In 2020 Nele Wynants received an ERC Starting Grant for the project ‘Science at the Fair: Performing Knowledge and Technology in Western Europe, 1850-1914’ (2021-2026). This grant enabled her to establish an interdisciplinary research team based at ARIA. This team investigates the interactions between theatre, science and visual media, and their overlapping histories.


We focus on how knowledge and visual culture were circulated through popular entertainment during the long nineteenth century. At the same time, we look at how this culture continues to affect us today with attention to the changing relationship between art and science. Current research focuses on (1) the popularization of science and visual media in theatre and popular culture; (2) the transnational circulation of knowledge, technology, and visual culture through itinerant entertainment; (3) colonial stereotyping in missionary propaganda and popular performance culture; (4) the role of women in popular science and entertainment.

The Team