Marta Edling

Marta Edling


+46 8 608 51 41 +4686085141

Culture and Education


Professor Marta Edling has worked at Södertörn University since 2012.

Her research interests include the Swedish art field and the history of Swedish fine arts education in the 20th century, past and contemporary art theory, as well as the 20th-century history of photography, where theoretical issues – especially discourse theory, sociology of art and gender perspectives – are a common thread.

Edling has taught art history at the undergraduate and research levels at Stockholm and Uppsala universities and collaborates with researchers in Swedish, Scandinavian and international networks. She is also co-director of the research unit SEC (Sociology of Education and Culture) at Uppsala University.

Over the years she has held frequent guest lectures about her research at the Valand School of Fine Arts, the Royal College of Fine Arts, the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design and other art colleges in Stockholm.

Edling completed her doctorate in art history in 1999 at Stockholm University with the dissertation Om måleriet i den klassicistiska konstteorin. Praktikens teoretiska position under sjuttonhundratalets andra hälft/On painting in classicist art theory: theoretical attitudes to practice in the second half of the eighteenth century. The thesis analyses texts by important 18th-century academic art theorists in France, England and Germany, and examines how the practice of painting was described in a time when technical skill was devalued in favour of arts intellectual values.

Her studies of the art theory of the old academies led on to an application for a project regarding the history of the Swedish art colleges, which was granted by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation in 1999. The principal results from this project were presented in the book Fri konst. Bildkonstnärlig utbildning vid Konstfacksskolan, Konsthögskolan Valand och Kungl. Konsthögskolan 1965-1995/A Free Art? Higher education in the fine arts in Sweden at the Valand School of Fine Arts, the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design and the Royal College of Fine Arts 1960–1995 (2010). The project has also generated a number of articles, including "Om frihet, begåvning och karismatiskt lärande inom den högre bildkonstnärliga utbildningen"/"On free creativity, talent and charismatic learning within higher education in the fine arts" (2008, in collaboration with Mikael Börjesson), which analysed the art colleges lopsided social recruitment of students, as well as several articles on the evolution of artistic research in Sweden since 1977.

Edling has been a researcher, PhD supervisor and teacher at Uppsala University since 2002, where she is also a docent of art history. She currently holds a research position at the Department of History, where she runs the research project "Konst, karriär och kön. En studie av manliga och kvinnliga konstnärers meriteringsvägar och rekryteringen till professurer och högre lärartjänster vid Kungl. Konsthögskolan och Valands konsthögskola 1945-2000"/"Art, career and gender: the career pathways of male and female artists and the recruitment of professors at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and Valand Art Academy 1945-2000", financed by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation 2011-2015. The focus of the project is on correlations between gender, career paths and evaluation of qualifications, as well as on the role of fine arts education in the reproduction of gendered power structures in the Swedish art world.

For the final report of the project, please use this link:

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