Margaret Topping


  • Room 01.007 - 10 University Square

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Modern French/francophone literary and visual cultures; travel, tourism and mobility; the ethics of representation and display; museology and curation; festivalisation; urban art and culture; Orientalism and exoticism


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research Interests


Margaret Topping is Professor of French Literary and Visual Cultures. She completed her undergraduate and postgraduate studies at Oxford University, gaining a Joint Honours degree in French and Spanish (1994), an M.St. (1995), and a D.Phil. (1998).  She has previously taught at Oxford University, the University of Wales Bangor, and Cardiff University. She joined Modern Languages at Queen's in 2011.    

Her research trajectory has developed from an early disciplinary focus on one of France's canonical writers, Marcel Proust, to a firmly interdisciplinary approach to debates linked to travel, tourism and migration, and to the ethics and aesthetics of cross-cultural representation. Particular focal points are the ethical role and responsibilities of public spaces such as museums and archives in negotiating diversity, as well as the possibilities for creating enhanced connectivity, cohesion and social wellbeing in post-conflict or postcolonial societies through community-based initiatives such as cultural festivals or urban art projects. Increasingly, what unites and drives her research interests is a passion to communicate better the public value of the arts and humanities.  

Current research includes an AHRC-funded project with Dr Michael Pierse (ICRH) on urban cultural festivals with a particular emphasis on Féile an Phobail ( With Dr Ros Silvester (French, QUB) and Dr Isabel Hollis (ICRH), she also coordinates a research network on Mobilities: Cultural Exchange Beyond Borders (, and is co-editor with Dr Rachael Langford (Cardiff University) and Dr Giuliana Pieri (RHUL) of the University of Wales Press series, Studies in Visual Culture. She is also a member of the editorial board for the journals Studies in European Cinema and Assuming Gender. 

External roles include her Executive Board membership of the Irish Humanities Alliance ( her position as Honorary Treasurer for the Association of University Professors and Heads of French (, and her role on the Executive Committee for the Society for French Studies ( which includes a particular responsbility for chairing the international panel which awards  the prestigious Malcolm Bowie Prize. 

Margaret Topping is currently lead or co-supervisor for eight PhD students, one of whom is undertaking an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Studentship with the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland ( In her role as Dean of the Graduate School, she is closely involved in research and good practice networks on postgraduate education and research, including the UK Council for Graduate Education's ( Directors and Deans of Graduate Schools group.

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 2 - Zero Hunger


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