Dr Mollie Arbuthnot

Specialising in
Soviet culture

Mollie Arbuthnot specialises in visual culture in the early Soviet Union – including mass media, propaganda, and theories of viewership – as well as the history of Soviet multinationalism. Her current research project examines Islamic and Central Asian art in Soviet museums.

Academic interests

Mollie Arbuthnot’s academic interests include: 

  • Soviet visual and material culture
  • Modernism
  • Museums and heritage
  • Empire, anti-imperialism, and national identity in the Soviet Union
  • Central Asia.

Degrees obtained

  • BA, MML, Cantab.
  • MA, History of Art, The Courtauld Institute of Art.
  • PhD, Russian Studies, University of Manchester.

Awards and prizes

  • Highly Commended, British Association of Slavic and East European Studies (BASEES) Postgraduate Prize, 2021.
  • Manchester Doctoral College Excellence Award for Best Outstanding Output in the Humanities, 2020.


Mollie Arbuthnot’s PhD project combined her two main spheres of interest – Russian studies and history of art – to focus on visual propaganda in the early Soviet period. It explored propaganda posters and constructing national identity in 1920s-30s Uzbekistan. She undertook this research project at the University of Manchester under the supervision of Vera Tolz.

During her PhD she spent time as a visiting researcher at the European University at St Petersburg and the History Institute of the Uzbekistan Academy of Sciences, as well as completing a research project at the British Library in London.

She taught in the History department at Durham University before joining Cambridge and Jesus College in 2021.

Other interests

Travel, rowing, and food, not necessarily in that order.

Publications, links and resources

Find more information about Mollie Arbuthnot's publications and research on ORCID.

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