Personal profile

Personal profile

James Clifford Kent is Senior Lecturer in Latin American Studies and Visual Culture, and Director of Liberal Arts in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, Royal Holloway, University of London.

His practice-led teaching and research focuses on a broad range of themes, including documentary photography and photojournalism. James uses photography to explore ways of telling stories about people using portraiture and social documentary, and he is one of the leading researchers working on Cuba and photography.

Over the course of the past two decades, James has travelled regularly to Cuba with his own photographic projects, covering historic events such as the funeral procession of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro in 2016. From photo-essays to investigative long reads, his work has featured in a wide range of publications (The Guardian, The Independent and The Times). He has also published several journal articles on Cuba and visual culture and is the author of the book Aesthetics and the Revolutionary City: Real and Imagined Havana (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019). His Pregnant in a Pandemic (2021) project explored people’s experiences of pregnancy and birth in the Covid-19 era and was awarded a prize by The Lancet in 2021. His current project “¡No hay más na’!”: Visual narratives of survival in crisis-hit Cuba has involved developing a collaborative network in London and Havana with leading artists, curators and cultural institutions, such as The Photographers’ Gallery and Fototeca de Cuba (the island’s main photographic archive).

James has curated group shows and exhibited his own photographic work in the UK and Cuba. Selected curatorial projects include Memories of a Lost Shark (with Cuban writer Edmundo Desnoes, 2013-14), This is Cuba: Documentary Photography after Fidel at Royal Holloway (2019) and Raúl Cañibano: Chronicles of an Island (2019) and Raúl Cañibano: Human Landscapes (2024) at The Photographers’ Gallery, London. 

He received his PhD from the University of London in 2012 and was appointed Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2016. Funding for his projects has come from Arts Council England and the Arts & Humanities Research Council. He has organised workshops and given public talks at institutions such as Tate Modern (Tate Exchange), The Photographers’ Gallery and the Fototeca de Cuba. He was awarded Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society in 2022.

For more details on events, talks and workshops, click here.

Teaching (2023-24)
LA1000 Cultural Encounters
LA2000 Power, Society & Cultural Practice
LA300x Liberal Arts Project (inc. Creative Writing, Film, and Photography)
SN2400 Advanced Spanish Translation

Consultation & feedback hours (2023-24)
Monday 4-5pm [in person, IN105]
Tuesday 10-11am [online]

Educational background 

BA London
MRes London
PhD London

Selected affiliations
Fellow, Royal Photographic Society (FRPS)
Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy (SFHEA)

Member, Cuba Research Forum
Member, Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland

Member, Centre for Visual Cultures, Royal Holloway, University of London
Member, Centre for GeoHumanities, Royal Holloway, University of London

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 10 - Reduced Inequalities


  • Photography

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or