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Magdalene College Cambridge

Dr John Munns

John Munns is Associate Professor of History and Art History and Director of Studies in the History of Art at Magdalene. He is also a Tutor and Admissions Tutor.

Here at Magdalene I wear a number of hats: as well as teaching medieval history and the history of art I am a College Tutor and an Undergraduate Admissions Tutor. I also contribute to a number of College committees. Further afield, I am a member of the Advisory Board of the Cambridge Hub, and a member of the University's Undergraduate Admissions Forum. I am also a member of the Council of the British Archaeological Association and a Trustee and Director of The Brilliant Club, an award-winning charity that works to broaden access to top universities.

After a few years working for the Church of England, I came back to academia (and Cambridge) in 2006 to complete my PhD at Emmanuel College. During my doctoral studies, I spent two periods as a visiting research student at Princeton University in the United States. I taught briefly at the University of Bristol before another return eastward in 2011. I then spent three years at Fitzwilliam College before moving down the hill to Magdalene in 2014.


Research Interests

My primary research interests lie in the cultural, religious, and art history of the High Middle Ages, especially in and around the British Isles during the long twelfth century. The twelfth century was a period of major intellectual, social, cultural, and political change in Europe, and in that context I’m interested particularly in the role and agency of vision and imagination: through artistic images themselves, but also in architecture, ritual, liturgy, and literature (broadly conceived).

I’m also interested in related aspects of high medieval culture, including: aspects of doctrine and devotional practice; Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations and cultural exchange; Romanesque and early Gothic architecture; and the patronage of twelfth-century English bishops. I also have an interest in aspects of eighteenth-century antiquarianism, especially as it relates to the collection and preservation of medieval art.


MA, MPhil, PhD, FSA, FRHistS.

Career/Research Highlights

2022- Honorary Fellow, Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Durham University

2022  Slater Fellowship, University College/IMEMS, Durham University

2021  Mid-Career Fellowship, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

2020  Visiting Fellowship, Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University

2019  Reginald Taylor and Lord Fletcher Prize, British Archaeological Association

2019  Visiting Fellowship, University College, Durham

2015  Publication Grant, Marc Fitch Fund

2014  Principal Investigator, BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant

2014  CUSU Teaching Excellence Award

2011  Postdoctoral Fellowship, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

2010  Visiting Fellowship, St Chad's College, Durham

2009  C. S. Grey Scholarship, Emmanuel College

2007  Research Support Grant, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

2006  Derek Brewer Research Studentship, Emmanuel College

1999  Van Mildert Scholarship in Divinity, University of Durham

Professional Affiliations

The Society of Antiquaries of London (Fellow)

The Royal Historical Society (Fellow)

The Higher Education Academy (Fellow)

The British Archaeological Association

The Ecclesiastical History Society

The Haskins Society