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Dr Brassey received her BA in History from Birmingham University and then worked in commercial marketing for many years before enrolling in an MA in Philosophy. She completed her PhD in Philosophy at King's College, London in 2020.

Research interests and PhD supervision

  • Philosophy of Art
  • Philosophy of Perception

Dr Brassey's research focusses on the malleability and adeptness of our perspective-taking. In particular she is interested in our imaginative shifts, both in terms of spatial changes (imagine you are looking down on yourself) and temporal changes (imagine you are sat exactly where you are but in 10 years time). She treats these as gateway cases that help us get to grips with empathic shifts. That is, shifts into the shoes of others (whether now or at a different point in time). Understanding these shifts, she argues, contributes to our understanding of art. Because these kinds of shifts enable us, as competent appreciators of art, to disclose the affective content and value of specific works.


Vanessa has taught on a range of modules at BA and MA modules including, Ethics, Philosophy of Art, Political Philosophy and Philosophy of Medicine.

Expertise and engagement

Vanessa is contributing editor and co-Director of the Centre for Philosophy and the Visual Arts (CPVA). The Centre is a major multi-disciplinary initiative whose aim is to bring together academics, artists, curators and gallerists to explore the connections between philosophy, theory and the visual arts. Further details can be found here

For more details on her work beyond academia please see