Dr Isobel Harbison

Staff details

Position Lecturer (Critical Studies) in Art
Department Art
Email i.harbison (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone +44 (0)20 +44 (0) 20 7078 5191
Twitter @isobelharbison
Dr Isobel Harbison

Isobel Harbison is an art critic, an art historian and Lecturer (Critical Studies) in Art, in the Art Department at Goldsmiths. She completed her PhD in 2015 in Goldsmiths where she was an AHRC doctoral scholar. She regularly writes for magazines, journals and exhibition catalogues about contemporary artists working across disciplines but most often in performance and moving image, and in response to rapidly changing global economies of attention.


Her most recent book Performing Image examines how artists have combined performance and moving image in their work since the 1960s, and how this work anticipates our changing relations to images since the advent of smart phones and the spread of online prosumerism. It is published by the MIT Press in Spring 2019.


She has begun work on a second monograph writing an in-depth history of the ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’ sign, and treating this image-object as a narrative tool through which to explore the links between the Spectacle and its imaging, night life and the cine-sexual imaginary, the cultural logic of self-transformation, the capitalisation of fabulous, and the ongoing and perplexing allure of being cast under light. This research includes analysis of how artists working in performance and moving image have, from different feminist positions, been drawn to this city of signs.


Academic Qualifications

BA (2004, Trinity College, Dublin), MFA (2008, Goldsmiths, University of London), PhD (2015, Goldsmiths, University of London)



Isobel teaches on the BA Fine Art Extension Programme, working with students on their Portfolio of Art Writing and Critical Studies.


She teaches Histories, Contexts, Futures to the MA Artists’ Film and Moving Image, and runs a lecture and seminar series titled ‘Image Generation’.


Isobel teaches intermittently on the MFA Curating programme and is also open to PhD project proposals relating to her research specialisms, in practice-based and thesis only projects.

Research Interests

  • Histories of performance in contemporary art
  • Histories of moving image in contemporary art
  • Theories of interdisciplinarity and interdisciplinary practices
  • Theories and philosophies of the image
  • Theories and philosophies of Spectacle and the cinematic imaginary
  • Technology capitalism
  • Attention economics