Skip to main content

Languages, Cultures and Visual Studies

Photo of Dr Fiona Allen

Dr Fiona Allen

Lecturer in History of Modern and Contemporary Art and Visual Culture (E&S)


01392 727035


Fiona Allen received her PhD from the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds in January 2016. Her current research and teaching interests include contemporary art and its relationship to design and architecture, critical theory and the history of photography. Before joining the staff at Exeter, Fiona taught in the School of Design, again at the University of Leeds, and Sotheby's Institute of Art, London.

Office Hours: Monday 1:30-2:30 and Tuesday 10:30-11:30 in Queen's B. Please email for an appointment. 

Back to top


My research explores the ways in which the history and legacies of US imperialism have been addressed in contemporary art, with an emphasis on lens-based practices. At present, I have three main interests which stem from this topic:

  • Photography, questions of memorialisation and the Vietnam War;
  • Health activism in 1970s New York and the Puerto Rican diaspora;
  • The socio-economic implications of Nixon's 'War on Drugs'. 

My work has been published in a range of journals and edited collections, including parallaxOxford Art JournalArchitecture beyond EuropeArt & the Public SphereJournal of Curatorial Studies and Understanding Marxism, Understanding Modernism (Bloomsbury, 2021).

I have recently begun work on a new project which explores the use of testimony in artists' film. A preliminary article on R.I.P Germain, Languid Hands and the politics of bearing witness - co-authored with Luisa Lorenza Corna (UWE) - was published in the fall 2022 issue of Selva. I am also co-editing a volume, After Critical Realism, for the Historial Materialism book series (Brill/Haymarket, 2024). The project builds on a study day I organised at Birkbeck in April 2022. Details of the event can be found here.

Research collaborations

After completing my PhD, I organised a two-day conference and film programme, 'Reframing the Archive', with colleagues from the Department of History of Art and Archaeology at SOAS. Taking its lead from films such as La France est notre patrie (dir. Rithy Panh, 2015) and By The Time it Gets Dark (dir. Anocha Suwichakornpong, 2016), the event considered the various ways in which colonial film and photographic materials have been rearticulated in contemporary Southeast Asian visual culture. My colleagues and I subsequently guest edited an issue of Southeast of Now based on the conference, which was published in October 2019. 

Back to top

 Edit profile