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Dr Renate Dohmen

Profile summary

Professional biography

Visual Communication & Cultural Studies, Diplom (Berlin University of the Arts), PhD Art History (University of Newcastle)

Renate Dohmen joined the Open University in February 2015. Prior to taking up this position she was Assistant and then Associate Professor in Art History at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, USA. Her extensive teaching experience include course delivery and development for the World Arts and Artefacts Programme, Birkbeck College & British Museum, roles such as as Associate Lecturer for 'Art and its Histories' (Open University, A216), summer school tutor for 'Modern Art: Practices and Debates' (Open University, A316), as well as visiting lectureships at Goldsmiths’ College, Middlesex University and Birkbeck College and other London universities.

Her research earned her an invitation to join the Ferguson Centre for Asian and African Art at the Open University, Milton Keynes as research associate, a research assistantship at the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King’s College London, and the invitation to participate in the AHRB Research Project ‘Art and National Identity: Mexico, Japan, India, 1860s-1940s’, University of the Arts, London. She has received several research support grants by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2020-2021) for the Project Colonial Art in British India: Power, Gender and Race under the Raj.

Research interests

Renate is interested in questions of the global and visual culture in contemporary and colonial contexts. Her approach is interdisciplinary and encompasses art, anthropology and cultural history with a particular focus on decoloniality, the transcultural, as well as issues of race and gender. She is also interestd in questions of pedagogy, transformative learning and global citizenship education. Her work engages with questions of criticality in relation to contemporary art, indigeneity and questions of art and empire focused on British India. She would be happy to supervise PhD theses in these areas.

Teaching interests

Renate was Module Chair for A843 the first year of the MA in Art History and Deputy Module Chair of A844, the second year of the MA in Art History and authored a section on women's street art in India for this module. She was a member of the production team of A344 Art and its global histories, developing course content as book editor and co-author of Empire and Art: British India ( Book 3 of this module) and editor of the section Empire and Art: British India in the course reader Art and its global histories: A Reader.

Dohmen, R. (ed) (2017) Empire and Art: British India, Manchester, Manchester University Press (in association with the Open University).

Dohmen, R. (2017) ‘Empire and Art: British India’, in Newall, D. (ed) Art and its Global Histories: A Reader, Manchester, Manchester University Press, pp. 179-247.

She also contributed to A111 Discovering the arts and humanities and is currently developing a pilot project for gamified approches to learning in collaboration with Georgina Holden, Senior Lecturer in Design and Innovation at the Open University and Pamela Bracewell-Homer, Associate Lecturer in Art History at the Open University.


Impact and engagement

Renate has made short films and has created web-based edcuational material on objects relating to empire that are open access and aimed at a general audience.

The Pilkington album (1893-94)  (

Tipu's Tiger

Traveling Objects 

Click on the link below and search for 'Tipu's Tiger' and 'Staffordshire Meat Dish with Oriental Scene'

Daughters of Empire

‘A daughter of the Empire: Edwardian life in India, 1901-03,’ a collaborative project between King’s College Archives, Birkbeck College and the London Centre for Arts and Cultural Enterprise (LCACE) which traces the life of Beryl White based on her scrap album. Accessible at (June 2007) 

She was engaged in a collaboration with Norfolk Museums on the topic of ‘Decolonizing the Museum’ (2020). The pilot project, financed by OU seed funding (Strategic Research Investment Fund), is aimed at supporting museum staff to explore approaches to decolonising the museum and how this can be applied in their work. This involves engaging with the colonial histories of objects in the collection as well as how issues of race can be addressed in museum curation and through audience engagement.

External collaborations

She is a member of the Global Indigenous Arts Network project and serves on the advisory board of Third Text.


