Programme: History of Art - MPhil/PhD/MSc by Research

Start date: September 2018

Mode of study: Full time

Research title: Subversive strategies in print and performance from Simplicissimus to Dada

Lucy Byford is in her second year of postgraduate research at the University of Edinburgh. Her PhD is funded by the AHRC and uses unpublished archival material to re-assess the relationship between the print culture and performance of Berlin Dada’s members and their earlier satirical precedents in Germany, in particular political cabaret and Witzblätter (humour magazines). In July and August of 2019 she completed a fellowship funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) where she was based at the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte in Munich.  

Lucy received a First Class BA in the History of Art from Oxford University in 2016 and her MA in German Art, Architecture and Design (1900-1930) from the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2017, graded distinction. A founding member of artist collective, the Montage Mädels, she also holds a foundation diploma in Fine Art from City & Guilds of London Art School (2013). Before commencing her doctoral studies, Lucy was an external marker for the Technische Universität München, and worked remotely for the Commission for Looted Art in Europe, conducting archival provenance research in the archives of the imperial collection in Berlin.

Research interests

  • German humour magazines and avant-garde magazines from the Wilhelmine and Weimar periods
  • German early twentieth-century avant-garde performance and set design
  • Popular entertainment culture and satire in the early twentieth-century


  • Peer-reviewed and forthcoming: ‘Beyond Asiatic Despotism: The Stagecraft of Erwin Piscator’s Adaptation of Tai Yang erwacht (1931)’ for MHRA Working Papers in the Humanities: Reframing Exoticism in European Literature, 2019

Conference Papers

  • ‘Embodied Apocalypse: Dada Performance in Berlin’ for Imagining the Apocalypse, Courtauld Institute, October 2019
  • ‘The figure of the fool in the German avant-garde: the artist as carnival’s “accredited representative”’ for Danger! The History of Art Postgraduate Conference, University of Edinburgh, May 2019
  • ‘Staging the carnivalesque: a work in progress’, for the Fourth Year German Conference, University of Edinburgh, February 2018
  • ‘The Montage Mädels and the Production of Counter-Propaganda’ for the panel, ‘Dada Data: Contemporary art practice in the era of post-truth politics’, AAH Annual Conference, April 2018.