Sarah Gilligan


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Costuming and fashion on and beyond the screen.
Gender, clothing and identities in popular visual culture.
Material and visual cultures.

Personal profile


Dr Sarah Gilligan (SFHEA) is an Assistant Professor in Fashion Communication in the School of Design. Her research and publications centre on clothing and identities on and beyond the screen - particularly the distinct, yet symbiotic relationships between costuming, fashion and star-celebrity culture in film, TV drama and photography. 

Sarah joined Northumbria University as a Senior Lecturer in 2020, following a career in further and adult education. Sarah remains highly committed to widening participation in education, and currently teaches and supervises student projects across BA, MA, MRes and PhD levels. In 2021, Sarah became a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and she holds BA and MA qualifications in Media, Film and Cultural Studies, a Cert.Ed, and a PhD in Media Arts from Royal Holloway, University of London. Sarah's thesis Transforming Identity: Gender, Costume & Contemporary Popular Cinema (supervised by Prof. Stella Bruzzi), was funded by a Thomas Holloway scholarship, and passed with no corrections. 

Sarah is the co-founder and chair of the Fashion, Costume and Visual Cultures (FCVC) Network for which she received a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award. She has co-organised international conferences in Croatia (FCVC2018) and France (FCVC2019) together with in-person and online events and mentoring for established, early career and emerging researchers in the UK and internationally. She is a member of the Critical Costume steering group and the European Popular Culture Association, and will be convening FCVC Network strands in collaboration with the forthcoming EUPOP2023 conference in Scotland.

She is Reviews Editor for Film, Fashion and Consumption journal and is on the editorial boards of Fashion, Style and Popular Culture, Critical Studies in Fashion and Beauty, and the International Journal of Sustainable Fashion and Textiles. Sarah has guest edited special issues for Intellect of Clothing Cultures (6.1), Critical Studies in Men’s Fashion (7.1-2) and Queer Studies in Media and Popular Culture (5.2-3). She has published in Fashion Theory, Film, Fashion and Consumption and the Journal of Asia Pacific Popular Culture, together with contributions to a range of edited collections. 

Sarah's article, ‘Fashion forward killer: Villanelle, costuming and queer style in Killing Eve’ (co-authored with Dr Jacky Collins), was recently published in Film, Fashion and Consumption 10.2. Sarah's current research explores fashioning ageing star-celebrities. She is also developing a larger visual and materials cultures research project: Tactile Transmediality: Surface Pleasures and the Fashioned Body which adopts a multimodal approach combining the textual analysis of cross-media representations, object based research and autoethnographic creative explorations.




Education/Academic qualification

PhD, PhD in Media Arts. Transforming Identity: Gender, Costume and Contemporary Popular Cinema. , Royal Holloway University of London

Award Date: 1 Jan 2010

MA, MA (with Distinction) in Film and Cultural Studies.

PGCert, Cultural and Textual Studies.

CertEd, Certificate in Education (FE).

BA (Hons), Media Studies (2.1).


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