Universiteit Leiden

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Laura Bertens

University Lecturer

Dr. L.M.F. Bertens
+31 71 527 2154

Laura Bertens is a University Lecturer at the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society.

More information about Laura Bertens

Research interests

* Contemporary art and theory of art

* Memory studies, specifically representations of cultural memory in contemporary art and popular culture

* Environmental history and its relation to cultural memory and exctinction studies

* Posthumanism and bio-art


Laura Bertens is a university lecturer of Art History at Leiden University with interests in the fields of memory studies, contemporary art and cultural studies. She analyses the construction and functioning of cultural memory in art, as well as everyday culture. She has published book chapters and articles for journals such as Third TextHolocaust Studies and German Life and Letters, on topics ranging from cultural memory in music videos, the Berlin Wall Memorial, Holocaust remembrance in art, to the construction of memory through museum audio guides and the representation of extinction in the natural history museum. She is currently co-coordinator (with Sara Polak) of the research theme Identity and Memory and co-coordinator (with Johannes Müller) of the research theme Ecologies, Environment, Extinctions.

Curriculum vitae

After completing a BA+MA in Classical Studies and a BA+MA in Biology (both Leiden University), Laura Bertens combined a PhD project in Bio-informatics with a BA+MA program in Art History. In 2012 she obtained her PhD degree at the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (Leiden University), with a dissertation about computerised modelling solutions for developmental biology, focusing in particular on ontological modelling and reptilian heart development.

Between 2012 and 2015, she worked as a researcher and lecturer for the BA programs Art History, International Studies and Leiden University College and as an external lecturer for the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. The focus of her research was mainly on Digital Humanities and Posthumanism. As organisor of the NWO KIEM project "E-Canon" she explored the possibilities of applying ontological modelling to the study of Art History, in particular the process of canon formation. And as a postdoc in the HERITAGE PLUS project EUWATHER she helped collect, annotate and present cultural heritage related to historic waterways by creating a Spatial Database Infrastructure.

Since 2016 she has been working as university lecturer, currently teaching in the track Art, Media and Society (part of the BA Art History) and at Leiden University College. Her research interests have shifted towards the interaction between Memory Studies and Art History. She studies the workings of monuments, as well as artworks which reflect on specific cultural memories or the functioning of memory itself. Within the research theme Ecologies, Environment, Extinctions she explores the representation of extinction and the cultural memories attached to extinction events.


Current courses in the BA programs Art History (track Arts, Media and Society) and Leiden University College:

* Modern and contemporary visual art after 1800

* Art and Cultural Memory

* Cultural Representation and Signifying Practices

* AMS on site: Curating the city

* What is culture?

* BA Thesis seminar Arts, Media and Society, theme ‘Art, medicine and death’

Previous courses:

* Cultural Studies (BA International Studies)

* Primitivism and beyond (MA Arts and Culture)

* Humanities Lab, introductory module

* Globalisation, Culture and Language (BA International Studies)

* Cultural Interaction: a global perspective (BA International Studies)

* The human condition: the body in art 19th century - present (MA Arts and Culture)

* How we are human (BA International Studies)

* Contemporary Art (BA Leiden University College)

* Art and Technology (BA Art History)

* Microscopy, modelling and visualisation (BA Computer Science)

* Human Computer Interaction (MA Media Technology)

* Biomodelling and Petri Nets (BA Computer Science, MA Media Technology)

* Thesis seminars in BA Art History, BA International Studies

University Lecturer

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Centre for the Arts in Society
  • KG Moderne beeldende kunst

Work address

Arsenaalstraat 1
2311 CT Leiden
Room number A1.22



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