Sarah Wade
  • 0.16 Sainsbury Centre

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Personal profile


Sarah's research focuses on human-animal relations and representations of wildlife in contemporary art, exhibitions and museum display, particularly with regards to ecological concerns. She has published on extinction and wildlife conservation issues in artistic and curatorial practice and is co-founder of the Curating the Sea research project, which resulted in a recently published co-edited special issue of the Journal of Curatorial Studies. 

Over the years Sarah has worked with various museums and heritage organisations in research, project management and curatorial capacities and continues to collaborate with museum colleagues on research projects.

Academic Background

Ph.D. History of Art, University College London

M.A. Arts Policy & Management, Birkbeck, University of London

Professional Activities

Conference Papers

2021, 28 May, paper at Repair: A Method for the 21st Century?, UEA: 'Apology, Animal Death & the Disappearance of Wildlife in Contemporary Art'

2021, 28 May, paper at Natural Science Collections & Environmental Breakdown, NatSCA Annual Conference: 'Ecologising Natural History Collections through Interventions by Contemporary Artists'

2020, 24 Nov, paper at British Art and Natural Forces, Paul Mellon Centre: ‘Curating the Sea - Oceanic Exhibition Making at a Time of Ecological Crisis’  (with Pandora Syperek)

2020, 16 Oct, presentation at Extinction in Public, University of Leeds: ‘Curating Species Loss: Recent Approaches to Extinction in Museums’

2020, 16 Jan, paper at British Art Network Seminar Series, Ipswich Museum: ‘Decolonise! Ecologise! Contemporary Artists’ Strategies to Intervene in Natural History Museum Collection Displays’ (with Bergit Arends)

2019, 29 Oct, paper at Science Museum Research Seminar: ‘Curating the Sea: Ocean Ecology in Recent Exhibitions of Art & Natural History’ (with Pandora Syperek)

2019, 10 Jun, paper at Sex and Nature: 1800-2018, University of Exeter: ‘Sexy Beasts & Saving Wildlife: ‘Pornographic’ Ecology in Contemporary Art & Visual Culture’

2019, 29 Apr, paper at Animal Remains, University of Sheffield, Animal Studies Research Centre: ‘The Extinction Effect: Ethical Animal Bodies in Contemporary Art’

2019, 26 Apr, paper at Maritime Animals: Telling Stories of Animals at Sea, National Maritime Museum: ‘Curating the Sea’, (with Pandora Syperek)

2018, 28 Apr, paper at Curating the Sea: Ecological Vulnerability and the Oceans in Contemporary Exhibitions, Institute of Advanced Studies, University College London: ‘Ecological Exhibitions at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco’

2018, 6 Apr, paper at Association of Art Historians Annual Conference, London: ‘All That Remains: Loss, Mourning and Touching Specimens at The Wildgoose Memorial Library’ (with Jane Wildgoose)

2017, 11 Oct, paper at Forming Collectives: Strategies in Modern and Contemporary Art, Warburg-Haus, Hamburg:  ‘Art and Craftivism for the Chthulucene! Working Together for Wildlife'

2016, 13 Dec, paper at History of Art Seminar, University of Hamburg: ‘From ‘Live and Stuffed’ to Botched and Performed: Some thoughts towards an evolution of artist-animal relations’

2016, 22 Apr, paper at Natural Sciences Collections Association Annual Conference, The Silk Mill, Derby: - ‘The Art of Craftivism in Museums’

2015, 10 Oct, paper at British Animal Studies Network Annual Conference, Cardiff University: ‘Sharks at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco’

2015, 3 Sep, paper at Company of Wolves, University of Hertfordshire: ‘A Running Wolf and Other Grey Animals: The various shapes of Marcus Coates’

2015, 11 Apr, paper at Association of Art Historians Annual Conference, Norwich:‘A Wonderful Hunting Museum: Wonder, hunting and contemporary art at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature’

2015, 17 Jan, paper at Curiosity 2.0, The Art Academy, Dresden: ‘A Wonderful Hunting Museum: Displays at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature’

Invited Talks

2022, 5 Nov, talk at The Hunting Room: Living Styles, Gender Constructions and the Appropriation of Nature Under the Sign of the Slain Animal, University of Bremen

2021, 16 Dec, presentation at Museum Entanglements - Art, Nature, Science, University of Hamburg: 'Curating the Sea' (with Pandora Syperek)

2020, 21 Oct, paper at World Art Research seminar, UEA: 'Exhibiting Extinction: Contemporary Artistic and Curatorial Strategies for Representing Species Loss'

2019, 1 Mar, Measuring the Silences and the Work of Mourning: Extinction and the Anthropocene workshop at King’s College London: ‘I’m Sorry for Your Loss: Apology and Animal Death in Contemporary Art’

2018, 10 Mar, Talk at 'A Natural History of Witchcraft', a public engagement event to accompany Mark Dion: Theatre of the Natural World at Whitechapel Gallery.

2017, 14 Mar, Opening the Cabinet of Curiosities workshop, V&A, London: ‘Some Thoughts on the Prevalence of Wonder in Contemporary Art and Exhibitions’

2016, 26 May, Animals in Art symposium, Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Bristol: ‘Strange Creatures and the Work of Ruth Marshall’

2016, 10 Jun, Wild Beasts: Images of Aggression, Violence & Brutality, University of Hamburg: ‘Placid Predators: On some ‘wild beasts’ in contemporary art’

2015, 13 Jun, Strange Creatures Seminar Day, The Grant Museum of Zoology, London: ‘Art, Animals and Wonder: On some instances of craftivism in museums’

Organised Events & Conferences

2022, 6-8 Apr, 'Invertebrate Art: Ecologies, Practices, Ethics', panel at Association for Art History Annual Conference (organised with Pandora Syperek)

2022, 10 Feb-3 Mar, Artists/Oceans, a series of artist talks featuring Klara Hobza, Bergit Arends, Kasia Molga, Shimabuku and Sonia Levy (organised with Pandora Syperek)

2020, 23-24 Jan, Wellcome: The Medicine Galleries Conference, Science Museum, London

2019, 28 Mar, Representing the Medical Body, Science Museum, London (with Katy Barrett)

2018, 28 Apr, Curating the Sea: Ecological Vulnerability and the Oceans in Contemporary Exhibitions, Institute of Advanced Studies, University College London (with Pandora Syperek)

2015, 28 Apr, Collecting the Sea: 1500–2015, The Grant Museum of Zoology (with Mary Addyman)

2014, 11 Jun, On Wolves and Werewolves, The Grant Museum of Zoology


2022, Podcast as part of Loughborough University Festival of Ideas - Transitions: 'The Oceanic Turn in Contemporary Art' (with Pandora Syperek).


Administrative Posts

Organiser, World Art Research Seminar Series: July 2021-

Member: Equality, Diversity & Inclusion committee, School of Art, Media & American Studies

Research Coordinator for Art History: July 2021-October 2021

Teaching Interests

Sarah teaches modules on the BA Art History with Gallery & Museum Studies and MA Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies.

PhD Supervision:

Dorothea Fox - ‘Curating Climate Change: Collecting and Displaying Ecological Crisis in UK Museums’


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions