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Personal profile

Research interests


I am broadly interested in 20th-century European art, design, and architecture. My research 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 doctoral thesis situates Copenhagen’s folkets huse (people’s houses) and associated organisations as containers and creative factories of a material culture that reveals much about the ideals of citizenship in the decades after the Second World War.  These spaces originated as shared meeting places for trade unions, but, throughout the 20th century, grew into comprehensive professional, social, and political centres, mediating international labour activism, daily life, and the artistic avant-garde in Copenhagen. I trace these interactions through architecture, murals, landscape design, photography, and print media, raising questions of:  

  • Utopian images of the welfare citizen in the ‘Danish model’ 
  • The erasure of boundaries between the worlds of art and work 
  • The role and representation of women, children, youth, and families
  • Leisure and free time 
  • Place and identity in the Danish city  
  • Welfare as an embodied identity and set of creative impulses, as well as system of policy 

This project is superised by Prof. Mike O'Mahony and Prof. Simon Shaw-Miller.

In addition to my research, I am currently completing an internship within the Arts Faculty's Centre for Material Texts, assisting with projects related to The Bristol Common Press, the Centre's working print shop. I hold further roles as a Student Quality Reviewer on the University Quality Team and Assitant Editor at the Midlands Historical Review


  • Scandinavian studies
  • Welfare State
  • Denmark
  • Design and architecture
  • Visual culture
  • Public art
  • 20th century


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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