About us

Feminisms in Public are a group of PhD students based in and around Manchester whose aim is to encourage public engagement in feminist research.

Cat McDermott

I’m a final year English PhD student at MMU, specialising in contemporaryCat picture bio representations of women, gender and feminism in popular fiction. I’m particularly interested in the relationship between fictional genres and the ways we live our lives as gendered subjects. I’ve also contributed to the DIY documentary film Rebel Dykes (post-production, dirs. Harri Shanahan; Siân Williams) as a Production Assistant. When I’m not researching, I like taking photographs (especially in bleak British landscapes), doing yoga, and listening to podcasts.

Steph Reid

My research explores skin as a surface throustephgh which our conceptions of the contemporary monster are reshaped and alternative narratives are produced around themes of survival, resistance and renewal within the Post-Millennial Gothic mode. I am interested in the concepts of self-harm, creation, transmutable surfaces, and self-fashioning monsters. My texts are televisual, chosen as a medium which specifically reflects the postmodern preoccupation with the surface, and actualizes its inherent problems, upon the (specifically female) skin. Retraced through concerns such as nostalgia and multiplicity, the limits of the televisual monstrous body become not less visible, but redefined through alternative styles and themes. Aside from my studies, I’m looking forward to a trip to Japan at the end of this month and follow an embarrassing (secretly impressive) number of Pomeranian dog accounts on Instagram and I’m currently re-watching Westworld.

Spencer Meeks

I’m a first year PhD student and am researching theratt effects of contemporary biosciences (e.g. neuroscience, genetics) on personhood. I’m looking at the fiction of Siri Hustvedt and Jennifer Egan to explore the ways in which these new scientific findings and subsequent biomolecular models alter ourselves in terms of our sense of agency, sociality, and ethical responsibility. Otherwise, I will usually be watching TV – preferably some kind of legal drama.

Aly Edwards

I’m a first year Gothic Studies PhD Student at Maalynchester Metropolitan University, looking into the socio-cultural significance of Gothic/Dark Tourism from the nineteenth century to the present day, particularly its relationship to Gothic spatial imaginaries of London. My thesis stems from work undertaken during my Humanities MA and English and European Studies BA at York University, Toronto, Canada. I have a forthcoming publication in the Dark Arts Journal  focusing on a Jack the Ripper tour in London, and case study on a haunted ruin in the edited collection Writing Britain’s Ruins, 1700-1850.


Polly Checkland Harding

I’m a first year Creative Writing PhD student at Manchester Metropolitan University, looking into the ethical implications of elided rape narratives in fiction (instances where the scene of rape is not directly represented) and writing a feminist novel in which the lead character’s role as body double on a British TV series parallels her relationship with her increasingly manipulative boyfriend; the question at the heart of the story is ‘what does it mean to lose contrpolly picol of your own narrative?’. I’ve been published in The Manchester Anthology and have forthcoming short fiction publications in Confingo and Lighthouse magazines. My work stems from my Creative Writing MA at The University of Manchester and BA in English Literature from The University of Cambridge. I’m also Exhibition Editor (and former Editor) at award-winning online arts and culture magazine Creative Tourist, winner of the Made In Manchester Award for Digital, Media or Creative Professional of the Year 2016, former City Editor for Manchester at WOW247, freelance writer for publications including Aesthetica, a-n News, The Skinny and TimeOut Manchester, and guest presenter on TV channel That’s Manchester.