Portrait of Dr Alison Rowley Dr Alison Rowley

a.j.rowley@hud.ac.uk | 01484 473130


Dr Alison Rowley is Reader in Cultural Theory. She studied Fine Art at Middlesex Polytechnic and gained an MA and PhD from the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds. In 2001 she was appointed Lecturer in Art History, Theory and Fine Art at the University of Leeds where she was a member of the Executive of the AHRC Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory and History (CentreCATH). From 2003 to 2010 she was Senior Lecturer in Historical, Theoretical and Critical Studies in Visual Art at the University of Ulster, Belfast, and before joining the University of Huddersfield she was Reader in Art and Design at Liverpool John Moores University. Her monograph Helen Frankenthaler: Painting History, Writing Painting was published by I.B. Tauris in 2007.

Research and Scholarship

Alison Rowley’s longstanding research concerns histories and theories of sexual difference, gender and social class inscribed in practices of modern and contemporary art, resulting in publications on the work of a number of artists including Chantal Akerman, Willie Doherty, Eva Hesse, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Martha Rosler, Dorothea Tanning, Jenny Saville and Trinh T. Minh-ha. Currently she is at work on a second single authored book titled Common gestures, class acts: studies in ‘young British art’, an analysis of the return in the 1990s of neglected histories of British social and political life since 1945 in work by artists grouped under the yBa heading. It will demonstrate that a number of singular artworks are, in themselves, material critical practices and ‘theoretical objects’ of considerable significance because they articulate hitherto un-represented relations between socially situated, embodied, historical knowledge and what counts as art and as history. Rowley’s recent study of digital films by Trinh T. Minh-ha, and a trilogy of HD digital video installations by the Russian art group AES+F has initiated new research concerning on the one hand the implications of the historical move from analogical to digital moving image and sound production for our lived experience of contemporary space-time relationships, and on the other the critical production of imagined worlds that register the effects of the forces of mass digital mediation in contemporary global capitalism’s drive to commodify leisure and pleasure.

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Rowley, A (2016) ‘Between Fiction and Documentary: The 'Scandalous property'of 'realness' in Chantal Akerman's filmmaking.’. In: After Chantal: An International Conference, 4-6 November 2016, University of Westminster, UK , pp. 1-10


Rowley, A (2015) ‘Paul Neagu and Touch’. In: Paul Neagu: Palpable Sculpture exhibition, 21 October 2015, The Henry Moore Institute

Rowley, A (2015) ‘Four Portraits of Sarah Lucas as an Artist’. In: Shifting Subjects: Contemporary Women and Self Portraiture, 20th October 2015, Leeds City Art Gallery


Rowley, A (2014) ‘Helen Frankenthaler: Something New in Terms of Nature'’. In: Making Painting: Helen Frankenthaler and JMW Turner, 12 February 2014, Turner Contemporary Margate

Rowley, A (2014) Common Gestures, Class Acts: Young British Artists in Retrospect . London: I.B.Tauris. ISBN 978-1780765204


Rowley, A (2013) ‘The Depth of Time’. In: The Digital Way. Durham and London: Duke University Press. pp. 89-119. ISBN 10: 082235540X


Rowley, A (2012) ‘Fertile Objects: 'Penetralia', Sarah Lucas and English Modernism’. In: Sarah Lucas: Ordinary Things, 18 July 2012 - 21 October 2012, Galleries 1, 2 and 3 of the Henry Moore Institute , pp. 1-13

Rowley, A (2012) ‘[untitled]Radar , 1 (3), pp. 4-5. ISSN 2049-4327


Rowley, A. and Hershman Leeson, L. (2011) ‘Women, Art, Revolution: Lynn Hershman Leeson in Conversation with Alison Rowley’. In: Touched, Liverpool Biennial 2010. Liverpool: Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art. pp. 50-61. ISBN 9780953676194


Rowley, A (2010) ‘Night Passage: The Depth of Time’. In: Digital and Other Virtualities: Renegotiating the Image. London/New York: I.B. Tauris. pp. 111-133. ISBN 9781845115678

Rowley, A (2010) ‘The Feast of Trimalchio: Consuming Passions’. In: AES+F, The Feast of Trimalchio. Moscow: Triumph Gallery/Centre for Contemporary Culture. pp. 278-313. ISBN 9785904334109

