Personal profile


Dr Matthew Holman is Lecturer in English, after joining the department in spring 2023. An interdisciplinary scholar and writer, his research centres on modern and contemporary American literature and the visual arts, with particular emphasis on transnational cultural exchange, avant-garde movements, and the relationship between political organisation and form.

His first book, Frank O’Hara: Curator of Modern Life (Bloomsbury, 2024), is an account of O’Hara’s distinguished curatorial career for The Museum of Modern Art’s International Program, which gave him access to European art, artists, and cities, and was essential to the shaping of his cosmopolitan aesthetics. Recent publications have focused on the American lyric and political crisis, and include an article on the representation of the Occupy movement and ecological activism in Eileen Myles’ poetry (Women’s Studies, 2022) and a book chapter on the ‘voice-mail’ genre of the contemporary American lyric in the context of the spring 2020 lockdown in New York (Lockdown Cultures, UCL Press, 2022). A long-form essay on John Berger, Cubism, and political aesthetics was published in a special issue of Critical Quarterly in 2023. With Chloe Julius and Michael Green, Matthew has edited, and contributed an article to, Citations: Cases of Literature in Art (Manchester University Press, 2024).

Matthew completed a PhD (no corrections) at University College London in 2020, after which he held a lectureship in the English department, as well as teaching posts at The Slade School of Fine Arts, and Queen Mary University of London. He is a recipient of the F. R. Leavis Studentship at the University of York, the Leverhulme Trust Studentship for international research on Cold War visual culture at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies in Berlin, the Terra Foundation for American Art Postdoctoral Fellowship at The Courtauld and Giverny Residency Fellowship in Paris, the Paul Mellon Centre Postdoctoral Fellowship for a project on community arts activism in Tower Hamlets, as well as Visiting Fellowships in Research at Yale University and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

He writes regularly for the international art, literary, and political press, including for The Times Literary Supplement, Frieze, The Art Newspaper, Apollo, Jacobin, Burlington Contemporary, and The White Review. He is also a regular researcher and contributor to curatorial projects in the UK and internationally, and has worked with Kasmin, Lévy Gorvy, David Zwirner, Thaddaeus Ropac, Nahmad Projects, Gagosian, and Waddington Custot galleries.

Matthew attended a non-selective state school in the East Midlands, was a carer, received a full EMA maintance grant, and a full government bursary for students from low household incomes. At Hertfordshire, Matthew particularly welcomes the opportunity to support undergraduates and postgraduates across the School of Creative Arts in their academic development.


Teaching specialisms

2023-24 Teaching:

– 'Texts Up Close: Reading and Interpretation'

– 'Make it New: Literary Tradition and Experimentation'

– 'Ways of Reading: Literature and Theory'

– 'Images of Contemporary Society: British Literature and the Politics of Identity'

– 'Twentieth-Century US Literature and Culture'

– 'Identity and Contemporary Society'

– 'African-American Literature'

Education/Academic qualification

American Studies, PhD, University College London (UCL)


Modern and Contemporary Literature and Culture, MA, University of York


English Literature, BA (Hons), The University of Sheffield