AHVS MA & PhD Alumni

MA Alumni


Teresa Sahara (2022)

Keywords: Northern Renaissance, World-making and Imagined Worlds, Sensory Studies, Embodiment, Performative Roles

My research explores the imagined worlds of Pieter Bruegel the Elder through his use of public space for social spectacle and the performative roles of bodies contained within that space. Inspired by sensory studies, embodiment, and anthropologist Tim Ingold’s “thinking through making,” my research also addresses Bruegel’s world-making through landscapes, viewer experience, and the shifting roles of peasant bodies in sixteenth-century Northern Renaissance art.



Yingtong Cai (2021)

Keywords: Chinese contemporary art, Tibetan Buddhism iconography, animation

My research topic focuses on Chinese contemporary artist Lu Yang, whose artworks are influenced a lot by Japanese animation. In particular, I focus on how she merges Tibetan Buddhism and Chinese Buddhism iconography, as well as a dead motif within animation works.


Shiva Ebrahimi Fakhar (2021)

Reflective Translation in 19th-Century Iranian Palaces: Aine-kari in Shams ol-Emareh.

Keywords: 19th-century architecture, Persian palace interiors, Qajar, Mirror-glass, Aine-kari, Translation, Cultural hybridity, The Shams ol-Emareh palace

I used the theoretical framework of cultural hybridity and translation to analyze the mirrorwork art practice in my case study of Shams ol-Emareh palace in Tehran, built by Naser al-Din Shah (r. 1848-1896). Mirrorwork or Aine-kari highlighted the Qajars’ understanding of the concept of modernity, and it depicted this concept in the form of decoration. This complex form of artwork is not merely inspired by European art, but through utilizing earlier techniques of Safavid art, mirrorwork flourished during the Qajar era.

Azar Mirzaei (2021)

Keywords: Modernization of Iran; Industrialization; Architectural Features; Anarak Mines; First Pahlavi Monarch

I am an MA student in Art History and Visual Studies. My current research focuses on the architectural characteristics of the buildings constructed for mechanizing Anarak mines. In Iran, systematic efforts at industrialization commenced during the reign of Reza Shah (1925-41). Mechanizing industries with the help of European groups in Iran was among these progressive activities. Although European interventions for industrialization of Iran in the first half of twentieth century did not lead to the direct colonization of Iran, they had dramatic influences on Iranian art and architecture in Pahlavi period.

Baylee Woodley (2021)

Pleasure and the Difference It Makes: Remediatory Queer Digital Archiving for Sensual Sodomites and Contemporary Imagineers.

Keywords: Lesbian, Desire, Performativity, Collective Memory, Embodiment

I am researching premodern lesbian possibilities. Specifically, my focus will be performances of the female/gender-fluid body in the gendered scopic economy of premodern France. 

Ashley Riddett (2021)

Framing the Hooked Rug: Stories of Relevance Among 21st Century Nova Scotian Rug Hookers.

Keywords: Architecture, Preservation, Gothic, Medieval, Canada

I am an Art History Grad Student with an interest in how architectural spaces are created, interacted with, preserved, and interpreted. My major research work questions methods of architectural preservation and historical promotional techniques, in regards to Medieval Gothic Cathedrals. My areas of interest in historical architecture include Medieval Gothic Cathedrals and Regional/Vernacular architectural styles in Canada.
I feel fortunate to be able to live and work in such a lovely place with amazing people (and dogs!). I love to learn about new (old) things and ideas in the Art History and Visual Studies Department at the University of Victoria, which is populated with the most wonderful, caring, and engaging faculty and staff.

Amena Sharmin (2021)

Keywords: Buddhist Art and Architecture, Religion, Politics, Activism, Film Studies

I am currently a first year Grad student in Art History and Visual Studies, having received my Bachelor and Masters in Art History at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. My Scholarly interest mainly focuses on South Asian Art. My previous research was based on the foundation and expansion of Buddhist statues in Bangladesh, Currently, I’m exploring the political codes of Bangla Movies but will also like to discover the gender and sexual context as well.


