The AHRB Centre for Studies of Surrealism and its Legacies. (PROJECT)


Research Council Grant [RCG]


The Centre for the Study of Surrealism and its Legacies is a unique three-way institutional partnership between the University of Essex and the University of Manchester, and Tate.

Between them, the three institutions comprise a highly significant concentration of expertise in the field of surrealist studies in the UK; additionally, Tate has one of the pre-eminent collections of surrealist and contemporary art in the world.

The Centre's collaborative ethos offers the benefits of an expanded critical mass of researchers in this important subject area and a strengthening of links between academics, artists and the museum world. The Centre looks outwards, and through its collaboration with other individuals and institutions in the UK aims to reflect the strength of interest in surrealism across the academy, in galleries, and among practising artists.

The Centre was one of a small number of prestigious research centres in the UK to be funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for an initial five-year period from 2002 to 2007.

Key findings

Surrealism occupies a unique position in the intellectual and cultural history of the twentieth century. Marking the crisis in post-Enlightenment thought and active in every sphere of creative life, it has been at the heart of debates about modernism and postmodernism. The Centre provides a valuable focus for the many individual researchers in other universities and for museums with interests in surrealism, consolidating existing scholarship on surrealism and identifying vital new areas of research such as the relationship with science. Drawing together a broad range of disciplinary perspectives and allowing for productive interplay between historical analysis and contemporary artistic and theoretical reflection, the Centre is concerned to redefine understanding of a movement that is critical to debates about the avant-garde. It seeks to highlight surrealism's many legacies in recent art and cultural theory. In collaboration with Tate, it generates outputs of value to scholars, students, artists and the museum-going public.
Short titleR:HAZ 3020:The AHRB Centre
Effective start/end date1/06/0231/05/07