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Anna Sweeney

Dr Anna McSweeney

Assistant Professor in the History of Art and Architecture
Director, MPhil in History of Art and Architecture

Research Interests

My research focuses on the art and architecture of the Islamic world, in particular Spain, north Africa and the medieval Mediterranean. I published a book on the long history of the Alhambra palace (From Granada to Berlin: the Alhambra Cupola - Verlag Kettler, 2020).  I am interested in Islamic ceramics, manuscripts and architectural interiors, histories of objects, art and architecture of the medieval Mediterranean, Spain and North Africa. I am the image strand co-ordinator for the Trinity Centre for the Book.

Crafting Medieval Spain
Co-Investigator on the BA/Leverhulme funded project Crafting Medieval Spain with Dr Mariam Rosser-Owen at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London

PhD Students

I welcome applications from potential PhD students on the following topics: Islamic art and architecture; Islamic manuscripts; the art and architecture of al-Andalus and Spain; medieval Mediterranean art and architecture; museums and heritage issues including questions of repatriation, global art history, cultural legacies and display; object histories and biography. I am particularly interested in PhD students who are interested in working with the collections in Ireland, eg the Chester Beatty, the National Museum of Ireland and the Trinity College Dublin collections, as well as students with Spanish and/or Arabic language interested in working on al-Andalus and Islamic Spain.

Recent Conferences

Seeing Isfahan: Perspectives on the Safavid Image
International Conference with Dr Moya Carey, Chester Beatty, Dublin

Selected Publications

  • 'Rethinking the Borders of Islamic Art: Paterna Ceramics from the Fourteenth Century to Today’ in David Govantes-Edwards and Chloë Duckworth (eds). Archaeology, Politics and Islamicate Cultural Heritage in Europe (Equinox 2022), 67-81.
  • From Granada to Berlin: the Alhambra Cupola (Dortmund: Verlag Kettler, 2020)
  • Anna McSweeney and Claudia Heide (eds.), Art in Translation, Orientalism and Spain, special issue, vol. 9:1, 2017.
  • 'Portable Monuments. Lottinoplastique and the Transmission of Images'. Published in German in Bilderfahrzeuge: Aby Warburgs Vermächtnis und die Zukunft der Ikonologie. Verlag Klaus Wagenbach, Berlin, pp. 41-53 (2018).
  • 'Mudéjar and the Alhambresque: Spanish Pavilions at the Universal Expositions and the Invention of a National Style', Art in Translation. Spain and Orientalism 9:1 (2017).
  • 'Versions and Visions of the Alhambra in the Nineteenth-Century Ottoman World', West 86th: a Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture, 22:1, Spring/Summer 2015, 44-69.

Dr McSweeney on the TCD Research Support System

Museums and Exhibitions

I collaborate in teaching and research with museums including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Chester Beatty, Dublin. My MPhil module ‘Arts of the Book’ examines the history of Islamic book arts through the outstanding collection of Islamic manuscripts at the Chester Beatty. In 2022 I co-organised a conference Seeing Isfahan: Perspectives on the Safavid Image with the Chester Beatty curator Moya Carey. I am co-investigator on a British Academy/Leverhulme funded collaborative project with the Victoria & Albert Museum, London entitled Crafting Medieval Spain (2021-23) which looks at the legacy of Islamic art in Europe through the lens of a 15th century ceiling.

From 2015-2018 I was a research fellow at the Warburg Institute in London with the Bilderfahrzeuge Project, where I co-curated an exhibition at the Lethaby Gallery, London on Metadata: How we Relate to Images (2018), supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education. From 2013-14 I worked at the Museum for Islamic art in Berlin as the Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices fellow of the Forum Transregionale Studien and the Kunsthistorische Institut, Florence. My research on the Alhambra at the Museum in Berlin was filmed for the Arte documentary High-Tech Archaeology (June 2017). 


I teach Islamic art and architecture, in particular art, material culture and architecture of the medieval Mediterranean and the art of Islamic Spain and North Africa. My teaching also includes museums and heritage; orientalisms and the legacy of Islamic art in Europe; Islamic manuscripts and material culture; the art and architecture of Islamic Spain (al-Andalus). I teach a final year undergraduate module on the Art and Architecture of Spain and North Africa. My MPhil module (Arts of the Book) is on Islamic manuscripts from the 8th to 19th centuries.

Contact Details

Department of History of Art and Architecture
School of Histories and Humanities
Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin
Dublin D02 PN40