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Rebecca Savage

Visual Arts, University of Birmingham

Thesis title:

Designing Modernism: Exploring the Impact of Female Artists on British Poster Design (1900-1939)

My research examines the output of female poster artists working in early 20th-century Britain; a period noted for high-quality and stylistically modern commercial art. Focusing on prolific but under-acknowledged artists such as Dora Batty, Herry Perry, and Anna Zinkeisen I am investigating how women used applied art mediums to overcome the gender boundaries of fine-art practice, whilst also considering how this connected to the changing social, political, and cultural position of women in interwar Britain. 

My objective is to provide vital research into figures whose contemporary success has been overlooked by academic study, countering historiographical repression due to medium and gender. In doing this I will be contributing to developing discourses on poster and commercial-art history, whilst also engaging with historiography on British modernism, female power, and public engagement with art. 

Research Area

  • Visual Arts


  • R. Savage, 'Alfred Wallis, A Brig Close to Shore, (Undated)', Midlands Art Papers, 2 (2018/19) 
  • Rebecca Savage 'An Unexpected Success: Alfred Wallis and the world of British Art' ArtUK, (2019)


  • Poster 'Female Artists and the British Poster Movement' at the M4C research conference. (winner) 
  • Participant in roundtable discussion on 'Approaches to female subjectivity and the spatial turn,' alongside Professor Fiona Macintosh, Dr Sneha Krishnan, and Dr Marie Daouda as part of symposium 'Women's Spaces, Pleasure, and Desire in the Belle Époque' (St Hildas Oxford, 4th June)
  • Paper 'Great Western Railway Posters (1921-39): Art, Advertising, and Conservative Modernity' MAC annual symposium (Univeristy of Birmingham 5th June) 
  • Poster 'Female Artists and the British Poster Movement' at the 13th University of Brimignham Research Conference. (winner) (Univeristy of Birmingham 19th June) 

Public Engagement & Impact

Committee Positions 
  • Chair of the Modern and Contemporary Forum (MAC) at the University of Birmingham - September 2019
  • Committee Member of Research Curate - 2019/2020
Public Engagement
  • 'Reliving the Past through Advertising' Esssay for Research/Curate.com - October 2019
  • Friday Focus talk on 'Freda Lingstrom' at Leamington Spa Museum and Art Gallery - January 2020

Other Research Interests

  • British modernism 
  • Twentieth-Century Railway posters (subject of MRes thesis) 
  • Ideas of Englishness and cultural identity during the interwar period 
  • Conservative Modernity 
  • Concepts of Middlebrow culture 
  • the St Ives artists