Dr Catherine Grant

Staff details

PositionAssociate Lecturer in Visual Cultures Lecturer in Critical Studies in Art
Department Visual Cultures
Email c.grant (
Phone+44 (0)20 79197285
Dr Catherine Grant

I am currently researching the re-enactment of histories of feminism in contemporary art. I am exploring re-enactment as a way of learning from history, as well as a place of fantasy and possibility for the future. Drawing on thinking about temporalities and history-making from queer and feminist theorists, as well as the construction of ‘the contemporary’ and ‘contemporary art’ in philosophy and art history, I am interested in artworks that see re-enactment as an experimental, pedagogical space. The beginning of this research has been published as “Fans of Feminism: re-writing histories of second-wave feminism in contemporary art” in the Oxford Art Journal.

I also write on a number of women photographers, particularly those depicting girlhood. Some of this research can be found in Girls! Girls! Girls! in contemporary art, a collection of essays that I co-edited in 2011. I have also co-edited a collection on Creative Writing and Art History (2012), which came out of the project “Writing Art History”, 2007-09. As part of the group Ph, I worked on an online project looking at photography within contemporary culture hosted by the National Media Museum in 2012-13: I organised a strand on "Photography and Exhibitionism" with Ben Burbridge, details of which can be found here. Since 2014 I have been a member of the Editorial Board of the journal Art History.

Connecting these areas of research are my interests in the intersection between feminist and queer theory, the depiction of the subject within postmodernism, the development of ‘contemporary art history’, psychoanalytic theories of identity and sexuality and issues of performativity and performance. Further details of publications can be found on my publications page, whilst lectures and other public events are listed below.

Academic qualifications

PhD (2007, Courtauld, University of London), MA (1999, Courtauld, University of London), BA (1997, University of Reading)


2014-15: MA Special Subject, 'Reading the Performative'

2013-14: MA Special Subject, 'From Appropriation to Re-enactment'


Co-organiser of the series of seminars, symposia and public lectures "Writing Art History", Courtauld Institute of Art, 2007-2009.

Organiser of the conference “Colour Photography: From Autochrome to Cibachrome” November 2007, Courtauld Institute of Art. Speakers included: Pamela Roberts, JB Colson, Harriet Riches, Anne Hammond.

Co-organiser of the conference “Theory as an Object”, November 2003, Courtauld Institute of Art, exploring the legacy of psychoanalysis and poststructuralism in art history. Speakers included: Juliet Mitchell, Mary Kelly, Liam Gillick and Peter Hallward. Co-organised with Sarah James.

Recorded works

'Learning and Playing: re-enacting feminist histories', lecture recorded at “SALT NEWGenNOW” conference, The White Building, London, November 2014.

'Mother-Daughter', episode of Paperweight Radio, discussion with the artist Lisa Castagner, 3rd October 2013.

'Girls, Fans, Her Noise', recording of paper given at the symposium "Her Noise: Feminisms and the Sonic", Tate Modern, May 2012. The recording is part of the panel 'Affinities, Networks and Heroines' and begins at 0:21:00,

'Feminism Again'. Discussion on contemporary feminism and art chaired by Irene Revell with Jude Kelly, Catherine Grant, Rachel Anderson and Martina Mullaney. Resonance FM, 19 November 2010, series of talks by Enemies of Good Art:

“Baby Butches and Reluctant Lolitas: Performances of Adolescence”, lecture for Open University Study Day on Performance, Gender and Identity, Tate Modern, 2005. and

Papers presented

“Learning and Playing: re-enacting feminist histories”, “SALT NEWGenNOW” conference, The White Building, London, November 2014

“A View from the Analyst’s Couch: a conversation with Lisa Castagner”, Chelsea College of Art, London, September 2014

“Some Notes on Re-enactment”, Open School East, London, July 2014

“Re-enact, re-engage: artists as fan-scholars”, “Flying: an interdisciplinary conference on Kate Millett”, Birkbeck, London, May 2014

