Personal profile

Personal profile

Redell Olsen is a writer and visual artist who also makes work in film, hybrid media and performance. She co-directs the Living Sustainably Catalyst at Royal Holloway and curates the Poetics Research Centre which foregrounds modernist and experimental approaches to writing and poetics. 

In 2020-1 she was the winner of the DARE Art Prize. This allowed her to develop a project involving the intersections between art and science in association with scientists from the University of Leeds and Opera North, the National Science and Media Museum and The Tetley, Leeds. The project led to the making of a film, bookwork, and an exhibition which you can see in digital form here:

Olsen is interested in the emerging critical space between academic and creative practice, innovative and interdisciplinary writing as well as environmental literatures, arts in health and art writing.

Her past film and performance projects include: ‘Newe Booke of Copies’ (2009), ‘Bucolic Picnic (or Toile de Jouy Camouflage)’ (2009) and the collaboratively realised ‘The Lost Swimming Pool' (2010). These texts were published as Film Poems (Les Figues, 2014). In 2014 she took part in the 'Polar Muse' exhibition at the Scott Polar Museum. She was one of a group of poets who installed their poems and texts on glass in the musuem.

Her scholarly articles include essays and conference papers on sound and poetics, the painter Grace Hartigan and Frank O'Hara, Susan Howe, feminism and poetry and film. Her poetry publications include: 'Film Poems' (Les Figues, 2014), 'Punk Faun: a bar rock pastel' (subpress, 2012), ‘Book of the Fur’ (Rempress, 2000), ‘Secure Portable Space’ (Reality Street, 2004) and the collaboratively edited (with Susan Johanknect) ‘Here Are My Instructions’ (Gefn Press, 2004).

From 2006 - 2010 she was the editor of How2 the online journal for modernist and contemporary poetry, poetics and criticism by women and in 2013-14 she was the Judith E. Wilson Lecturer in Poetry at the University of Cambridge.

Her film: 'Now Circa (1918)' that she wrote and directed for an all female cast was shortlisted for the 2018 AHRC Research In Film Awards in the category: Best Research Film of The Year. The film reflects on the parallels between the struggle for female suffrage and the protests of women in our contemporary era (trailer

Other projects include a text for film and live performance, ‘Observation Judgement Action’ or (Foil, Jumping, Daisies)’ which draws on research into Black Mountain College and in particular the work of Josef and Anni Albers which was shown at Glasfryn, Black Mountain College: a celebration and LATE Kettles Yard in 2018.


Research interests

Her research interests include: avant-garde modernist and contemporary poetics, visual arts and poetry, feminist theory and writing practice, Language Writing, contemporary fiction, novels by poets, ecology and environmental literatures, performance. She is interested in supervising students wishing to work on academic and practice-based Phds in these areas and on collaborating with museums and galleries or other non HE bodies who wish to involve creative writing and poetry in their programme.



Educational background

Redell Olsen graduated in English Literature from New Hall, Cambridge University. She subsequently completed an MA in Fine Art. She was awarded funding from the British Academy to complete a PhD in contemporary poetry, women's writing and its relationship to the visual arts in 2002.


Redell Olsen joined the department at Royal Holloway as a full-time member of staff in 2003. From 2002-2003 she was a Lecturer in Writing (Performance Writing) at Dartington College of Arts in Devon. She has also taught as a visiting lecturer at the University of the Arts, Camberwell (MA in Bookarts), Oxford Brookes University and at The Berlin University of the Arts. From 2013-4 she was the Judith E. Wilson visiting poetry fellow at the University of Cambridge.


She currently teaches on the MA in Creative Writing on the Poetic Practice pathway.


Some Past Taught Courses:

Virginia Woolf (special author), MA Poetic Practice (Course Director), MA Modernist and Contemporary Literatures, Third Year Poetic Practice, Writing and the Short Story, Writing / Painting, Introduction to Poetry, Creative Writing.

Personal profile

She is interested in receiving applications from potiential Phd students who wish to work on practice-based and academic projects, especially those that relate to the intersections between modernism, contemporary writing and the visual arts, environmental literatures, activism and art, extinction poetics, climate change and feminist aesthetics.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


  • poetics, avant-garde, feminism, visual arts, practice-based,
  • contemporary literature
  • Sustainability
  • environmental humanities
  • science and art
  • engaged humanities
  • Painting
  • ecology
  • feminism
  • English literature
  • fiction
  • Poetry writing
  • Fine art

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or