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Dr Nina Lübbren

Associate Professor

Faculty of Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences
Cambridge School of Creative Industries
Areas of Expertise:
Film, media and communication studies , Art history
Research Supervision:

Nina researches German Expressionist sculpture 1910-1935.  She is also an expert on 19th-century visual narrative, particularly history and genre paintings, and rural artists' colonies.

[email protected]

Visit Nina's website


Nina researches German sculpture, in particular women sculptors 1910-1945. During lockdown, she completed a book on visual narrative in nineteenth-century painting.

She has published and given papers on women sculptors, the reception of sculpture in Weimar and in fascist Germany, visual culture and tourism, academic painting and rural artists' colonies.

Nina went to school in Jakarta (Indonesia) and Sydney (Australia), studied at university in Heidelberg, Berlin (Germany), Berkeley (California, USA) and Leeds (England).

Her PhD was supervised by Griselda Pollock at Leeds. In her spare time, she reads, writes and studies Indonesian, Hindi and Bollywood dance.

Nina warmly welcomes research students in the areas of 19th century art, narrative, sculpture, modern German art, and Indian cinema.

Spoken Languages

  • English
  • German
  • Italian

Research interests

  • German women sculptors, 1900-1947
  • Visual narrative in 19th-century painting
  • 19th century landscape
  • 19th century academic painting
  • Rural artists' colonies
  • Ottilie Reylaender
  • Gela Forster
  • Jean-Léon Gérôme
  • Henri Regnault
  • Katharina Heise
  • Milly Steger
  • Oda Schottmüller
  • Hanna Cauer
  • Lotte Pritzel
  • Margarete Scheel

Areas of research supervision

  • World Art Trails in Public Spaces: Interactions and Narratives
  • The Caribbean Artists Movement (1966-1972)
  • 19th century art
  • German art, 1800-1950
  • Modern sculpture
  • Bollywood cinema

Recently completed PhD supervision:

  • 'The Art of Edward Calvert and Neoplatonism in the 19th century'

Currently supervising:

  • 'Words, images and trauma in German artists' letters during World War One'


  • Critical Contexts - Fine Art
  • Visual Media and Science Fiction
  • History of Global Cinema
  • Narrative in Global Cinema
  • Film Language and Concepts


  • PhD History of Art, University of Leeds
  • MA Art History and Italian, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Member, Association for Art Historians (AAH)
  • Member, German Studies Association (GSA)
  • Advisory Board, series 'Visual Cultures and German Contexts' (Bloomsbury)
  • Fellow, Higher Education Academy (HEA)

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • Leverhulme Research Fellowship

Selected recent publications

Lübbren, N., 2023. Narrative Painting in Nineteenth-Century Europe (Manchester: Manchester University Press).

Lübbren, N., 2021. Ornament, Monument and Gender in German Sculpture, 1910-1930: Milly Steger and Renée Sintenis. In Hart, I., Jones, C. (Eds.), 2021. Sculpture and the Decorative in Britain and Europe: Seventeenth Century to Contemporary (London: Bloomsbury), pp. 190-209.

Lübbren. N., 2019. Gela Forster's Expressionist Sculpture: Feminism, War and Revolution. Art History, 42:4, pp. 703-721.

Lübbren, N., 2019. German Sculpture, 1900-1945. German Quarterly, 92(2), pp. 263-5.

Lübbren, N., 2018. Authority and Ambiguity: Three Sculptors in National Socialist Germany. In: Ascher Barnstone, D., Otto, E. (Eds.), 2018. Art and Resistance in Germany (London: Bloomsbury).

Lübbren, N., 2017. Women, War and Naked Men: German Women Sculptors and the Male Nude, 1915-1925. In: Ascher Barnstone, D., McCloskey, B., (Eds.), 2017. The Art of War (Oxford: Peter Lang).

Cooke, P. D., Lübbren, N. (Eds.), 2016. Painting and Narrative in France: From Poussin to Gauguin (Aldershot/London: Ashgate/Routledge).

Lübbren, N., 2016. Europäische Künstlerkolonien. In: Andratschke, T. (Ed.), 2016. Worpswede und die europäischen Künstlerkolonien (Hannover: Landesmuseum).

