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Last updated 24th March 2023


Rina Arya joined the University of Huddersfield in 2018 as Professor of Visual Culture and Theory.


Professor Arya received an MA in Theology from the University of Leeds and a PhD from the University of Glasgow. Her research interests include post-war British art; abjection and disgust; theology and visual art; the sociology of the sacred; and visual religious studies. Her main research interest is in the role of the sacred in the arts and culture, especially in contemporary secular culture. Her PhD focused on the expression and experience of the sacred in ‘Death of God’ culture resulting in the 2012 monograph Francis Bacon: Painting in a Godless World. Since then she has written extensively on the art of Francis Bacon where she has maintained a stronger interest in theoretical rather than historical themes, especially the existentialist symbols in Bacon’s work and the aesthetics of the representation of embodiment. Her work on Bacon developed her interest in abjection and the body, the subject of her 2014 monograph Abjection and Representation: An Exploration of Abjection in the Visual Arts, Film and Literature. She is continuing her interest in the relationship between the visual and material culture, and religion in her current book project on the cultural appropriation of Hindu symbols.


Rina is interested in supervising PhD topics in the following areas:

  • Francis Bacon
  • Georges Bataille
  • Abjection
  • Visual religious studies
  • South Asian visual studies
  • Cultural Appropriation

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Postwar British Art
  • Abjection & Disgust
  • Theology
  • Visual Art
  • Sociology of the Sacred
  • Visual Religious Studies


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