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Cliona O'Dunlaing

Director of Studies / Principal Lecturer

Faculty of Science and Engineering
Engineering and the Built Environment
Areas of Expertise:
Built environment

Cliona is a trained architect whose main area of interest is in the perception of art and architecture and how this has an affect on daily life.

[email protected]


Cliona completed her Part 1 & Part 2 degrees in architecture in Dublin. She gained experience in architectural practice before shifting her interest to art history and theory. Cliona holds two further degrees in this area and is currently writing her PhD on a specific area of modernist art and architectural theory.

Since joining Anglia Ruskin in 2010, Cliona has worked in various capacities from tutor and module leader, to course leader. She's been involved in a variety of modules including Architectural History and Theory, and studio-based design modules. Cliona has experience in supervising dissertation students in disciplines across the built environment.

Research interests

Cliona's research interests fall into two connected fields of art and architecture in the modern period and beyond. She has investigated the semiotics of everyday buildings as presented by the work of artists Robert Smithson and Edward Ruscha in the 1960s and early 1970s. Cliona is currently a PhD candidate in the department of Philosophy and Art History at the University of Essex, where her thesis subject is Crystalline metaphors in art and architecture after 1900.


BA (Hons) Architecture


  • PhD in Art History and Theory (2011-ongoing), School of Philosophy & Art History, University of Essex. Working Title: Crystalline Metaphors in Architecture & Art in Modernism & Beyond, supervisor Prof Margaret Iversen
  • Dip Arch (Hons), School of Architecture, Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland. Project Title: Art Space
  • MA Contemporary Art, Theory and Criticism (Distinction), Department of Art History and Theory, University of Essex. MA dissertation: Edward Ruscha’s and Robert Smithson’s Dedifferentiated Visions (20,000 words), supervisor Prof Margaret Iversen
  • BA History of Modern and Contemporary Art (First Class Honours), Department of Art History and Theory, University of Essex. BA dissertation: The Return of Vernacular Housing: Wivenhoe, a test case (8,800 words), supervisor Prof Jules Lubbock
  • BSc (Hons) Architecture, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Selected recent publications

Something Fierce University of Essex: Vision and Reality, 2014. Commissioned to reconstruct an early architectural concept model for the 50th anniversary exhibition at the University of Essex. The only record of the original model was a single photograph published in the Architectural Review in 1963. The reconstructed model is now part of the University of Essex Special Collection.

Parkwood Avenue, Joe King & Rosie Pedlow, University of Essex, January-March 2014. Published catalogue essay to accompany moving image and photography exhibition entitled, Parkwood Avenue, at Art Exchange, University of Essex.

Conducted a interview/discussion with the artists in front of a live audience, British Design 1948-2012, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 31 March-12 August 2012.

Involved in the sourcing of an original architectural drawing for exhibition at the V&A which formed part of the Cultural Olympiad 2012. This included detailed research in the University of Essex Archive and the archives of Architects Co-Partnership (ACP). A copy of the drawing is published on p.82 of the catalogue for the exhibition, British Design from 1948: Innovation in the Modern Age, edited by Christopher Breward & Ghislaine Wood, London, V&A Publishing, 2012. The drawing will subsequently enter the V&A collection of architectural drawings and models, the best collection of its kind in the world.