Kate Schneider, Gonville and Caius

Degree: PhD
Course: CC
Supervisor: Dr Deborah Bowman
Dissertation Title:

Fiction as Architecture; Architecture as Fiction: Experimental British Writing in the 1950s and 60s

Biographical Information

(2012-15) BA with First Class Honours in English from the University of Sussex

(2015-16) MPhil with Distinction from the University of Cambridge ('Alison Smithson's Paper Architecture)

(2016-present) PhD candidate funded by a Gonville Research Studentship (working on the relationship between architecture and experimental writing in the 1950s and 60s)

I am also a co-convenor of the Twentieth and Twenty-first Century Graduate Seminar for the academic year 2018-19.

Research Interests

An intensified interest in the management of space in the 1950s and 60s, situated within the context of the urgent necessity for postwar reconstruction, and the utopian impulses of the emerging welfare state, registers in the imaginative sites of literature and architecture. The immediate, surreal ruins of the Blitz provided an opportunity to regenerate society from the ground up, as evidenced by the proliferation of new housing regulations, policies, and projects. Yet building and inhabitation, how to live and how to behave, was an issue that was not only discussed by architects: there is a discernible new-found appreciation of space within a variety of prose genres, from public information broadcasts, to kitchen sink dramas, to late modernist fiction (authors I focus on in my project include Nell Dunn, Muriel Spark, B.S. Johnson, Humphrey Jennings and Alison Smithson). Reciprocally, architecture and its accompanying documents can be read as another kind of experimental fiction concerned with the technological capabilities and failures of form and structure, making dramatic proposals in the tentative and transient spaces of plans and exhibitions (case studies include the Ideal Home Exhibitions of the 1950s and 60s, the 1951 Festival of Britain, and the caravan).

Areas of Supervision

I have experience in teaching the Practical Criticism, Modernism and the Short Story, and Contemporary papers. I am also supervising Dissertations on topics including Jeanette Winterson and queer temporalities, and Anne Carson, Derek Jarman, and form.

Selected Publications

(2016) Illustrated piece on Alison Smithson for the University of Edinburgh's Dangerous Women Project

(2017) Profile of Alison Smithson for Riposte magazine

(2017) Review of AA XX 100: 100 Years of Women at the Architectural Association for Riposte

(2018) 'Squidgy Brutalism, Austerity Nostalgics', review of Owen Hatherley's Ministry of Nostalgia for Cambridge Humanities Review


(2017) 'Alison Smithson's Paper Architecture' at Decorating Dissidence: Feminism, Modernism, and the Arts (Queen Mary's University London)

(2018) 'A Short History of Postwar Reconstruction via Humphrey Jennings's Swiss Roll Collages' at Collage, Montage, Assemblage: Collected and Composite Forms, 1700-Present (University of Edinburgh)

(2019) The Landscape and Architecture of Post-war Infrastructure (The Modernist Society in association with the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, Manchester School of Art)

My poetry has been published in HotelAmbit 251, and Hotdog, and I recently read at The White Review x Burley Fisher Books poetry salon.