Dr Catriona McAra

Dr Catriona McAra
Dr Catriona McAra
Dr Catriona McAra


Accepting PhDs



Catriona is Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Art History. Prior to Aberdeen, Catriona spent the first decade of her career leading research curation at Leeds Arts University and University Collections at St Andrews. 

She was awarded her doctorate in History of Art at the University of Glasgow followed by a post-doc at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH), University of Edinburgh. 

Catriona is an experienced art curator, working closely on shows of many contemporary artists (such as Yoko Ono, Ilana Halperin and Mieke Bal), and has written a range of catalogue essays and interpretation texts for commercial galleries and public museums.

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External Memberships

Scottish Society for Art History (SSAH)

International Society for the Study of Surrealism (ISSS)

Association for Art History (AAH)

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA)

Honorary Fellow in Art History, University of St Andrews

Prizes and Awards

Scottish Society for Art History research support grant (2023)

Terra Foundation for American Art research and development grant (2021)


Research Overview

Catriona is a specialist in modern and contemporary art history, and a leading authority on the work of Dorothea Tanning and Leonora Carrington, with particular interests in revisionary historiography and feminist-surrealist legacies in early twenty-first century art and literary practices.

Catriona is author of A Surrealist Stratigraphy of Dorothea Tanning’s Chasm (Routledge, 2017), and The Medium of Leonora Carrington (Manchester University Press, 2022). She is interested in how Carrington, Tanning and others have become 'media' for the next generations of artists and writers.

Catriona is currently planning a new project on Scottish women artists. This follows long-term curatorial work on the geo-heritage of Ilana Halperin which resulted in the edited volume Felt Events (MIT, 2022). 

Further interests include soft sculpture, green politics, Michelle Williams Gamaker's 'fictional activism,' and the work of Mieke Bal. 

Research Areas

Accepting PhDs

I am currently accepting PhDs in Art History.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your research ideas further.

Art History

Accepting PhDs

Research Specialisms

  • Creative Arts and Design
  • Curatorial Studies
  • Feminism
  • History of Art
  • Performing Arts

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.


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Books and Reports

Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Journals