Staff profile

Dr Maria Photiou

Research Development Fellow


Art and Design, Research


Innovation and Research

Research centre

Identity, Culture and Representation Research Centre




Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



I am an art historian and a Research Development Fellow within the University Research and Knowledge Exchange Office.

I joined the University of Derby in 2016, having previously worked at Loughborough University as a tutor in Critical and Historical Studies. I have also worked as a Research Associate at Loughborough University, where I developed the AHRC funded project Visual Narratives of Homeland.

I contribute to the University’s strategic objectives by supporting and enhancing the PGR student experience across the University. This includes the evaluation and enhancement of the PGR Calendar of events (PGR training, PGR socials, PGR Breakfast events, PGR Conference, 3 Minute Thesis Competition, EMDoc Conference) and delivering workshops and webinars.

Research interests

 My research is situated within feminist art history and theory and explores how contemporary art practices engage with the concepts of ‘home’, ‘migration’ and the sense of ‘belonging’. I initially explored these issues in my doctoral thesis, ‘Rethinking the History of Cypriot Art: Greek Cypriot Women Artists in Cyprus’, where I provided a critical analysis of women’s art and presented different perspectives in acknowledging women’s contribution in art history.

My research explores the work of exiled women artists and their experience of forced displacement, citizenship, identity and belonging. I examine  artistic practices that are located within different histories of exile but share common concerns with the site of the home of origin that refugees have been forcefully displaced from. I explored these issues in my postdoctoral research project ‘Narratives of Contested Lands’, which was funded by an AHRC Cultural Engagement Fund. This was a collaborative project with the International Network Project ‘Lens of Empowerment’.

In 2017, I convened and chaired the session ‘Home, Exile and the Politics of Belonging’ at the Association for Art History Annual (AAH) Conference.  This led to the volume Art, Borders and Belonging: On Home and MigrationI convened and chaired the 2022 international virtual Symposium ‘Creative Homemaking: Visualising Home in Times of Crisis’, which was funded by the UoD’s Participatory Fund.

Membership of professional bodies


Recent conferences

04/2022: Invited Guest Lecturer ‘Mapping the Border: Women Artists’ Reconceptions of Space, Gender and Representation, The University of Hong Kong 

11/2021: ‘Sailing to my Nearest Neighbours for Cocktails: Reflections on Homemaking During a Pandemic’, Home and Covid-19: Dwelling and Belonging in Pandemic Times, Online Symposium, The Museum of Home, London 

07/2021 'Placemaking and Artistic Practices of Embodiment in a Divided City', Civic LAB Online Symposium, University of Derby

04/2021 'Strolling Along the Green Line: Exploring Narratives of Exile, Identity and Belonging Within a Divided Capital', Association for Art History 2021 Online Annual Conference 

04/2019 ‘Weaving Together: Narratives of Home, Exile and Belonging’, Diasporic Imaginaries. Multiple Senses of Belonging, DFK Paris 

04/2018 ‘Weaving in Exile: Exploring Narratives of Migration and Loss’, Textile and Place Conference, Manchester Metropolitan University

11/2017 ‘There will be no Homecoming: Visual Narratives of Home, Exile and Belonging’, Conflict and/or (Be)longing: Thinking with Stories and Images, University of Lisbon

02/2017Home, Exile and the Politics of Belonging’, AAH (Association of Art Historians) 43rd Annual Conference, Loughborough University

12/2014 ‘Photographic Practices of Homeland: Re-presentations of Home, Location and Identity’, 3rd International Conference of Photography and Theory, Cyprus

09/2014 ‘Be/come Closer to Home’, Trans-Figurations: Feminism, Art and Global Futures Symposium, New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, Leicester

02/2011 ‘Reviving Koukkoumara Tradition through Self-Expression: The Greek Cypriot artist Nina Iacovou and her Female Figure Vessels’, CAA (College Art Association) 99th Annual Conference, New York

In the media

Histories of bahces - Where are the Women in Cypriot History? available on YouTube – ‘Where are the Women in Cypriot History’, November 2021 

I was invited by Histories of bahces (a group of young scholars in Cyprus who created an open space to discuss challenging questions in relation to Cyprus’s complicated history) to talk about Cypriot women artists and their position in the male-dominated art history. 


 HOMinG Seminar - Online Book Presentation and discussion of Art, Borders and Belonging: On Home and Migration available on YouTube, May 2021 

I was invited by the ERC project HOMinG (based at the University of Trento, Italy) to talk at their webinar series about my research and the book I co-edited. 

Recent publications


Art, Borders and Belonging: On Home and Migration (Bloomsbury, 2021) 

Chapters in Edited Collections 

 ‘Weaving Together: Narratives of Home, Exile and Belonging’, in Art, Borders and Belonging: On Home and Migration, eds. Photiou M. and Meskimmon M. (Bloomsbury, 2021) 

‘Who Are We, Where Do We Come From, Where Are We Going To? Writing Greek Cypriot Women’s Art Histories in Contemporary Cyprus’, in Contemporary Art in Cyprus: Politics, Identity and Culture across Borders, eds. Gabriel Koureas, Elena Stylianou and Evi Tselika (Bloomsbury, 2021) 

'National Identity and the Politics of Belonging in Greek Cypriot Visual Culture', in Flags, Color, and the Legal Narrative, eds. Anne Wagner and Sarah Marusek (Springer, 2021)

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles 

Photiou, M. (2020) 'Gendered Narratives in Adamantios Diamantis' The World of Cyprus', Vol. 32 No. 1 (2020): The Cyprus Review, Volume 32, Issue 1 (Spring 2020)

Photiou, M. (2018) ‘Let’s Talk About Peace Over Dinner: A Cultural Experience on Memory, Dislocation and the Politics of Belonging in Cyprus’, in Crossings: Journal of Migration and Culture, Volume 8, Number 2, 1 October 2017, pp. 175-189

Photiou, M. (2016) ‘Be/come Closer to Home: Narratives of Contested Lands in the Visual Practices of Katerina Attalidou and Alexandra Handal’Third Text (Taylor & Francis), 29 (4-5), 340-355

Photiou, M. (2012) ‘Who Are We, Where Do We Come From, Where Are We Going To? Greek Cypriot Women Artists in Contemporary Cyprus’Women’s Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal (Taylor & Francis), vol. 41, pp. 941-958

Photiou,M. (2012) ‘The Green Line: Greek Cypriot Women Artists’ Politicised Practices – Lia Lapithi and Marianna Christofides’n.paradoxa, vol. 30 Feminist Aesthetics pp. 83-90