Emma Louise Ward

email - e.ward.2@research.gla.ac.uk

Research title: Unbecoming Modern: The Work of Mina Loy

Research Summary

Emma began her Ph.D. in English Literature in 2014. She returned from maternity leave in March 2019 and is now in thesis pending. Her thesis, entitled ‘Unbecoming Modernism: The Work of Mina Loy. A Queer Feminist Reading’, dislocates Mina Loy’s treatment of sex, sexualities and gender from heteronormativity by readdressing her work using queer and feminist theory. It argues that readings of Loy’s work too often engage with ‘compulsory heterosexuality’ (per Adrienne Rich). It explores scholarship that aligns with heteropatriarchal power, or that draws upon Loy’s alleged heterosexuality, markers of heterosexuality, heteronormative stereotypes, and gender essentialism. It surmises that these readings regrettably constitute queer erasure.

Through a series of close readings of Loy’s artwork, short stories, poems and manuscripts, Emma’s research illustrates instead that Loy’s work is a feminist, queer effort towards radical ‘psychic’ (i.e. social attitudinal) change. It examines four(+) modes of ‘unbecoming’ making in Loy’s work: queer relationalities (‘being against’), queer temporalities, queer spatialities and queer(ed) counterfactuals (opacities).



Grants & Awards

  • University of Glasgow, HEI Discretionary Award (£700 March 2018, £450 June 2018, £972 May 2019) Support for living costs
  • British Federation of Women Graduates, Funds for Women Graduates, Foundation Main Grant for one full year’s study (£6000, October 2016)  - FfWG offers Foundation Grants to help women graduates with their living expenses. The criteria are the proven needs of the applicant and her academic calibre.
  • Nordic Summer University Grant (to attend July 2016) A grant-funded place in their Appearances of the Political Study Circle. This interdisciplinary group investigates aesthetic appearances and experiences of the political in contemporary democracies.
  • Foundation Scotland on behalf of The Fran Trust (£946.68, June 2016) A double award to give a paper at the IPAK Centar Summer School for Sexualities, Culture and Politics (http://www.ipakcentar.org/summer-school/summer-school-2016) in Serbia and another paper at the Nordic Summer University (http://nordic.university/5-2/summer-session-2016/) in Finland
  • College of Arts Graduate School Research Support Award (£300, June 2016) For attendance at the Sexualities Summer School ‘Love and Its Others’ at the University of Manchester (https://sexualitysummerschool.wordpress.com/
  • Mac Robertson Travel Scholarship (£3447.65, awarded May 2016) For position as visiting doctoral scholar at the Centre for Gender Research, Uppsala University, September-December 2016.
  • James McNeil Whistler and Beatrix Whistler Scholarship (£220, awarded May 2016) For further costs associated with giving the aforementioned two papers at the IPAK Centar Summer School and the Nordic Summer University in August 2016. Both papers covered Mina Loy’s artworks in some detail.
  • Civil Service Benevolent Fund Grant (£500, May 2016) Support for living costs.
  • College of Arts Graduate School Research Support Award (£215.38, December 2014) To cover the cost of printing research materials, namely just over half of the 6000 photographs taken whilst in the Loy archives.
  • School of Critical Studies PG Research Funding (£125, July 2014) Towards attendance at the IPAK Centar Summer School for Sexualities, Culture and Politics (http://www.ipakcentar.org/summer-school/summer-school-2014)
  • David & Rhona Nicol Travel Scholarship (£500, June 2014) Towards a month at the Loy archive in the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University.
  • The Alexander & Dixon Scholarship (January 2014- January 2017) Covers full Ph.D. fees.
  • School of Critical Studies PG Research Funding (c. £300, May 2013) Towards an archival research trip on John Fante’s manuscripts to the Library Special Collections at UCLA (during MLitt).
  • SAAS Postgraduate Discretionary Funds (c. £900, March 2013) Support for living costs during MLitt
  • GTA Competition: Small Group Teaching in Arts, Joint Top Prize, College of Arts, University of Glasgow, May 2017.


  • 3 April 2017    ‘Verbal Design’ Queer Learnings from Mina Loy’s Design Files? Queer Modernism(s), Nottingham Trent University.          
  • 16 March 2017   ‘Verbal Design’? Learning from Mina Loy’s Design Files English Literature Visiting Speaker Seminar, University of Glasgow. 
  • 21 October 2016    ‘The Myth of Appropriate Motherhood in Readings of Mina Loy’s ‘Parturition’.’ Swedish Network of Family and Kinship Studies Annual General Meeting, Linköping University.  https://swedishfamilyresearch.wordpress.com/
  • 15 August 2016  'Fluctuant spirit […] released’: Sexuality and Identity in Mina Loy’s Insel. Summer School for Sexualities, Cultures and Politics, IPAK Centar, Belgrade, Serbia. http://ipakcentar.org/the-summer-school-for-sexualities-cultures-and-politics
  • 26 July 2016  ‘The Real of Sex’: Identity and Authenticity, Sex and Gender Politics in Mina Loy’s Short Stories and Unpublished Manuscripts. Appearances of the Political: Summer Symposium, Nordic Summer University http://nordic.university/
  • 26 May 2015   ‘Mina Loy’s Insel: an artist, body and mind ‘so at variance with himself, he existed on either side of a paradox.’ University of Glasgow (The 4th International PG conference) Creativity: Method or Madness?            
  • 13 February 2015   ‘Mina Loy’s variant existences: disintegration and absorption of body, space and aura.’ University of Strathclyde (The Scottish Network of Modernist Studies). Modernism, Space and Place.

