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Dr Tania Woloshyn

Contact Information

Office: Room H448, Humanities Building



Dr Tania Anne Woloshyn is a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow in the Medical Humanities, based in the Centre for the History of Medicine (2012-2016).

Project: 'Soaking up the rays: the reception of light therapeutics in Britain, c.1899-1938.'

For an introduction to my current project, please visit the Wellcome Trust's blog for an audio slideshow presentation:

Academic Profile
  • SSHRC-funded Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Art History & Communication Studies, McGill University, Montreal (2010-2012). Project: ‘Luminaries of Fin-de-Siècle France: Aesthetic, Scientific, and Medical Cultures of Light, c.1880-1930’ (Mentor: Dr Mary Hunter)
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, MA Programme in Art History, Richmond, the American International University in London (2008-2010)
  • Contract Lecturer, Department of Art History, University of Nottingham (2008-2010)
  • PhD in Art History, University of Nottingham (2004-2008). Dissertation: ‘Vers la lumière: Painters and Patients on the Côte d’Azur, c.1887-1910’ (Supervisor: Prof. Anthea Callen)
  • MA in Art History, Queen’s University, Kingston (2002-2004). Dissertation: ‘Health and Consolation in Renoir’s Late Southern Works, c.1895-1919’ (Supervisor: the late Prof. Vojtěch Jirat-Wasiutyński)
  • BA (Hons) in Art History, Carleton University, Ottawa (1998-2002)
Selected Publications
  • ‘Regenerative Tanning: Pigmentation, Racial Health and the cure de soleil on the Côte d’Azur, c.1890-1936,’ in Fae Brauer and Serena Keshavjee, eds. Picturing Evolution and Extinction: Regeneration and Degeneration in Modern Visual Culture, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015, pp.193-216.

  • ‘Towards the Light: Histories of Photography and Phototherapy,’ in Nicolai Howalt, Light Break: Photography/Light Therapy, exhibition catalogue. Copenhagen: Fabrik Books, 2015, pp.11-27.
  • The Kiss of Light: Nursing and Light Therapy in 20th-C. Britain, exhibition guide. London: The Florence Nightingale Museum, 2015.
  • ‘Soaking Up the Sun’s Rays: Light Therapeutics and the Belief in a Healthy Tan,’ Wellcome History, issue 53 (Summer 2014), pp.6-7.

  • ‘Patients Rebuilt: Dr Auguste Rollier’s Heliotherapeutic Portraits, c.1903-1944,’ in 'Patient Portraits,' a Special Issue of Medical Humanities, vol.39, no.1 (June 2013), pp.38-46.

  • ‘“Kissed by the Sun”: Tanning the Skin of the Sick with Light Therapeutics, c.1890-1930,’ in Kevin Siena and Jonathan Reinarz, eds. A Medical History of Skin: Scratching the Surface, Pickering & Chatto, 2013, pp.181-194.
  • ‘Le Pays du soleil: the Art of Heliotherapy on the Côte d’Azur,’ Social History of Medicine, vol.26, no.1 (February 2013), pp.74-93 (accessible online as of 30 July 2012).
  • Colonising the Cote d'Azur: Neo-Impressionism, Anarcho-Communism and the Tropical Terre Libre of the Maures, c.1892-1908’ and ‘Introduction’ (with Anne Dymond) in ‘New Directions in Neo-Impressionism,’ RIHA Journal, guest edited by Tania Woloshyn and Anne Dymond, Special Issue, Summer 2012.
  • ‘Zone of Transition: Visual Culture and National Regeneration on the French Riviera, c.1860-1900,’ in Tricia Cusack, ed. Art and Identity at the Water’s Edge, Ashgate, July 2012, pp.161-176.
  • Aesthetic and Therapeutic Imprints: Artists and Invalids on the Côte d’Azur, c.1890-1910,’ Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide, vol. 11, no. 1, Spring 2012.
  • ‘Marking out the Maures: Henri-Edmond Cross on the Côte d’Azur, c.1891-1910’ (pp.57-71) and ‘Introduction’ (with Nicholas Hewitt, pp.1-6), in Tania Woloshyn and Nicholas Hewitt, eds., ‘L’Invention du Midi: The Rise of the South of France in the National and International Imagination,’ a Special Issue of Nottingham French Studies, vol.1, no.50, Spring 2011.
  • Our Friend, the Sun(PDF Document): Images of Light Therapeutics from the Osler Collection, c.1900-1945,’ exhibition guide. Montreal: Osler Library for the History of Medicine, McGill University, January 2011, pp.1-23.
  • Strategies for Fostering Independent Learning through Small Group MA Art History Seminars,’ Case Study in the ‘Resources’ section of the Art Design Media (ADM) Subject Centre website.
  • Enter the Art Historians(PDF Document): a Case Study on the Intersections of Art and Medicine,’ Wellcome History, issue 42, Winter (December 2009), pp.18-19.
  • ‘La Côte d’Azur: the terre privilégié of Invalids and Artists, c.1860-1900,’ French Cultural Studies, vol.20, no.4 (November 2009), pp.383-402.

My work lies at the intersection of art and medicine, and is specifically focused on the visual and material cultures of light therapies, c.1890-1940. I am particularly interested in representations of light therapies, both natural sun-therapy (heliotherapy) and artificial light therapy (phototherapy or actinotherapy), through the medium of photography - a medium of light. My project is driven by the following research questions:

  • How was light medicalised, and how was that visualised?
  • How did the earliest imagery, objects and literature disseminate, legitimise, and contribute to the reception of light therapies as valid medical practices during their emergent years in Britain, c.1899-1938?
  • How does that visual material expose the complexities of light therapeutics and the engagement of practitioners and patients with them?

It might seem natural, even obvious, to associate sunny days with play, pleasure, and well-being, but the connection between light and health has been historically less a matter of instinct than a deeply naturalised medical perception, and one dating to the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. During this formative period, images and texts produced by physicians and practitioners did more than merely describe light therapeutics; they actively contributed to its very definition. As an art historian, I believe that the visual material depicting and documenting light therapeutics must be contextualised as actively contributing to its reception by the British medical profession and the public. It is vital to understanding that history. Light, both natural and artificial has been, and even today continues to be, a major form of therapeutics. Investigating its historical development through its visual and material cultures drives my Wellcome-funded Postdoctoral project, 'Soaking up the rays: the reception of light therapeutics in Britain, c.1898-1938.'


Linked Events:

Public Engagement:

The Kiss of Light: Nursing and Light Therapy in 20th-century Britain

Exhibition (May-October 2015)

Press release (PDF Document)

Kiss of Light private view invitation

Irradiating the Sun-Starved: Light Therapies in Britain, c.1900-1940: Exhibition (April-June 2013)

A public talk will accompany the exhibition, on 30 April 2013)soaking_up_the_rays.jpg


Invitation only:

Light Technologies: the Materialisation of Light Therapeutics, c.1890 to the Present'