Contemporary Art Studies

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Integrated members

Margarida Brito Alves – PI

Ana Balona de Oliveira

Bruno Marques

Catarina Rosendo

Cristiana Tejo

Cristina Pratas Cruzeiro

Filomena Serra

Giulia Lamoni

Israel Guarda

 Luísa Cardoso

Miguel Leal

Miguel Mesquita Duarte

Paula Ribeiro Lobo

PhD students


Ana Maria Bilbao Daniela Salazar Ivo Braz Katherine Sirois Luísa Salvador Maria do Mar Fazenda
Mariana Gaspar Mariangela Licordari Marta Lança Natasha Revez Paula Ruela

Raquel Ermida

Rita Ferrão Rita Natálio


Other collaborators

Alexandra Ai Quintas Afonso Cortez-Pinto Jorge Figueira Paulo Baptista  Cláudia Madeira
Guilherme Paoliello    Nuno Crespo José Oliveira   



            The Contemporary Art Studies Group (CAS), coordinated by Margarida Brito Alves (PhD / FCSH-UNL Associated Professor), is committed to the critical exploration of contemporary artistic practices, theories and discourses produced in Portugal, but also in other geographical and cultural contexts. Initially formed by the team that created IHA in the 1990s, CAS has produced innovative art historical work whose focus spans from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. CAS contributed to the in-depth study of the Portuguese artistic context and, more recently, configured its research in a larger transnational framework, thus reinforcing its international scope.
            As a result of this dynamic, CAS has attracted an increasing number of young scholars committed to the study of contemporary art. Reflecting the richness of perspectives and interests of its members, and in close articulation with the PhD programme in Art History – with a specialization in Contemporary Art –, CAS has been constantly broadening its methodologies. Currently, its interdisciplinary approaches on contemporary artistic practices and art historical narratives intertwine ongoing research and theory with up-to-date inputs from other areas of knowledge – such as aesthetics, visual and cultural studies, literature, philosophy, sociology, anthropology or political studies.
            While the group´s area of research includes a diversity of themes, CAS researchers have been strengthening team collaboration, by organizing events such as annual international conferences– among them Art& Power (2008); Art & Melancholy (2010); or Art and Utopia (2014) –, and electing common focuses of action – such as the binomial “Art and Mediation”, selected as a vector of orientation since 2008.  The latter, more specifically, encouraged cross-pollination between academia and other contexts, thus reinforcing the group´s relations with wider audiences. CAS engagement to discuss and share the results of its work with a wider public is also testified by the edition of two collections of books: “Teses” and “Temas e Perspectivas”.
            The commitment to work on Art History as a consolidated field that benefits from the interchanges and connections with other areas, led the integrated members of CAS to constitute a partnership with two other R&D units of FCSH-UNL, with the objective of defining a new PhD Programme in “Artistic Studies” – currently being offered by FCSH and funded by FCT (ref: PD/00488/2012) and Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian. Supervised by renowned international specialists, this programme has an international focus and aims to widen research on art, cinema and the performing arts.
The development of R&D Projects has also taken advantage from collaboration with other research groups. Such is the case of “The Site of Discourse” project, a partnership between IHA and Dinamia (ISCTE), financed by FCT (ref: PTDC/CPC-HAT/4894/2012), meant to identify, analyze and debate editorial culture of Portuguese architecture periodicals over the 20th century.
CAS is composed by four main sections:
Section 1: Contemporary Art and Culture, Practices and Discourses
PI: Margarida Brito Alves (PhD / FCSH-UNL Associated Professor)
This section explores a wide range of artistic practices and cultural dynamics that span from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. Closely related to research activities carried out in the context of PhD program in Contemporary Art History, it privileges multidisciplinary perspectives. Though the section has a strong focus on Portuguese artistic and architectural productions and their cross-pollinations, it also involves research projects articulating international approaches to contemporary art.
Section 2: Spatial Practices
PI: Margarida Brito Alves (PhD / FCSH-UNL Associated Professor) and Nuno Crespo (FCT Post-Doctoral Fellow)
Taking spatial practices as the main focus of its research activities, this section embraces, as a point of departure for its reflections, a conception of space that rejects purity and abstraction in favor of materiality and constructiveness. In this sense, the “arts of space” are not only taken as a form of operating in space or acting in a specific territory, but are, first of all, understood as main instances for the very formation of space. Although its main lines of research concentrate on artistic and architectural production since World War II, particular attention is given to processes of dialogue and exchange with the artistic field at large, including cinema and literature, as well as other disciplines such as philosophy or anthropology.
Section 3. Transnational Perspectives on Contemporary Art: Identities and Representation
PI: Giulia Lamoni (FCT Post-Doctoral Fellow)
Privileging the articulation of transnational perspectives on contemporary art and with a specific, though not exclusive, focus on Lusophone spaces, this section aims to explore zones of intersection between contemporary artistic practices, representations of identities and processes of geographical, historical, political and cultural inscription. It develops interdisciplinary approaches that are rooted in art history but, at the same time, are substantially nourished by other areas of knowledge production like geography, post-colonial studies and feminist theoretical formations.
Section 4. Photography and Film Studies
PI: Bruno Marques (FCT Post-Doctoral Fellow)
Assuming visual arts in a broad context, this study group takes photography, cinema, and video, as heterodox and interdisciplinary areas, giving special importance to the relations they establish with other forms of expression such as literature, painting, architecture, installation, or performance. Also adopting photography and cinema as cultural objects, the group will explore areas of convergence and influence, by taking ‘lens-based’ media artistic work as a privileged access point to study social, cultural, and political dynamics of the contemporaneity.