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I am a researcher and a freelance artist. 


I work as a post-doctoral researcher for the PROSPERA project, fully funded by the European Research Council, at the University of Vigo, Spain. This project is focused on researching the technologies, organisations and institutional changes we will need to realise futures no longer obsessed with economic growth. My research is exploring the ways in which art and science collaborations can encourage more holistic policy making and knowledge production within scientific institutions. Part of this work is focused upon urban development frameworks and postgrowth planning. 

I hold a Phd from the University of Cambridge completed as part of the 'Impact of the Ancient City' Project, fully funded by the European Research Council. This research examined the importance of ancient Greco-Roman urbanism to modernisation in nineteenth-century urban planning reform and public health movements, particularly in Liberal Italy through to Fascism. There is a summary below.

I am a musician and self-taught artist with an MA in the History of Fine and Decorative Art from Sotheby's Institute, London. Painting is key to my research process and you can find some of my work under the art tab. 

Work exhibited in the Women Be Bold for Change ExhibitionInternational Women's Day (2017) at adam&eveDDB.

Academic CV


Sofia Greaves


Trilingual artist and historian practising trans-disciplinary research for postgrowth. Specialist in Modernist urban planning, arts-based research, and science-art collaborations. 



2021 – present    Postdoc. Postgrowth Innovation Lab. European Research Council
                            University of Vigo. Dr. Mario Pansera
                            H2020-ERC-2020-STG; Grant agreement: 947713. 10.3030/947713

2017 – 2021      Phd. Impact of the Ancient City Project. European Research Council
                            University of Cambridge. Prof. Andrew Wallace-Hadrill
                            H2020-ERC-2020-ADG; Grant agreement: 693418. 10.3030/693418

2016 – 2017      MA. Modern, Fine Art & Decorative Design, Distinction

                             Sotheby’s Institute and Auction House. Dr. Bernard Vere


2012 – 2015      BA. Classics, First
                             University of Durham. Prof. Edmund Thomas



  • Fully funded Phd, ERC

  • Fully funded MA, Gordon Laing Scholarship, Sotheby’s 2017

  • Director Commendation, highest MA result, Sotheby’s, 2017

  • Maltby Prize, best finalist dissertation, Durham University, 2015

  • Maltby Prize, second highest examination results in year, Durham University, 2014



Visiting Scientist, Joint Research Centre - Knowledge service for European Commission.

  • Ethnographic fieldwork questioning the potential of trans-disciplinary collaborations between artists and scientists for postgrowth policy-making

  • Expert interviews and participant observation with artists, scientists and policymakers

  • Nvivo, policy report writing

  • Theories of post-normal science; arts-based research and sociotechnical imaginaries

Resident researcher, British School at Rome.

  • Institutional mapping and analysis of Modernist architecture, engineering & archaeology practice

  • Archival research and discourse analysis of visual culture, manuals, urban policies and plans

  • Case study comparisons of planning in Naples, Rome, Barcelona, Paris, London

  • Working with sources in English, French, Italian, Spanish

  • Theories of purity and danger, myths of modernity, symbolism, and surveillance


Theses on urbanism

  • Romanità: New Identity through Urban Space in Mussolini’s Roma Resurgens. Ba thesis.

  • Being Modern and British: Cities and Classicism in Giorgio de Chirico, Edward Wadsworth and John Armstrong. Masters thesis.



  • Ideal Cities. Hygiene, the Ancient City and Modernity in Liberal Italy. Phd thesis.           
    Manuscript accepted, forthcoming with Cambridge University Press, 2025

  • Greaves, S. “Semiotic Critique of the Circular Economy as a Myth.” In Hanaček, K., Tsagkari, M, and B. Roy (eds.) Degrowth. Dialogues for Degrowth: Interdisciplinary Perspectives for Sustainable and Inclusive Futures. Edward Elgar Publishing. Forthcoming, September 2024


  • Greaves, S., and Doezema, T. “Histories of Circularity: A Critical Reframing of Nature-Culture Relationality in the Circular Economy.” Forthcoming, Nature and Culture, September 2024


  • Greaves, S. and Benincasa, C. “Art and Science Collaborations. Innovation in Science and Policymaking beyond the Objective of Growth.” Invited contribution to Technovation Special Issue, forthcoming March 2024


  • Greaves, S. and Wallace-Hadrill, A. 2022. “Introduction. De-colonising the Roman Grid.”  In Greaves, S., and A. Wallace-Hadrill (eds.), Rome and the Colonial City, 1-24. 

