Hello from our new DECR Committee Chair

Introducing Gursimran Oberoi, new Chair of the Association for Art History’s Doctoral and Early Career Research (DECR) committee.

The Association For Art History is delighted to announce, and welcome Gursimran Oberoi as the new Chair of the Doctoral and Early Career Researcher (DECR) committee and network. Gursimran is conducting an AHRC-TECHNE and NPIF funded Collaborative Doctoral Award with the University of Surrey and Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village. Her research project, entitled Global Watts: Allegories for All, provides a comprehensive assessment of the international importance and influence of British artist George Frederic Watts (1817-1904) from the nineteenth-century to present day. Gursimran specialises in the exhibition, circulation and reception histories of Watts’s allegories, analysing the significant impact his artworks played in activist communities. Before joining the DECR, Gursimran was previously the Assistant Director of the Centre for Victorian Studies at Royal Holloway, University of London where she co-convened a programme of events and the annual Victorian Studies Summer Colloquium focusing on Victorian radicalism and reform.

The DECR committee organises events and initiatives for doctoral and early career researchers engaged with arts, art history, visual culture and curating. These include the Professional Development Day (For PhD and ECRs), the annual two-day Summer Symposium (for late stage PhD students and ECRs), the New Voices conference (for MA and new PhD students) and the Art History Careers Day (for undergraduate and masters students). The committee also shortlists the Undergraduate and Postgraduate Dissertation Prizes and DECR Annual Conference Bursary scheme. Last year, the DECR piloted its Peer Mentoring Scheme offering further collegial support to those entering the discipline and industry of art history. The DECR committee is made up of 14 volunteer members who are based around the UK.

Gursimran said:

‘I am incredibly honoured and excited to be the incoming Chair of the DECR, especially at such a pivotal moment. Given the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic in most countries, I am pleased to announce that the DECR will be hosting our first ever digital and international conference to connect our audiences together at such a difficult time. This November, Global New Voices 2020 will celebrate the intersections of art, craft and industry which abound across the world. This conference explores the dynamism of the relationship between researchers and practitioners, giving equal opportunities for emerging international Masters and PhD researchers and artists to showcase their work through presentations and virtual artist’s studio visits.

I very much look forward to working with the rest of the DECR board and the Association to maintain and grow our activities. As DECR Chair, I look to diversify this engagement to include emerging and interdisciplinary approaches to art history. The Association has already done a lot to address the ‘Global South’ as part of its strategy from 2019. With the DECR, I plan to extend our initiative to encourage and nurture these discussions amongst the network. As a transnational art historian myself, I greatly appreciate how these overlaps and intersections really form the basis of our discipline. I look to extend the DECR’s platform to support and develop these approaches.’

If you have any suggestions or comments about what the DECR might cover in future events then please email Gursimran at decr@forarthistory.org.uk.


Each month we produce a free INSIGHT newsletter that brings together articles of interest and opinions from the world of art history and visual culture. If you you would like to sign-up to receive these free monthly newsletters click here.

These are our 2019 INSIGHTS.

We started the year with a selection of articles that made you think and see differently, including ‘Africa’s Medieval Art History’.

Selected articles in this issue reflected that it was LGBTQ history month, including ‘An Anthology of Queer Art Theory’.

Articles chosen for this joint issues reflected that March was Women’s History Month, and that in April our Annual Conference included keynote lectures by leading women art historians, Claire Bishop and Marcia Pointon.

In May we re-shared some of our most popular Spring social media posts, including ‘A Secret Feminist History’ and why ‘Decolonising and Diversifying are Different’.

In June we celebrated LGBTQ Pride month with a range of selected articles including ‘Stonewall’s Impact on Art & Art History’.

In July we considered the role of the museum, including articles that prompted thought around ‘Should Museums Bow to Repatriation Pressure’ and ‘Why and How we Should Decolonise Museums’.

We selected a number of longer reads, including Siri Hustvedt on ‘What is Art? And Other Questions’.

September means ‘back to school’, so this month we compiled articles about teaching and learning, including the brilliant ‘Teaching a more Ethical Art History: An Undergraduate Perspective’.

Brexit dominated October in the UK. In this newsletter we brought together articles that considered who and what shapes the space we live in through maps, borders and cartography.

Art, Architecture and Nature was the focus for this month, which coincided with the theme of our ‘Ways of Seeing’ conference.

This bumper issue includes some of our most popular social media posts of 2019. Including ‘Forgotten Women | The Artists’, ‘The Myth of Britain’s Empire’ and ‘Unicorns’.