Dr Edwin Coomasaru - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Dr Edwin Coomasaru

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Dr Edwin Coomasaru

Associate Lecturer; Postdoctoral Fellow 2018-19; PhD 2014-18

Edwin Coomasaru is a historian of modern and contemporary art. Currently a Freelance Research Assistant with the Association for Art History, working on an online resource portal of anti-racist and decolonial approaches to the discipline. He recently undertook a Research Fellowship at the Paul Mellon Centre on a project that explored ‘Masculinity and Apocalypticism in British Art, 1968-2020’. His 2018-19 Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Courtauld examined images of gender and race in Brexit’s art and political imagination. In 2018 he was awarded a PhD from the Courtauld, which looked at representations of gender, sexuality and the legacy of the Northern Irish ‘Troubles’ (1968-98) in visual culture. He has contributed to Third Text, The Irish Times, Irish Studies Review, The Irish Review, Photoworks Annual, Burlington Contemporary, Architectural Review, immediations, Source Magazine, and the Barbican’s Masculinities (2020) exhibition catalogue. He co-convenes the Courtauld’s Gender & Sexuality Research Group, and is currently editing a book on Imagining the Apocalypse (Courtauld Books Online). Past projects (below):

Contested Bodies: Gender, Sexuality and the Legacies of the ‘Troubles’ in Visual Culture
Supervised by Prof. Mignon Nixon
PhD funded by CHASE/AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership

The PhD research examined art and visual culture produced after the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, exploring how the conflict was registered by and worked through in the collective imagination. Looking at artworks and films by Willie Doherty, Ursula Burke, Mariah Garnett, Steve McQueen, Maeve Murphy, Dudi Appleton, Rita Duffy, Mary McIntyre, Malcolm Craig Gilbert and Stuart Griffiths – considering how cultural representations of the ‘Troubles’ from 1998 stage and shatter the historic gender norms that were cultivated to support the conflict.

‘Taking Back Control’?: Gendering Brexit’s Visual Culture
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Research Forum

The 2018-19 Postdoctoral Fellowship at The Courtauld asked how a feminist, queer and anti-racist politics might be brought to bear on the political rhetoric and visual culture surrounding Brexit. What might visual culture tell us about Britain’s changing place on the world stage? How might artists offer us the opportunity to reflect on the feelings of powerlessness and loss of control that the Brexit process has given rise to? The fellowship also involved a conference on Imagining the Apocalypse and a lecture series called Artists on Brexit, as well as management of The Courtaud’s Early Career Research Network.

Research Roles

  • Freelance Research Assistant, Association for Art History, January 2021–present.
  • Research Continuity Fellowship, The Paul Mellon Centre, June–December 2020.
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, The Courtauld, September 2018–August 2019.


  • PhD, The Courtauld, 2014–18, (AHRC/CHASE-funded).
  • History of Art MA, University College London, 2012–13 (Distinction).
  • English and Art History BA, University of Sussex, 2009–12 (First Class Honours and Art History Prize).


  • Associate Lecturer, The Courtauld (October 2019–April 2020).
  • Teaching Assistant, The Courtauld (October–November 2017).
  • Teaching Assistant, The Courtauld (October–November 2015).
  • Teaching Assistant, University of Sussex (November–December 2015).

Editorial Work

  • Editor, Imagining the Apocalypse, Courtauld Books Online (forthcoming).
  • Co-editor-in-chief, immeditaions, Volume 4, No. 1 (December 2015–December 2016).

Admin Experience

  • Co-convenor, Gender & Sexuality Research Group, The Courtauld (June 2019–present): a series of seminars and lectures, alongside a blog.
  • Event Producer, The Courtauld Research Forum (January 2020–March 2020).
  • Organiser, Imagining the Apocalypse, conference, The Courtauld (18–19 October 2019).
  • Organiser, Artists on Brexit, lecture series, The Courtauld (2018–19).
  • Convenor, Early Career Researchers Network, The Courtauld (2018–19): careers conference and advice seminars.
  • Project Lead, RES|FEST x Belfast, art history festival, Ulster Museum (25/10/2018).
  • Admin Assistant, The Courtauld Institute of Art, October 2017–August 2018.
  • Co-convenor, Gender, Sexuality and Violence Research Network (November 2016–October 2017): seminar series and a major international conference at Goldsmiths.

Curatorial Experience

  • Director, International New Media Gallery (May 2012–present).
  • AHRC-funded Curatorial Placement, Ulster Museum (February–April 2016).
  • Curatorial Trainee, Brighton Photo Fringe (August–October 2014): curated three exhibitions as part of the festival.


Recent publications

Peer Review Journals

Book Chapters

Catalogue Essays

Art Criticism

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