Marie Collier - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Marie Collier

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Dr Marie Collier

Associate Lecturer

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6 Aug

Thesis: ‘Visualising Socialist Construction: Architectural Photographs in Soviet mass printed media c. 1928-1937’

Supervised by Prof. John Milner

This research explores the interrelation between architecture, photography, and graphic design in the communication of political ideals and ideology to a mass audience in the Soviet Union from the beginning of the First Five Year Plan in 1928 up to 1937. As a way to incorporate architecture into a field that normally focuses on photography, graphic design and film, architecture is considered as a vast field of multi-media production that goes beyond the creation of a physical building as an object in and of itself. My dissertation  moves beyond the role of the architectural press in the development of Soviet architecture to demonstrate that the reproduction of architectural photographs in a wider sample of publications contributed significantly to the promotion of Soviet ideology. I argue that popular publications were not solely sources of information. They were also cultural transmitters that shaped the socio-cultural discourse, and were active agents in constructing a unified visual and architectural language that sought to reflect and alter Soviet society. I demonstrated that photographs of buildings were important components in the dissemination of cultural and political values and that the production of architecture as an agent in ‘socialist construction’ occurred as much on the page as it did on the building site.

Funded by

  • 2014-2015, Joseph and Esther Lichtenstein Scholarship, The Courtauld Institute of Art
  • December 2012 Research Residency, Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal
  • 2011-14, Courtauld scholarship supported by Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin


  • October 2011-2016, PhD Candidate, The Courtauld Institute of Art
  • June 2010, MA History of Art, The Courtauld Institute of Art
    Dissertation Title: ‘Graphic and Photographic Representations of the Dnieper Dam: Indicators of Artistic Plurality and Cultural Change during the First Five Year Plan’ Supervised by John Milner.
  • June 2008, Honors Bachelor of Arts: Specialist in Fine Art History, University of Toronto


  • Spring 2016 – Visiting Lecturer, The Courtauld Institute: BA1 Modernist and Postmodernist Architecture in London
  • Summer 2015 – Lecturer, Arcadia University: London City of Art
  • Autumn 2014 – Lecturer, Arcadia University: London City of Art
  • Autumn 2013 – Teaching Assistant, The Courtauld Institute of Art: MA, Core Methodologies
  • Autumn 2012 – Teaching Assistant, The Courtauld Institute of Art: MA, Core Methodologies
  • Autumn 2012 – Teaching Assistant, The Courtauld Institute of Art: BA2 Frameworks for Interpretation

Research interests

  • Soviet art and architecture
  • modernist periodical design
  • photomontage
  • 20th-century architecture and design
  • Art and politics

Conferences and Symposia

  • 7-8 March 2014 Conference co-organiser and speaker, Post-graduate Symposium, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London ‘Socialist Construction in Soviet Photo-illustrated Periodicals during the First Five Year Plan’
  • 22 November 2013 Panel organsier and speaker, ASEEES Annual Convention, Boston Shifting Narratives of Soviet Avant-Garde Architecture: Challenges, Revivals and the Dissemination of Revolutionary Architectural Ideals ‘The Production, Construction and Reproduction of‘The New Moscow’ in Soviet architectural photographs from the 1930s’
  • 15 November 2013, Under Construction: Building the Material and Imaginary World, University of Stuttgart, Department of History ofTechnology, Stuttgart. ‘The Soviet Construction Site in SSSR na Stroike and Nashi Dostizheniia’
  • 22 March 2013, Joint conference between the Moscow State University (MGU) and the Cambridge Courtauld Russian Art Centre (CCRAC), Moscow. ‘USSR in Construction: Graphic and Photographic Representations of the Dnepr Dam during the First Five Year Plan’,
  • 4 May 2012, A Still Architecture: Photography, Vision and Cultural Transmission, Cambridge University Department of Architecture,Cambridge  ‘Aleksandr Rodchenko’s Photographs of the Rusakov Worker’s Club’
    Published conference proceedings forthcoming, date tbc

Recent publications

  • Forthcoming, May 2014 ‘Soviet Photo-illustrated Periodicals and the Visualisation of Socialist Progress’, Under Construction, Eike-Christian Heine, ed. Internationales Zentrum fur Kultur und Technikforschung, University of Stuttgart
  • February 2011 Building the Revolution: Soviet Art and Architecture 1917-1935, ed.Maryanne Stevens, Royal Academy of Art, London (2011). Catalogue Contributor

Other academic activities

  • January 2015, Conference co-organiser, immediations Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of The Courtauld’s Peer-reviewed Postgraduate Research Journal
  • 2011-2014, Member of editorial board for immediations, the post-graduate research journal of The Courtauld Institute
  • 2012-13, editor-in-chief, immediations


  • 2012-present. Association of Scholars of East European and Eurasion Studies
  • 2011-Present. Advisory Board, Cambridge Courtauld Russian Art Centre
  • 2011-2015. Postgraduate Advisory Committee Member, The Courtauld Institute of Art

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