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Alix Beeston

Dr Alix Beeston

Senior Lecturer

School of English, Communication and Philosophy

+44 29208 75412
John Percival Building, Room 1.21, Colum Drive, Cardiff, CF10 3EU
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am a Senior Lecturer in English at Cardiff University. My work is interdisciplinary in scope and feminist in approach, focusing on twentieth- and twenty-first-century literature, photography, and film, especially in the United States. I am interested in the ethical possibilities of representations of women in writing and visual culture, as well as in the history of women’s creative labour.

I am the author of In and Out of Sight: Modernist Writing and the Photographic Unseen (Oxford University Press, 2018; paperback 2023) and the co-editor, with Stefan Solomon, of a forthcoming collection of essays, Incomplete: The Feminist Possibilities of the Unfinished Film (University of California Press, June 2023). In November 2022, Stefan and I co-curated Unfinished: Women Filmmakers in Process, a film festival and workshop series hosted at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff.

I am currently working on a new scholarly–trade book, The Image Encounters: Feminism, Photography, and the Art of Being Seen, which is under contract with MIT Press. I co-edit, with Pardis Dabashi, the regular Visualities forum on the online platform of Modernism/modernity, and I also sit on the editorial board of the Unmade Film and Television book series at Intellect and the advisory board of the Modernist Network Cymru. In 2021, I was a member of the judging committee for the Modernist Studies Association's Annual Book Prize. 

At Cardiff, I am the Director of Recruitment and Admissions for the School of English, Communication and Philosophy, as well as a founding member and the current convenor of Image Works: Research and Practice in Visual Culture, which provides innovative contexts for academics and students working on visual culture to connect with artists and practitioners. To find out about the Image Works programme, click here; to join our mailing list or to pitch an idea for an event, email

Recent and upcoming presentations:

  • Guest speaker, Finnish Radio, 18 December 2022
  • Guest speaker, BBC Radio Wales Arts Show, "Creative Women," 10 March 2023
  • Roundtable organiser and participant, "The Dial Is Broken!: Channeling Incomplete and Unfinished Feminist Film Archives," Doing Women's Film and TV History conference, University of Sussex, 14–16 June 2023

Recent and forthcoming publications:












Book sections




In and Out of Sight

My first book, In and Out of Sight: Modernist Writing and the Photographic Unseen, was published as part of the Modernist Literature and Culture Series at Oxford University Press in 2018; a paperback version will be released in 2023. Drawing on work in visual culture studies that emphasises the interplay between still and moving images, this book provides a new account of the relationship between photography and modernist literature—a literature that has long been considered to trace, in its formal experimentation, the influence of modern visual technologies. Work from and adjacent to this project appeared in PMLA, Modernism/modernity, and Arizona Quarterly.

In The Year's Work in English Studies, Shawna Ross praised the innovative and interdisciplinary methodology of In and Out of Sight, stating that the book "may be the most thrilling offering of 2018." In and Out of Sight was also reviewed in Modernism/modernity as a "probing, artful, and original" study that, in its methodology of "critical montage," "poses important questions for the future of modernist studies." The reviewer for American Literary History called it “powerful and persuasive,” “one of several exciting and innovative accounts of the relation between literature and photography to appear in recent years," while the reviewer for MFS: Modern Fiction Studies described it as a “daring,” “effective,” and “impressive first book [that] makes significant contributions not just to the reading of literary and visual modernism but to the understanding of gender, race, and class in twentieth-century American culture.” Further positive reviews have appeared in The Modern Language ReviewThe Modernist ReviewNOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, and Feminist Modernist Studies.

Object Women/The Image Encounters

To coincide with the release of In and Out of Sight, and making use of the collections of the George Eastman Museum, in March 2018 I launched a digital art history project on Instagram called Object Women: A History of Women in Photography. During its two-month run, the project featured images from early photography to the present, accompanied by microessays exploring the representation of women. You can read the introductory essay here and another article about the project on the Oxford University Press blogObject Women was also discussed in this write-up of the 2018 Modernist Studies Association Conference; in 2020, I reflected on the project in this feature on contemporary art and Instagram at ASAP/J.

I am currently at work on a new scholarly–trade book that radically reimagines and extends this digital project. The Image Encounters: Feminism, Photography, and the Art of Being Seen offers a richly illustrated, creative–critical account of women in photography that brings together scholarly and creative non-fictional styles of writingThis book asks: in photographs of women, who is the subject and who is the object? What forms of power are there not only in seeing but also in being seen? What forms of agency have women exhibited in relation to photographic representation and practice? How do women in photography look back at those who look at them, revealing the conditions of their visual arrest? And how do photographic women return our gaze, making us reflect on our own spectatorship as an ethical and political act? The Image Encounters is under contract with MIT Press. 


