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My name is Yvette Greslé and I am a writer and art historian based in London. I hold a PhD in History of Art (University College London, 2015).  In 2017, I was a Post-Doctoral Fellow (Global Excellence Stature Fellowship) at the University of Johannesburg). I am currently a Research Associate at the Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture,  University of Johannesburg.

I have written as an art writer and journalist for over twenty years and blogged at Writing in Relation.  Writing about contemporary art across media and geography, I have emphasised the relation between aesthetic forms, processes and materials and historical, philosophical, social and political worlds. 

My first book Unearthed is due to be published by Copy Press in 2019 as part of the  Common Intellectual Series

My PhD research and subsequent publishing focused specifically on the historical-political conditions of apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa. Working with theoretical concepts of memory and trauma, together with the ethics of feminist and anti-racist thought, I explored how artists have mobilised moving images to engage multiple forms of apartheid-era violence and its iterations in the present. I focused on how the moving image produces languages – visual, sonic, spatial, temporal, affective and performative – that have the capacity to inform and expand writing and thought. 

Through the process of publishing my PhD research, my interests have become specifically about writing itself.  I am especially engaged by the poetic and philosophical possibilities of the historian/writer’s encounter with the archive and the objects and materials held within it.

My interest in art is not solely on the contemporary and encompasses art/visual things produced across time and place.


  • Writing with art and the archive
  • The ethics and politics of feminist, queer and anti-racist thought
  • Memory/History
  • Trauma/Violence
  • Complicity
  • The ethics of empathy
  • Time/Temporality
  • Affect/Emotion
  • Geography/Place
  • The natural world (oceans, islands, plants, trees, flowers)