Prof. Susannah Thompson MA (Hons), MPhil, PhD

Job Title:

Head of Doctoral Studies





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


Prof. Susannah Thompson

Prof. Susannah Thompson is an art historian, writer and critic. She studied at University of Glasgow (MA Hons and PhD) and Glasgow School of Art (MPhil).

In the early 2000s, Susannah worked as a curator, arts administrator and lecturer. After teaching at the University of Glasgow, University of Strathclyde and Glasgow School of Art, in she joined Edinburgh College of Art (ECA, University of Edinburgh) in 2006 as Lecturer in Visual Culture. She was Co-Director of Visual Culture (2011-14) and Director for Postgraduate Research (2014-17) at Edinburgh College of Art before returning to Glasgow School of Art in 2017 as Head of Doctoral Studies.

Susannah’s research has been widely published in journals including The British Art Journal, Visual Studies, Museum History Journal, Art History, the Journal for Writing in Creative Practice, Journal of the Scottish Society for Art History and Visual Culture in Britain. Her doctoral research 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 self-published 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 a number of PhD students at GSA and has supervised thirteen PhD students to date.

Alongside academic research, Susannah has also worked as a freelance critic, art writer and curator since the late 1990s. She has extensive curatorial and programming experience and as a writer and critic she has contributed to magazines and journals including Artforum, Art Review, The Burlington Magazine, Flash Art, Even, Contemporary, Modern Painters, Circa, Variant, A-N and MAP. She has written 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 art from Scotland and the UK and interdisciplinary and feminist approaches to: Art Writing; Criticism/Post-Criticism; Art Historical writing; Fiction / Literature and/in/as Art; Contemporary Art Theory; Contemporary Art; 20th Century painting; art by women.

Selected recent and forthcoming publications:

With Dr Marianne Greated (GSA), Susannah was 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 included: Joanne Tatham & Tom O'Sullivan (Royal College of Art; Northumbria University); Debi Banerjee (Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop); Deborah Jackson (Edinburgh College of Art); Kyla McDonald (GSA), Jenny Brownrigg (GSA). A parallel project, with MAP magazine, was published in April 2020, as part of an ongoing series. Contributors included Daisy Lafarge (on Joan Eardley) and Lauren Dyer Amazeen (on Mardi Barrie).

In 2022, Susannah’s essay ‘Spark’s Spinsters’ was been published in The Crooked Dividend, an edited collection of essays on spinsters, bedsits and boarding houses in the life and work of the writer Muriel Spark, published by the Association for Scottish Literary Studies.

In Spring 2022, Susannah published the co-authored article ‘Early Eardley’ with GSA colleague and curator Jenny Brownrigg for The British Art Journal. The article contested dominant narratives around the development of Joan Eardley’s work and focussed on her early works in the 1940s. Also in 2022, Susannah’s chapter ‘Letters from Joan’ was published in an edited collection by Speculative Books All Becomes Art, looking at Eardley’s practice as a prolific letter writer.

The Scots-Ghanaian artist, curator, writer and activist Maud Sulter has also been a key focus for Susannah’s recent research, and (along with fellow Scottish women artists and writers Cordelia Oliver, Pat Douthwaite, Muriel Spark and Joan Eardley) has become the subject of a range of activities including talks, panel discussions, conference papers and lectures.

You can read Susannah’s art criticism at: and , amongst other platforms and sites.

Current PhD Students:

Storm Greenwood
Unravelling Text: Reading as a Polyphonic Practice. AHRC Funded doctoral candidate. Primary Supervisor Dr Laura Haynes (GSA). Funded by Techne and Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities (AHRC)

Rebecca Meanley
A Hyper-Present State: Experiential Encounters in the Act of
Painting and the Act of Writing
Co-supervision with Dr Laura Haynes and Dr Zoe Mendelson

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

Kiah Endelman Music
‘Living with Injury: Writing reparative Midrash as an act of feminist resistant memory making’
Funded by AHRC's Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities Doctoral Training Partnership.
Co-supervision with Dr Laura Haynes

Recent PhD Completions

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).

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.