  • Greaves, S. 2022. “Ildefonso Cerdà and the Eixample grid plan (1859). To be or not to be Rome?” In Greaves, S., and A. Wallace-Hadrill (eds.), Rome and the Colonial City. Oxbow Press. 327–352.

  • Greaves, S. 2022. “Roman Planning as a Model for Urban Modernity in Liberal Naples.” In Ottewill-Soulsby, S. and J. Martínez-Jiménez (eds.), Remembering and Forgetting the Ancient City. Oxbow Press. 137–164.

  • Greaves, S. 2023. “The Lives of a Roman Neighbourhood. Tracing the Imprint of the Past, 500 BCE to the Present.” The Classical Review, 1-3.


  • “Transition to the Frugal City: business model; public acceptance and adoption. Frugal cities through Energy Efficiency and Low-tech communities.” Invited speaker on “Postgrowth Planning.” FEEL Project, Interreg Europe and Energy Cities.  35 participants, 12 partners: cities and regions representing 8 countries. November 2023

  • “Doughnut Cities within an History of Urban Design.” Organised interactive workshop with 100+ participants, Doughnut Economics Action Lab, L. Gross, L. Maia & Prof. S. Goldhill. March 2022

  • "Una Perspectiva Postcrecimiento sobre la Ordenación del Territorio." Invited speaker, roundtable with practitioners, Societat Catalana d'Ordenació del Territori (SCOT) Barcelona. March 2023 

  • Greaves, S. 2022, June 6. Taxis Verticales. Merece la Pena Privatizar el Cielo?  The Conversation

  • Greaves, S. 2023, February 24. La Sostenibilidad no es un Problema Tecnológico. Perspectiva Post-crecimiento. TELOS Magazine

  • Greaves, S. 2023, February 2. The Myth of Sisyphus, Science & Carbon Removal. Carbon Institute

  • “Postgrowth Planning & Placemaking.” Urbanistica Podcast with Mustafa Sherif, September 2022

  • “Becoming a Postgrowth Planner: Ep. 16.” Podcast with Christian Lamker, January 2023


  • "Post-growth. Researching the potential for arts and science collaborations to lead us to futures beyond capitalism." European Commission & Joint Research Centre, April 2022

  • "Art and postgrowth planning." with F. Fagani, G. Tartari, G. Zenga and G. Pulcher. 4th Public Participation and Deliberative Democracy Festival, European Commission & JRC, November 2022

  • "An introduction to Post-growth Planning."  Postgrowth Era. Shrinking Cities & Regeneration. Online Symposium. Collaboration, Wuhan University & University of Vigo. May 2023

  • “Postgrowth Innovation.” Session on ‘Digital Dynamics, Urban Experimentations, Tangible Experiences, Enabling Environments’. Placemaking Europe, September 2022.

  • “Post-growth Futures, Ideal Cities and Ancient Cities" Cambridge Archaeology Seminars. Nov 2022

  • “Circles and Myth Making.” European Society for Ecological Economics, Pisa, June 2022

  • “The Sanitation Campaign against Cholera in Naples (1860-1910).” Epidemic Urbanism: Reflections on History (What Insights…might Inform our Understanding of COVID-19?) Columbia University/Morgan State University, Online Symposium, May 2020

  • "Re-imagining the Grid in the Nineteenth Century. To be, or not to be Rome.” Rome & the Colonial City, The British School at Rome, Rome, January 2020

  • "Città Ideali: le Convergenze tra Obiettivi dell’Urbanistica e Motivazioni Archeologici a Roma, 1870-1914.” Reconstruire Rome, École Française, Rome, October 2019

  • "Subversive Classicism. Giorgio de Chirico and the British Modernists.” Classical Reception Seminar Series, Cambridge, March 2019

  • "Ideals of the Ancient City. Urban planning in Paris, Barcelona, and Naples." Faculty of Classics, Cambridge, March 2019

  • "Futurism and the Ancient City." Graduate Interdisciplinary Seminar, Cambridge, March 2019


  • Journal Editor, Degrowth Journal, Oct 2022 - Present

  • Book Editor, Rome and the Colonial City, eds. Greaves and Wallace Hadrill, 2022.

