Sarah Stewart

Thesis title: Shelter at the Border: Writing Back from the State of Exception

PhD in English Literature

Year of study: 3

  • School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures

Contact details

PhD supervisor:


I did my undergraduate and masters degrees in English and Spanish Literature and Comparative Literature at the University of Auckland. I began my PhD at Edinburgh in September 2015, funded by the AHRC. At Edinburgh, I tutor English Literature and am active in supporting intiatives to improve conditions for PhD students and tutors. I have led and supported creative writing and reading groups for new migrants to Edinburgh and Glasgow, and have co-organised events to help PhD students engage with asylum seeking and other new migrant communities in Scotland.  I am a writer and editor for the postgraduate blog Inciting Sparks and was a James Tait Black Prize reader for 2016 and 2017.


  • MA Comparative Literature, University of Auckland
  • BA (Hons) English and Spanish Literature, University of Auckland

Undergraduate teaching

English Literature 2

Research summary

My research interests broadly include postcolonial and diasporia studies, feminism and queer theory, as well as critical theory, in particular concerning space, affect, and the body. I am particularly interested in notions of shelter, sanctuary and refuge and the way art elucidates where discourse and material reality meet and part ways. 

Current research interests

My current research looks at how contemporary theatre makers in Australia and the UK represent relationships between asylum seekers, citizens and the state in terms of spaces that are empowering and/or oppressive.

Past research interests

I have undertaken my own research and formed part of research projects that have examined exile and prison writing, queer and feminist perspectives on the Cuban Revolution and the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and indigenous and settler relations in Aotearoa New Zealand and Abya Yala Latin America.