Tsovinar Kuiumchian

DPhil Student

St Peter's College

Thesis: Trauma and Vitality in Contemporary Armenian Art

Research: My research focuses on contemporary art and creative practices in the global Armenian community after the 1915 Armenian Genocide, Soviet occupation of Armenia and the 2020 Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) War. While Armenian subjectivity has been marked by the intergenerational trauma of violence, displacement, dispossession and denial for over a century, the new artworks and collaborations that are being crafted in the Armenian community point towards an emerging process of trauma transformation. Through a multi-sited ethnography of the global Armenian creative community that combines online research with on-site fieldwork in Armenia, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States, my thesis explores how contemporary Armenians, with the traumatic past perpetually present in our bodies, use creative media to overcome the spatial and temporal barriers to sociality, thus resisting erasure and persevering as social subjects. Conceiving of art as social action and not just representation or a form of language, this study of creativity, with bodily practice at its core, probes the dominant assumption of trauma theory that emphasises production of discourse as a prerequisite for social agency.

My doctoral research is supported by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research, the Knights of Vartan Fund for Armenian Studies, and the St Peter’s College Foundation.

Previous education:

MSc in Visual, Material and Museum Anthropology (University of Oxford)
MSc in Security Studies (UCL)
BA in European Social and Political Studies (UCL)

Research interests: contemporary art, art collectives, the body, materiality, trauma theory, Armenians.

Email: tsovinar.kuiumchian@anthro.ox.ac.uk