  • Scientific Committee. Rome and the Colonial City. British School at Rome, Rome, 2020

  • Scientific Committee. Degrowth/ESEE Conference, Pontevedra, 2024

  • Chair, Cambridge Interdisciplinary Seminar Series, 2020 – 2021

  • Co-Convenor and Chair, Cambridge Classical Reception Seminar Series. 2019 – 2020


  • Undergraduate Lecturer. Italian Fascism. Faculty of Classics, Cambridge 2020 - 2022

  • Undergraduate Supervisor. 25 Students. Rome, the Very Idea. Cambridge 2020, 2021

  • Undergraduate Thesis Supervisor. “Mussolini and Fascist Mosaics in the Foro Italico.” 2019

  • Thank you so much for supervising this term. I have spent the last two years of this degree not really feeling like I belonged in it, or really even believing in it as a worthwhile pursuit, but found your supervisions and lectures really really inspirational in terms of what 'classics' can actually look like and what material is 'worth studying'(and also very important in making me feel like I could write my dissertation the way that I have). THANK YOU!!!”

“I just wanted to say that it was the best lecture I've had all term (by far) and it made me for the first time consider pursuing an area of Classics beyond Undergrad level, so thank you so much for such a great introduction to the Fascist remaking of Rome.”

"I just wanted to email to say a huge thank you for your supervision on Mussolini’s Rome this year. It was my favourite part of the paper and I really enjoyed your lecture on the topic, and the supervision."

"I attach my essay for today’s supervision. Thank you very much for your patience and for the wonderful supervision you had with us today. Hoping not to sound too much like an adulator, I found it remarkably interesting, well organized, and enjoyable."

"Thank you for your comments on the essay, and the supervision yesterday! I have really enjoyed this topic:))

Phd Summary

Broadly this thesis looked at the overlaps between urban planning, Modernism, utopianism and archaeology. I investigated how the nineteenth-century public health movement produced a new image of the past. Conceptions of purity, cleanliness, and understandings of hygiene reshaped the memory and material fabric of cities. The cities of the past were read through the lens of the present and its obsession with cleansing and whiteness, such that the Greek and Roman civilisations emerged as paradigms for Western urban modernity. In cities, the process of modernisation was justified, underwritten and motivated by the argument that they should emulate the ancient Greco-Roman example - which enabled policies from straight street planning, slum clearance, and expropriation to the rationalisation of water systems and 'capitalisation' of the city space. Meanwhile, the very study of the past was affected by these same value judgments. Archaeologists and restorers were also influenced by public health discourses which determined how they conceptualised their practice and what they valued. Seeing themselves as surgeons they cut away what was ‘degenerate’ to reveal the healthy clean structure they perceived to lie beneath. Restoration was conceptualised as a process of purification in the positivist pursuit of a clean 'original' (which had never existed). They produced a picture of the past which was shaped by nineteenth-century thinking on cleanliness. Hence both modernisation and restoration practice devalorised and destroyed other pasts, which were considered 'dirty': particularly the medieval remains. As a consequence, the version of the past we have today - at the level of its memory and its material fabric, is highly sanitised and idealised. This thesis reflected on the influence which perceptions of good health can exert upon how we speak about the past, see the past and walk within it at a time when the Covid-19 epidemic has highlighted the power of such cultural currents within society. This thesis was produced through extensive archival research conducted in Naples and Rome.

Artist CV

Freelance Artist      


  • “Illustrating Ancient History Exhibition.” Cambridge Archaeological Museum, 2021

  • Book Cover Design for Cambridge University Press (three volumes)

  • Mural, Childrens' Ward, King's Hospital, London

  • Winner, Franco Manca Restaurant Design Competition. Commissioned to produce designs across UK restaurants, Cambridge branch artwork and hoarding

  • International Women’s Day Group Exhibition, ‘Be Bold for Change,’ Adam & Eve DDB, 2017

  • Resident artist: London Mozart Players, Covent Garden Chamber Orchestra, University of London Symphony Orchestra

  • Glyndebourne Tour Art Award 2015                  

White Cube Gallery, London. Digital Archive Intern, March-June 2016

  • Communicated with alpha galleries, sourcing and preparing material for publication

  • Researched artist information packs for Tracey Emin, Georg Baselitz, Damien Hirst and Dora Maurer for internal distribution

  • Record management for White Cube artists, using in house archiving system and Inventory database

  • Photoshop image editing for publications

  • Produced Trafalgar Square Fourth Plinth and ‘Sculpture in the City’ display with archival material

  • Editions department: condition checks, purchase and packaging of editions for Georg Baselitz

Cooper Studios. Co-founder and Assistant Manager, 2013 – 2016

  • Set up the first art studio and gallery for students in Durham City (NGO)

  • Found, gutted and rebuilt studio space within existing building

  • Fundraised £4000 to meet setup costs and held collaborative exhibition of members’ work

  • Art installations at Shambala Festival (2015, 2016) involving viewing platforms, art sessions, and an obelisk with interactive light and sound sensors (

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