Maria Buhne (2020)

Keywords: Domestic Materiality, Museum Homes, Contextual Education, Phenomenology

I am a first year MA student in Art History and Visual Studies, having received my BA (Hons) in Art History and a minor in English Literature from the University of Victoria. I was a 2017/2018 recipient of a JCURA research award for my work on contextual education within Museum Homes, and I currently sit as a co-chair for the AHVS Graduate Association. My current research interests concern nineteenth century materiality and domestic spaces, and I would one day like to work in historical set design for film and television or as a curator of domestic interiors for a museum or cultural site.

Anahita Ranjbar (2020)

An Investigation of the Impact of Cultural Exchanges on the Interior Design of Palaces During the Qajar Era in Iran (Case Studies: Golestan and Niavaran Complexes).

Keywords: Historic Interior design, Qajar palaces and royal houses, Cultural exchange, Persian 19th century architecture.

My field of interest is the study of the historic interiors during the Qajar era in Iran including the social and cultural changes which happened after the cultural exchange with European countries during the 19th century. I spent most of my free time observing historic monuments and buildings, drawing sketches and photography of these magnificent masterpieces. My background in Architecture and Historic Preservation helps me in terms of studying the architecture of historical interiors of Qajar palaces and royal houses.


Holly Cecil (2019)

Climate Change Documentaries as Political Activism: Bridging the Awareness Gap

 Keywords: film, documentary, activism, eco-feminism, behaviour change

Alexa Heenan (2019)

Exhibiting a Sense of Place in Double Exposure: Edward S. Curtis and the Indigenous Landscape of the Northwest Coast.

Keywords: Edward S. Curtis, Contemporary Indigenous Art, Photography, Curatorial Practices, Alternative Narratives

My research focused on the 2018 exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum, Double Exposure: Edward S. Curtis, Marianne Nicolson, Tracy Rector, Will Wilson, and its place within the Curtis narrative. As a witness to this exhibition, my aim was to share this experience while being critical about the curatorial practices and methodologies. I examined how the incorporation of contemporary Indigenous art, voices, and perspectives offer alternative narratives to Curtis’s problematic myth of the “vanishing race.”

Lindsay Kaisla (2019)

Picturing Modernism: Architecture, Lifestyle, and the “Embodied Image”

Keywords: Modernism, architecture, photography, embodiment

My research explored architectural photography and its capacity to encapsulate and disseminate the ideals of Modern architecture, which presumably relies on embodied spatial experience. My research focused specifically on the Case Study Houses, their published photographs, and the ideals and embodiments they suggest. Incorporating recent research from the cognitive and neurosciences, I examined how architectural photography—and the iconic image in particular—can influence our relationship with the built environment.



Katayoun Youssefi (2019)

Activating the Space: Anarchism and the Design of the Abstract Gallery, Art of This Century

Keywords: Art of This Century, Correalism, Anarchism

My research revolved around Art of this Century, a prominent art gallery that operated between 1942 and 1947 in New York. As both a museum and a commercial gallery, it showcased the collection of Peggy Guggenheim as well as works by contemporary artists. I analyzed the space devoted to Guggenheim’s collection of abstract art, called Abstract Gallery, in relation to anarchism. Focusing on the anarchist tendencies of the designer of the gallery, I examined how these tendencies informed the design of this space.



India C. Cornell (2019)

Signs of Wonder, Alterity, and Exuberance: The Grotesques of Ely Cathedral’s Lady Chapel





Eleanor (Nellie) Lamb (2018)

Experiencing 1963 Vancouver in Léonard Forest’s In Search of Innocence.

Keywords: Canadian art and film, modernism

My research focuses on a documentary titled In Search of Innocence directed by Léonard Forest and produced in 1964 for the National Film Board of Canada. In Search of Innocence examines several artists, poets, and musicians working in Vancouver in the early 1960s. My analysis considers the artistic and social influences that lead to the creation of a film that is unique within Forest’s oeuvre.

Abbey Hall (2018)

Ely Raman: Beyond the Fulcrum of Fluxus.