    Departmental papers

  • November 2016  Submitted a thesis chapter to the Uppsala University, English Literature Staff Work in Progress Group entitled ‘Cosmic Reproductivity’. Chaired 90-minute seminar discussion of my work.
  • October 2016   Gave an hour presentation to Uppsala University, Gendered Cultures Research Group Seminar entitled ‘Listing Designs: Mina Loy’s ‘Swans’, ‘Backgammon’, ‘headgear’, ‘Pink walls’, ‘Matches’, ‘knots’, ‘Flamingo on a chair’. ‘Round plaid’, ‘Chimney Pots’, ‘Neon lights’, ‘Chinese Lanterns’, ‘Windows’, ‘Shuttle-cocks’, ‘Vari-colored zebras’.’
  • 16 May 2013   ‘Success? John Fante and H. L. Mencken’ presentation at University of Glasgow Modernities MLitt Dissertation Symposium.
  • 16 May 2013   Session Chair Modernities MLitt. Dissertation Symposium, University of Glasgow.


       Participation by application

  • 15-20 August 2016 Summer School for Sexualities, Cultures and Politics, IPAK Centar, Belgrade, Serbia.  http://ipakcentar.org/the-summer-school-for-sexualities-cultures-and-politics
  • 24-31     July 2016 Appearances of the Political: Summer Symposium, Nordic Summer University http://nordic.university/
  • 18-24 August 2014 Summer School for Sexualities, Cultures and Politics, IPAK Centar, Belgrade, Serbia.  http://ipakcentar.org/the-summer-school-for-sexualities-cultures-and-politics


  • January 2016 – June 2016, The Novel and Narratology, English Literature, University of Glasgow
  • January 2017 – June 2017, The Novel and Narratology, English Literature, University of Glasgow
  • January 2018 – June 2018, The Novel and Narratology, English Literature, University of Glasgow
  • (June 2018 – March 2019 on maternity leave)

Additional Information


Recognising Excellence in Teaching Associate Fellow (RETAF) of the Higher Education Academy, June 2017 (feedback cited ‘an outstanding application’).

Graduate Teaching Assistants’ Representative, English Literature Department, University of Glasgow, January 2017 – January 2018.

Emma was GTA Rep (jobshare), working with the Head of Department to improve working conditions, training and contractual conditions for GTAs and working with GTA committees in other institutions to pool training resources for GTAs and ECRs.

Scribe/administrative support for the New Modernist Editing Network (19 April 2017)

E-sharp editorial team, October 2016 – June 2017

Reviewer for Gutter Magazine 2016

Scribe/administrative support for SNoMS (13 Feb 2015)

During the course of Emma’s studies she has also been a member of:

  • *XPMGla (for Glasgow postgraduates with an interest in the Digital Humanities);
  • *Theory at Random (group for Glasgow postgraduates with an interest in critical theory);
  • *the Uppsala University Gendered Cultures Research Group;
  • *the Uppsala University Families and Kinship Research Group;
  • *BAMS (the British Association of Modernist Studies);
  • *SNoMS (the Scottish Network of Modernist Studies);
  • *the FWSA (the Feminist and Women’s Studies Association); and
  • *an (The Artists Information Company).
  • *member of the Textual Editing Lab https://www.gla.ac.uk/researchinstitutes/artslab/labs/textualeditinglab/



Visiting doctoral scholar, 3 months at the Centre for Gender Research, Uppsala University (September – November 2016). Supervisor: Dr Jenny Björklund. Funding support for this activity was paid in full by the Mac Robertson Travel Scholarship.

Public Engagement

January – March 2017: Participant by application at Spaces of Belonging Research-Led Creative Workshops. http://spacesofbelonging.weebly.com/

Emma gained hands on experience of organising and carrying out public engagement work thanks to this training at University of Edinburgh, in association with the Maryhill Integration Network in Glasgow and The Welcoming in Edinburgh (who engage with people from migrant, refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds). The training included designing and running public poetry workshops, on themes of space, belonging and identity.

Other Roles

Emma graduated from University of Oxford with a degree in English Language and Literature in 2002. She spent 4 years working in communications in the voluntary sector, 6 years working on social policy issues in Whitehall, followed by 2 years completing an 82,000 mile solo writing adventure through Central and South America, the former Soviet Union and Asia. She completed an MLitt in Modernities at University of Glasgow in 2013 and spent 3 years working on marketing, innovation and business development at a London health-tech start-up between 2013 and 2016. Between 2016 and 2018, she taught first year English Literature undergraduates on The Novel and Narratology course at University of Glasgow. Since 2017, she has worked as a freelance Project Manager and Producer for the artists Lundahl & Seitl.