Rowley, A. and Hershman-Leeson, L. (2010) ‘Lynn Hershman-Leeson in Conversation with Alison Rowley’. In: Liverpool Biennial ‘Touched’ talks, 12 May 2010, Art and Design Academy, Liverpool John Moores University


Rowley, A (2009) ‘Between 'Les Rendez-vous d’Anna' and 'Demain on Déménage': m(o)ther inscriptions in two films by Chantal Akerman’’. In: M(o)ther Trouble: An International Conference on the Maternal in Psychoanalysis and Feminism, 30 May 2009, Birkbeck, University of London , pp. 1-5

Rowley, A (2009) ‘The Grain of the Image: a poetics of future history in some ‘new’ photographs by Willie Doherty’. In: Willie Doherty Exhibition Talks Series, 13 May 2009, Fruitmarket Gallery Edinburgh

Rowley, A (2009) ‘Between Les Rendez-vous d’Anna and Demain on Déménage: m(o)ther inscriptions in two films by Chantal AkermanStudies in the Maternal , 2 (1), pp. 15-15. ISSN 1759 0434


Rowley, A (2008) ‘AES+F, Last Riot: Modernity and Antiquity’. In: AES+F Introductory Presentation and 'In Conversation' with Alison Rowley, 01 August 2008, Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast

Rowley, A (2008) ‘Feminist Adventures Underground: Martha Rosler’s 'Kassel Gardens (from the Perspective of a Mole).'’. In: Association of Art Historians Annual conference ‘The Museum, The Academy and The Studio', April 2008, Tate Britain


Rowley, A (2007) Helen Frankenthaler: Painting History, Writing Painting . New Encounters, Arts, Cultures, Concepts. London/New York: I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd.. ISBN 9781845115197

Rowley, A (2007) ‘Book Review: Fantastic Reality: Louise Bourgeois: A Story of Modern Art, by Mignon NixonPapers of Surrealism: The Journal of the AHRC Centre for Surrealism and its Legacies , 5, pp. 1-7. ISSN 1750-1954


Rowley, A. and Common Culture, A. (2006) ‘Common Culture – Pop Trauma’. In: Pop Trauma. Derry/ Londonderry: Void Gallery. . ISBN 95517631X

Rowley, A (2006) ‘The Fourth Dimension: An Interview with Doug Johns’’. In: Encountering Eva Hesse. Munich/Berlin/London/New York: Prestel. pp. 89-95. ISBN 3791333097

Rowley, A (2006) ‘A Painter’s Hesse’. In: Encountering Eva Hesse. Munich/Berlin/London/New York: Prestel. pp. 137-152. ISBN 3791333097

Rowley, A. and Pollock, G. (2006) Now and Then: Feminism, Art, History, A Critical Response to Documenta 11, CentreCATH Document 2 Leeds: AHRC CentreCATH University of Leeds


Rowley, A (2005) ‘Common Gestures, High Art’. In: Jo Spence: Beyond the Family Album and Other Projects, 31 March 2005, Belfast Exposed

Rowley, A (2005) ‘Post Feminism Revisited: Documenta XI (2002) and its Feminist Foundations’. In: If Hong Kong: A Woman Traveller, 26 Feb 2005 - 16 Mar 2005, 1a Art Space, Hong Kong


Rowley, A. and Pollock, G. (2004) ‘Now and Then, Feminism, Art, History: A Critical Response to Documenta 11’. In: Old/New, Association of Art Historians Annual Conference, 1-3 April 2004, University of Nottingham , pp. 1-48

Rowley, A (2004) ‘Painters don’t talk about Vermeer’. In: Vermeer to Eternity: Time and the Image in Historical, Theoretical, and Aesthetic Frames: Clark Colloquia, 5th-6th March 2004, Clark Art Institute Massachusetts, USA

Rowley, A (2004) ‘Before her Time: Lily Briscoe and Painting Now’. In: Unframed: The Practices and Politics of Women’s Painting. London/New York: I.B. Tauris & co. Ltd.. pp. 17-40. ISBN 1860647715

Rowley, A (2004) ‘Doing Art History as Painting’. In: ‘Unframed Symposium, 2004, University of the Arts, Camberwell

