Dr James Kent

Personal profile

Dr James Clifford Kent is the Associate Director of the Humanities & Arts Research Institute and a Senior Lecturer in Hispanic Studies and Visual Cultures in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, Royal Holloway, University of London. His practice-based research focuses on visual cultures and he has taught at various institutions across the UK and abroad at the Universidad de la Habana, Cuba. He was appointed Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2016. He gained his PhD from Royal Holloway, University of London in 2012 and he has curated exhibitions of his own photographic work both in the UK and Cuba. His Arts Council-funded exhibition Memories of a Lost Shark toured the UK and Cuba in 2013-14. His first monograph entitled Aesthetics and the Revolutionary City: Real and Imagined Havana was published as part of Palgrave Macmillan’s Studies of the Americas series in 2019. Kent was awarded funding through the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s (AHRC) flagship Open World Research Initiative (OWRI) for his project ¡Yo soy Fidel!”: Post-Castro Cuba and the Cult of Personality (2018-19). The project was fully funded by the Multilingualism: Empowering Individuals, Transforming Societies project (MEITS) based at the University of Cambridge. After the end of the Castro brothers’ near six decade-long leadership of Cuba in 2018, two years after Fidel Castro’s death, this project explored the presence of iconic revolutionary images in contemporary Cuban society and themes such as the relationship between photographic language and identity. Drawing on fieldwork and practice-led research, the accompanying exhibition This is Cuba: Documentary photography after Fidel (2019) included images taken by world-renowned photographers such as Raúl Cañibano and Michael Christopher Brown. Following the success of this exhibition, Kent worked as Exhibition Liaison for Cañibano's first UK solo exhibition Raúl Cañibano: Chronicles of an Island at The Photographers' Gallery, London (2019). He co-organised the GCRF-funded photography workshop Beyond the Frame: Innovative approaches to curatorial and photographic practice in Havana, Cuba (2019). In 2020 he has given invited talks on his collaboration with Raúl Cañibano at the University of Cambridge and on his photographic practice at the Royal Automobile Club.

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

Teaching (2020-21)

LA2000 Power, Society and Creative Practice
ML1204 Tales of the City
ML3214 Comparative dissertation

SN2122 Rebels, Revolution and Representation in Latin America
SN3108 Hispanic Studies dissertation

SN3122 Horror Cinema in the Hispanic World 

Consultation & feedback hours (2020-21)


Educational background 

BA London
MRes London
PhD London


Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy

Member, Latin American Studies Association
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
Member, Cuba Research Forum


Aesthetics and the Revolutionary City possesses elements to be revered. Its keen historical passage through visual renderings of Havana, primarily carried out by outsiders, is diligently researched and well narrated … Kent’s technical savvy, matched by a respect for the photographers and filmmakers he analyzes, reflects his first-hand experience with photography and film … essential for scholars in Cuban studies with special interest in visual culture ...” – Jacqueline Loss, New West Indian Guide, 2019

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