Menu Close

Elizabeth Kealy-Morris

Senior Lecturer and Researcher in Dress and Belonging, Manchester Fashion Institute, Manchester Metropolitan University

I am a Senior Lecturer and Researcher in Dress and Belonging at Manchester Fashion Institute. Originally from the States, I worked in printing and publishing in NYC before settling in Manchester, UK. I lecture across fashion studies subjects including critical theory, brand development, marketing principals, and graphic communication practice for fashion. I am associate editor of the journal Fashion, Style and Popular Culture, an imprint of Intellect Books.

My research is multidisciplinary in nature. I seek connections between cultural memory, autoethnography, human geography, dress, identity, disability, belonging and wellness. I co-organised and co-led the January 2021 international symposium Face Off: The Provocation and Possibilities of Masks and Head Coverings which emerged from my interest in how society changed and adapted through the wearing of the COVID face masks during the pandemic. My paper for the conference, ‘Who is the Sick One Here: Mask Refusal and Ambivalent Social Identity in COVID America’, explored the links between American cultural memory of ‘The Frontier’ and the cultural trope of ‘Pioneer Spirit’ in the visceral rejection of the COVID medical mask as a symbol of fragility and sickness. This will soon be published as a chapter in an edited Intellect Books volume. I am guest editor of the Fashion, Style and Popular Culture Special Issue, 'Dressing through Pandemics'.

I co-edited the Bloomsbury volume Memories of Dress: Recollections of Material Identities (2023). Her solo chapter, 'The American Look: Memories of Not Fitting In', introduced the term ‘body dressing work’ to articulate my experience negotiating the social norms and expectations of clothing the suburban American female body with the anxiety of living with a spinal deformity and was highlighted in The Guardian (2022).

I have developed the concept of 'cultural memory of dress' where national popular history and popular culture are woven as narratives into clothing tastes and styles. This is explored in my Bloomsbury solo chapter (above) and the publications “The American Look”: The transformation of women’s sportswear in 1930s and 1940s America’ (2023) and 'The Shift Dress as Cultural Meaning' (2018).

I am also interested in the ways in which collaborative learning enhances students' creativity, self-confidence, and sense of self. My practice-based doctorate, The Artist’s Book: Making as embodied knowledge of practice and the self, considered the role of creativity and the pedagogy of making in the development of identity via working through personal and cultural memory with visual practice.

Since 2020 I have collaborated yearly with colleagues from Pearl Academy in Delhi and Mumbai to develop 'The Global Artisan Project', a collaborative online international learning (COIL) project. This co-creative project connects undergraduate fashion students in the UK and India with Indian artisans and their underrepresented brands. My Pearl Academy colleagues and I presented a paper introducing this project at the Future of International Fashion and Design Education hosted by Istituto Marangoni in 2022 which will soon be published as a chapter in a Routledge edited volume.

I am also an artist bookmaker. Her handbound artist's books have been exhibited in the UK, Ireland, Germany, and the United States.


PhD (2017): The Artist's Book: Making as emodied knowlege of creativity and the self (2017), University of Chester (practice-based, pass with no corrections)
MA: Visual Culture (2008), MIRIAD, Manchester Metropolitan University (Distinction)
Postgraduate Certificate of Eduation (2004): Higher, Further & Adult Education
BA (Hons) Graphic Design (2003): Manchester Metropolitan University (First Class Honours)

Fellow of the Royal Society of Art (FRSA)
Higher Education Academy: Senior Fellow (SFHEA)

Previous Employment

2018-2019 Senior Lecturer, Academic Professional Development, University Teaching Academy, MMU

2017-2018 Staffordshire University, Head of Department of Art & Design

2013-2017: Senior Teaching Fellow, Faculty of Arts and Media, University of Chester

2009-2017 University of Chester, Programme Leader of Fashion Marketing and Communication, Senior Lecturer Graphic Design, MA Design, MA Fine Art and Senior University Teaching Fellow.


  • –present
    Senior Lecturer in Dress and Belonging, Manchester Fashion Institute, Manchester Metropolitan University


  • 2017 
    University of Chester, PhD
  • 2009 
    Manchester Metropolitan University, MA Visual Culture


  • 2023
    Memories of Dress: Recollections of material identities, Bloomsbury Press
  • 2023
    The American Look: The transformation of women’s sportswear in 1930s and 1940s America, Journal of Fashion, Style, and Popular Culture