Dr Sarah Smith BA, MA, PhD

Job Title:

Head of Fine Art Critical Studies


Fine Art Critical Studies/Design History and Theory Profiles



‘Cinépoetry,’ part of the Film Lounge programme at Stills Gallery Edinburgh, Sept-Oct 2010
Programmed by Sarah Smith

‘Cinépoetry,’ part of the Film Lounge programme at Stills Gallery Edinburgh, Sept-Oct 2010


Dr Sarah Smith

I completed a BA in fine art painting at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin in 1994 and an MA in film studies at University College Dublin in 1995 before moving to Glasgow where I completed a PhD at University of Glasgow in 2007. I have been at GSA since 2001, first as a Lecturer in Historical & Critical Studies, later as Head of the Forum for Critical Inquiry and, since 2015, as Head of Fine Art Critical Studies. I am one of a small number of leading experts on Scottish experimental and artists’ film. I also research in the areas of feminist art and Irish national identity. In addition to working within academic contexts my research is disseminated through a variety of public platforms such as gallery and cinema talks, curating and programming, exhibition catalogue essays, magazine articles and reviews.

I am on the Editorial Board for Visual Art in Britain (Taylor & Francis) and peer review for a number of academic journals, including Screen Bodies (Berghahn Books) and Studies in Material Thinking (Aukland University of Technology). I served on College Art Association (CAA) International Committee from 2014-17 and have an ongoing relationship with the organisation through other roles.

I supervise PhDs in the areas of artists’ moving image; experimental film; feminist art; and art writing.

Select Publications

Monograph: Cinema in the Gallery: The Movies in Artists’ Film and Video (London: I.B.
Tauris, 2018)

Book chapter: ‘The Art of Maximal Ventriloquy: Femininity as Labour in the Films of Rachel MacLean’ in Lucy Reynolds (ed.), British Women Experimental Filmmakers (London: I.B. Tauris, 2018)

Article: ‘Posing as Art: The Ambiguities of Feminist Body Art and the Misclassification of Natacha Merritt’s Pornographic Photographs,’ Feminist Media Studies, Vol. 17, no.5, Oct 2017, pp.774-789

Article: ‘Sculpting Irishness: A Discussion of Dublin’s Commemorative Statues of Oscar Wilde and Phil Lynott,’ Sculpture Journal, Vol. 21, no.1, Spring/Summer 2012, pp.71-81

Article: ‘Lip and Love: Subversive Repetition in the Pastiche Films of Tracey Moffatt,’ in Screen, Vol 49, no. 2, Summer 2008, pp.209-215

Article: ‘Ireland in the 1940s and 1950s: The Photographs of Bert Hardy,’ article in Field Day Review, Issue 1, 2005, pp.133-155

Select Curating

‘Norman McLaren: The Student Films, Glasgow School of Art screening and live orchestral accompaniment, 2nd – 3rd May 2014

‘The Art of Drawn Movements: Animation Films by Glasgow School of Art Alumni,’ The Glasgow Film Theatre, 3rd May 2014 (part of McLaren 2014, the centenary festival of Norman McLaren, funded by the Commonwealth Games)

‘Cinépoetry’ part of the Film Lounge programme at Stills Gallery, Edinburgh, September 2010 (a two-month long installation of experimental films on the theme of cinépoetry).

‘The Discursive Space of Artists’ Films,’ The Glasgow Film Theatre, a screening and discussion event for Glasgow International: Festival of Visual Art (GI) April 2010

Select Conferences

‘Post-Feminism’s Confessional Mode as Discursive Decoy: The Misclassification of Natasha Merritt,’ Console-ing Passions Conference, Dublin, June 2015

‘Slurs, Stutters and Screams: Articulations of Hollywood’s Unconscious in Artists’ Films,’ College Art Association (CAA) annual conference, Chicago, February 2014

‘Feminist Authorship and Found Footage Film: The Case of Susan Hiller’s Psi Girls,’ part of a pre-constituted panel titled ‘Female Authorship and Film’ for the Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA) annual conference, University of Ulster, Derry, Jan 2013

Session Convenor: ‘The Discursive Space of Artists’ Films,’ Association of Art Historians (AAH) annual conference, (Co-convenors: Dr Maeve Connolly, Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology and Dr Sarah Neely, University of Stirling), University of Glasgow, April 2010

‘Sculpting Liminal Irishness: A Discussion of the Commemorative Statues of Oscar Wilde and Phil Lynott,’ Association of Art Historians (AAH) Conference, University of Manchester, April 2009

Professional Memberships

• College Art Association (CAA)
• British Association for Irish Studies (BAIS)
• Scottish Media and Communications Association (SMCA)
• Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA)
• European Network for Cinema and Media Studies (NeCS)

Current PhD Students

Principal Supervision

Dawn Worsley: ‘The Book as Relic: Using Memory and Object Analysis to Narrativise the Mackintosh Fire’

Lynda Devenney: ‘From Prop to Sculpture: The Role of the Object in Artists’ Moving Image Practices’

Ren Garden: ‘Improvisation and Artistic Labour in Experimental Animation Films’


Laura Edbrook, ‘The Quick: Autotheory and Radical Intimacy in the Means and Production of Art and its Discourses,’ co-supervised with Creative Writing at University of Glasgow


Dr Aimee Mollaghan: ‘Visual Music in Experimental Film from the 1910s – 1970s,’ co-supervised with Department of Film and Television, University of Glasgow. Supervision period: 2007-2011. This thesis was published in monograph form as The Visual Music Film (2015) by Palgrave.