With Stefan Solomon (Macquarie University, Sydney), I have co-edited the essay collection Incomplete: The Feminist Possibilities of the Unfinished Film, which is forthcoming in June 2023 from the Feminist Media Histories book series at the University of California Press. This field-defining collection establishes unfinished film projects—abandoned, interrupted, lost, or open-ended—as rich and underappreciated resources for feminist film and media studies. In a series of deeply researched and creatively conceived chapters, scholars join with film practitioners in approaching the unfinished film as an ideal site for revealing the lived experiences, practical conditions, and institutional realities of women's film production across historical periods and national borders. Incomplete recovers projects and practices marginalised in film industries and scholarship alike, while also showing how feminist filmmakers have cultivated incompletion as an aesthetic strategy.

I have recently given interviews about this project on Finnish Radio and BBC Radio Wales. In November 2022 in Cardiff, Stefan and I co-curated a film festival and workshop series in connection with this work, which featured film practitioners and scholars from around the world. The festival was presented in partnership with Chapter Arts Centre and funded by a grant awarded by Cardiff's College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Innovation for All fund. The festival programme, featuring essays by myself, Stefan, Hannah Hamad, Mathilde Rouxel, and Karen Redrobe, is available to view here. Articles about the festival appeared on Wales Arts Review and the Feminist Studies Association newsletter.

Invited lectures and funding

I have been invited to give lectures connected to my research at the University of Oxford, Oxford Brookes University, the University of Exeter, the University of York, University College Dublin, Harvard University, Stanford University, the University of Michigan, the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, Ca'Foscari University of Venice, the Writing and Society Research Centre at Western Sydney University, and elsewhere.

My research has been supported by numerous grants, including the American Philosophical Society Franklin Research Grant in 2020, the Australian Academy of the Humanities Research Travel Grant and Publication Subsidy in 2017, the Modernist Studies Association Research Travel Grant in 2016, and the Lillian Gary Taylor Fellowship in American Literature at the University of Virginia in 2012. 


Below are descriptions of modules I have developed and led as part of the English Literature degree programmes at Cardiff University. Each of these modules emerges from and feeds into my research, while also incorporating creative pedagogy and assessment.

Object Women in Literature and Film (second-year undergraduate)
The woman as image, as icon, as object: the history of literature and film is replete with female figures who hover between personhood and objecthood. Object women live and die by the whims and desires of the male protagonists who still stand at the narrative centers of our cultural imagination. But object women, in the view of this module, are also women who object, who resist their objectification in unexpected ways. This module draws on key theories in feminist studies—including the notions of the male gaze and of female masquerade, as well as newer theories that connect issues of gender to issues of race, sexuality, ethnicity, and class—in examining a series of literary and visual texts, mostly from the turn of the century to the 1960s. As we uncover various tropes of the object woman in this period, we will explore how literature and film stage the possibilities for women to circumvent their objectification. The final two weeks of the course are given over to discussion of two contemporary texts that engage the module’s central ideas through their complex representation of women: Beyoncé’s Lemonade: The Visual Album (2016) and Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019).

Representing Race in Contemporary America (third-year undergraduate)
This module explores contemporary representations of African American experience—from literature and film to popular music and television—in the context of a longer history of African American cultural production. It pairs very recent works such as Jordan Peele’s horror comedy Get Out, Barry Jenkins’ dramatic feature Moonlight, Jesmyn Ward’s novel Sing, Unburied, Sing, artist Janelle Monáe’s "emotion picture" Dirty Computer and comedian Issa Rae’s HBO show Insecure with others dating from the second half of the twentieth century. In examining these modern and contemporary texts in conversation with one another, we will explore how authors and makers work with and against established traditions and genres. Our discussion of issues of identity and inequity will approach race in connection with other forms of social difference, including class, gender, and sexuality.

Writing Women (MA programme)
This module considers writing women in the twentieth century, in two senses: first, the writing of women into—and out of—literary histories; second, the writing produced—and not produced—by women. By reading a selection of classic and contemporary feminist essays on the problematic figure and marginal position of the woman writer or artist in history, we will work through some of the institutional and sociopolitical realities that have limited or frustrated women’s attempts to produce literary works and, at once, to be appreciated as authors. We will then seek to develop an ethically and historically informed hermeneutic for reading experimental modernist prose writing by women. Our discussion will attend to the representations of women in these texts, while also broaching issues around these texts, including the lived practices of creative labour, the variable, ongoing processes of canonisation, and the phenomenon of literary celebrity. The final few weeks of the module will focus more closely on the politics of memorialising women writers by pairing literary texts with films that adapt or otherwise engage those texts.


I was born and educated in Sydney, Australia. At the University of Sydney, I earned a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communication, English, History) with Distinction, before going on to postgraduate study in the Department of English, where I received First Class Honours in 2009 and a PhD in 2015.

Following the completion of my studies, I taught widely in twentieth and twenty-first century literature and film in the Department of English at the University of Sydney, as well as in the Department of Art History at the University of New South Wales. From 2016–2017, I was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. I moved to Cardiff in October 2017 to assume the post of Lecturer in English; in August 2019, I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in English. 

