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Dr Amy Charlesworth

Profile summary

  • Lecturer in Art History
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Art His, Class St, Eng&CW, Mus
  • Art History
  • amy.charlesworth

Professional biography

BA (Hons) Fine Art (Glasgow School of Art, UK), MA History of Art (University of Leeds, UK), PhD History of Art (University of Leeds, UK)

Amy Charlesworth gained her PhD in 2014 and joined the Open University in January 2015 having previously taught part-time at the University of Leeds, Loughborough University and working as a curator with the University of Bradford. Amy has also worked for Pavilion, the Association of Art Historians, the Henry Moore Institute and the Arts Council Collection.

Research interests

Amy's main research focus is on photography and moving-image work in the second half of the twentieth century. As such she is interested in the historical (1920s/30; 1970s) and contemporary debates around political modernism and critical realism. More broadly her research is concerned with the intersection between social and political theory and aesthetic form (specifically video). Due to her focus on the historical and theoretical relationship between documentary and film/video essayism Amy is also interested in biopolitics as an analytical category which works to 'track' and govern subjectivities. She is interested in how this relates to the history of the camera in its role as both a violent and subversive tool. Amy is currently working on questions of translation, post-colonialism and the audio-visual essay with a specific focus on Chantal Akerman's documentary works from the late 1990s/early 2000s. 

Amy has presented her research at the annual Historical Materialism conference; the annual Association of Art Historians conference; Royal College of Art, London; and the Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow. Amy's research has also involved her curating a number of exhibitions, commissioning new work, screenings and public events. 


A Charlesworth, 'Absence and Saturation in Chantal Akerman's De l'autre côté (From the Other Side)'  The Oxford Art Journal, 40/2, Spring 2017

A Charlesworth, 'The 1970s and Today' (review essay), The Oxford Art Journal, Volume 39, Number 1, 2016

A Charlesworth, 'Caught between the factory and the home: re-visiting feminist ‘documentary’ aesthetics under globalized capital', Third Text Volume 29, Issue 1-2, 2015

A Charlesworth, 'Navigating spheres, shifts in emphasis: the documentary, the video essay and the social', Art & the Public Sphere, 3 (1), 2014, pp. 31-44

A Charlesworth, ‘”Warte Mal!” Construction and Consumption of Female Subjectivity after the Velvet Revolution’, Studia Politica: Romanian Political Science Review, Special Issue ‘Art and Politics’ Vol. X1, no. 4, December, pp. 621-631

Writing and curatorial work

'Once more, or always? some reflections on women and work in film and video of the 1970s and 1980s', SITUATIONS, Fotomuseum, Winterhur, 2016

'Voice in Ursula Biemann's Performing the Border', Dissect journal, Issue 3, Autumn 2016

'On Reporting, the Documentary and the Aesthetic in Ursula Biemann and Angela Sanders’ Europlex’, Ibrazz: contemporary visual culture in North Africa and the Middle East, 2013

'Material Things: Paul Coldwell, Sculptures and Prints', exhibition catalogue, Gallery II, University of Bradford and Arts Council England, 2015, ISBN: 978-0-9931769-0-6

Exhibition Reviews

'Electronic Superhighway 2016–1966', The Whitechapel Gallery, London, 29 January– 15 May 2016, Art and the Public Sphere, 5:1, 2016

'All the Word's Futures: Looking back at the Venice Biennial', Red Pepper, Jan 2016

'How to Construct a Time Machine', MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, UK, Art and the Public Sphere, 3:2, 2016

Conference Papers

'Realism, Feminism and the Documentary Impulse', paper and co-panel convenor, Annual 12th Historical Materialism conference, Birkbeck, London, November 2015

'Unfinished Business: the persistence of the public-private relation in "feminist art practice" since the 1970s', House, Work, Artwork: Feminism and Art History's New Domesticities, University of Birmingham, UK, 3-4 July 2014

'Polyvocal Subjects: Female Voice in Artist’s Film and Video', Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow, June 2014

'Situating the Essay in the “Documentary” Turn of Artist’s Film and Video’, The Essay, Royal College of Art, May 2014

‘Picturing the Border in Contemporary Art Praxis post 1989’, Borderscapes, Loughborough University, October 2013

‘Between the Factory and the Home: Re/production in the 21st Century and the Labour Question for Contemporary Art’, Annual 9th Historical Materialism conference, Birkbeck, London, November 2012

Teaching interests

At the Open University Amy is co-chair for AA318 Art of the Twentieth Century third year course and is also contributing to the new third year course, AA344 Art and its Global Histories which is currently in production. Amy is also part of the module team for our MA in Art History (A843 and A844). She is also a core module team member for the new Level 1 A111. In addition, Amy is also part of the steering group for Open Arts Archive and Open Arts Objects, short (open access) films with support material dedicated to the objects of art history and the activity of 'close looking' aimed at secondary education pupils. 

Students interested in modern and contemporary art history and theory; aesthetics and politics; visual culture; critical approaches to 'relational aesthetics'; lens-based media; gender and feminism; 'globalisation' and 'biennialisation' should contact Amy Charlesworth via email.

Impact and engagement

Amy has been working since 2013 with the grass-roots campaign group Justice 4 Domestic Workers alongside partnerships with visual arts organisations The ShowroomPavilion and Leeds Animation Workshop (LAW). This collaboration emerged from Amy's interest in the politics of representation and the histories and relation between so-callled 'women's work' and the role of the camera in the Women's Movement. Working within these partnerships has also enabled considered and continual renegotiation around the politics of collaboration and art pedagogy. In 2016 this work culminated in being shortlisted for the prestigious AHRC Research in Film Awards with the winner to be announced in November 2016. 


From Representation to the Biopolitical? A Review of Gender, artWork and the global imperative: A materialist feminist critique by Angela Dimitrakaki (2018)
Charlesworth, Amy
Historical Materialism ((Early Access))
On Absence and Saturation in Chantal Akerman's De l’autre côté (From the Other Side) (2017-09)
Charlesworth, Amy
Oxford Art Journal, 40(2) (pp. 287-305)
Voice in Ursual Biemann's Performing the Border (2017)
Charlesworth, Amy
Dissect(3) (pp. 277-291)
The 1970s and Today (2016-03-03)
Charlesworth, Amy
Oxford Art Journal, 39(1) (pp. 147-152)
Caught Between the Factory and the Home: Re-Visiting Feminist ‘Documentary’ Aesthetics under Globalised Capital (2015-07-13)
Charlesworth, Amy
Third Text, 29(1-2) (pp. 88-103)
Navigating spheres, shifts in emphasis: The documentary, the video essay and the social (2014-12)
Charlesworth, Amy
Art & the Public Sphere, 3(1) (pp. 31-44)