Vanessa Fleet


PhD Candidate, Art History and Visual Culture

Vanier Scholar

My Research

My research situates the process of creating and collecting landscape images against the social, technological, and political forces that shaped the visual touchstones of France’s cultural memory in the mid-nineteenth century.

At a historical moment when we are increasingly flooded by visual information, it is important to understand how photography became elevated as a technology with which we mediate the world around us, and through which we reflect on notions of culture and national identity. Understanding the social, technological, and political frameworks that developed for creating and collecting landscape images raises fascinating new questions about the cultural field in which photography circulates today – including issues surrounding its institutional function and display.

Graduate Studies at York

I chose York primarily because my project aligns with the work of my supervisor, Dr. Sarah Parsons, and her expertise on the history of photography and visual culture. Dr. Parsons was the external examiner for my Master's thesis, and her thoughtful questions and support of my research confirmed my desire to pursue further graduate work. Moreover the Art History and Visual Culture program is known for its interdisciplinary emphasis and support of innovative scholarship, which is a huge priority for me.

York fosters an atmosphere of immense freedom for students to pursue diverse and far-reaching goals for their research. This sense of freedom is so important for emerging scholars to create rigorous and collaborative research communities.