Job title: Senior Lecturer and Chancellor's Fellow

Role: Director of Research

Tel: +44 (0) 131 651 5454


Office address: Room 0.47 Hunter Building

Research outputs: Dr Patricia Allmer on Edinburgh Research Explorer

Patricia is a leading scholar of surrealism, its modern traditions, and contemporary legacies.

Her new monograph on René Magritte will be published in 2019, and she was the guest speaker for the 2017-18 Chaire Internationale Emile Bernheim programme (

Her most recent exhibition and publication project was 4 Saints in 3 Acts: A Snapshot of the American Avant-garde in the 1930s (Manchester University Press, at The Photographers' Gallery in London (2017-18). It focussed on photography's little-known contribution to the key modernist event of Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson's 1934 opera Four Saints in Three Acts, and explored the complex gender, race, and class relations in representations of the cast and crew by photographers including Lee Miller, Carl Van Vechten, and George Platt Lynes.

Her most recent monograph Lee Miller: Photography, Surrealism, and Beyond ( is published by Manchester University Press (2016).

Her edited collection Intersections: Women Artists/Surrealism/Modernism (MUP) came out in October 2016. Her illustrated This Is Magritte for Laurence King has been translated into German, Dutch, and Latvian, and was published in August 2016.

Her other major publications include René Magritte: Beyond Painting (MUP: 2009), and the co-edited collections Wonderful Things – Surrealism and Egypt’ (Dada/Surrealism, 20.1: 2013), European Nightmares: European Horror Cinema Since 1945 (Wallflower/Columbia University Press: 2012), Re/reading RE/Search (European Journal of American Culture, 30.2: 2011), Collective Inventions: Surrealism in Belgium (Leuven: 2007), and The Forgotten Surrealists: Belgian Surrealism Since 1924 (Image [&] Narrative 13: 2005). 

Patricia curated and edited the catalogue for the award-winning major exhibition Angels of Anarchy: Women Artist and Surrealism (Manchester: 2009, Prestel) (, and co-curated and co-edited the catalogue for Taking Shots: The Photography of William S. Burroughs (London: 2014, Prestel). She has directed and co-directed a range of public programmes accompanying these exhibitions and which now constitute open-access online resources (see She has contributed widely to exhibition catalogues and other publications. In 2010 she won a Philip Leverhulme Prize in recognition of her major contribution to scholarship on surrealism.

Patricia serves on the AHRC Peer Review panel as an Academic, Strategic and International reviewer, has founded and leads the ECA Dada & Surrealism Research Group, acts as a consultant on a range of national and international past and forthcoming exhibitions, and is co-editor of The Scottish Society for the History of Photography's Studies in Photography journal.

Patricia gained her PhD from Loughborough University in 2005. Prior to arriving in Edinburgh she held a senior research post at Manchester Metropolitan University. She initiated and convened the 2009 Association of Art Historians’ Conference in Manchester, and organized and chaired Judy Chicago’s Manchester lecture and masterclass in 2011. She has given several media appearances, most recently in ITV’s Perspectives documentary on Magritte (2014).


Grants and Awards

2018  The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art, Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee Fund

2016   US Embassy/British Association of American Studies Small Grant

2016   The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art, Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee Fund

2015   Terra Foundation Research Travel Grant

2014   The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art, Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee Fund

2014   The Royal Society of Edinburgh, Arts & Humanities Small Research Grant

2014   The Moray Endowment Fund

2012   Association of Art Historians Museums Bursary

2011   British Academy, Small Research Grant

2010   Philip Leverhulme Prize

2009   British Academy, Small Research Grant

2008   British Academy, Small Research Grant    

2007   British Academy, Overseas Conference Grant

Patricia’s current specialist courses are:

 Breaking Frames: Women in Dada and Surrealism (Year 4, BA)

Art in Theory (MSc)

She welcomes PhD applications from students interested in working in the area of surrealism and its related fields. 


Patricia’s research focuses on Surrealism and its legacies in art and photography. 

Current PhD students

PhD Supervision Topics

Accepting applications.

Patricia welcomes enquiries from PhD applicants interested in her specialist areas which include Surrealism and its legacies, and modernism and photography.