Anya Smirnova

PhD student

Thesis: Net Art East: Postsocialist Artists’ Networks and New Media after 1989

Supervised by Prof. Julian Stallabrass (The Courtauld Institute of Art) and Juliet Bingham (Tate)

Funded by AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Award

My research focuses on new media art practices in the region of Central and Eastern Europe and ex-Yugoslavia in the aftermath of the dissolution of socialist governments after 1989. The fall of the Cold War political order was accompanied by rapid developments in communication technologies, with the Internet facilitating transnational communication on an unprecedented scale. In this context, new media and internet access were widely lauded as essential support for the developing civil society that would facilitate the process of transition from socialism to Western-style liberal democratic systems in post-socialist states.

Drawing on interviews, as well as online and physical archives, my thesis will examine regional networks associated with new media art practices that emerged with the aim of facilitating artistic communication within the ‘former East’ and internationally. It will position these endeavours in the historical context of post-1989 political, economic and social transitions, and examine the ways in which local histories of art of the twentieth century – actively researched, archived, exhibited and increasingly made accessible online throughout the 1990s – have informed activist and critical responses to the neo-liberalisation of former Eastern Europe through the lens of new media art.



  • BA The Courtauld Institute of Art
  • MA The Courtauld Institute of Art. Special Option: Countercultures: Alternative Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America 1959-1989

Conference Papers

  • ‘Beyond East and West: The Case of Syndicate Network’s ‘Deep Europe’ (1997)’, 90s: Scars, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rijeka, 4-5 December 2020 (forthcoming).
  • ‘Olia Lialina’s Agatha Appears (1997): Reading Against the Grain’, Dialogues: Modern and Contemporary Approaches to Politics and Place, The Courtauld Institute of Art, 4-5 May 2020.

Research Interests

  • Intersections between art and activism
  • Media practices in contemporary art
  • Digital Art
  • New Media Art
  • Socially Engaged Art
  • Globalisation
  • Central and Eastern European Art History


  • Associate Lecturer, BA2 Frameworks, 2020/2021
  • Teaching Assistant, MA Core Methodologies, Autumn 2019

Professional Experience

  • Associate Editor, immediations – the Courtauld Institute’s postgraduate, peer-reviewed journal.
  • Curatorial Assistant, Design Museum London, 2018-2019.