Gavin Parkinson

Gavin Parkinson


Former affiliations
  • Strand, Somerset House

    WC2R 0RN London

    United Kingdom


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Gavin Parkinson was a BA student in Manchester, then completed his MA at The Courtauld in 1997, followed by a PhD in 2000. After lecturing at Birkbeck College and the University of Oxford he joined The Courtauld teaching staff as a Lecturer in 2008 and became a Senior Lecturer in 2014.

Gavin’s teaching and writing are concerned with European art and visual culture of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries with a special interest in French Surrealism. His books are: Futures of Surrealism: Myth, Science Fiction and Fantastic Art in France 1936-69 (Yale University Press, 2015); Surrealism, Art and Modern Science: Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Epistemology (Yale University Press, 2008); and The Duchamp Book (Tate Publishing, 2008). He is just completing a book on the Surrealist reception of late nineteenth century art, entitled Enchanted Ground: Surrealist Appraisals of Fin de Siècle Painting.

Research interests

  • European Modernism, 1848-1960
  • Dada and Surrealist Art, Writing and Theory
  • Art and Science
  • Art and the Novel
  • Theory, Methodology, Philosophy and History of Art and Visual Culture
  • Science Fiction and Comics
  • Magic, the Occult and Alchemy

Editorial and Advisory Boards

  • Reviews Editor and Editorial Board Member, Art History, 2011-
  • Series Editor, Ashgate Studies in Surrealism, 2010-15
  • Series Editor, Studies in Surrealism, Routledge, 2016-
  • Member of Editorial Board, Black Mirror, 2014


  • AHRB Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Manchester
  • Postgraduate Studentship, British Academy Art and Humanities Research Board
  • Graduate Studentship, British Academy Art and Humanities Research Board

Other Ongoing Activities

  • Reviews Editor, Art History
  • Series Editor, Ashgate Studies in Surrealism
  • Member of Editorial Board, Black Mirror


  • BA History of Art Year 2: Lessons in Interpretation
  • MA History of Art: Modernism After Postmodernism: Modern Art and its Interpretation

PhD Students


  • Tim Satterthwaite, ‘The visual language of European photo-illustrated magazines, 1920-1934’ Oct 2011-May 2015
  • Gosia Osinska, ‘Warsaw Group ‘Rytm’ and the New Classicism, 1922-32′ Oct 2011-Oct 2014
  • Kristina Rapacki, ‘Asger Jorn’s Folk: Nationhood, Myth, and the Comparative Method in Postwar Europe’ Oct 2012-Oct 2016 (suspended 1 year)
  • Jeff Hammond, ‘Cubism, Futurism, Expressionism: modern art movements, artists groups and the individual in Japan (1910-1929)’ Oct 2013-Oct 2016 (suspended 1 year)
  • William Atkin, ‘A Total Revolution of the Object: Surrealist Discourse on the Object, 1924-1966’ Oct 2013-Oct 2016
  • Catherine Howe, ‘Francis Bacon’s French Influence(s): From Surrealism to Post-Structuralism’ Oct 2014-Oct 2017
  • Rachel Stratton, ‘"The Artist as a Mirror of his Time”: Art, Popular Culture and the “Dialogic” Relationship between Surrealism in Britain and the Independent Group’ Oct 2014-Oct 2017

Recently completed

  • Vanja Vlahovic, ‘Alexander Calder: Surrealism, Modern Science and the Everyday’ (2013)
  • Sam Ensor Rose, ‘Formalism, Aesthetics, and English Art Writing, 1918-39′ (2013)
  • James Day, ‘Studies in Art History Writing and the Revision of Whistler’s Art History’ (2013)

Education/Academic qualification

‘Physique du Surréalisme: Surrealism, Modern Physics, and Epistemology’ , The Courtauld Institute of Art


'Nature Vivante: Psychoanalysis, Philosophy, and Natural Science in André Masson’s Anatomy of My Universe’


‘Petrified Birds: Images of Flight and Entrapment in Surrealist Art, 1939-43’ , University of Machester


External positions

University of Oxford


University of Manchester





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