New Dean for the Courtauld Institute of Art
An internationally-renowned and research-led higher education institution, The Courtauld is home to the largest community of art historians and conservators in the UK, and is an independent college of the University of London. Founded by collectors and philanthropists in the 1930s, the organisation has been at the forefront of developing the field of art history ever since, through advanced research and conservation practice, innovative teaching, inspiring public exhibitions and events.
Professor Bovey will be responsible for leading the teaching, learning, research and public engagement mission of The Courtauld. She will also support, and deputise for, Professor Deborah Swallow (the Märit Rausing Director of the Institute).
Professor Bovey is appointed to the role of Dean after five years as Head of Research and as Senior Lecturer in Medieval Art History at The Courtauld. She was previously Senior Lecturer in Medieval History in the University of Kent’s School of History and the Curator in the British Library’s Department of Manuscripts.
A strong advocate of public engagement in history and in the arts, Professor Bovey has been the driving force around a number of significant new initiatives that have brought new audiences to The Courtauld and the subject of art history – from the public ResFest events to the popular Open Courtauld Hour discussion series launched during lockdown. Her leadership of The Courtauld’s Research Forum has helped convene high profile artists, researchers and curators from around the world to debate and explore current issues in the field.
Professor Deborah Swallow, Märit Rausing Director at The Courtauld said: “We are delighted to be able to build on Alixe’s already substantial contribution to The Courtauld through this senior appointment. Alixe has made a tremendous difference to how art history is shared and perceived publicly. As we embark on a new period in The Courtauld’s history through the physical transformation of our buildings and the continued broadening of our approach to the subject, she will be working at the forefront of attracting new people to study and enjoy art history.”
Professor Alixe Bovey said: “I am thrilled to be taking on this role at such an important time in The Courtauld’s history. Art history is everybody’s history, and we want people from all backgrounds to be able to benefit from studying and enjoying art and history. I look forward to working with our staff and students to continue to ensure that art history is relevant, engaged, and inclusive.”
A specialist in the Middle Ages, Professor Bovey’s research focuses on visual storytelling. She has published on topics including monsters, medicine, and devotion, and is currently working on the role of giants in mythical histories of Britain. She presented the BBC television series In Search of Medieval Britain, in which she retraced a series of journeys through Britain in the Middle Ages; as well as Radio 4’s Knight Fights Giant Snail, exploring the world of medieval ‘marginalia’ – the absurd and outlandish images found in the margins of medieval prayer books and secular manuscripts.
Professor Bovey is a Trustee of the Association of Art History, and a Member of the Fabric Advisory Committee of Canterbury Cathedral.