School of Social Sciences and Humanities

At a glance

Dr Rachael Grew

Photo of Dr Rachael Grew

Rachael is a visual culture historian specialising in concepts of gender and identity within French and British art and design c. 1850-1950, with a particular focus on women Surrealists.  She obtained her PhD in 2010 from the University of Glasgow, where her doctoral research explored the motif of the alchemical androgyne in Symbolist and Surrealist art. Rachael has published a range of articles and essays on gender issues within Surrealist art, and her current projects focus on issues of identity in Surrealist costume and theatrical design, notably those of Leonor Fini. She has previously held a Lectureship at Plymouth University and teaching posts at The Glasgow School of Art, Edinburgh College of Art, and the University of Glasgow before joining Loughborough University in 2016.

Rachael completed her postgraduate certificate in academic teaching practice in 2017 and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

SAA921 Drawing: Discourses and Debates
SAA922 Introduction to Modern and Contemporary Art and Design
SAB931 Contemporary Art and Aesthetics
SAB932 Visual Culture: Histories and Theories
SAC940 Art and Design Dissertation

Rachael’s research interests include:

  • Histories and critical concepts of gender in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in French and British art and design, especially notions of androgyny
  • Surrealist art and design, particularly in relation to the artists Leonor Fini, Leonora Carrington, and Remedios Varo
  • Surrealist costume and theatre design
  • Pan-European fin-de-siècle visual and material culture with a particular interest in the French Symbolists and the Glasgow School
  • Alchemical and occult iconography within visual and material culture

Her current research focuses on the expression of embodied identity within visual culture: the refusal of a single, static self in favour of an emphasis on a self that is re-created repeatedly. She is presently exploring this concept in relation to the theatrical designs of Leonor Fini, an artist who was keenly aware of the malleable nature of identity.

I am a member of the following research groups:

  • Gendered Lives
  • Cultural Currents 1870-1930



Rachael is currently supervising a PhD on Kate Atkinson and feminism.

Rachael would be keen to supervise students interested in any of the following areas:

  • Gender debates in 19th-20th century visual and/or material culture
  • Symbolist and/or Surrealist art and/or design
  • Artists / designers of the 19th-century Glasgow School (such as Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh, Jessie M. King, etc.)
  • Occult iconography