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English and Creative Writing

Photo of Dr D-M Withers

Dr D-M Withers

Lecturer in Publishing


Queen's 255

Term 2 Office Hours: Monday 13:00-15:00 and Tuesday 14:00-15:00. Book here.

My research is concerned with how feminist knowledge is transmitted across time and space; my thinking is rooted in the practice of publishing, and the concept of the archive.

I have a particular interest in the publishing cultures and activist businesses that emerged from or alongside the feminist social movements of the 1970s and 1980s. I have published research on Virago Press and Honno, the Welsh Women's Press.

My work often focuses on forgotten figures, actions and texts. It is animated by cultural logics of untimeliness and delay, and grounded in archival methods and oral history.

My most recent book is Virago Reprints and Modern Classics: The Timely Business of Feminist Publishing (2021).

My monograph, Feminism, Digital Culture and the Politics of Transmission: The Theory and Practice of Cultural Heritage, was awarded the Feminist Studies Association Book Prize in 2016.

I joined the University of Exeter as Lecturer in Publishing in 2022. Prior to this I worked at the University of Reading. Between 2018-21 I was Research Fellow on the Leverhulme-funded project the Business of Women’s Words: Purpose and Profit in Feminist Publishing, a partnership between the British Library, University of Sussex and University of Cambridge. In this role I worked closely with the personal and business archives of Virago founder Carmen Callil, which are held at the British Library.

In 2023/24 I am Co-Director (terms 2 and 3) of the University of Exeter's MA in Publishing programme and welcome enquiries about the course from prospective students.

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My current research focuses on the following areas:

  • Lurid Editions Ltd: a micro but culturally ambitious publishing project, reprinting overlooked queer and feminist texts from the twentieth century and beyond.
  • The career of folklorist, polymath and cultural entrepreneur Deben Bhattacharya (1921-2001). Bhattacharya was a prolific field-recordist, radio presenter, author, translator, LP curator, film maker and video educationalist whose contribution to traditional and folklore collection in the post-war period has been woefully ignored. My research focuses on different elements of his practice, and aims to reconstruct a vibrant and boundary pushing career.

I have several other research interests, and have published articles and/ or produced public events in the following areas:

  • Technics, Memory and the thought of Bernard Stiegler
  • Cultural activism (and especially music) in feminist social movements of the twentieth century

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Copyright Notice: Any articles made available for download are for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the copyright holder.

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  • Withers D-M, Fannin M. (2019) Digital literacy in the age of the screen? Re-imagining the social pedagogy of the archive, Education in the Age of the Screen: Possibilities and Transformations in Technology, Routledge, 127-139.
  • Withers DM. (2019) DIABOLIC MARKS, ORGANS, AND RELATIONS: exiting symbolic misery, Angelaki - Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, volume 24, no. 5, pages 88-103, DOI:10.1080/0969725X.2019.1655277.
  • Withers D-M. (2019) Laboratories of gender Women's liberation and the transfeminist present, RADICAL PHILOSOPHY, no. 204, pages 3-8. [PDF]







  • Withers D. (2012) Women's liberation, relationships and the 'vicinity of trauma', Oral History.



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External impact and engagement

I am an experienced curator, with expertise in feminist and activist collections, and oral history. 

Most recently, I was Curatorial Consultant on the British Library exhibition Unfinished Business: the Fight for Women's Rights (2020-21), conducting research, selecting objects and shaping the interpretation of a major exhibition exploring the history of women's rights. 

In 2019, I was invited to curate a section in the exhibition Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender and Resistance Act 3, drawing on the literary and activist collections of the Feminist Archive South. 

I have also curated two solo exhibitions on the cultural heritage of the women's liberation movement, both funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (as was). Sistershow Revisited: Feminism in Bristol, 1973-75 (2011) and Music & Liberation (2012) which toured to five venues in the UK.

Additionally, I have worked with community organisations such as the Single Parent Action Network, Self-Injury Support and Trinity Bristol to provide training in curatorial practices, oral history interviewing and archival research.  


I was interviewed for a BBC Radio 3 documentary about Deben Bhattacharya: Recording on the Nomads' Trail, which aired on 10 December 2023.

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