Dr Lauren Fried

Senior Lecturer
Faculty of Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences
Cambridge School of Art
Areas of Expertise:
Art history , Gender , Design Research , Cultural Studies , History
Research Supervision:

Lauren is a Senior Lecturer in Critical and Contextual Studies and Course Leader for ARU's BA (Hons) Fashion Communication and Branding.

She is an interdisciplinary art and design historian, specialising in the relationships between material culture, gender, and performance. She has taught for eight years in Higher Education in the UK, gaining her PhD in 2019 from the V&A/RCA.

[email protected]


Lauren has taught for eight years in UK universities at all levels of BA and MA study, specialising in fashion history and theory, gender studies and critical and contextual studies. Her work outside of academia includes roles within museums and galleries, archives, and fashion.

Most recently, she was a Lecturer at the University of Sussex in Art History, and since 2017, was based at Middlesex University as a Lecturer in Fashion Visual Cultures.

While at Middlesex, Lauren taught across all three years of the Fashion BA programme, and was module leader for second year. She was also involved with equality, inclusion and diversity monitoring and engagement, and worked as the faculty's Academic Integrity officer.

Previous positions have included: the RCA; Goldsmiths; Kingston; UAL: LCF and Chelsea; and UCA Rochester and Epsom. Lauren’s approach to teaching is centred around inclusivity, innovation, and interdisciplinarity.

Lauren’s own research explores how trans bodies and identities have been shaped, and have shaped themselves, through material culture, performance, legislation, and activism in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Her AHRC-funded PhD, which she passed at viva without correction in 2019, was a Collaborative Doctoral Partnership based between the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Theatre and Performance Department and the Royal College of Art’s History of Design Program.

Entitled ‘A Material History of Trans Identities in UK Performance (1967-1990)’, her thesis demonstrated how material culture has been integral to the formation of trans identities in spaces of performance, which in turn impacted upon wider LGBTQ+ political, legal, and medical developments in the latter half of the 20th century.

She is now turning this original research into publishable outputs, including a book.

Research interests
  • Fashion and dress history
  • Gender studies
  • Histories and theories of sexuality
  • Material culture and design histories
  • Queer history and theory
  • Queer museology
  • Trans histories
Areas of research supervision

Lauren is open to supervision of research students in areas relating to trans histories, fashion and dress histories, gender and material culture, and queer studies. Please get in touch by email ([email protected]), and she would be happy to discuss your project further.


Lauren currently teaches on the following modules:

  • Research Project (MOD002997)
  • Critical Issues and Debates (MOD007297)
  • Fashion Journalism: Theory and Creation (MOD008633)

  • PhD History of Design, AHRC-funded CDP based between the V&A’s Theatre and Performance Department and the RCA’s History of Design Programme. Title of PhD: ‘A Material History of Trans Identities in UK Performance (1967-1990)’.
  • MA History of Design (Modern Strand) V&A and RCA. Title of Dissertation: ‘Design as Cure? Treating the Trans Body Through Design in Medical Discourse (1890-1970)’.
  • MA (Hons) History of Art and Architectural History, University of Edinburgh. Title of Dissertation ‘(Dis)Covering Leigh: An Analysis of Boundaries in the Costumes and Performances of Leigh Bowery’.
Recent presentations and conferences

3 November 2020, Chair for Research Seminar, Cate McKinney ‘Information Activism: A Queer History of Lesbian Media Technologies’, V&A Research Seminars

27 June 2017, CDP Training Event organiser, ‘History from Objects’, V&A, London

31 January 2017, PhD Work in Progress Lecture Series organiser, V&A, London

24 March 2017, ‘Unpacking Trans Methodologies and Practices’. Unpacking the Archive, RCA

19 March 2017, ‘Queer Object Lessons: Leigh Bowery’. Fifty Years of Queer History Through the Moving Image and Beyond. Flare Festival, BFI Southbank

9 February 2017, ‘Trans Histories and Material Culture’. Trans-formations. CHS-Wide Symposium, RCA

30 June–3 July 2016, Precarious Working in the University. Panel, Radical Histories/Histories of Radicalism. Raphael Samuel Centre and Queen Mary University

3–6 November 2016, ‘Trans Material Culture in UK Pop Performances’. American Society for Theatre Research Conference. ‘Trans Methods for Trans Materials’ working group, Minneapolis

19 June 2015 16 May 2015, ‘Queerying Design History’. What is the History of Sexuality?. Birkbeck, University of London Histories of Bodies: A Trans Museological Approach. History of the Body: Approaches and Directions. Institute of Historical Research

14–15 May 2015, ‘PhD Presentation’. Victorian Futures: Culture, democracy and the state on the road to Olympicopolis. Chelsea College of Art

13-14 May 2014, ‘Trans Curative Design’. The Gender History Network. The University of Edinburgh

4-5 April 2013, ‘Design as Cure?’. A Picture of Health. Royal College of Art and the Wellcome Trust

16 February 2013, ‘Trans Archives: Silence and Presence’. Breakout Session Lead. “Brave New World”: The Tenth LGBTI Archives and Culture Conference, Guildhall.

7-8 November 2012, ‘Designing Bodies?’, What is LGBT(Q) History and Where do we Stand?, Presenter and Chair. Queen Mary University, London