Programme: History of Art - MPhil/PhD/MSc by Research

Start date: September 2015

Mode of study: Full time

Research title: Le cadre déborde: the subject, the sensory and the surreal in Dora Maar’s photographic works

Naomi is a PhD candidate in History of Art and the recipient of a Wolfson Foundation Postgraduate Scholarship, allowing her to pursue her research on the photographic works of Dora Maar and their dialogic relationship with surrealism.

Prior to arriving in Edinburgh, Naomi studied for five years at the University of St Andrews – first, for an MA (Hons) in Art History and Classical Studies, and then an MLitt in History of Photography. Her research to date has mainly been concerned with analysing the contributions of women artists to the early 20th century European avant-gardes: her MA and MLitt dissertations discussed, respectively, the theme of desire in the works of Czech surrealist, Toyen; and the relationship between studio and experimental portraiture by female photographers between the wars.

The provisional title for Naomi's PhD thesis is 'Le cadre déborde: the subject, the sensory and the surreal in Dora Maar's photographic works.' Working against the biographical approach that has characterised writing on Maar's life and art to date, it provides a theory-driven analysis of her photographs. In doing so, it seeks to expand the framework within which those works are considered in dialogue with surrealism, as well as locating them within the wider context of photographic modernism.

Naomi is also currently serving on the committee of the Association for Art History's PhD & ECR Network, and is a member of the Dada & Surrealism Research Group led by Edinburgh College of Art. ​

During the 2017/18 academic year, Naomi is tutoring on the undergraduate​ course History of Art 2.

​Research interests:

  • Women artists of the interwar avant-gardes
  • History and theory of photography 
  • Surrealism and its legacies
  • Contemporary Scottish photography



  • 'Jonny Lyons: Dream Easy', Studies in Photography, 30th Anniversary Edition, 2016 (exhibition review)
  • 'Calum Colvin and the Postmodern Turn' in Calum Colvin: The Magic Box, Edinburgh Printmakers, 2014 (catalogue essay)



  • 'Portrait d'Ubu and realism in surrealist photography.' European Network for Avant-garde and Modernism Studies Biennial Conference, University of Münster, September 2018 (upcoming)
  • 'Touchez, s'il vous plaît: the hand as surrealist motif in Dora Maar's photographic works.' Dada & Surrealism Research Group Seminar Series, Edinburgh College of Art, May 2018
  • ​'Dora dans les rues: female flânerie and the dérive in Dora Maar’s street photography.' Universities Art Association of Canada (UAAC) Annual Conference, Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity, October 2017
  • 'Maar, Bataille, and the Eye: Aggressive visuality in Dora Maar's photomontage.' Aggression, Transgression & the Avant-garde One-day International Conference, University of Edinburgh, June 2017
  • 'Witnessing the Surreal: Blind insight in Dora Maar's surrealist photomontage.' ​Franco-Scottish Research Network Interdisciplinary Seminar, Institut Français Écosse, December 2016


Conferences/panels organised:

  • 'Surrealism and Photography: New Perspectives.' Session at UAAC Annual Conference, University of Waterloo, October 2018 (upcoming)
  • ​'Re/presenting the Body: Between art and science.' Association for Art History Summer Symposium, University of Glasgow, July 2017 (organising committee member)
  • 'Aggression, Transgression & the Avant-garde.' One-day International Conference, University of Edinburgh, June 2017 (co-organiser)
  • 'Changing Tides: Exploring the relationships between people, places and art.' Annual History of Art Postgraduate Research Conference, University of Edinburgh, June 2016 (organising committee member)