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Hannah Halliwell
History of Art, University of Birmingham

Thesis Title: The Morphine Addict in Fin-de-Siècle French Visual Culture


My thesis examines representations of morphine use in French fin-de-siècle (c.1880-1916) art and visual culture. Considering visual morphinomanie (morphine-mania) as an interdisciplinary, multi-functional device, I explore socio-political/historical debates on medicine, femininity, lesbianism, masculinity, domesticity and class. The research reframes the influential nature of this widely neglected aspect of French society, drawing significant attention to the role it plays in aforementioned wider debates. I consider the morphine addict as a familiar, yet-to-be synthesised, motif in lithographic print culture, as decadently depicted in unfamiliar but institutionally-approved Salon paintings, as caricatures in newspapers, as sketches in medical texts and as wax models with pedagogic and diagnostic functions.

Whilst there is an increasing medicalisation of art history, French morphinomanie has been ignored despite its prevalence in contemporary medical theses, newspapers articles, artistic culture and literature. The prevalent intertextuality and breadth of the morphinomane image type encapsulates the topic’s potential to make an urgent and original contribution to art historical scholarship.

Supervisors and Institutions:

Dr. Francesca Berry, University of Birmingham

Dr. Camilla Smith, University of Birmingham

Dr. Ting Chang, University of Nottingham


Papers, Posts & Publications:

Paper at the Modernism in the Home conference (University of Birmingham, 1-2 July 1019). Panel chair. 
Paper title: Absent Presences: The Morphinomane at Home in French Visual Culture (1880-c.1916)

Paper at Alcohol and Drugs History Society conference, 'Changing Minds: Societies, States, the Sciences and Psychoactive Substances in History' (University of Shanghai, 13-16 June 2019)
Paper title: The Significance of the Image: Morphinomanie in French Visual Culture (1880-c.1916)

Paper at Women’s Spaces, Pleasure, and Desire in the Belle Époque (St. Hilda's, University of Oxford, 3-4th June 2019)
Paper title: The Dangers of Desire: The Morphinomane in French Art (1880-c.1916)

Research relay at the M3C annual research festival (23rd May 2019)
Talk title: Diagnosing Habitual Morphine Use in French Visual Culture (1880-c.1916)

Paper at the Southern Association for the History of Medicine and Science (University of Virginia, 14th-16th March 2019)
Paper title: Medicalisation and Popularisation: The morphinomane in French art (1880-c.1916)

Paper at the Modern and Contemporary Forum (University of Birmingham, 6th March 2019)
Paper title: A Medical Absent Presence: Images of Morphine Use in Fin-de-Siècle French Visual Culture

Creative competition entry on display at the Dr Jekyll’s Laboratory: Science and Medicine in the Nineteenth Century exhibition at The Atkinson Southport (February - May 2019)
Work title: How to paint a morphine addict for the French fin-de-siècle annual Salon

Guest post for Points, blog for the Alcohol and Drugs History Society (January 2019)
Post title: “How to Paint a Morphine Addict”: Notes from the “Substance Use and Abuse in the Long 19th Century” Conference 

First prize winner for creative entry at the Substance Use and Abuse conference (Edge Hill University, 13-14 September 2018)
Work title: How to paint a morphine addict for the French fin-de-siècle annual Salon

University of Birmingham Research Poster Conference (University of Birmingham, 13 June 2018)
Poster title: The Morphine Addict in French Visual Culture, 1880-1916
Awarded an average score of 18.5/20

Paper at the AAH Summer Symposium 'Re/Presenting the Body: Between Art and Science' (University of Glasgow, July 2017)
Paper title: The Body of the Fin-de-Siècle Morphine Addict

Poster presentation at the M3C Research Festival (University of Leicester, May 2017)
Poster title: The Morphine Addict in Fin-de-Siècle French Visual Culture

Scholarly Engagement Activities and Teaching:

Lecturing History of Art in 20 Objects (History of Art department) (2019-2020)

Teaching Object and Medium seminars, including coordinating gallery visits (History of Art department) (2019-2019)

Teaching Reading Art History seminars (History of Art department) (2019-2020)

Teaching Debates and Methods seminars (History of Art Department) (2018-2019)

Co-organiser of the first annual Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music (LCAHM) conference at the University of Birmingham (14 May 2019)

Co-organiser for the CDF bid: Blended Learning Professional Development Workshop (April 2019), with follow-up talk at the Teaching and Learning Conference 2019, University of Nottingham. Collaboration talk at the Teaching and Learning Conference 2019 (University of Nottingham, 3rd May 2019) 

Successful application to attend the Royal Literary Fund Writing Retreat at Shepherd's Dene (17th - 22nd February)

Contribution to the Lapworth Museum of Geology temporary exhibition
Cleaning objects, organising space, writing & editing exhibition caption

Teaching Debates and Methods seminars (History of Art Department) (2017-2018)
As part of the Haywood Fellowship award

Holding seminars for sixth form students at the department's Applicant Visit Days

Organising and administrating the History of Art research seminars series (2017-2018), with international speakers 
As part of the Haywood Fellowship award

Organising and administrating research workshops for the History of Art department to share research with each other (2017-2018)
As part of the Haywood Fellowship award

Teaching Historical Concepts seminars (History of Art Department) (2016-2017)

Academic Writing Advisory Service Postgraduate Workshop Leader (2016-2017)

Assistant Editor for the Journal of Art Historiography (2015-2016)

Research Volunteer on Joseph Wright at Derby Museums and Art Gallery (2015)


Courses and Qualifications:

Attendance at the PRINCE2 project management training course (8-10 May 2019)
Passed the PRINCE2 exam (1 August 2019)

Cultural Differences in the Classroom course (University of Birmingham, March 2019)

Successful application to attend the Royal Literary Fund Writing Retreat at Shepherd's Dene (17th - 22nd February)

Supporting Diversity in the Classroom course (University of Birmingham, February 2019)

Attended short course at University of Oxford (November 2018)
Contemporary Scientific Realism and the Challenge from the History of Science

One-to-One Tutoring course (University of Birmingham, October 2016)

Supporting Academic Writing Skills Development course (University of Birmingham, October 2016)

Assessment and Feedback in Teaching course (University of Birmingham, October 2019)

Introduction to Teaching in Higher Education course (University of Birmingham, October 2019)



Additional Awards and Scholarships:

Haywood Fellowship (2017-2018)

College of Arts and Law Masters Scholarship (2015-2016)

Birmingham Alumni Award (2015-2016)

Winner of Languages for All award for French (2015)

Winner of Contribution to Department award (2015)

Nominated for the university's 300,000th graduate award (2015)



Successful Funding Applications:

Midlands3Cities Student Development Fund

Midlands3Cities Collaborative Development Fund

AHRC Research Training Support Grant

Art History department's Haywood Fellowship

TORCH (University of Oxford)

Edge Hill University in collaboration with The Atkinson Southport

University of Birmingham Postgraduate Research Support Fund



Other Research Interests:

  • Fin-de-siècle poster art; wider impacts of advertising
  • Visualisation of the gendering of drugs/habitual users
  • Concepts of visual culture
  • Fin-de-siècle femininity and women's experiences in France
    (and its representations in art)
  • Women and the bicycle in fin-de-siècle French art (MA dissertation focus)
  • Fin-de-siècle French consumerism
    (and its representations in art)
  • Art markets and art criticism histories
  • Medical history and its teaching implements
  • Concepts of addiction and societal understanding
  • Representations of the body/skin


Email address:

Hannah Halliwell 





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