Sharon Young is a photographic artist and lecturer based in London.

Her work has been exhibited worldwide including Encontros das Imagem, Braga; Goa Photo Festival; Cosmos, Arles; The Centre of Photography, Clement-Ferrond, Tate Liverpool, and P3 Ambika Gallery, London and has been the recipient of awards such as Flash Forward Magenta Awards, Canada and The International Photography Awards, New York. Her work is held in public collections such as the V&A Library, The Yale Centre for British Art and PhotoIreland Foundation.

Sharon is Photography Lecturer at Ithaca College, London Centre and University of Roehampton and Visiting Lecturer at the Royal College of Art.

She is on the steering committee of Speaking of Her; a feminist research network for the production and dissemination of art practice and research.

She is currently undertaking her PhD at the Royal College of Art where her research topic is:

Boundaries and Slippages of the Self:
A feminist interpretation of ‘hysterical narrative’ as agency, through photography and auto-fiction.


This research project brings photography and autofiction together to produce a body of artwork exploring the possibility of rehabilitating forms of ‘hysterical narrative’, as a way of expressing female experience and giving it agency. ‘Hysteria’ has a longstanding relationship with ‘the feminine’ [Hippocrates, Freud, Charcot] and although no longer recognised as a medical condition it remains a useful term for gathering a set of problematics around the marginalisation of women. Feminist theory has worked to challenge the pejorative dismissal of women under the term ‘hysteric’ [Showalter, Hunter, Mitchell] and discusses the potential of feminine ecriture [Cixous], gynocritique [Showalter], ‘the writing cure’ [Herndl] and even advocates ‘hysterical narrative’ as a valid form of protest against patriarchal hierarchies [Dane, Perkins-Gilman, Pappenheim].
This project recognises the legitimacy of ‘hysterical narrative’ as a mode of resistance yet also its marginalising limitations. The research is premised on the notion that ‘hysterical narrative’ must be overcome, yet sees that this does not need to be accomplished by conforming to normative phallocentric discourse. This research seeks to deploy the forms of ‘hysterical narrative’ in new ways, supporting its potential as poetic feminist agency, whilst moving away from biological gendering and the erroneous medical diagnostics it has been associated with.
Research has been done on photography as a form of social control [Tagg, Foucault]. The photograph has been exposed for its use in the stereotyping of hysteria [Didi-Huberman, Gilman] yet there is little on how the photograph might subvert stereotypes of the ‘hysteric’. Moving beyond visual depiction this project builds on work by Bourgeois, Kivland, Sherman and Calle to produce a language of interiority in the interplay between photography and writing.