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Aims and Objectives of CentreCATH

Funded in the first round of a new initiative to support advanced research in the arts and humanities by the Arts and Humanities Research Board CentreCATH is a transdisciplinary initiative based on a unique configuration at the University of Leeds of:

  • fine art and studio practice
  • diverse models of theories and histories of art
  • cultural studies
  • feminist studies in the visual arts and culture
  • Jewish studies
  • architecture, museum studies and material culture

Founded to draw into a new collaboration two existing Centres (Cultural Studies and Jewish Studies) and the traditions of critical, social and feminist histories and practices of art developed in Leeds, CentreCATH will produce theoretically informed but historically framed analyses of cultural practices that deterritorialise the current boundaries of interdisciplinary studies (cultural, Jewish, postcolonial, queer and gender studies) in the arts (acoustic, visual, cinematic and material culture) by both forging new dialogues (black/Jewish, sound/image, voice/gaze, gender/race) and shaping mutually challenging research projects that realign philosophy, the arts, history, cultural anthropology, psychoanalysis and aesthetics.


i) CentreCATH aims to incite a creative rethink of the conflict between disciplinary and interdisciplinary models for historical research in, and cultural analysis of the arts (visual, cinematic, acoustic) and of material culture.

ii) CentreCATH aims to displace the ghettoisation of gender and cultural/ethnic difference within segregated area ‘studies’ in cultural analysis.

ii) CentreCATH aims to reframe the legacy of Aby Warburg in its address to the contest between the psychic and the social, the personal and the cultural, the rational and irrational, the structural and the contingent, the religious and the secular, the archaic and the contemporary, the arcane and the popular. It will create a framework for the study of presence/difference: the problematic of resident strangers and internal exclusions, such as women, Jews and the postcolonial diasporic minorities whose visibility and particularity throw up major issues for the dominant nation-based narratives of modernity, art and cultural history.

iii) CentreCATH aims to foster creative brainstorming by assembling major thinkers, artists, cultural and art historians. Through a strategically conceived and graduated series of activities: Salons, Seminars and Conferences, CentreCATH will foment debate and support substantive development of new research methods with specified outcomes.

iv) CentreCATH aims to produce major publications from conferences and seminars, frame and support collaborative research projects, sustain and train a large community of research students.

v) CentreCATH aims to make particular efforts to enhance intraEuropean dialogue in the fields of its remit, not only to link with exemplary precursors in the field of interdisciplinary work such as ASCA, but to draw into regular dialogue scholars working in Germany, France and Easter/Central Europe. We shall also seek to link not only with American project and scholars but to ensure that Asian and African countries are regularly represented at the discussions and conferences.

vi) CentreCATH aims to face questions of dissemination and innovative practice in teaching, study and research exchange nationally and internationally and beyond the academic arena.

Over the five year funding period CentreCATH will organise major conferences on the following themes:

  • Translating Class, Alter-ing Hospitality
  • Techne, Logos and the Voice
  • The Philosophy of Architecture/ the Architecture of Philosophy
  • Theory, History and the Archive
  • Virtuality and Indexicality
  • Memoria/Anamnesis

In addition it will run two annual SEMINARS associated with the conference themes, invite two VISITING FELLOWS per year, commission two LECTURE SERIES and run RESEARCH SALONS for graduates. Additional events with be organised

The AHRB and CentreCATH

The Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB) funds postgraduate and advanced research within the UK's higher education institutions and provides funding for museums, galleries and collections that are based in, or attached to, HEIs within England. The AHRB supports research within a huge subject domain - from 'traditional' humanities subjects, such as history, modern languages and English literature, to music and the creative and the performing arts. The AHRB makes awards on the basis of academic excellence and is not responsible for the views or research outcomes expressed by its award holders.

AHRB CentreCATH is one of a number of AHRB Research Centres which provide a focus for research activity in a field of study that is of strategic importance within a wider subject or disciplinary area.


University of Leeds School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies Arts and Humanities Research Council