Job title: Head of Subject Area - History of Art; Senior Lecturer, History of Art

Role: Leverhulme Research Fellowship (Jan 2018-June 2019)

Tel: +44 (0)131 651 4116


Office address: Room 0.55, Higgitt Gallery, Hunter Building

Research outputs: Dr Heather Pulliam on Edinburgh Research Explorer

Heather Pulliam specialises in the art of early medieval Britain—also known as Insular, Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and Hiberno-Saxon art—as well as Carolingian art and the Celtic Revival. Recent projects include an exhibition, The Celts, at the British Museum (Sep 2015 - Jan 2016) and at the National Museum of Scotland (Spring 2016) and a Leverhulme-funded research fellowship, From 2D to 4D: Ireland’s Medieval Crosses in Time, Motion and the Environment, (2018-2019).  She has published on the Lindisfarne Gospels, Book of Kells, Lewis Chessmen, Corbie Psalter and Ruthwell Cross.

Heather’s research questions how the visual and material nature of an object shape the viewer's experience, focusing on understudied or neglected aspects of the artwork and its context: Her publication ‘The Performative Cross’ considers the interaction of rainfall on the Ruthwell Cross and Pictish sculpture; her book, Word and Image in the Book of Kells, explores how marginal creatures direct the reader's gaze, and ‘Art and Avatar: Identity and Gesture in a Virtual World' analyses the intimate relationship engendered by the shape and scale of the Lewis chessmen. Other publications focus on the role of colour and number in the ornamentation of the Lindisfarne Gospels’ Canon Tables and the carpet pages of the Book of Durrow.

Her current project, From 2D to 4D, resituates the medieval high crosses of Ireland within the living world, investigating the effects of time and motion: how changing viewpoints, scale, light, weather and distances elicit a series of encounters with a polymorphic, animated object. The study also analyses how the depth of carving, physical landscape and the gestures and glances of the sculpted figures dictate the viewer’s response.

A full list of Heather’s publications can be found at:

Edinburgh Research Explorer: Outputs

Past PhD Supervision (1st or co-supervisor)

Andrew Paterson, ‘The Earliest Christian Icons from the Collection of the Monastery of St Catherine, Sinai, and their Possible Sources’, awarded 2017.

Tasha Gefreh, ‘Place Space and Time, Iona’s Early Medieval High Crosses in the Natural and Liturgical Landscape’, awarded 2015

Emily Goetsch, ‘Extra-Apocalyptic iconography in the 10th-century Beatus Commentaries on the Apocalypse as indicators of Christian-Muslim relations in medieval Iberia’, awarded 2014

Honours and Taught PG Courses

Insular Art (Anglo-Saxon; Hiberno-Saxon; Pictish, Celtic art) Carolingian; Celtic Revival--for details please see 'biography' tab.

Current PhD students

PhD Supervision Topics

Heather welcomes enquiries from PhD applicants interested in her specialist areas which include –the visual culture of the Early Medieval Europe, particularly Britain and Ireland (Insular; Pictish, Hiberno-Saxon; Anglo-Saxon). Secondary areas of interest include Celtic, Carolingian and Ottonian art as well as the Celtic Revival in the 19th and 20th centuries.