Dr Cath Davies

Untitled-150x100.pnge: cadavies@cardiffmet.ac.uk
t: 02920 416665

Specialist Subject Areas

• Representations of Death in Visual Culture 
• Contextual approaches to Fashion design
• Film, Fabric and Embodiment
• Subcultural Style
• Representations of Monstrosity, abjection and the grotesque
• Glamour, materiality and femininity
• Stardom and celebrity


PhD by published works: Discourses of Dissolution: Designing the Deceased in Visual and Material Culture 
Senior Fellow HEA
Postgraduate Diploma in Media Education (UWIC)
PGCE (FE and HE)(University of Wales)
BA Joint Hons English and Drama (University of Wales, Aberystwyth) 2:1


Cath is a Senior Lecturer in Visual Culture contributing primarily to the Constellation (Contextual/Critical studies) modules within the school. Her teaching addresses cultural approaches to Art and design with a specific expertise in Media, Film and Fashion evident in study group topics on Conceptual and Contextual approaches to Fashion Design,‘Dark Matters: Visualising Gothic Literature’ and ‘Goddesses and Monsters: Glamour and the Grotesque’. She was previously the Programme Director for the Constellation module and the MA Art and Design pathway on Death and Visual Culture, reflecting her specific research interests. 

In Sept 2021 she was awarded a PhD by published works for her thesis Discourses of Dissolution: Designing the Deceased in Visual and Material Culture. Her research interrogates conceptual meanings in representations of the body with specific reference to the interplay between discourses of preservation and disintegration in posthumous celebrity, film and fashion.

From 2016 – 2018 Cath was involved in an Academic Lead role that maintained quality assurance and quality enhancement within the School of Art and Design. This included moderation and calibration processes across programmes; generating learning and teaching reflective practices amongst all staff; supporting personal tutoring strategies and peer mentoring. Within the school, she has been chair of the programme directors’ forum and Moderation committee and participated on the Mitigating Circumstances panel and School Management Planning team. Beyond CSAD at university level, she has been involved in the personal tutor working group, partnership/collaborative programme committee and an Academic Standards and Quality Assurance board member. She is currently Link Moderator for a partnership programme BA Hons Photographic Practice at the Arts Academy in Cardiff and has recently completed the HEA new External Examiners training. Quality assurance experiences within the school formed the basis of a successful Senior Fellowship application (January 2017) and addressed supporting staff in delivering effective assessment feedback.

Her experiences of teaching cultural theory were originally nurtured in the FE sector, lecturing in A level Film Studies and Media Studies from 1994 – 2001. During this period, she participated in WJEC exam board examining and moderating in both Film and Media courses, including experience as a Principal Examiner in World Cinema within the Film Studies A level programme. In addition to a range of publications aimed at A level teaching and learning, Cath has also delivered conference papers and workshops to the A level teaching sector. Her interest in all aspects of film education continued in her capacity as a board member at The Film Agency for Wales from 2008 – 2014, with a role that assisted in the development of projects and resources that nurtured Film in both the formal and informal education sector. This role has included the role of Chair of the Wales’ Film Education Network Forum. 

 At Cardiffmet, she has also been instrumental in the design, development and delivery of both Broadcast Media and Popular Culture and Media Studies and Visual Cultures undergraduate programmes. In 2009 she was a BAFTA Jury panel member (Welsh Short Film).

In September 2022, she presented the Keynote address at the ‘Death and Culture IV’ international conference in York, showcasing research on ‘The Composition of Decomposition’: Dissecting the dynamics of decay in Popular Culture.

Current research

Cath’s research interests have focussed primarily on Fashion, Celebrity and Death with particular emphasis on textual representations and ideologies of visibility and materiality in relation to death and dying. Recent publications focus on the synthesis between fabric and unruly bodies in Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin I Live in (2017); the dynamics of bodily decay in Tim Burton’s work (2021) and mannequin design and Frida Kahlo’s posthumous image (2021). She is currently completing work on Designing Presence and Absence in ‘Moonage Daydream’ (Morgen, 2022), in addition to Conceptualising the corpse in Disney/Pixar’s ‘Coco’ (Unkrich, 2017). She remains preoccupied with interrogating the skull and blood in fashion design.

Principal Publications, Exhibitions and Awards

View Cath’s papers and publications on Cardiff Metropolitan University’s DSpace repository.

[Journal Paper] (2022) One of the thorny kind: The Red Queen’s organic armour in Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016) Studies in Costume and Performance Vol 7: 2 213-225

[Journal article] (2021) ‘Strike a Pose’: Fabricating Posthumous presence in Mannequin Design. Journal of Material Culture 26 (2) 109-121

Book Chapter (2021) ‘I might just split a seam’: Fabric and Somatic Integrity in the work of Tim Burton in Hockenhull, S; Pheasant-Kelly, F (eds) Tim Burton’s Bodies: Gothic, Animated, Corporeal and Creaturely. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press

Journal Article: June 2017 - What Lies Beneath: Fabric and Embodiment in Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In. Fashion, Film and Consumption

Journal Article: Feb 2014 – Smells Like Teen Spirit: Channelling Subcultural traditions in Contemporary Dr Martens’ branding; Journal of Consumer Culture

Journal Article: May 2012 – No Mere Mortal: Rematerialising Michael Jackson in Death; Celebrity Studies 3:2, pp183-196

Book Chapter – Nowhere Man : John Lennon and Spectral Liminality in Aaron, M (ed) Envisaging Death : Visual Culture and Dying, Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Journal Article : May 2010 Technological Taxidermy : Recognisable Faces in Celebrity Deaths; Mortality Vol 15, number 2, p138.

Exhibition Review : May 2010 The Sacred Made Real. Spanish Painting and Sculpture 1600-1700, National Gallery ; Mortality Vol 15, number 2, p138.

Book Chapter: The Music Industry in Exploring the Media : A Student’s Guide (October 2010)

Author : Teaching the Music Press (Auteur Publishing, 2006)

Author : Approaches to Pop Music (Auteur Publishing, 2006)