Professor Susannah Thompson MA (Hons), MPhil, PhD

Job Title:

Head of Doctoral Studies / Professor of Contemporary Art and Criticism





Gallery text by Susannah Thompson for the solo exhibition (After) After by
Laurence Figgis, Leeds College of Art, 2017

Gallery text by Susannah Thompson for the solo exhibition (After) After by


Professor Susannah Thompson

Professor Susannah Thompson is an art historian, writer and critic. Susannah holds a PhD in History of Art from the University of Glasgow, an MPhil in Art and Design in Organisational Contexts from The Glasgow School of Art and an MA (Hons) in History of Art from the University of Glasgow.

Before taking up her position at The Glasgow School of Art in 2017, Susannah worked at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), University of Edinburgh, as Director for Postgraduate Research (2014-17), Co-Director of Visual Culture (2011-14) and Lecturer in Visual Culture (2006-2017) in the School of Art.

Susannah’s research has been widely published in journals including Visual Studies, Journal for Writing in Creative Practice, Journal of the Scottish Society for Art History and Visual Culture in Britain. Her doctoral research (2010) examined artists’ writings in Scotland published between 1960-1990, focusing on alternative and experimental modes of writing and post-criticism, writing as a part of visual art practice and the role of samizdat and ephemeral publications within contemporary art in Scotland. Her course, Art Writing, was a core component of the MA Contemporary Art Theory programme and ran between 2010-2017 and was the first of its kind in Scotland. As well as her role as Head of Doctoral Studies she is a primary and co-supervisor for five PhD students, with three completions to date.

Alongside academic research, Susannah has also worked as a freelance critic, art writer and curator since 2000. She has extensive curatorial and programming experience and as a writer and critic she has contributed to magazines and journals including Art Review, The Burlington Magazine, Flash Art, Even, Contemporary, Modern Painters, Circa, Variant, A-N and MAP. She has written numerous catalogue essays and gallery texts for artists and organisations including Tramway, CCA, Transmission, Sorcha Dallas, Washington Garcia, Mary Mary, Street Level Photoworks, The Glasgow School of Art, Leeds College of Art, Linn Lühn (Cologne), Collective (Edinburgh) and YYZ (Toronto). She is a member of AICA (International Association of Art Critics).

Her research interests are in the broad area of contemporary art history and visual culture, with a particular emphasis on interdisciplinary and feminist approaches to: Art Writing; Criticism/Post-Criticism; Art Historical writing; Fiction / Literature and/in/as Art; Contemporary Art Theory; Contemporary Art; Feminism.

Selected recent and forthcoming publications in 2020:

Susannah has contributed a chapter to the new Routledge book The Creative Critic: Writing as/about Practice edited by Emily Orley and Katja Hilevaara. Built around a diverse selection of writings from leading researcher-practitioners and emerging artists, the book celebrates the extraordinary range of possibilities available when writing about one’s own work. It re-thinks the conventions of scholarly output to propose that critical writing be understood as an integral part of the artistic process, and even as artwork in its own right. Susannah’s chapter reconsiders the art manifesto.

With Dr Marianne Greated (GSA), Susannah is co-editor of a special issue of the journal Visual Culture in Britain, published by Taylor & Francis, focusing on painting by women in Scotland in the mid-twentieth century. The edited collection reflects upon and examines an under-examined body of practice in the history of Scottish art, presenting thematic essays and detailed case studies of specific artists.

Contributors include: Joanne Tatham & Tom O'Sullivan (Royal College of Art; Northumbria University); Debi Banerjee (Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop); Deborah Jackson (Edinburgh College of Art); Jenny Brownrigg (GSA) and Kyla McDonald (GSA).

Susannah has a forthcoming chapter in an edited collection of essays on the writer Muriel Spark, to be published in summer 2020 by the Association for Scottish Literary Studies.

You can read Susannah’s art criticism at: and

Current PhD Students:

Helen de Main
The Personal Remains Political: a practice-based inquiry into the intersection of the personal and political in contemporary feminist art practice informed by archival investigation and participatory action research. Funded by GSA PhD Scholarship. Co-supervised by Dr Adele Patrick (Glasgow Women's Library) and Dr Nicky Bird (GSA).

Kyla McDonald
Re–discovery, Restoration and Revision: investigating the position of women artists within recent curatorial trends in Europe and North America. Funded by AHRC's Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities Doctoral Training Partnership. Co-supervised by Dr Patricia Allmer, Edinburgh College of Art and Dr Adele Patrick, Glasgow Women's Library.

Rebecca Rupke (Bec Wonders)
Frauenkultur: what a systematic documentation of letters in feminist periodicals (1970-1990) can reveal about the materiality of secondwave strategies. Co-supervision with Dr Marianne Greated (GSA) and Dr Deborah Jackson (ECA, University of Edinburgh)

Sarah Forrest
‘What is Seen, What is Said to be Seen: Exploring doubt as a critical tool within artists’ moving image practice’, funded by AHRC's Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities Doctoral Training Partnership. Co-supervised by Dr Sarah Neely, University of Stirling and Torsten Lauschmann, Edinburgh College of Art.

Jennifer Thatcher (joint supervision with Edinburgh College of Art)
‘Close Encounters: The Development of the Artist Interview in Postwar Print and Broadcasting’, funded by AHRC's Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities Doctoral Training Partnership. Co-supervision with Prof Neil Mulholland, Edinburgh College of Art and Lauren Dyer Amazeen, critic.