Keywords: fluxus, Ely Raman, imaginary economics, participatory art, value

In Abbey’s thesis, she analyzes Ely Raman’s participation in the Fluxus movement in order to illuminate the ways in which he used Fluxian principles of a de-commoditized, living, “anti-art” to create art objects that worked outside of the regular economic system. She examines Raman’s series of unbound assemblies of multimedia art, titled 8×10 art portfolio, focusing specifically on the ways in which the breakdown of barriers between artist and viewer work in tandem with the disruption of what we consider the value of art to be.

Shanice Wolters (2018)

Magnifying and Destabilizing “Primitive” Taxonomies: Materials, Images, and Methods of Faith Ringgold’s Picasso’s Studio.



Su Yen Chong (2018)

Imported Pekalongan Batik: Emblems of Cosmopolitanism in Imagined Communities of Straits Peranakan Women.

Keywords: textile, cosmopolitanism, Southeast Asia, identity

My research focuses on the construction and negotiation of 20th century Strait Settlements Peranakans cosmopolitan identity through the examination of batik sarong imported from Pekalongan, Java. Remarkably beautiful batik sarongs adorned by the nyonyas is emblematic of an exceedingly sophisticated method to literally and metaphorically weave the layered identities of the Peranakans in continuous conversations with communities beyond their own.


Alicia Hagy (2017)

The Edge of the West: The Jineta Sword of Muhammad XII and Elite Identity Construction in Muslim Granada.

In 2013 I graduated magna cum laude from Virginia Commonwealth University with a major in Art History and a double minor in History and Italian Studies. From 2011 until 2013, I worked as an intern in both the Paintings Conservation Lab of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia, and in the Paper Conservation Lab in Williamsburg, Virginia. My research field is Islamic Art and Architecture, with a focus on the arms and armor of the Nasrid dynasty (1238-1492) of Islamic Spain. Some other research interests of mine include North African and Andalusian art and architecture, superstitions and folklore, and Islamic martial objects.


Jaiya Anka (2017)

Interwoven Identities: Portraiture and the Spaces of Cultural Encounter in Renaissance Venice.

Bailey Arnholz (2017)

Feelings of Death: Emotions and Senses in the Late Medieval Macabre.

Kristi Hoffman (2017)

A Synthesis of Creative Minds: Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Yoshio Taniguchi, and Trisha Donnelly’s Artist’s Choice Exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.

Astara Light (2017)

Longing for the Unseen: Connecting to a Balinese Imagined Community in Modern and Contemporary Art

Astara’s research focuses on modern and contemporary Balinese painting, sculpture, and curatorial practices and broadly focuses on Indonesian and Southeast Asian art. Her research project examines religion and the visual representation of physical movement and dance. She received a dual Master of Arts degree in Art History and a Southeast Asian Studies from the University of California, Riverside, and a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and East Asian Studies from Indiana University, Bloomington. She is the recipient of a Fulbright-Hays and FLAS (Foreign Language and Area Studies Program) award for Indonesian language training, and received the Kalman Award from the University of Victoria to conduct research on the curation of Indonesian art in the Netherlands.


Kristen Matulewicz (2017)

Alma-Tadema: “Life, Movement, Reality”: Death and its Discontents in the The Roses of Heliogabalus.

I received a BFA from Flagler College in Saint Augustine, Florida, with a specialization in performance and installation art, as well as a BA in Art History with a focus on Pre-Raphaelitism and a double minor in History and Illustration. Before continuing my research at the University of Victoria I worked as an educator at both the Old Florida Museum and the Orlando Science Center. My research explores the fetishization of death and its depictions in the academic art of Victorian England. Other areas of research that interest me include Victorian depictions of Vikings, Medieval Revival, and material culture.



Jennifer Costanzo (2016)

A Women’s Touch: Embodied Practices in Italian Renaissance Art (c: 1470’s-1538).


Fahimeh Ghorbani (2016)

Kasbnama-yi Bafandegi (weaving kasbnama): Doctrine of Jawanmardi and Artisanal Culture in Safavid, Iran.


Françoise Keating (2016)

Avtres dictz poor mectre en paincture outappisserie: Humanist Allegory of Love in a French Early Modern Tapestry.


Alexandra MacDonald (2016)

Idle Talk: Portraiture, Visual Culture and Politics in Eighteenth Century England.