Rowley, A. and Pollock, G. (2004) ‘Documanta XI: Critical Dialogue with Griselda Pollock’. In: University of Ulster Interface Research Centre, Launch Event, 2004, Europa Hotel, Belfast


Rowley, A. and Pollock, G. (2003) ‘Painting in a “Hybrid” Moment’. In: Critical Perspectives in Contemporary Art: Hybridity, Hegemony, Historicism. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, and Tate Liverpool. pp. 37-79. ISBN 0853239584

Rowley, A (2003) ‘Eva Hesse at Tate Modern, not painting, not sculptureTextile: A Journal of Cloth and Culture , 1 (3), pp. 289-295. ISSN 1475-9756


Rowley, A (2002) ‘Common Gestures at the Freud Museum: An Installation by Sarah Lucas’. In: CongressCATH 2002, Translating Class, Altering Hospitality, 21-23 June 2002, University of Leeds

Rowley, A (2002) ‘Eden (1956)Et in Arcadia Ego: Thoughts on Public Representation and Private Mourning in a Painting by Helen Frankenthaler’. In: Public Representation and Private Mourning: Commemoration and the Memorial, 15-16 March 2002, University of the West of England, Watershed Media Centre, Bristol

Rowley, A (2002) ‘The Studio Encounter’. In: Encountering Eva Hesse, 2002, Tate Modern, London


Rowley, A (2001) ‘Exhibiting “Martha Rosler”? A feminist response to the exhibition Martha rosler: positions in the life worldn-paradoxa, (14), pp. 35-43. ISSN 1462-0434

Rowley, A (2001) ‘Exhibiting Martha Rosler? A feminist response to ‘martha rosler: positions in the life world'’. In: College Art Association, 89th Annual Conference, 2001, Chicago, USA , pp. 35-42

Rowley, A (2001) ‘Plan: Large Woman or Large Canvas? A Confusion of Size with Scale’. In: Feminism, Art, Theory: An Anthology 1968-2000. Oxford & Malden, Mass.: Blackwell. pp. 392-396. ISBN 063120850X

Rowley, A (2001) ‘Painting History’. In: Reinventing History, 2001, Holburne Museum of Art, Bath, UK


Rowley, A (1999) ‘An Introduction to Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger’s Traumatic Wit(h)ness-Thing and Matrixial Co/in-habit(u)atingParallax , 5 (1), pp. 83-88. ISSN 1353-4645


Rowley, A (1997) ‘Bridget Riley: The Pleasures of Sight Deferred’. In: Third Biennial Conference of the Feminist Arts and Histories Network, 1997, University of Leeds

Rowley, A (1997) ‘From Plan to Winter Palace’. In: Fotofeis forum, ‘Representations of the Female Body', 1997, Fruitmarket Gallery Edinburgh


Rowley, A (1996) ‘On Viewing Three Paintings by Jenny Saville: Rethinking a Feminist Practice of Painting’. In: Generations and Geographies in the Visual Arts. London: Routledge. pp. 88-109. ISBN 0415141277


Rowley, A (1995) ‘Lapses of Taste: On Dorothea TanningWomen’s Art Magazine (66), pp. 16-19. ISSN 0961-1460

Rowley, A (1995) ‘Robert Mapplethorpe as Lisa Lyons, Politics of Skin’. In: Robert Mapplethorpe Symposium, 1995, Art Gallery of Western Australia

Rowley, A (1995) ‘On Three Paintings by Jenny Saville’. In: Second Biennial Conference of the Feminist Arts Histories Network, 1995, University of Leeds


Funding and Awards

  • Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship: Common Gesture Class Acts: Studies in young British art, 2006-7

British Academy Small Research Grant, 2005

Peer Reviewing

  • Leverhulme Trust 2007- current
  • Liverpool University Press/Tate Publications
  • Feminist Review (Palgrave Macmillan Journals)
  • Visual Culture in Britain (Taylor and Francis)

Visiting Fellow AHRC Centre for Cultural Analysis, History and Theory, University of Leeds 2003-2006.

Research Degree Supervision

Contemporary art and art writing; feminist history, theory and practice in the visual arts and cinema; queer theory; psychoanalysis and aesthetics; configurations of social class in British art; history and theory of analogical-digital relations in contemporary art making.