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Helen Rufus-Ward is a published art historian and associate tutor at the University of Sussex. 


Her areas of specialism include Late Antique, Byzantine and Medieval art covering a wide range of objects such as ivory carvings, enamels, mosaics, icons, monuments, pilgrimage art, silver hoards, and religious reliquaries.


She has also conducted research into nineteenth-century collectors of art, as well as the popularity of the plaster casting of works of sculpture during this period. Helen is currently researching the British Museum’s First Cyprus treasure – a hoard of seventh-century silver unearthed in Cyprus in the early twentieth-century. Helen has great enthusiasm for her field of study and the need to introduce audiences to a pre-renaissance era of non ‘artist-centric’ art.


Helen has very wide art historical knowledge as a result of studying the subject at BA, MA and DPhil level.


Helen has worked as an associate tutor and lecturer in the Art History Department of the University of Sussex for seven years, where she teaches, lectures, convenes and assesses many BA and some MA courses. These included modules such as From Statues to Saints, 313-565 (a course that focused on material culture from the Late Antique and Byzantine period). During that time Helen has become a very experienced lecturer delivering approximately 12 x 1 hour lectures on a variety of art historical subjects related to her specialism.  The courses Helen lectures on include: Before Modern Art; Art and the City: Rome; Stories of Art; Art and Artists; Objects of Art; Communicating Art and Exhibition Studies.  She also conducts regular essay tutorials and study skills seminars.


She is also an experienced university study trip leader where she lectures students on site in front of works of art and architecture (recent field trips include Rome and Venice).  She has also conducted student study trips to London museums such as the     V & A, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and the British Museum lecturing in front of art works that students have been studying on their courses.  For example, Sussex MA students attend yearly handling sessions at the British Museum where they get to handle Byzantine art works (wearing cotton gloves of course).  Helen often acts as supervisor for these sessions as well as lecturing students on the objects they are engaging with.




  • Gloriously Decadent: discovering the splendid art of the Byzantine Empire

  • Tinkling the ivories: exquisite miniature ivory carvings from the Late Roman period.

  • Buried Treasure Hoards Uncovered: spectacular troves of Roman silver vessels

  • The Miracle’s Inside: Saints, their relics and the rise of devotional art

  • The Imitation Game: the plagiarists of Early Christian Art

  • Icons: what are they for and why do they look the same?

  • Exploring the amazing treasures of St Catherine’s Monastery, Mount Sinai

  • Hagia Sophia: Constantinople’s glorious sixth-century Church of the Holy Wisdom

Helen Rufus-Ward
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