I am a historian of Britain and early America, specializing in art and material culture from the early modern period to the beginning of the nineteenth century. I am currently working on my dissertation project at William & Mary which explores the role that material objects played in changing conceptions of time in the long-eighteenth century. My work has been supported by numerous museums, institutions, and funding bodies including the Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture (OI), the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art, the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA), the Decorative Arts Trust, the American Philosophical Society, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the North American Conference of British Studies, the Mid-Atlantic Conference of British Studies (MACBS), the Hammond-Harwood House, the Reves Center for International Studies, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). In the 2021-22 academic year, I am a Dissertation Fellow at the Winterthur Museum, Library & Gardens.

Terry Rodgers (2016)

Women Contained: Portraits, Space, and Representation at the Villa Barbaro

My MA research areas involved gender studies and the ideologies of hegemony and containment for Venetian noblewomen during the 16th Century. Other interests include: Early Modern Venetian visual culture, gender studies and architecture, Palladian architectural design, Domestic Interior studies, landscape and garden design, and masculinity and meaning of beards in Byzantine art. As a mature student, I returned to university studies to fulfil a long held goal of advanced academic research in art history. I have a BA (Honours) in History from the University of Toronto. In the future I hope to expand my research on the Villa Barbaro at Maser as a published paper. I was involved in establishing the Art History and Visual Studies Graduate Association in 2015 and am presently Co-Chair for the Master’s Cohort.


Christine Oldridge (2016)

Tragic to Triumphant: Rosalba Carriera’s Self-Portrait, ca. 1746.



Kathryn Roberts (2016)

“In Search of Some Alpine Nightmare”? John Singer Sargent’s Experience in the Canadian Rockies, 1916.


Eliane Pineault-Bourgault (2016)

Muses, Worthies and Nobles Looming on Ceilings: The Decorated Ceilings of Crathes Castle as a Model of Social Order in post-Reformation Scotland.



Jenelle Pasiechnik (2015)

Assembling Oh Persepolis II: The Simultaneity of Tradition and Modernity in Parviz Tanavoli’s Monumental Bronze Sculpture

I hold Bachelors of Arts in English literature and history in art from the University of Calgary and UVic, and recently a Masters from UVic. My research focusses on West Asian artists of the diaspora and their cultural impact in their landed home and originating country. I specifically worked on Parviz Tanavoli, an Iranian born sculptor, who lives and works in Vancouver and Tehran. I am interested in the theoretical framework Multiple Modernities as a way to privilege culturally unique narratives of modernity, and refute old models of westcentrism in art history. I had the privilege of working with two supervisors, Drs. Anthony Welch and Carolyn Butler-Palmer, to create a project unique to the department. I currently work as an independent contract curator, and at the University of Victoria as the Graduate Orientation Coordinator. I am passionate about education programming and curatorial work that increases public accessibility to art, and intercultural awareness and empathy.


PhD Alumni

Seyedhamed Yeganehfarzand (2022)

From Daʿwa to State:  Castles and the Formation of the Nizari Ismaʿili State in Quhistan, Iran 

Françoise Keating (2022)

“Dames Amaczon,” “Nobles Chevaliers,” And Imaginary Worlds: Text-Image in King René d’Anjou’s book production”

Zahra Kazani (2022)

Keywords: medieval magic; islamic art and architecture; geometry; inscriptions

Zahra Kazani is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Art History and Visual Studies at the University of Victoria. She has completed a MA in History of Islamic art at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and a MA in Muslim Cultures from the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations, Aga Khan University in London, UK. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Zahra has worked extensively in museums, including the British Museum, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the Aga Khan Museum. She is the recipient of the University of Oxford Barakat Trust Award, the Hamad bin Khalifa Fellowship of Islamic Art, Qatar, and the Joseph Armand-Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (SSHRC). Her doctoral project examines the presence of magical ideas in geometric renditions of Arabic script witnessed in medieval Islamicate societies.


