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Paula Smithard's research explores feminist art practice and its legacy, issues of gender, sexuality and difference in contemporary art and surrealism, including, its intersection with psychoanalysis and philosophy.
Smithard has specialist knowledge of psychoanalysis and continental philosophy and is an assistant editor of the Journal for Centre of Freudian Analysis and Research (JCFAR).
She can also be found giving occasional gallery talks and appearing on panel discussions in museums and galleries such as the Tate, Camden Arts Centre and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.
Her background is in history of modern art, design and film. After several years as an arts administrator, she began working at the Serpentine Gallery in the early 90s.
Smithard later went on to lecture widely on modern and contemporary art including regularly at Birkbeck College, Camberwell College of Arts, Central Saint Martins, Christie's Education, Goldsmiths and The Open University.
In the late 90s Smithard’s art criticism explored the cultural politics of pleasure and subjectivities. Her writing appeared in, amongst others, 'MAKE', '(e)verything' and 'Variant' magazines.
An essay from this period was republished in 'The MAKE Anthology: Reviewing the Past and Looking to the Future of Women’s Art Practice', edited by Maria Walsh and Mo Throp (I.B. Tauris, 2015).
Smithard recently contributed to ‘The Place of Dead Rhodes’ (IMT Press, 2015), which was published in connection with the event ‘Das Träumen’ held at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in April 2015.