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  • Writer's pictureART HISTORY

Sydney’s Art History discipline leads the pack. #1 in Australia in 2024 QS Rankings

Updated: Apr 16

Image: Art History Students taking notes at the Gemäldegalerie Berlin, 2023. Photo: Donna Brett

The strengths of the University of Sydney’s program in Art History, the second oldest in the country (established in 1968 by the J. W. Power Bequest) has been recognised in the latest QS University rankings. Art History has achieved number one status for Australia, and is in the top 30 globally. The program is a research and teaching powerhouse, with the latest news being that both of our Discovery Project proposals have progressed through the ARC’s new Expression of Interest process.


Art History academics are current recipients of 3 ARC grants including the rare DECRA won by Dr Peyvand Firouzeh – Australia’s only continuing Islamic Art academic. Dr Firouzeh was recently in Toronto to give a paper at the “Arts of the Indian Ocean” conference. Professor Mary Roberts (one of our EoI successes) was speaking at Yale last week on the Polish orientalist painter Stanislas Chlebowski.  Head of Discipline Donna Brett is just back from Oxford where, as Sloan Fellow in Photography at the Bodleian Library, she lectured on “Modernist Photobooks: Propaganda and the Everyday. And we have just farewelled the eminent Canadian Plains Cree curator and art critic Gerald McMaster, who taught in Sydney as the inaugural First Nations Visiting Professor. His stay was funded by the Chicago-based Terra Foundation through the Power Institute’s director Mark Ledbury. The Power Institute’s recent grant successes underpin a number of exciting new research initiatives including a research partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Visual Understanding Initiative. 


Despite these comings and goings the work of teaching continues apace, from first year’s introductory courses to global art histories in our Art History major, to the flagship Master’s programs in Art Curating, and Museum & Heritage Studies. Our tutoring staff includes three University Medallists who’ve recently begun PhDs, with two dozen research degree students active and a healthy crop of Honours students emerging. Art History also boasts a rich research culture and public engagement program with The Power Institute and the Photographic Cultures Research Group. The Schaeffer Fine Arts Library, led by Sajid Foazdar and Nick Keyzer, is a unique research facility and quiet study space prized not just by Art History students but also Sydney College of the Arts, Film Studies and the national arts community.


Acting Head of Discipline

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