Lübbren, N., 2010. The Objects of Genre. In: Baird, O. (Ed.), 2010. The Cranbrook Colony: Fresh Perspectives (Wolverhampton: Wolverhampton Art Gallery).

Lübbren, N. 2010. Crime, Time and Gérôme's Death of Caesar. In: S. Allan (ed.), Reconsidering Gérôme, Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute.

Crouch, D. and Lübbren. N., eds. 2003. Visual Culture and Tourism. London: Berg.

Lübbren, N. 2002. '"Toilers of the Sea": Fisherfolk and the Geographies of Tourism in England, 1880-1900'. In: D. P. Corbett, Ysanne Holt and F. Russell (eds), The Geographies of Englishness: Landscape and the National Past 1880-1940, New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Lübbren, N. 2001. Rural Artists' Colonies in Europe, 1870-1910, Manchester: Manchester University Press, and New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2001.

Recent presentations and conferences

Annual Conference of the German Studies Association, Portland, Oregon (Oct. 2019). '1919: German Visual Culture at the Crossroads', Panel Convenor and Commentator.

Modernist Art Writing / Writing Modernist Art, Conference, University of Nottingham (June 2019). 'Ecstatic Modernism: Expressionist Art Writing on German Sculpture'.

Workshop: Der Tiroler Maler Mathias Schmid zwischen Heimatkunst und populärer Kultur, organised by Universität Siegen, Ältere Kunstgeschichtliche Sammlungen des Tiroler Landesmuseums Ferdinandeum, and Mathias Schmid Museum, Ischgl, Austria (April 2019). 'Die Bildanekdote: Geschichten des Alltags in der narrativen europäischen Malerei'

Annual Conference of the German Studies Association, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Sept. 2018). ‘Sculpture before and after 1933: Continuities and Ruptures’

Annual Conference, Association for Art History, Courtauld Institute and King's College London (April 2018): 'The Nationalist Language of Sculpture Criticism in Germany, 1919-1945'

Symposium: Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945): A Life in Text and Image, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (Oct. 2017). 'Käthe Kollwitz: A Printmaker's Sculpture'

Annual Conference of the German Studies Association, Atlanta, Georgia (Oct. 2017). 'Resistance is Futile: Three Sculptors in Nazi Germany'

Annual Conference, Association of Art Historians, Loughborough (April 2017). 'Sculpture in 1937: Steger, Cauer, Mukhina'

Historical Fictions Research Network Conference, Maritime Museum, Greenwich (Feb. 2017). 'Ahistorical Fictions: German Sculpture from Democracy to Dictatorship, 1919-1939'

Annual Conference of the German Studies Association, San Diego, California (Sept.-Oct. 2016). 'Material and Metaphor in Expressionist Sculpture'

Annual Conference, Association of Art Historians, Edinburgh (April 2016). 'Ornament, Monument and Gender in Weimar Sculpture: Sintenis and Steger'.

Historical Fictions Research Network Conference, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge (Feb. 2016): 'The Buttons of History: Creative Anachronism in Nineteenth-Century Genre Paintings'

Annual Conference, Association of Art Historians, Norwich (April 2015). 'Gela Forster's Expressionist Sculpture: Feminism, War and Revolution'

Annual Conference, International Society for the Study of Narrative, Chicago (March 2015). 'Worth a Thousand Words: Narrative Structure in Nineteenth-Century Painting Reviews'

Annual Conference, Association of Art Historians, Reading (April 2013) 'Theatrical Absorption, or How to Perform Contemplative Immersion in Nineteenth-Century Narrative Painting'

Media experience

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Live television interview about the cult show Dinner for One on German TV, November 2018.

BBC Look East, Live television interview about Oriental art theft at the Fitzwilliam Museum, 2016.

BBC Radio Newcastle, Interview about The Monuments Men, live broadcast 14 February 2014.

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Interview about The Monuments Men, live broadcast 14 February 2014.

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, News item, Discussion about the place of swearing, live broadcast 12 November 2013.

BBC Radio Four, The Third Degree: Panel member on academic comedy quiz show, first aired 25 March 2013.

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, The Sue Dougan Show: Interview about the BBC 'Your Paintings' Project, live broadcast 8 February 2013.

BBC Look East, Live television interview about art theft at the Fitzwilliam Museum, 19 April 2012.