Dr Harriet Riches

Head of Cambridge School of Art

Faculty:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School:Cambridge School of Art

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Photography , Modern and Contemporary Art , Visual Culture

Research Supervision:Yes

Harriet’s teaching and research is in the history and theory of contemporary art, photography and visual culture, with a particular interest in feminist theory and art practice.



Harriet joined ARU as Head of Cambridge School of Art in 2019. After completing her PhD at University College London, she has held academic posts in universities and art schools including University of Warwick, Middlesex University and Kingston School of Art, and most recently as Dean of Academic Programmes at Cambridge School of Visual & Performing Arts. Her research and supervision interests focus on the history and historiography of women’s art and photographic practice, and she writes regularly on photography for international journals including Source and Afterimage: Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism.

Research interests

  • Contemporary art and photography
  • History and historiography of photography
  • Feminist theory and practice

Harriet’s research expertise is in the area of feminist art practice and the history of women’s photography. Her current work focuses on the operation of gender in the historiography and representation of photography (and figure of ‘the photographer’) as medium, practice and technology in cultural discourse.

Areas of research supervision

Harriet has experience supervising and examining practice-based projects informed by feminist theory, as well as theses examining histories and historiographies of modern and contemporary photography. She is interested in supervising projects that examine any aspects of women’s art and photography, particularly those that might investigate issues of gender and identity in the written discourses and historiographies of art, photography and wider visual culture.

Areas of supervision

  • modern and contemporary art and photography
  • feminist art histories and theories
  • historiography of photography
  • gender, identity and historiography


  • PhD, ‘Skin, Surface, Subjectivity’, University College London, University of London, 2004
  • MA History of Art, University College London, 1999
  • BA (Hons) History of Modern Art & Architecture, University of Manchester, 1997
  • Foundation Diploma in Art & Design, Anglia Ruskin University, 1993
  • Post-Graduate Certificate in Learning & Teaching in Higher Education, Kingston University, 2010.

Memberships, editorial boards

Senior Fellow of Higher Education Academy (SFHEA)

Selected recent publications

Riches, H., 2019. ‘Busy Hands, Light Work: Hand-made Photographs and the ‘New Materiality’’, in Robinson, H. & Buszek, M.E. (eds)., Companion to Feminist Art Practice and Theory. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell) (in press).

Riches, H., 2017. ‘Pix and Clicks: Photography, Femininity and the New ‘Digital Domesticity’, Oxford Art Journal, vol. 40, no. 1.

Riches, H. 2017. ‘Women and Photography’ in Sheehan, T. (ed) Grove Art Guide to Photography. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Riches, H., 2014. 'Making and Taking: Gender in the Historiography of Photography', in Sheehan, T., (ed.), Photography, History, Difference. University Press of New England.

Riches, H., 2013. ‘Women and Photography’ in Sheehan, T. (ed.) Grove Art Online. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Riches, H., 2013. ‘Negotiating Interiority: Displacement and Belonging in the ‘Autoportraits’ of Lydia Maria Julien’ in Sparke, P. & Massey, A. (eds) Biography, Identity and the Modern Interior. London: Ashgate.

Riches, H. 2012. ‘Projecting Touch: Francesca Woodman’s late ‘Blueprints’, Photographies vol. 5, no. 2.

Riches, H. 2011. ‘Being Girlish’, in Grant, C. & Waxman, L. (eds), GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS! in Contemporary Art. London: Intellect Books.

Riches, H. 2007. ‘Clues to a Lost Artist’, Oxford Art Journal, vol. 30, no. 3.

Riches, H. 2004. ‘A Disappearing Act: Francesca Woodman’s ‘Portrait of a Reputation’’, Oxford Art Journal, 27.

Recent presentations and conferences

‘Being Girlish: Photography and ‘Drawingness’’, When We Were Young, National Galleries Scotland Research Conference (March 2018).

 ‘Thinking for itself: photography, femininity, and the ‘new materiality’’, Helsinki Photomedia 2016, Aalto University, Finland (March 2016).

‘From Touch to Vision: Physiological Aesthetics, Photography and the Type-Writer Girl’, Association of Art Historians Annual Conference, University of Edinburgh (April 2016).

‘Mother Photography’, After Post-Photography 2, St Petersburg (April 2016).

 ‘Pix and Clicks: Photography, Femininity and the ‘New Domesticity’, House, Work, Artwork: Feminism and Art History’s New Domesticity, University of Birmingham (July 2015).

 ‘Making and Taking’, Feminist Object(ive)s symposium, University of York (2014).

 ‘Making and Taking: Gender and the History of Photography’, in Photography, History, Difference session at AAH Annual Conference, Open University (March 2012).

‘Making and Taking: Gender and the Historiography of Photography’, Kingston University post-graduate seminar series (March 2012).

‘Hand-me-down history: learning to teach and teaching to learn as a feminist’, British Art Seminar Series, Tate Britain (December 2011).

‘Just Like a Little Girl’, paper delivered at History of Photography Research Seminar Series and book launch, Courtauld Institute of Art (2011).

‘Spinning Tales: Narratives of Trauma and Loss in the work of Sigalit Landau’, Seminar Series, Reading University (2011).

‘Hand-me-down history: learning to teach and teaching to learn as a feminist’, The Granddaughters’ Generation: Feminism and Art History Now, UCL (2011).

‘Negotiating Interiority: narratives of displacement and belonging in the autoportraits of Lydia Maria Julien’, Interior Lives, The Modern Interiors Research Centre Annual Conference, Kingston University (2011).

Recent Presentations and Public Lectures:

‘Fashion in the Frame’, Cam Lates, Fitzwilliam Museum (April 2018).

‘Questioning the Real: Women, Photography, Representation’, Showcasing Art History Public Lecture Series, Courtauld Institute, November 2017

Guest Lecture on feminism and photography, MA Photography, Sotheby’s Institute (2015).

Invited guest speaker on the work of Francesca Woodman, ARTIST ROOMS ‘Café des Artistes’, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2015)

Invited lecture on art history and theory in the art school, education symposium, University College London (June 2013).

Invited participant at Scholars’ Day, Francesca Woodman, Solomon Guggenheim Museum, New York (May 2012).

‘More or less graceful’: looking back at Muybridge’s bodies’, launch of Muybridge in Kingston event, British Film Institute. 

‘Posing for Muybridge’, Fashion in Film Workshop, UAL: Central St Martins (2010)

Panel member, salon discussion of the work of Sarah Lederman, Centre for Recent Drawing Salo(o)n, London (2010).

Leader of public reading group on ‘Writing and Difference: Jacques Derrida’, The Photographers’ Gallery, London (January 2010).