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Personal profile

Academic Background

BA Art History (First Class Honours), Courtauld Institute of Art, 1992

PhD in Art History, Courtauld Institute of Art, 1995

Administrative Posts

  • Staff-Student Liaison Officer (October 2000-August 2005)
  • Undergraduate Teaching Coordinator (October 2001-August 2005)
  • AUT/UCU Departmental Representative (from January 2002)
  • Humanities and Social Science representative on the Learning and Teaching Quality Committee, Undergraduate Studies Executive (from May 2002-July 2003) and Teaching Fellowship Panel (July 2002-July 2003) and Careers Centre Steering Group (September 2002-July 2003)
  • Admissions Officer (from January 2005-August 2005)
  • Head of the School of World Art Studies and Museology (August 2005-December 2008, with one period of research leave in autumn 2007)
  • Postgraduate Coordinator (September 2008-September 2009)
  • Deputy Head of School (January 2009-January 2012)
  • Principal Investigator ‘Icon? Art and Belief in Norfolk’, AHRC Grant £317,000, Maternity cover for Dr Margit Thøfner (February 2009-December 2009)
  • Admissions Officer (September 2009-January 2011)
  • Member of Senate Student Disciplinary Committee (September 2011-September 2013)
  • Director of Research (September 2011-January 2012)
  • Head of School (January 2012-August 2012)
  • Deputy Head of School (September 2012-August 2014)
  • Admissions Officer (January 2013-January 2014)
  • Chair of Examiners (August 2013-August 2014)
  • Course Director (August 2016-August 2017)
  • Head of Department (August 2018-September 2019)


Simon Dell has attempted to work through the political and ethical implications of art-historical practice by focusing on subaltern groups and identities, ranging from the European working classes to the colonised of West Africa.  In doing so he has drawn extensively on traditions of Western Marxism and also, more recently, on the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas.  This means that he has addressed art within broader contexts and, where necessary, moved beyond the types of material normally considered by art historians.  As a consequence, he has worked across a number of related disciplines, publishing in specialist periodicals such as Art History, Design History, and History of Photography but also in interdisciplinary journals like Labour History Review and the Journal of Visual Culture in Britain.

His books include The Image of the Popular Front: The Masses and the Media in Interwar France (2007) and The Portrait and the Colonial Imaginary: Photography between France and Africa (2020).


Before coming to UEA in 2000, Simon taught at the University of St Andrews, Bath Spa University and the Courtauld Institute of Art.

Key Research Interests

Photography, with special reference to France, Germany, the Soviet Union and the United States
The relation of the visual and political in interwar Europe

Colonialism and visual culture
Art practice and new media after 1960

Current Research Projects

Dr Dell is currently completing a book on Communism and photography; he is also co-curating an exhibition of the photography of Walter Nurnberg.

Teaching Interests

European modernism

Twentieth-century photography

Problems of art historical method

Research supervision 

Dr Dell is interested in supervising research students working on the relationship between art and historical process in the twentieth century, with particular reference to interwar Europe and to shifts in art practice after 1960.

Doctoral dissertations supervised: 

Women, Painting and Critical Practice in Britain, 1984-1992 (2001)

‘Claude Cahun’ – Published/Unpublished: The Textual Identities of Lucy Schwob 1914-1944 (2003)

A Context for Fascist Art and Culture: An Examination of Debates in Critica Fascista 1923-1943 (2008)

Judgement by Eye: The Collecting of Ted Power (2008)

Eduardo Paolozzi and Ethnographic Collage (2013)

Current Supervision: 

Contemporary Landscape Photography in East Anglia

Examples of modules taught 

After Modernism: Art and New Media 1955-1975

American Art and Photography 1900-1950

Gender and Modernism 1900-1939

Spaces of Contemporary Art

Environment, Art and Culture