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Vanessa Bateman



I am a PhD candidate in the Art History, Theory, and Criticism with a Specialization in Anthropogeny from the Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA). My dissertation focuses on the visual culture of hunting and animals in the nineteenth century, connecting hunting practices to technological developments in visual media that were concurrent with the conservationist movement in the United States.

Central to my dissertation is the question: what does it mean to capture or pose an animal for a photograph, film, or taxidermy mount? My research considers non-human animals as: subject / material / collected thing / performer / genetically manipulated / reproduced / and active agents. I am interested in the ethical/moral/cultural questions that are raised by the animal subject matter/material and how it is part of the larger narrative of human-animal relations.

In 2013 I received an MA from the Contemporary Art, Design, and New Media Art Histories program at OCAD University in Toronto, Canada with a thesis titled “Why Look at Dead Animals? Taxidermy in Contemporary Art.”

My research is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Graduate Fellowship (SSHRC) and the CARTA Graduate Student Fellowship.

Here is a reflection on my experience as a CARTA student:

photo of the artist's hand holding a black and white photo of a taxidermied bear