennial is considered the most important and influential contemporary art event in the world. In past years, our students have not only toured the international pavilions with Visual Arts faculty and a curator form the National Gallery of Canada, but also participated as volunteers at the Canadian Pavilion, which showcases the work of a major Canadian artist on the global stage.
  • Courses are conducted in a bilingual environment, with bilingual courses and some exclusively in French or English.


Undergraduate Studies

Research Fields

Environmental and Curatorial

Celina Jeffery’s SSHRC funded interdisciplinary work on art and environmental humanities has an international reach (India, UK, USA, Australia, Mexico and Mauritius) and her approach of the subject through curatorial research and exhibition making is in tune with the global trend towards an expansive development of museum exhibitions as experience. She is also the co-founder and lead editor of an online journal of art criticism and theory and frequently uses digital humanities as a platform for her curatorial projects.


Global and International

Though all four art history professors have an international breadth to their research, Andrea Fitzpatrick’s research in Middle-Eastern art, methodologies, global perspectives, visual studies, and human rights, demonstrates an urgent current topicality. Her expertise in theories of gender and her affiliation with the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies at the University of Ottawa demonstrate the inter-disciplinarity of the Destination 2020 Plan. She also curated an important exhibition at artist-run centres in Ottawa and Toronto which brought together prestigious Iranian artists.


Digital and Information

Jakub Zdebik’s philosophical research into the concept of the diagram provides a basis for the current development of digital humanities in academia. From the perspective of the aesthetic of the diagram, he explores digital, network and internet art. His current research in the relation between art and information has yielded a curated exhibitions in the United States and Canada, a colloquium of international breadth on the topic of art and information as well as several books and articles.


Canadian Contemporary Photography

Penny Cousineau-Levine, who holds a position as both a studio and art history professor has expertise in Contemporary Canadian art theory and practice, will be a bridge between MA and MFA graduate students, providing teaching and supervisory support on both.

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