Catherine Grant is currently researching the re-enactment of histories of feminism in contemporary art. Her work explores 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, she has written a number of essays that explore strategies of re-enactment, re-writing and community-building across temporal divides. The beginning of this research has been published as “Fans of Feminism: re-writing histories of second-wave feminism in contemporary art” and “A Time of One’s Own" in the Oxford Art Journal.
Her research also explores the intersection between creative and critical forms of art writing, particularly within the context of feminist and queer politics. She has previously researched the depiction of girlhood in photography, arguing that adolescence is a time and space of non-normative gender and sexual identity. Connecting these areas of research are 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 can be found on her publications tab below.
- PhD 2007, Courtauld, University of London
- MA 1999, Courtauld, University of London
- BA 1997, University of Reading
Catherine teaches on the Critical Studies programme as part of the BA Fine Art, running the second year seminar course entitled “Feel Your Desire”.
Catherine teaches on the MA in Contemporary Art Theory in the Visual Cultures Department, running the special option “Reading the Performative”.
She supervises PhD projects in the Art Department, and is open to PhD project proposals relating to her research specialisms. She has PhD students working on both practice-based and thesis only projects, mainly in the areas of feminist histories, art and theory in North American and British art since 1960.
Catherine is Deputy Senior Tutor in the Art Department, with her main responsibility being for the PhD students. Her office hours are Mondays during term time, 3-4pm.
Catherine has served on the editorial board of the Association of Art Historians for the publication Art History since 2014.
She has written for a number of contemporary art and photography publications, including Source, Photoworks, Frieze and MAKE magazine.
As a member of Ph: The Photography Research Network, she worked on an online project exploring photography within contemporary culture for the National Media Museum in 2012-2013 alongside Ben Burbridge.
She has been invited to speak at the Tate Modern, Tate Britain, National Portrait Gallery, Photographers' Gallery, Royal College of Art, ICA, and White Building in London, as well as across the UK including the Focal Point Gallery in Essex, Manchester Art Gallery, and Tate Liverpool. She has also been featured on talk shows for Paperwight Radio and Resonance FM.
She helped organise a number of conferences at the Courtauld Institute of Art, including 'Writing Art History' (2007-2009), 'Colour Photography: From Autochrome to Cibachrome' (2007) and 'Theory as an Object' (2003).
Learning and Playing: re-enacting feminist histories
Grant, Catherine. 2017. Learning and Playing: re-enacting feminist histories. In: Victoria Horne and Lara Perry, eds. Feminism and Art History Now: Radical Critiques of Theory and Practice. London: I. B. Tauris. ISBN 9781784533250
The Effort of Perfection: Performing Adolescence
Grant, Catherine. 2013. The Effort of Perfection: Performing Adolescence. In: Jo Longhurst, ed. On Perfection: An Artists’ Symposium. Intellect. ISBN 9781841507101
Baby Butches and Reluctant Lolitas: Collier Schorr and Hellen van Meene
Grant, Catherine. 2011. Baby Butches and Reluctant Lolitas: Collier Schorr and Hellen van Meene. In: Catherine Grant and Lori Waxman, eds. Girls! Girls! Girls! in Contemporary Art. Bristol: Intellect Press, pp. 161-186. ISBN 9781841503486
The Uncertain Spectator: theories of female spectatorship and the work of Anna Gaskell
Grant, Catherine. 2008. The Uncertain Spectator: theories of female spectatorship and the work of Anna Gaskell. In: Alexandra M. Kokoli, ed. Feminism Reframed: Reflections on Art and Difference. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 159-176. ISBN 9781847184054
Hidden in Plain Sight: Lisa Castagner’s Hidden Self-Portraits
Grant, Catherine. 2014. Hidden in Plain Sight: Lisa Castagner’s Hidden Self-Portraits. Source,
Fans of Feminism: Re-writing Histories of Second-wave Feminism in Contemporary Art
Grant, Catherine. 2011. Fans of Feminism: Re-writing Histories of Second-wave Feminism in Contemporary Art. Oxford Art Journal, 34(2), pp. 265-286. ISSN 0142-6540
‘A narrative of what wishes what it wishes it to be’: An Introduction to ‘Creative Writing and Art History’
Grant, Catherine. 2011. ‘A narrative of what wishes what it wishes it to be’: An Introduction to ‘Creative Writing and Art History’. Art History, 34(2), pp. 230-243. ISSN 01416790
Bellmer’s Legs: adolescent pornography and uncanny eroticism in the photographs of Hans Bellmer and Anna Gaskell
Grant, Catherine. 2010. Bellmer’s Legs: adolescent pornography and uncanny eroticism in the photographs of Hans Bellmer and Anna Gaskell. Papers of Surrealism, 8, pp. 1-20.
The Performance Space of the Photograph: From the Anti-Photographers to the Directorial Mode
Grant, Catherine. 2010. The Performance Space of the Photograph: From the Anti-Photographers to the Directorial Mode. rebus, 5, pp. 1-29.
Private Performances: Editing Performance Photography
Grant, Catherine. 2002. Private Performances: Editing Performance Photography. Performance Research, 7(1), pp. 34-44. ISSN 1352-8165
Performativity: Collier Schorr, Anna Gaskell, Sarah Jones
Grant, Catherine. 2000. Performativity: Collier Schorr, Anna Gaskell, Sarah Jones. n.paradoxa: international feminist art journal, 6, pp. 88-92.
Reaching for the Moon: replaying feminist art and activism
Grant, Catherine. 2009. Reaching for the Moon: replaying feminist art and activism.
Network Society and the Spectacle: Photography and Exhibitionism
Grant, Catherine and Burbridge, Ben. 2013. Network Society and the Spectacle: Photography and Exhibitionism.