Skip to content The Open University

Steve Edwards

Head of Department
BA Hons, Fine Art (South Glamorgan Institute of Higher Education), MA Social History of Art (Leeds), PhD (Leeds)

Steve Edwards joined the Open University as Research Lecturer in Art History in 1997. After a first degree in Fine Art, he was awarded an MA in the social history of art from the University of Leeds. In 1996 he received his PhD for a thesis on nineteenth-century theories of photography. During 2006 Professor Edwards was visiting professor in art History at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In addition to writing extensively on the history of photography, he regularly produces essays on contemporary art and on art and social theory. His work has been translated into six languages.

Professor Edwards is the editor of two Open University textbooks: Art and its Histories: a Reader (Yale University Press, 1996) and with Paul Wood Art of the Avant-Gardes (Yale University Press, 2004). In 2006 he published two books: The Making of English Photography, Allegories (Penn State University Press) and Photography: a Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press). His most recent book is Martha Rosler, The Bowery in two inadequate descriptive systems (2012). He serves on the editorial boards of The Oxford Art Journal and Historical Materialism: Research in Critical Marxist Theory.

Professor Edwards regularly organises conferences and is a convenor for the research seminar ‘Marxism in Culture’, held at the Institute of Historical Research, School of Advanced Studies, University of London.

He is currently working on research projects on image copyright and piracy; contemporary art and contemporary capitalism; and photography, socialism and feminism at the turn of the twentieth century.

Research Interests

History and theory of photography; Marxist and socialist thought; Contemporary art; Art, work and industrial knowledge; Film and video, Art theory; Cultural theory; Historiography; Utopia; ‘Globalisation’.

Selected Publications

Follow this link for details of selected publications.

See also Open Research Online for further details of Steve Edwards’s research publications.


Martha Rosler, The Bowery in two inadequate descriptive systems -cover


book cover


book cover