Emilia Terracciano

Emilia Terracciano


Personal profile


Emilia Terracciano is a writer, translator, and lecturer in the history of global modernism with a focus on the visual culture of twentieth-century South Asia. At Manchester, she lectures at undergraduate level on a wide range of course units foregrounding the contributions of artists from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and their diaspora to global modernism. She also teaches Art and Ecology in the Global South, a novel course devoted to the study of decolonisation, art, indigenous cosmologies, and the environment.

Her first book, Art and Emergency: Modernism in Twentieth-Century India (IB Tauris, 2018), investigates the uneasy relationship between aesthetics and political history, tracing a genealogy of modernism in colonial and postcolonial India. Recovered from dispersed and diverse archives (Nasreen Mohamedi, Gaganendranath Tagore, Sunil Janah) art fragments act as both a witness to history and an empowering response to the most devastating conditions that humanity has been made to endure.

Her current book project focuses on the active role of plants as anti-colonial agents and instigators in a range of artistic practices concerned with notions of salvage, futurity and extinctions.

Anglo-Italian, Emilia studied Philosophy and History of Art at University College London (BA Hons) and completed her MA and PhD at The Courtauld Institute of Art. She was the recipient of the Nehru Trust Award (2008) and the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award scholarship at the Victoria and Albert Museum (2008-2012) for the project Beyond the Gaze: Collecting and Displaying Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art in the UK. At the V&A, under the supervision of Senior Curator Divia Patel, she compiled detailed reports about the modern and contemporary artworks contained in the South Asia collection, one of the largest in Europe.

Before joining Manchester, Emilia was the Bowra Fellow in the Humanities and Global South at Wadham College and Ruskin School of Art at the University of Oxford. She previously held a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford (2015-18).

Emilia is interested in supervising doctoral students working in modern and contemporary art, aesthetics, post-colonialism, imagination, ecologies, technology, materiality, and notions of temporality.

Emilia regularly collaborates with contemporary artists internationally. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Sustainable Futures
  • Creative Manchester


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