Sarah Bonner is a Principal Lecturer of the Institute of the Arts and is Lead for Teaching, Learning and the Student Experience.

Sarah is the current overseeing programme leader of the BA (Hons) Photography degree with integrated foundation entry level course at the University of Cumbria. She teaches visual studies and critical theory. Her PhD, awarded by the University of Manchester in 2010, was titled Fairy Tales and Feminism in Contemporary Visual Art and Popular Culture. It examined the subject of gender as a repeated construct in fairy tales that is being subverted by a process of mis-repetition in the contemporary visual arts.

Exploartions of gender representation and narrative in the visual arts in twentieth and twenty-first century contemporary visual culture are continuing areas of interest and research. Sarah supervises PhD students, and has delivered and had published papers nationally and internationally.

Qualifications and memberships

PhD University of Manchester

Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Member of the Association of Photography in Higher Education

Member of the Council of Higher Education in Art and Design

Academic and research interests

Critical explorations of gender representation (in particular, femininity) and narrative in the visual arts in twentieth and twenty-first century contemporary visual and popular culture.


Chapter in Book – ‘Resistance and Revolt: Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty Re-viewed’ in Contemporary Fairy Tale Magic Lydia Brugue and Auba Llompart (eds). Brill publishing, Netherlands (February 2020)

Chapter in Book -  ‘Tales Retold: Fairy Tales in Contemporary European Visual Art’ in The Fairy Tale World. Andrew Teverson (ed.). Taylor Francis Publishing, UK. (April 2019) 

Conference Presentation – ‘When the Clock Strikes Twelve: the unexpected transformations of Cinderella’ at All About Cinderella: retellings in the cultural imagination conference, University of Bedfordshire, Luton, June 2017.

Chapter in Book - 'Girl Acting Out: Revisiting the fairy tale futures of Little Red Riding Hood and Snow White' in Memories of the Future. Deborah Jaffe and Stephen Wilson (eds). Peter Lang Publishing, Switzerland. (2017)

Conference Presentation – ‘Tales of the Unexpected: interrogating the myth of ideal fairy tale femininity’ at Fairy Tales, Folklore and Legend conference Budapest, March 2016.

Conference Presentation - Eating Otherwise, Lancaster University, 2015 Published Essay - 'Beneath Antique Lace Moons' in Accalia and the Swamp Monster, Kelli S. Kelley, Louisiana: Louisiana State University Press, 2014.

Conference Presentation - Memories of the Future, Chelsea College of Arts (UAL) and the Institute of Modern Languages, 2014.

Chapter in Book - 'Visualising Red Riding Hood' in Fairy Tales and Popular Culture. Martin Hallett and Barbara Karasek (eds) 2014 Canada: Broadview Press.

Conference Presentation - Repeat Repeat: A conference in the visual and performing arts, The University of Chester, 2007.

Published Paper - 'Snow White: Repetition and Resistance in the Visual Arts' (2007) available at

Conference Presentation - The Art of the Fairy Tale from Grimm to Disney and All the Ogres in Between, Kent State University, Ashtabula Campus, Ohio, USA, 2006.

Conference Presentation - The Mind's Eye: Perspectives on Word & Image, University College London, 2006.

Published Paper - 'Visualising Red Riding Hood' Moveable Type No. 2 (2006) available at

Recent external roles

Consultancy/Professional Practice

Co-Organiser of the Visualising the Home conference, University of Cumbria, July 2017.

Co-Organiser of the Visualising the Animal conference, University of Cumbria, June 2015.

Chair for the Visualising the Rural conference, University of Cumbria, June 2013.

External Roles

Guest judge for Carlisle Photo Visualising the Home Exhibition July 2017.

Researcher, co-curator & author: A Cumbrian Connection: Jack Seabury Works 1956-1985, Castlegate House Gallery, Cockermouth, Cumbria (2003).