Dana Arnold

Dana Arnold


  • 0.20 Sainsbury Centre

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Personal profile

Academic Background

My work focuses on histories of architecture and urbanism in relation to social and cultural theory. A number of my books, articles and edited volumes have made a substantial contribution to our understanding of London as a global city and as a visual phenomenon. For instance, my trilogy of monographs The Spaces of the Hospital, (Routledge 2013), Rural Urbanism: London landscapes in the early nineteenth century (MUP 2006) and Re-presenting the Metropolis (Ashgate 2000 and pbk 2018) offer theoretically informed, archivally based readings of the city as that enjoy international acclaim. I have also considered London in comparative contexts with other cities, especially Paris, and Tianjin in China. More broadly my work on the architectural dialogues between Britain, Turkey and the Middle East has explored how the built environment in all its complexities is experienced and used in the formulation of national and cultural identities and how these operate in a transcultural context.

The transnational aspects of my collaborative projects have informed my forthcoming book Architecture and Ekphrasis: Space, Time and the Embodied Description of the Past. Here I focus on the interaction between visual images and written histories of architecture. Using a broad evidence base of graphic representations of architecture, and drawing on my experience of cross-cultural dialogues, I argue that these images are in fact a form of writing that have syntactical and linguistic qualities that tell alternative histories of seeing and experiencing space.


International research collaboration/networks and funding

China – all with Tianjin University, funded by Natural Science Foundation of China

  • 2019-2022 Co-I Comparative research on the planning and construction of the British Concessions and Settlements in modern East Asia  
  • 2015-18 Premier external advisor for Studies on Everyday Landscape, Historical Changes and Preservation Strategies of Modern Parks in Tianjin from a Cultural Diversity Perspective.
  • 2012-14 Premier external advisor for The cultural landscape and public space from a transnational perspective: Studies on urban parks in treaty ports of modern China 
  • 2009-present Projet de recherche pluridisciplinaire sur la ville de Tianjin, Chine Université Paris I (Pantheon-Sorbonne) and Tianjin University, China.

Turkey and Middle East

  • 2005-15 Ambivalent Geographies with Middle East Technical University, Ankara. Funded by BAIA (2004-6) and British Academy Middle East Partnerships Scheme (2009-12).


  • 2006-15 London-Paris/Paris-Londres Comparative Urbanism, with Institut national d’histoire de l’art, Paris; University of Oslo; and Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.





Previous Positions

2012- 2016 Professor in Architectural History and Theory, School of Art and Design, Middlesex University, London

1999-2012 Professor in Architectural History, Dept. of History, School of Humanities, University of Southampton

1995-1999 Senior Lecturer and Director Centre for Studies in Architecture and the Decorative Arts, Department of Fine Art, University of Leeds, Leeds


Summary of Strategic Research Leadership

2004-9 University of SouthamptonDirector of Research and Deputy Head of School of Humanities, Member of senior management team (comprising Head of School and 2 Deputy Heads) for 175 academic staff, 100 support staff. Strategic responsibility for 6 units of assessment in Humanities and member of University RAE 2008 Strategy and Management Group responsible for preparation of all 33 UoAs submitted by the University

2012-13 Middlesex University London, Member of University REF 2014 Strategy Committee. 2014-16 Director, Centre for Ideas, a research institute to provide knowledge exchange between the University and end users/beneficiaries