“In Our Past We Can Find Our Future”, AAH Annual Conference, RCA, London, April 2014

“The Performance Space of the Photograph”, introductory talk for the panel “Performing Photographs”, Tate Modern, March 2014

“Learning From History: Some thoughts on Re-enactment”, University of Sussex research seminar, November 2013

In conversation with Marlene McCarty, ICA, London, August 2013

“Re-enacting Histories: Boudry/Lorenz’s Salomania”, Feminist Object(ive)s symposium, University of York, May 2013

 “Photographing Girls: siblings, selves, surrogates”, “Siblings”, conference at Manchester Art Gallery, March 2013

 In conversation with Dawn Mellor, Focal Point Gallery, Essex, March 2013

 "Girls, Fans, Her Noise", "Her Noise: Feminisms and the Sonic" symposium, Tate Modern, May 2012

“Photographing Girls”, Open University Study Day, London, December 2011

“Multiplying Alice: Anna Gaskell’s Alices”, “The Wonder of Alice: Images, Myths and Realities” symposium, Tate Liverpool, November 2011

“Fans of Feminism: re-writing histories of second-wave feminism in contemporary art”, Feminist and Women’s Studies Association Annual Conference, Brunel University, July 2011

“Photographing Girls: performances of adolescence in contemporary art”, University of Nottingham research seminar, March 2011

“Fans of Feminism: re-thinking feminist generations in contemporary art”, The Granddaughters’ Generation, symposium in honour of Linda Nochlin’s 80th birthday, UCL, London, February 2011

Panel Discussion on the Sally Mann exhibition “The Family and the Land”, The Photographers’ Gallery, London, August 2010

“Bellmer’s Legs: uncanny eroticism in the photographs of Hans Bellmer and Anna Gaskell”, AAH Annual Conference, University of Manchester, April 2009

“Fans of Feminism: re-writing histories of second-wave feminism in contemporary art”, “On the Agenda?” symposium, Courtauld Institute of Art, London, February 2009

In conversation with Katy Grannan, The Photographers’ Gallery, London, January 2009

“From the Anti-Photographers to the Directorial Mode”, AAH Annual Conference, Tate Britain, London, April 2008

“The Disappearing Subject: performances of adolescence in contemporary portrait photography”, University of Cambridge, History of Art department research seminar, Royal College of Art, London, lecture for MA photography students, London College of Communication, lecture for MA photography students, Sotheby’s Institute, London, lecture for MA photography students, October and November 2007, March 2008

“The importance of the pose: contemporary photographic portraits”, Chelsea School of Art and Design, lecture for MA and Postgraduate Diploma Fine Art students, September 2007

“More than a schoolgirl crush: Amy Adler and the adolescent fan”, AAH Annual Conference, University of Ulster, Belfast, April 2007

“The Uncertain Spectator: theories of female spectatorship and the work of Anna Gaskell”, Difference Reframed: rethinking the legacies of feminist art history, one-day conference, University of Sussex, September 2006

“What is a queer portrait?”, Queering the Portrait: Reading and Making, one-day conference, Pride Legacy Project, National Portrait Gallery, London, June 2006

Speaker on panel discussion at Photo-London Fair: “Shifting Perspectives: Pictorialism and Surrealism”, May 2006

“Baby Butches and Reluctant Lolitas: Performances of Adolescence”, Open University Study Day, Tate Modern, London, July 2005

“Baby Butches and Reluctant Lolitas: Nostalgia and Desire in the work of Collier Schorr and Hellen van Meene”, CAA Annual Conference, Atlanta, Extended version of the paper presented to students at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, February 2005

“Haunting Looks: adolescence, homospectrality and photographic space in the work of Hellen van Meene and Sarah Jones”, Intersexions: queer visual culture at the crossroads, conference, CUNY Graduate Center, New York, November 2004

Research Interests

Contemporary art, contemporary art history, feminist art histories, American postmodernism,  intersections between queer theory and feminism, performativity and performance, the photograph as art, amateur and institutional nineteenth century photography, photographic portraiture, surrealism