Honours and awards

Research fellowships and grants

  • Cardiff University College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Innovation for All Award for "In Process: Women Filmmakers, Unfinished Films" (£22,360), 2022
  • American Philosophical Society Franklin Research Grant, 2020
  • Cardiff University Research Leave Scheme (competitive award for research leave), 2019
  • Australian Academy of the Humanities (AAH) Research Travel Grant, 2017
  • AAH Publication Subsidy for In and Out of Sight: Modernist Writing and the Photographic Unseen, 2017
  • Anglican Deaconess Ministries Senior Research Fellowship (AUD 80,000), 2017
  • University of Sydney Department of English Grant for Publication, 2016
  • Modernist Studies Association (MSA) Travel Grant for Annual Conference, 2016
  • MSA Research Travel Grant, 2016
  • MSA Travel Grant for Annual Conference, 2015
  • University of Virginia Lillian Gary Taylor Fellowship in American Literature,  2012
  • Pacific Ancient and Modern Languages Association Graduate Student Scholarship for Annual Conference, 2012
  • University of Sydney Postgraduate Travel Grant Award, 2012
  • University of Sydney Postgraduate Support Scheme Funding, 2012
  • Australian Postgraduate Award for duration of PhD candidature, 2010

Teaching awards and training

  • Nominee, Most Innovative Staff Member and Personal Tutor of the Year, Enriching Student Life Awards, Cardiff University, 2019
  • Nominee, Most Innovative Staff Member, Enriching Student Life Awards, Cardiff University, 2018
  • Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) Student Teaching Commendations for “Transatlantic Negotiations” and “Imagining America,” University of Sydney, 2016
  • FASS Student Teaching Commendations for “Literature and Cinema,” “Imagining America,” and “Novel Worlds,” University of Sydney, 2015
  • FASS Student Teaching Commendations for “Imagining America,” University of Sydney, 2014
  • FASS Dean’s Citation for Excellence in Teaching, University of Sydney, 2012
  • Certificate of Completion, Teaching Development Program, University of Sydney, 2011

Professional memberships

Academic positions

  • 2021–2022: Exernal Examiner, English Literature Undergraduate Program, University of Sussex
  • 2019–present: Senior Lecturer in English, School of English, Communication and Philosophy, Cardiff University
  • 2017–2019: Lecturer in English, School of English, Communication and Philosophy, Cardiff University
  • 2016–2017: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, United States Studies Centre, University of Sydney
  • 2016: Sessional (Adjunct) Lecturer, Department of Art History, University of New South Wales
  • 2014–2016: Sessional (Adjunct) Lecturer, Department of English, University of Sydney

Committees and reviewing

Professional service:

  • Director of Recruitment and Admissions, School of English, Communication and Philosophy (ENCAP) (2021 ongoing)
  • Member, Judging Committee for the Modernist Studies Association Annual Book Prize (2021)
  • Member, ENCAP Recruitment and Admissions Committee (2019–2020)
  • Founding member and convenor, Image Works: Research and Practice in Visual Culture (2018 ongoing)
  • Advisory board member, Modernist Network Cymru (2018 ongoing)
  • Founder and convenor, Modern and Contemporary Workshop, ENCAP, Cardiff University (2017 ongoing)
  • Early Career Representative, ENCAP Research Strategy Committee (2018–2020)
  • Convenor, with Catherine Laing, Cardiff BookTalk (2017–2019)
  • Member, Equality and Diversity Committee, ENCAP, Cardiff University (2017–2018)

Editing and reviewing:

  • Editorial advisory board member, Unmade Film and Television book series at Intellect (2020 ongoing)
  • Co-editor (with Pardis Dabashi), Visualities forum, Modernism/modernity Print Plus (2019 ongoing)
  • Manuscript reviewer, MIT Press (2023), Edinburgh University Press (2020), Oxford University Press (2019), and Rowman & Littlefield (2018)
  • Journal reviewer, Twentieth-Century Literaturedifferences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, ELH: English Literary History, Feminist Modernist Studies, Modernism/modernity, Literature and History, and Sociologica


I currently supervise a number of PhD students whose projects explore twentieth-century women's writing, sensation, and space; intermediality in contemporary accounts of war by women; and identity formation in novels by Arab-American women after 1980, among other topics.

I have supported several successful applications for postgraduate funding through the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership, and I would be happy to hear from prospective PhD students who are seeking funding under this scheme or from other bodies for research in areas that connect to my expertise. These areas include:

  • modern and contemporary literature, especially in the U.S.;
  • visual culture studies (photography, film, and television, including in the digital age);
  • intermediality, i.e. the relationships between various media forms;
  • gender and feminist studies, and;
  • African American studies.

Current supervision

Josie Cray

Miss Josie Cray

Research student

Alaa Al Ghamdi

Miss Alaa Al Ghamdi

Research student

Beth Pyner

Ms Beth Pyner

Research student

Shaista Chishty

Ms Shaista Chishty

Research student