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Staff profiles

Dr Fiona Allen

Lecturer in History of Modern and Contemporary Art and Visual Culture (E&S)


01392 727035

Fiona Allen received her PhD from the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds in January 2016. During this time, she was also co-editor of the journal parallax. Her current research and teaching interests include contemporary art and its relationship to design and architecture, critical theory and the history of photography. Before joining the staff at Exeter, Fiona contributed to taught programmes in the School of Design, again at the University of Leeds, and Sotheby's Institute of Art, London.

Office Hours: Monday 1:30-2:30 and Tuesday 10:30-11:30 in Queen's BG32a

Research interests

My research explores the ways that the history and legacies of US imperialism have been addressed in contemporary art, with an emphasis on lens-based practices. At present, I have three main interests which stem from this topic:

  • Photography, questions of memorialisation and the Vietnam War;
  • Health activism in 1970s New York and the Puerto Rican diaspora;
  • The socio-economic implications of Nixon's 'War on Drugs'. 

My work has been published in a range of journals and edited collections, including the Oxford Art JournalArchitecture beyond EuropeArt & the Public Sphere, the Journal of Curatorial Studies and Understanding Marxism, Understanding Modernism (Bloomsbury, 2021). In 2015, I guest edited a special issue of the journal parallax. The issue explored the material and philosophical resonances of the term 'concrete' and their implications for contemporary art-architecture practices.

I have recently begun work on a new project which examines the use of testimony in artists' film and video. A preliminary article on Forensic Architecture, Languid Hands and the politics of bearing witness - co-authored with Luisa Lorenza Corna (Middlesex) - is forthcoming in Selva.

Research collaborations

After completing my PhD I worked for 18 months on a project with colleagues from the Department of History of Art and Archaeology at SOAS (Annie Jael Kwan and Joanna Wolfarth). Taking its lead from films such as La France est notre patrie (dir. Rithy Panh, 2015) and By The Time it Gets Dark (dir. Anocha Suwichakornpong, 2016), the project explored the ways in which colonial film and photographic archives have been rearticulated in contemporary Southeast Asian visual culture. The outcome was a two-day conference and film programme. My colleagues and I subsequently guest edited an issue of Southeast of Now based on the event, which was published in October 2019.