Subjectivity & Feminisms

The Subjectivity and Feminisms research group is based at Chelsea College of Art & Design and consists of artists and writers whose practices explore questions and issues of identity, as they are mediated between artist/writer, artwork and viewer.

Led by Dr Maria Walsh and Dr Mo Throp. 

Research questions

Subjectivity is related to identity and the personal, but it is not reducible to these formations. While identity is formed out of a whole range of intersecting determinations (social, political, linguistic, psychological, ideological), the emphasis on subjectivity implies that these determinations are fluid as well as being culturally specific. The emphasis on subjectivity implies that signifying practices such as art, open the individual up to change.

In recent practices and debates, subjectivity has been characterised as both fluid and processual. This group questions whether and how subjectivity is a transitive process or whether and how it is attached to identity (race, gender, sexuality, disability etc). The individual members of the Subjectivity and Feminisms group question, through their practices, how these concepts are mediated, how they push the boundaries of language and how they might challenge orthodox ways of understanding. This research question acknowledges the legacy of feminist thinking in re-evaluating aesthetics in relation to the encounter with what lies outside the frame of representation.


  • To articulate, critique and share common concerns and interests as practitioner/researchers.
  • To initiate a series of events which address issues of the inter-relations between subjectivity and the artwork, and self and other in the artwork particularly in relation to feminist theories.
  • To incorporate issues of racial identity, disability and queer theory.
  • To establish a platform in order to advance a community and culture of researchers (staff and students) within Chelsea and across University of the Arts London, in order to make apparent the relationship between research and the teaching/learning environment.
  • To seek collaboration nationally and internationally in order to provide opportunities for exchange between artists, writers and audiences.

The Subjectivity and Feminisms research group sees itself as implemental to the growth of research-led culture at Chelsea and the UAL. Plans for development include exhibitions, publications and symposia. The group proposes using the expertise of individual members to generate ongoing research opportunities and to develop a research strategy that supports an organic expansion. This includes appointment of readers, fellows, professors and coordinators alongside scholarships for doctoral and postdoctoral research.