Kate has a background in sociology, media and cultural studies and gender and sexuality studies.
Her research is concerned with queer, feminist engagements with popular culture and celebrity, with a particular focus on television. Current research explores LGBTQ representation, queer fan cultures, social media, gender and celebrity, and feminism and TV.
Kate holds a BA in Drama and Theatre Studies (2006, Royal Holloway, University of London), an MA in Gender and Women's Studies and English (2008, Lancaster University), and an MA in Sociological Research (2010, Lancaster University). Her PhD research (2014, Lancaster University) combined television studies, fan studies, feminist and queer theory.
Between 2011 and 2017, Kate taught at Lancaster University on topics including: TV theory, audiences, gender and media, feminist theory, sexualities, the politics of representation, LGBTQ+ pop culture, celebrity, soap opera, reality TV, fandom, social media, activism, convergence culture and transmedia TV.
Joining the University of Westminster in 2018, Kate teaches television theory on the BA Television Production degree, teaching on topics including: audiences, fandoms, representation, digital media, TV & society and research methods.
Kate's monograph titled Lesbians On Television: New Queer Visibility and The Lesbian Normal, published by Intellect, is forthcoming in November 2020. This book explores the mediation of contemporary LGBTQ+ inclusion: as same-sex marriage took centre stage in LGBTQ+ rights, representations imagined lesbians brides. Lesbians on TV develops a queer feminist analysis of the limits and possibilities of this new queer visibility in popular culture; tracking contemporary figurations of lesbian, bisexual and queer women across multiple platforms - from teen dramas to soap operas to Tumblr pages and fanfiction stories to news and magazine media - and drawing on interviews with queer fans. In doing so it examines the forms of intimacy, identity and inclusion that are opened up, and closed down, in the contemporary mediation of 'the lesbian normal'.
Kate teaches on the BA in Television Production, leading the modules:
- TV: Audience & Industry
- Research & Synthesis/Television
- TV in the 21st Century
& supervising third year dissertations.
She also teaches on the modules:
- Queer Now (MA)
- LGBTQ+ Studies
Kate's research explores various themes of gender, sexuality and popular culture, with a particular focus on television.
McNicholas Smith, Kate (2020) Lesbians On Television: New Queer Visibility and The Lesbian Normal. Bristol: Intellect https://www.intellectbooks.com/lesbians-on-television
McNicholas Smith, Kate (2019) ‘Time for all of us to Walk into the Sunshine Together’: Glee, the same-sex wedding spectacle and the imagining of queer futures’ in Something Old, Something New: the Wedding Spectacle Across Contemporary Cultures, Helen Wood, Melanie Kennedy & Jilly Kay (eds.) London: Routledge.
McNicholas Smith, Kate. (2017) ‘Sexualisation or the Queer Feminist Provocations of Miley Cyrus’. Feminist Theory 18(3): 281-298 http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1464700117721880
McNicholas Smith, Kate & Imogen Tyler (2017) ‘Lesbian Brides: Post-Queer Popular Culture’. Feminist Media Studies. 17 (3): 315-331. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14680777.2017.1282883
McNicholas Smith, Kate (2016) ‘Love Trumps Hate? LGBTQ in the Trump Era’. The Sociological Review: https://www.thesociologicalreview.com/blog/love-trumps-hate-lgbtq-in-the-trump-era.html
McNicholas Smith, Kate (2016) Book review: ‘Ethereal Queer: Television, Historicity, Desire. Amy Villarejo’. Feminist Theory. 17 (1): 131-132.
McNicholas Smith, Kate (2016) Book review: ‘Reality TV, June Deery’. Sociological Review. 64 (1): 204-206.