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 MA in Contemporary Art Theory in the Visual Cultures Department, running the special option “Reading the Performative”.
Catherine teaches on the Critical Studies programme as part of the BA Fine Art, in the Art Department, running the second year seminar course entitled “Feel Your Desire”.
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 has served on the editorial board of the Association for Art History 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 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', lecture recorded at “SALT NEWGenNOW” conference, The White Building, London, November 2014. https://vimeo.com/115330152
'Mother-Daughter', episode of Paperweight Radio, discussion with the artist Lisa Castagner, 3rd October 2013. https://soundcloud.com/paperweight-newspaper/pw-mother-daughter
'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, http://hernoise.org/interactions/feminisms-the-sonic/symposium/
'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: http://www.enemiesofgoodart.org/feminism-again/
“Baby Butches and Reluctant Lolitas: Performances of Adolescence”, lecture for Open University Study Day on Performance, Gender and Identity, Tate Modern, 2005. http://www.openartsarchive.org/oaa/content/performance-gender-and-identity-0 and http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/video/performance-gender-and-identity-study-day-part-7
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
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.
Network Society and the Spectacle: Photography and Exhibitionism
Grant, Catherine and Burbridge, Ben. 2013. Network Society and the Spectacle: Photography and Exhibitionism.
Reaching for the Moon: replaying feminist art and activism
Grant, Catherine. 2009. Reaching for the Moon: replaying feminist art and activism.