Dr Geraldine Biddle-Perry

Profile image of Associate Lecturer in Cultural Studies

Associate Lecturer in Cultural Studies

Central Saint Martins


Geraldine Biddle-Perry is a cultural historian whose work interrogates the production and reproduction of mainstream fashionable identities in the late-nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the assumptions of class and gender that underpin this. Biddle-Perry’s doctoral thesis examined the relationship between rational recreational leisure participation and fashionable outdoor leisure clothing as an historical conduit for notions of suburban ‘improvement’.

Dr Biddle-Perry uses a wide range of visual and material archival sources and an approach that is highly relevant to the inter-disciplinary nature of contemporary scholarship –and the teaching and learning environment to which it is both a response and a stimulus.

She has co-edited an important collection of essays on hair and its cultural significance; organized symposiums and conferences; spoken at numerous national and international conferences; been the recipient of various scholarly awards; published articles exploring the official uniforms of British Olympic teams; cycling clubs and social aspiration in the late nineteenth century; and the history of Gamage’s, an early London athletic outfitter’s. An important monograph examining fashion in post-war Austerity Britain is to be published by IB Tauris in January 2016. She is currently editing a multi-volume series for Bloomsbury, A Cultural History of Hair.

Research interests

The development of recreational and outdoor leisure clothing in the twentieth century; fashion, class and social aspiration; the role of textiles in fashioning the modern leisured body; photographic narratives of suburban leisure; hair, cosmetics and the fashionable body.

Research statement

The Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC recently funded a trip to examine archival holdings at the National Museum of American History. My work is currently looking at how the British and North American textile and clothing industry responded to a new mass leisure market before and after the Second World War, with a particular emphasis on the historical development and manufacture of new types of synthetic yarns and coatings, and water- and wind- proof fabrics.

This forms part of a wider body of research looking at the relationship between suburban social aspiration, recreational leisure and the mainstream development of fashionable and activity-specific leisure clothing in the twentieth century. Photographic archival and a range of other visual sources from the fashion, trade and specialist press are a key part of this and the ways in which visual and textual narratives of social aspiration and outdoor leisure coincide.

A second major area of current research activity looks at the fashioned body and the key role that hair, make up and cosmetics represent within the modern fashion system and the circulation of fashionable ideals. How this relates to the ageing body in western culture is a growing area of interest within cultural studies and my recent research into narratives of ageing skin is contributing to a network of scholarship and research that is developing across Europe.

Forthcoming publications

A Cultural History of Hair, Bloomsbury, Series Editor, forthcoming September 2017.

‘Class and Social Status’ in Vol 6, The Modern Age, A Cultural History of Hair, Bloomsbury, forthcoming September 2017.

Project awards, and grants

  • 2011, Smithsonian Institute, Lemelson Research Scholarship, Washington, DC.
  • 2007-2009, AHRC Doctoral Scholarship
  • 2009, American Cultural Association, Madonna Marsden International Travel Award,
  • 2006-2007, University of the Arts Doctoral Fellowship
  • 2005-2006, University of the Arts Blended Learning Innovations Award
  • 2003-2004, University of the Arts, Teaching and Professional Development Fellowship
  • 1995, BHRB MA Scholarship

Selected research outputs