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Photo of Professor Corinna Wagner

Professor Corinna Wagner



01392 724213

CV for Professor Corinna Wagner

All of my projects involve text and image, and crosses disciplines and genres.

I work in the environmental humanities, combining creative and critical practice. I am currently working on traditional and experimental photography, and on handmade photo poetry books. This work will feature in exhibitions in 2022-23: 'Unstable Ground' (Studio KIND, Braunton, Devon 13 August - 3 September; 'Above and Below' (Artizan Collective Gallery, Torquay, Devon); 'Corinna Wagner: TerraOceanus' at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton, Devon, 17 June - 12 August, 2023 

This work has grown out of, and is a part of larger public-facing projects on water and climate change, coasts and culture. It is supported by a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) grant to work with the Tide and Time Bell Project, an art initiative that concerns coastal communities and rising sea levels and centres around bells designed by artist Marcus Vergette. See this fascinating and important work here: Home - Time and Tide Bell

The form of much of my current work could be described as illustrated creative non-fiction or illustrated autotheory, some of the elements of which can be seen on this website. I am, for instance, completing a photobook, Blue Ruin, which combines digital, traditional and alternative photography (including cyanotype) and writing about ruins, ruin-making, the exploration of ruins, and notions of property and trespass. A body of images titled Tourism and a photo essay on ruins and 'CoronaGothic' in Critical Quarterly provides a taste of this work. I am completing a book of prose poetry, which also has 'blue' in the title: some of the images and first lines from Anatomy of Blue can be seen here.

Speaking of anatomy, my most recent book is on art and anatomy, a topic I have been publishing on and speaking about for some time. A highly illustrated book, Still Life, which covers an array of topics on the long history of the intersections between the visual and literary arts and anatomy, will be published very soon. An article called 'Replicating Venus: Art, Anatomy, Wax Models and Automata' can be accessed here. Some of this work formed the basis for an appearance on Channel 4's Bone Detectives, which can be watched here. This interest was first sparked while researching my first book, Pathological Bodies.




Research interests

My research interests are:

  • Photography, the history of architectural, documentary and medical photography
  • Creative writing and fine art; cross-genre writing, including the 'short-short' form, prose poetry, creative non-fiction, photobooks
  • Ruins and ruin lust; urban design
  • The body; art and anatomy; medicine and the arts
  • Water, the environment and the anthropocene
  • Victorian literature, art and culture, the gothic 
  • History of art and architecture from the eighteenth century to the present day
  • Uses of the past and Victorian medievalism
  • Body studies and critical theory, especially Michel Foucault; theories of visuality; affect theory; autotheory; blue humanities


My published and upcoming books on these subjects are (see CV for book chapters, articles, essays and further creative pieces):

  • Blue Ruin (photo book, autotheory and creative non-fiction) (2021)
  • Anatomy of Blue (prose poetry) (2021)
  • Coastal Bodies: New Water Cultures (2022)
  • Sadism: A Metaphor for Modern Times (2023)
  • Transparent Bodies: Art and Anatomy (2021)
  • The Oxford Handbook to Victorian Medievalism (2020)
  • A Body of Work: An Anthology of Poetry and Medicine (with Andy Brown, Bloomsbury, 2015).
  • Art & Soul: Victorians and the Gothic (with Joanne Parker, 2014)
  • Gothic Evolutions: Poetry, Tales, Context, Theory (2014)
  • Pathological Bodies: Medicine and Political Culture (2013)


Research collaborations

I collaborate with researchers, writers, artists, and curators, in China (Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong), Australia (Melbourne), and India (Delhi) and America (Florida, California).  

I work currently with the team Time and Tide Bell




Research supervision

I am more than happy to work with PhD candidates who work in visual culture, photography, and art history, from the 18th to the 20th centuries, medical humanities and body studies, gothic literature and Victorian medievalism, Romanticism, Victorian culture, environmentalism and blue humanities, the natural and the built environment, and ruins and ruinophilia, and other topics. I encourage especially candidates who are interested in working across genres and disciplines, or who combine text and image, or creative and critical practice.  


