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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


    Journal Articles 
    • Rebecca Savage, 'The Artist, the Advertiser, The Public: The Great Western Railway Poster as Collaborative DesignVisual Culture in Britain, (December 2020) https://doi.org/10.1080/14714787.2020.1852886
    • Rebecca Savage, 'Review "Ideal homes, 1918–39 domestic design and suburban modernism" by Deborah Sugg Ryan, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2018, xvii + 246pp., £17.99, ISBN 978-0-7190-6885-0' Womens History Review (October 2020) https://doi.org/10.1080/09612025.2020.1813362
    Online contrubutions 
    • 'Review "Chauvo-Feminism: men, women, and feminism in the aftermath of #MeToo" by Sam Mills' review for Lucy Writers Platform - February 2021
    • Post cards in isolation - Lichtenstein in the car' article for Lucy Writers Platform - August 2020
    • 'Advocates for the Arts #4: Freda Lingstrom' Blog Post for EmmaWest.art.blog - January 2020
    • 'Reliving the Past through Advertising' Esssay for Research/Curate.com - October 2019
    • Rebecca Savage 'An Unexpected Success: Alfred Wallis and the world of British Art' ArtUK, (2019)
    • R. Savage, 'Alfred Wallis, A Brig Close to Shore, (Undated)', Midlands Art Papers, 2 (2018/19) 


    Papers and Panels 
    • Panel co-convenor with Dr Michael Clegg for panel 'Visual Art and the Middlebrow' at the Association for Art History Conference (AAH) 2021. (Online 16th April 2021) 
    • 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 2019)
    • Paper 'Great Western Railway Posters (1921-39): Art, Advertising, and Conservative Modernity' MAC annual symposium (Univeristy of Birmingham 5th June 2019) 

    Poster Conferences

    • Poster 'Female Artists and the British Poster Movement' at the 13th University of Brimignham Research Conference. (winner) (Univeristy of Birmingham 19th June 2019) 
    • Poster 'Female Artists and the British Poster Movement' at the M4C research conference. (winner 2019)

    Public Engagement & Impact

    Committee Positions 
    • Chair of the Modern and Contemporary Forum (MAC) at the University of Birmingham - September 2019- ongoing 
    • Committee Member of Research Curate - 2019/2020
    Public Engagement
    • 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