Dr James Kent

Personal profile

Dr James Kent is Senior Lecturer in Hispanic Studies and Visual Cultures, 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, from documentary photography and photojournalism to the medical humanities. 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 project Pregnant in a Pandemic (2021-22) explored people’s experiences of pregnancy and birth in the Covid-19 era and was awarded an annual photography prize by The Lancet in 2021. He co-founded the Generation COVID collaborative research project, funded by Cambridge Reproduction, and delivered a talk on the project to an audience of academics, clinicians, and policy makers at the Royal Society of Medicine in 2022.  

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 at The Photographers’ Gallery, London (2019).

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.

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


Teaching (2022-23)
LA1000 Cultural Encounters
LA2000 Power, Society & Cultural Practice
LA3000 Liberal Arts Project (Photography)
ML1204 Tales of the City: Introduction to Thematic Analysis
SN2122 Rebels, Revolution and Representation in Latin America

Consultation & feedback hours (2022-23)
Tuesday 1300-1400 [online]
Wednesday 1300-1400 [in person, 105]

Educational background 

BA London
MRes London
PhD London

Selected affiliations
Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy

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

ID: 25352195