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Isabel Story

Senior Lecturer

Nottingham School of Art & Design


Isabel Story teaches on Design in Context 2, Design in Context 3, and is the module leader for Illustration in Contexts 1.

Career overview

Dr Story joined NTU in 2013, first as an Hourly Paid Lecturer in Visual Communications, then as an Associate Lecturer, and since September 2019 as a Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Visual Communications. She completed her BA (Joint Honours) in Spanish and Russian at the University of Nottingham, her MPhil in Russian Studies at the University of Cambridge, and her PhD in Latin American Studies at the University of Nottingham. She has taught at the University of Nottingham, and the University of Bristol.

Research areas

Dr Story's research focuses on Cuba, the Soviet Union, and the German Democratic Republic. She is interested in the roles that culture - the visual arts in particular - played in the Cuban revolutionary government's negotiation of international relationships during the Cold War and beyond. As such her research encompasses nation-building, independence projects, cultural history, and international socialism.

Research and Teaching Interests

Cultural diplomacy, soft power, the Cold War, nation-building, insurrectionary movements, Russian-Cuban relations, Latin American history (20th and 21st century), Russian history, Cuban and Russian visual arts, Russian politics, Latin American politics.

External activity

  • 2019    “Visuales verde olivas:  las portadas como ventanas al concepto de la Revolución”, Instituto Juan Marinello, Centre for Research on Cuba Annual Conference, 10-11 April
  • 2018    “Cuba’s negotiation of cultural heritage as a route to independence during the Cold War”, University of Nottingham, Centre for Research on Cuba Annual Conference, 11-13 September
  • 2018    “Revolutionising the Soviet Mass housing system in Cuba”. University of Nottingham, Modern Languages Research Seminar, Nottingham, 6 June.
  • 2018    “Culture in Cuba in the 1970s: Utopian Cultural Planning”. Latin American Studies Association Annual Conference, Barcelona 22-26 May.
  • 2017    “Culture is not a luxury: Cuba and the USSR in the 1980s”. London School of Economics International History Research Seminar, London, 11 October
  • 2017    “Political commitment and resistance: the visual arts in pre-Revolutionary Cuba”.    Invited Guest Lecturer, Dalhousie University, Halifax, 27 September
  • 2017    “The image and the experience of the Bolshevik Revolution in Cuban culture in the 1960s”. Centre for Research on Cuba Annual Conference, Havana 6-7 July
  • 2017    “Socially committed art and the Cuban Revolution”. Society for Latin American Studies Conference, University of Glasgow. 6-7 April
  • 2017    “The Cuban Russian Cocktail, explained with cocktails”. Aarhus University Festival of Ideas, Aarhus, Keynote speaker. 6 March
  • 2016    “Socialist and Realist: The Visual Arts in Cuba”. Cold Atlantic Doctoral Seminar, Barcelona 8-9 September


Story, Isabel. 2020 'Cuban cultural heritage: a rebel past for a revolutionary nation', International Journal of HeritageStudies, 26:2, 218-220, DOI: 10.1080/13527258.2019.1652924

Story, Isabel. 2019. When the Soviets Came to Stay: the Soviet Influence on Cuban Culture, 1961-1987. Lanham: Lexington Books.

Story, Isabel. Emily Kirk and Anna Clayfield (eds). 2018. Cuba’s forgotten decade: how the 1970s shaped the Revolution. Lanham: Lexington Books. ISBN: 978-1-4985-6873-9

Story, Isabel. 2018. “Utopian cultural construction: Cuban cultural organisation in the 1970s” in Cuba’s forgotten decade: how the 1970s shaped the Revolution. Ed. by Isabel Story, Emily Kirk and Anna Clayfield. Lanham: Lexington Books. ISBN: 978-1-4985-6873-9

Story, Isabel and Emily J. Kirk. 24 April 2018. ‘From the Castros to Cuba’s new president Miguel Díaz-Canel: continuity or change?’ LSE Latin America and Caribbean Blog. [Available at: ]

Story, Isabel. 2018. “Debating the Revolution. The evolving role of the visual arts in Cuba” in Journal of Languages, Texts and Society, Vol.1, No. 2 ISSN:  2517-648X

Story, Isabel. 2018. (Translator) Fernando Martinez Heredia, “The Origins of Cuban Socialism” in Rethinking the Past in Cuba (Ed. Tony Kapcia). London: ILAS ISBN: 9781908857415

Story, Isabel and Arquitectura Subalterna. 2017. “Modulor’s Bastard Children: Inhabitants challenging the modernist straightjacket” Archifutures Vol.4: Thresholds, Barcelona: &beyond. ISBN: 978-84-947523-3-9

See all of Isabel Story's publications...