Research students

Current PhD students:

Peter Church, Morality, the Notion of Evil, and Victorian Gothic

Bushra Aljahdali, The Philosophical Aporias of Silence and Taciturnity in the Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley and AlMu’allaqat

Katie Snow, Satirizing the Breast: Visions of Maternity and Sexuality in Eighteenth-Century England

Pichaya Waiprib, Discovering Queer Victorians: Representations of Homosexuality in 19th-Century Britain and the Gothic Literature

Joseph Holloway, Conjoined Twins and Personal Identity since the Enlightenment.

Completed PhDs:

Aihua Zhou Pearson, Chinese ‘Face’ and Western Body: Images of Masculinity in Xu Beihong’s Paintings

Muhamet Alijaj, Testimony and Narrative on the Preternatural in the Work of Catherine Crowe, the London Dialectical Society and Edward William Cox

Vivian Gornik (part of the supervisory team, University of South Florida, Department of Anthropology) Constructions of Englishness: Anthropological Approaches to British Heritage Sites.

James Green, AHRC-funded PhD studentship from South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership, Nerves, Networks, and Delay: Physiology and the Sensation Novel

Bysshe Coffey, recipient of College of Humanities PhD Studentship, Shelley's Intermitted Song: Verse Form and the Limit-Points of Manifest Phenomena

Elena Lipsos, A Genealogy of ‘Pin-Up’: Charting Excessive Femininity through a Pin-Up Aesthetic


External impact and engagement

I am involved in a number of public activities, including television work (with Channel 4, BBC) and radio (BBC), film festivals (Bridport's Page to Screen, Devon's Hell Tor gothic film festival), museums and galleries, particularly in the South West RAMM, Torre Abbey), and a wide range of fine art exhibitions and speaking engagements (for the Representational Art Group, Dialogues for Artists in a Changing World, etc.). I have also written for Theatre Royal Haymarket and for a number of literary and art journals. I have co-curated or been part of programming for a number of art exhibitions. 

I am exhibiting, with a number of wonderful artists, at: 'Unstable Ground' (Studio KIND, Braunton, Devon 13 August - 3 September; 'Above and Below' (Artizan Collective Gallery, Torquay, Devon); 'Corinna Wagner: TerraOceanus' at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton, Devon, 17 June - 12 August, 2023 

Contribution to discipline

I review for a wide number of publishers and journals, including but not limited to, the Social History of Medicine, Bloomsbury, Palgrave, Routledge, Oxford University Press. I am a member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) peer review college, and also review for the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Medical Research Council (MRC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).


I have acted as consultant or participant on a number of television and radio programmes on Victorian culture, the body and the history of medicine. I have also spoken in a wide number of venues on an almost equally wide range of topics, from poetry to photography, from bodies to climate. 



I took a somewhat unconventional path to academia. I had a life on the road, working as a journalist among other exciting things, for a few years after high school in Canada. After some years of travel, I decided it was time to get a degree in journalism and photography, but before I did I got hooked on literature. I obtained an honours BA and a fully funded MA from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada and a DPhil from the University of York, funded by the Overseas Research Students Award Scheme (ORSAS, Universities UK), a University fellowship, and SSHRC (Social Science and Humanities Research Council, Canada). 

Before I finished my PhD, I was appointed as lecturer at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada. I wrote up my thesis in my first of two years there, and was promoted to Assistant Professor. I then took a position as lecturer at Exeter, where I am now Associate Professor in Literature and Visual Culture. I also completed a year of an MA at Plymouth Art College in Fine Art Photography. 

My scholarly research and writing is closely connected to curatorial and creative work. I have co-curated exhibitions and I compose illustrated creative non-fiction, prose poetry, and autotheory. I am a photographer who works across digital, traditional and alternative processes, often incorporating wax, water and natural materials with photo-based media. The one commonality across all my work is the combination of text and image. This work can be seen on my website here. Recently, I've had creative work published in Climate Mattershere. This illustrated prose poem can be viewed on YouTube

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