Personal profile

Research interests

My research interests broadly concern issues of inclusivity in the history of art, art museums and art collections, as well as a subject specialization in nineteenth century visual culture with a focus on portraiture. My primary concerns are how gender and related social formations (sexuality, the nation, the modern) organize the production and circulation of visual images. I have applied feminist methods to research on the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries including through a number of collaborations with artists, curators and cultural organizations.

Scholarly biography

In my undergraduate degree I studied a wide range of humanities disciplines and developed an interdiscplinary focus on modern Britain. I pursued this specialism first in an MA in History at the University of British Columbia in Canada, and then as a Commonwealth Scholar at the University of York in the UK, where i studied for my Phd. My interest in art history as an element of cultural history led me to teaching in art history programmes for students of art and design practice as well as humanities students at the Winchester School of Art, Newcastle University, and at the University of Brighton where I have worked since 2006.

My PhD research was a study of women in the National Portrait Gallery, as artists, sitters and collectors/donors. This was part of an emerging body of scholarship on art institutions and their nineteenth-century origins of the 1990s, and was published as a book titled History's Beauties: Women and the National Portrait Gallery 1856-1900, in 2006 (Ashgate). Research from my Phd was also published in a collection edited by Paul Barlow and Colin Trodd, Governing Cultures: Art Institutions in Victorian London, (Ashgate, 2000) and an article on the National Portrait Gallery 2001 resdisplays in Visual Culture in Britain (2002). I was involved in a number of other publications on the history of British art which broadly considered the relations between artistic centres and peripheries and the role of gender within those categories around this time (e.g. co-editing English Art 1860-1914: Modern Artists and Identity with David Peters Corbett published in 2001). I continue to have an interest and publish on the histories of British art and visual culture and the role particularly of women artists within them.

My investigation of gender and art collections took on a new significance around 2008, when there were initiated a series of high profile exhibitions involving feminism and women's art, hosted at major institutions from Stockholm to Los Angeles and many points between (Paris, Barcelona, Vienna, for example). These major projects as well as less visible efforts on the part of curators to explore gender and feminism in exhibition, invited critical scrutiny and I have been part of a series of collaborative projects to explore feminist curating in art museums and other contexts, which have resulted in publications including co-editing with Angela Dimitrakaki, Politics in Glass Case: Feminism, exhibition cultures and curatorial transgressions (Liverpool University Press, 2013), which included my own essay "A great time to be a woman"? Women artists and feminism at Tate Modern'; co-editing with Dorothee Richter and Elke Krasny, Issue 29 of OnCurating, Curating in Feminist Thought (2016), which was published to coincide with an international conference on feminism and curating in Zurich. The article 'Constant Redistribution: A roundtable on feminism, art, and the curatorial field', Journal of Curatorial Studies, 2(2), June 2013 documented some of the issues that were raised through an international research network 'Transnational perspectives on women's art, feminism and curating', funded by the Leverhulme Institute which I led in 2010-2012.

The practices of exhibiting women's and feminist art continues to be one of interest to me and to others and I am currently involved in editing three different essay collections on feminist curating which focus on the feminist curatorial practices that have emerged in the 21st century. These projects are informed by current themes in feminist research which are indicated in two recent shorter projects: an article prepared for Museums International which explored the implications of museum collections and gender, sexual and racial identities having been forged simultaneously in the colonial complex (with Elke Krasny, 'Unsettling Gender, Sexuality and Race', 2020); and the consideration of issues of social reproduction in artistic careers which I explored in ‘The Artist’s Household: On Gender and the Division of Artistic and Domestic Labour in Nineteenth-century London’ (Third Text, 2017), using census data to explore the labour involved in art making during a crucial phase of art's history.

My interests in museum collections and curating have recently taken a turn to the digital and the implications of technologically extending the museum into a new domain of representation and circulation and the implications this has for the nature of the relationships that are sustained through museum practices. I have been working with partners in the South East region and in the US to explore issues of history, accessibility and digital in the museum through an AHRC funded project, "DigiPich", and am interested to evolve this research as a new dimension of our understandings of cultural and visual practice.


Supervisory Interests

I have enjoyed supervising 6 doctoral students to completion, candidates who have worked on subjects in modern British art history, or in projects relating to feminist or queer approaches to visual interpretation or production. I have supervised and examined candidates who have undertaken phd work by practice or prior publication. I would particularly like to encourage applications from prospective phd students who would like to pursue projects that interpret British art and visual practices using intersectional feminist perspectives including decolonization and transnational approaches.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, ‘Facing Femininities: Women in the National Portrait Gallery, 1856-1900', University of York

1 Oct 199430 Sept 1998

Award Date: 1 Feb 1999

Master, 'The Privileges of Patriotism: National Identity, Nationalism and Feminism in The Englishwoman's Review of Social and Industrial Questions, 1880-1889', University of British Columbia

3 Sept 199231 Aug 1994

Award Date: 30 Sept 1994

External positions

Lecturer, Newcastle University

1 Sept 200531 Dec 2005

Lecturer, University of Southampton

1 Feb 200130 Aug 2004

Lecturer, Continuing Education, Birkbeck University of London

30 Sept 19981 Feb 2001


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