Carol Mavor


Personal profile





Laura Andre. Strange Territories: Space-Age Frontiers and American Art and Architecture of the 1960s, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 2002.

Jenna Carine Ashton.  Casting Rachel Whiteread, University of Manchester. 2014.

Jennifer Bauer. Brilliant Phantasy: The Art of Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 2002.

Jane Blocker.  Ana Mendieta and the Unbaptized Earth, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 1994. This PhD has grown into the book Where is Ana Mendieta? (Duke UP, 1999).

Jessica Dallow. Family Legacies: Race, Gender and Collaboration in the Art of Betye and Alison Saar, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2000. This PhD has grown into the exhibition and catalogue Family Legacies: The Art of Betye, Lezley and Alison Saar (University of Washington Press). 

Katherine Guinness. Rosemarie Trockel, University of Manchester. 2013.

Andrew Hardman. The Studio: Situating Duration in Art Since 1945 (with Jackie Stacey), University of Manchester. 2014.

Ben Harvey. Frye and Cezanne: Formalism's First Affair, University of North Carolina. 2002. 

Andrew Hennlich. Fixing the Eye: William Kentridge and the Optics of Witness, University of Manchester. 2011.

Mary Elizabeth Howie. Courtly Love in Photography, Theory and Psychoanalysis,  University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 2007.

Joseph E. Lucchesi. Romaine Brooks, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. This PhD grew into an essay for the exhibition catalogue Amazons in the Drawing Room: The Art of Romaine Brooks (Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press in Association with the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C., 2000).

Ann Millett, The Grotesque and Disability Studies in Contemporary Art, University of North Carolina, 2005. This PhD grew into Ann Millet-Gallant's book, The Disabled Body in Contemporary Art (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010). 

Leisa Rundquist.  Pyre: A Poetics of Fire and Childhood in the Art of Henry Darger, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2007. 

Wendy Smith.  Historical Fantasies: Fortuny and the Fine Arts, University of Manchester, 2014.

Esther Teichmann. Falling into Photography: On Loss, Desire and the Photorgaphic, practice-based PhD in photography, Royal College of Art (with Francette Pacteau), 2011.

Betsy Towns. Wondrous Creatures: The Paintings of Martin Johnson Heade, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2007.




Carol Mavor calls herself an artist-historian.

Carol Mavor is Professor of Art History and Visual Culture at the University of Manchester. As a writer who takes creative risks in form (literary and experimental) and political risks in content (sexuality, racial hatred, child-loving and the maternal), she has published widely on photography, cinema, colour and childhood. All her books, including Blue Mythologies: Reflections on a Colour (Reaktion, 2013), are richly illustrated with an eye on design. Her most recent monograph, Aurelia: Art and Literature through the Mouth of the Fairy Tale (Reaktion, 2017), is splashed with plenty of aurelian gold metallic ink and is perhaps the most beautiful of Mavor’s publications: indeed, it is an ‘artist’s book’.

“Forget whatever you previously associated with “fairy tales,” and enter Carol Mavor’s kaleidoscopic universe of art and literature. Everyone from Ralph Eugene Meatyard to Kiki Smith to Frank Baum to Emmett Till to Francesca Woodman to Langston Hughes is here, and so many more, held together by Mavor’s casually erudite, finely spun web. Aurelia is as strange, enigmatic, and full of magic as its subjects.”
—Maggie Nelson


Research interests

Roland Barthes, the child, photography, gender and sexuality, the fairy tale, the colour blue, modern and contemporary art.

For further information about research, writing and upcoming talks, see


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