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Anna Kate Blair

Anna Kate Blair

Anna Blair

Research Area: Modernity and Colonial Space in Interwar Paris

Supervisor: Prof Jean Michel Massing


Anna Blair graduated with a BA (with distinction) in History and Art History from the University of Melbourne in 2009, and completed an Honours degree (with distinction) in Art History at Melbourne in 2010, where her thesis on the representation of cupid in eighteenth-century fêtes galantes was supervised by Professor Jaynie Anderson. In 2011, Anna graduated from the MPhil in History of Art and Architecture at King's College, Cambridge, looking at the French colonisation of Cambodia in photographs, drawings, and ephemeral architecture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. She began her PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2012, continuing under the supervision of Professor Jean Michel Massing. Anna's research is supported by the Lander Studentship in the History of Art at Pembroke College. During the academic year of 2014 - 2015, Anna is based at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris.

Research Interests

Anna's doctoral research looks at relationships between colonial space and modernity in Paris from 1925 to 1937, focusing particularly on the Grande Mosquée de Paris, colonial pavilions and themes in the 1925 Exposition des Arts Décoratifs, modern aspects of the 1931 Exposition Coloniale, and the Musée Permanent des Colonies at the Palais de la Porte Dorée. Anna's thesis argues that the juxtaposition of Parisian modernity with a colonial 'outside' drew upon established and emerging traditions of dreaming, and served to frame the wider world as a necessary relief from the modern. Anna's work is also involved with concepts of nostalgia and memory, looking at both the impact of the nineteenth century upon the interwar period and the way in which interwar aesthetics impact upon modes of viewing today.

More broadly, Anna is interested in the history of travel, landscape, modernity and the ephemeral from the eighteenth century until today. She has a particular additional interest in the politics of large-scale exhibitions, from universal and colonial expositions to biennales.

Teaching and Related Activities

Anna teaches as a supervisor for the final year undergraduate courses 'The Display of Art: Nationalism, Colonialism and the Museum' and 'The Display of Art: Politics of Display', and has lectured for 'The Display of Art: Nationalism, Colonialism and the Museum'.

In Michaelmas Term 2013, Anna was co-convenor for the Graduate Seminar Series 'Art and Urbanity'.