Interlude 2: Trickster Abrakadabra: The Art of Hosting or Declaring Yourself a Guest (2024)
Dohmen, Renate and Korporaal, Astrid
Third Text

Urban Earthdivers and the Immodest Messiah as Decolonial Worldmakers. The Art of Kent Monkman (2023)
Dohmen, Renate
Archivo Papers. Journal of Photography and Visual Culture, 3(2) (pp. 31-50)

Miss Chief and the art of Decolonial Tease: The Mixedblood Urban Earthdiver and the Flâneur (2023)
Dohmen, Renate
Third Text

The Artist as Postindian Warrior: Saviourism, Appropriation and Care in the Art of Kent Monkman (2020-12)
Dohmen, Renate
Journal of Global Studies and Contemporary Art, 7(1) (pp. 409-442)

Colonial histories, museum collections, FabLabs and community engagement: flows of practices, cultures and people – a roundtable (2020)
Barnes, Amy Jane; Charnley, Kim; Dohmen, Renate and Lotz, Nicole
Open Arts Journal, 9, Article 7 (pp. 91-118)

Art, industry and the laws of nature: the South Kensington method revisited (2020)
Dohmen, Renate
Open Arts Journal(9) (pp. 23-42)

Counter-Epistemologies of the Global South: Indian Floor Drawings Re-envisaged (2019)
Dohmen, Renate
South Asian Popular Culture, 16(2-3) (pp. 235-244)

Towards a cosmopolitan criticality: Relational aesthetics, Rirkrit Tiravanija and transnational encounters with pad thai (2013)
Dohmen, Renate
Open Arts Journal(1) (pp. 35-46)

Memsahibs and the “Sunny East”: Representations of British India by Millicent Douglas Pilkington and Beryl White (2012-03)
Dohmen, Renate
Victorian Literature and Culture, 40(1) (pp. 153-177)

The home in the world: women, threshold designs and performative relations in contemporary Tamil Nadu, south India (2004-01-01)
Dohmen, Renate
Cultural Geographies, 11(1) (pp. 7-25)

Happy Homes and the Indian Nation: Women's Designs in Post-colonial Tamil Nadu (2001-01-01)
Dohmen, Renate
Journal of Design History, 14(2) (pp. 129-139)

Encounters beyond the Gallery. Relational Aesthetics and Cultural Difference? (2016-08-29)
Dohmen, Renate
International Library of Modern and Contemporary Art
ISBN : 9781780763712 | Publisher : I.B.Tauris | Published : London

‘What’s In a Photo?’ Frederick Douglass and Ram Singh II, Maharaj of Jaipur. Or: Lateral Art History and The Postindian Trickster, An Experiment in Method (2024)
Dohmen, Renate
In: Burns, Emily and Price, Alice M. Rudy eds. Routledge Companion to Art and Empire: Imperialism and Aesthetic Practices
ISBN : 978-1-032-54009-2 | Publisher : Routledge (In press)

The Global, the Post-Abyssal and the Cosmopolitical: Casting a Creative Post-Underdeveloped, Post-Peripheral, Tropical Eye (2018)
Dohmen, Renate
In: Di Paola, Modesta ed. Cosmopolitics and Biopolitics. Ethics and Aesthetics in Contemporary Art. Art, Globalization, Interculturality (pp. 77-94)
ISBN : 978-84-9168-069-7 | Publisher : Barcelona University Press | Published : Barcelona

A fraught challenge to the status quo: The 1883-4 Calcutta International Exhibition, conceptions of art and industry, and the politics of world fairs (2016-02-28)
Dohmen, Renate
In: Nichols, Kate; Wade, Rebecca and Williams, Gabriel eds. Art versus Industry? New Perspectives on Visual and Industrial Cultures in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Studies in Design and Material Culture (pp. 199-216)
ISBN : 978-0-7190-9646-4 | Publisher : Manchester University Press | Published : Manchester

Material (Re)collections of the ‘Shiny East’: A Late Nineteenth-Century Travel Account by a Young British Woman in India (2016)
Dohmen, Renate
In: Henes, Mary and Murray, Brian H. eds. Travel Writing, Visual Culture and Form, 1760–1900. Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture (pp. 42-64)
ISBN : 978-1-137-54339-4 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke

All Bark and No Bite: India at Tate Britain’s ‘Artist and Empire’ Exhibition (2016-03)
Dohmen, Renate
Third Text Forum: Artist and Empire Part 1: Tate