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Edward McDonald-Toone

PhD Candidate, UCL

I graduated from the University of Melbourne, Australia, with a BA Degree and Honours in Art History in 2004. After working in museums in Australia and the UK, I began my PhD at UCL under the supervision initially of Dr TJ Demos, and latterly Professor Tamar Garb. I am now in the final stages of completing my research.

My research sits at the intersection of the geopolitics of art and visual cultures and the history of exhibitions. My thesis focuses on recent exhibitions of contemporary – and occasionally modern – art from the Arab world, Iran, Turkey and beyond. Artistic production from this ambiguously constructed “region” has been increasingly visible within the circuits of contemporary art in the last two decades, at a time when infrastructures and discourses of art and globalisation have been ever more entangled. Exhibitions using geography as curatorial leitmotif have been important fields for this visibility, based on the mobilisation of particular, but often problematically reductive, notions of place and cultural identity in relation to the Arab world or the so-called ‘Middle East’ and countries and places within them. Through a series of case studies, I aim to consider the aesthetic and ethical implications of trying to define and give meaning to place according to the logics of the exhibitionary form as a powerful (even hegemonic) structure which produces meaning around art and visual culture.

Since 2013 I have taught in the Politics department at Goldsmiths, University of London, where I am the tutor for a first year course Politics/International Studies/Sociology course, ‘The Politics of Other Cultures’.


  • –present
    PhD Candidate, UCL