Yang Liu (2021)

Human, Nature and Beyond: The Transformation of Chinese Landscape: Representation since the Founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Keywords: Traditional Chinese literati landscape painting, Contemporary Chinese art, Cross-cultural theory, East Asian art, Non-Anthropocentrism

My scholarly interest has focused on East Asian art, cross-cultural theory, traditional Chinese art, and various presentations of its contemporaneity. My doctoral work is an inquiry into the ever-shifting perception of the human-nature relationship in the evolvement of Chinese art. It addresses key questions in relation to the social, political and cultural dynamics towards the nonhuman world in the process of the ongoing Chinese landscape art transformation.


Brian Pollick (2021)

The Merchant’s Moral Eye: Money, Merchants and the Visualization of Morality in Trecento Italy.

Keywords:  Italy, manuscript, Fourteenth-Century, trecento, identity

My dissertation focuses on the ways in which imagery commissioned by merchants in Trecento Italy formed, affirmed and broadcast their moral identity. My previous careers, spanning almost half a century, include teaching, senior management positions in the justice field with the Federal and BC governments, and lastly, as C.E.O. of a major program delivery and I.T. company. I received my M.A. in Art History in 2011 from the University of Victoria. I commenced my PhD in 2012 and have received several awards, including a prestigious three-year Joseph-Armand Bombardier Doctoral Fellowship from the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada. I recently won a Graduate Fellowship to the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at the University of Victoria.


Munazzah Akhtar (2020)

Interrogating the Dead: Re-Assessing the Cultural Identities of the Samma Dynasty (1351-1522) at the Necropolis of Makli, Sindh (Pakistan).

Keywords: Islamic Art, South Asia, Funerary Architecture, cross-cultural.

I joined AHVS as a Doctoral student in 2012. My research interests include Islamic funerary architecture in South Asia, British colonial architecture of India & Pakistan, and cross-cultural issues in Islamic Art. My dissertation focuses on the study of Samma dynastic monuments (1380-1521) in the necropolis of Makli, a UNESCO world heritage site in Pakistan. Funding for my research includes the Barakat Trust Award 2014 (University of Oxford), CSRS Ian H. Stewart Fellowship 2015-16 (UVic), Sheila and John Hackett Award 2015 (UVic) and SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship (2015-2017).


Atri Hatef (2019)

A Dialogue between Friends and Foes: Transcultural Interactions in Ilkhanid Capital Cities (1256-1335 AD).

Atri Hatef-Naiemi has completed a PhD (2019) and an MA (2014) in Art History at the University of Victoria, and an MA in Architectural Restoration at the University of Tehran (2010). Atri’s research focuses upon the architecture and archaeology of the medieval Islamic world. In her doctoral project, she studied the capital cities founded by the Mongol Ilkhans in Iran during the Ilkhanid period (1256–1335 AD). She examined how the court-sponsored urban projects reflected the interactions between Perso-Islamic sedentary concepts and Mongolian nomadic traditions. Her dissertation was selected by the Canadian Society of Medievalists as the recipient of the 2020 Leonard Boyle Dissertation Prize. Atri held postdoctoral fellowships at the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT (2019) and the Khalili Research Center at the University of Oxford (2020). Currently, she is teaching as a sessional lecturer at the Department of Art History and Visual Studies at UVic. She is also working on her first book which will be published by Edinburgh University Press.


David Christopher (2019)

Keywords: anarchist cultural studies, apocalypse cinema, Canadian cinema, psychoanalysis

David Christopher’s dissertation in Cinema and Cultural Theory takes an anarchist theoretical approach to depictions of the apocalypse in recent Canadian cinema. David was departmental Teaching Assistant Consultant as well as a Sessional Instructor and a SSHRC doctoral fellow.



Mohammad Alsubaie (2018)

The Miqat of al-Juhfa: A Historical and Archaeological Study.


Filiz Tütüncü Çaglar (2017)

From Raqqa With Love: The Raqqa Excavations by the Ottoman Imperial Museum (1905-06 and 1908).


Catherine Nutting (2017)

Rubens and the Stoic Baroque: Classical Stoic Ethics, Rhetoric, and Natural Philosophy in Ruben’s Style.


Sutrisno Hartana (2017)

Origins, Journeys, Encounters: A Cultural Analysis of Wayang Performances in North America.


Behrang Nabavi Nejad (2017)

The Simurgh: Representations and Meanings in Persian Painting.