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Personal profile

Research interests

I am broadly interested in 20th century European art, design, and architecture. Mresearch consults a breadth of Danish material culture to assess how urban communities adopted and expressed social democratic thoughts and attitudes. I hope to show that visual culture has both produced and sustained cultural commitment to social welfare in Denmark. 

My thesis ‘A Meeting Place for All: The Folkets Hus and Visual Culture of Danish Social Democracy, 1879 to Present Day situates Copenhagen’s folkets huse (people’s houses) as containers and creative factories of a material culture that reveals much about the role of progressive politics in Denmark. These spaces originated as shared meeting places for trade unions, but, throughout the 20th century, grew into comprehensive professional, social, and political centres. They mediated international labour activism and daily life in Copenhagen’s working class neighbourhoodsI trace these interactions through the architecture, murals, landscape design, photography, and print media that emerged from the peoples housesraising questions of: 

  • Transnational imagery of work and the workers’ body 

  • Diverse approaches to the development of a unique workers’ visual identity 

  • The role and representation of women, children, youth, and families in social democracy 

  • Leisure and free time in a labour movement 

  • Art and design as a pillar of a welfare state 

  • Place and identity in the Danish city 

  • Social democracy as a set of cultural values as well apolicies 


This project is superised by Prof. Mike O'Mahony and Prof. Dororthy Price. In Spring 2020, I was the recipient of a the Association for Art History's Scholarly Research Grant to support archival research in Copenhagen. 


Dive into the research topics where Courtney R Schum is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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