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17-18 May 2023: Cultivating Subversion Through Feminist Contemporary Art Collecting

    Cultivating Subversion Through Feminist Contemporary Art Collecting

    May 17-18, 2023

    Edinburgh College of Art

    Feminism has played an instrumental role in questioning, exposing, and rupturing the sexual and gendered politics underpinning museum exhibitions and collections. Since the 1960s, feminist artists and art historians have led groundbreaking efforts to subvert the art industry’s heteropatriarchy through artistic and critical interventions. Due to their subversive character and reticence to canonisation, feminist artistic and curatorial practices have long challenged established forms of historicisation and classification. 

    While numerous conferences and journal issues have recently examined feminist approaches to contemporary art curating, there has been relatively little focus on cultivating feminist art collections. Over the course of a day-long symposium, we will bring together a group of scholars, art professionals, and PhD researchers to explore what remains a largely under-theorised subject: feminist contemporary art collecting practices, with an emphasis on intersectional feminist perspectives on gender in collections, including decolonial approaches, co-commissioning, and links with curating/exhibitions/artist interventions. Through case study presentations, roundtable conversations, and discussion sessions, we will address urgent issues related to feminist modes of collecting: Is a feminist art collecting practice possible? What kinds of material and ideological infrastructure are necessary for feminist collections to exist? How do we tackle the biases and epistemological violence inherent in existing collections and collecting frameworks? How can we build future art collections (and institutions) differently?

    Confirmed contributors include: Simone Alexander (artist), Dr James Bell (UoE), Dr Anjalie Dalal-Clayton (Decolonising Arts Institute, University of the Arts London), Dr Angela Dimitrakaki (UoE), Annie Fletcher (Irish Museum of Modern Art), Shoair Mavlian (The Photographers’ Gallery), Dr Maryam Ohadi-Hamadani (UoE), Dr Alexandra Ross (University of Glasgow), Dr Stephanie Straine (Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the National Galleries of Scotland), Dr Jillian Sutherland (University of St Andrews).

    An associated screening and discussion event will take place the evening before the symposium on Wednesday the 17th of May at the Edinburgh College of Art cinema. Please see here for further details and booking. 

    Lunch and coffee will be provided.

    The symposium is organised by researchers from the universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Andrews, and Strathclyde: Camila Cavalcante Pereira, Lexington Davis, Fabiola Fiocco, Lucy Howie, Dr Kirsten Lloyd, Dr Catherine Spencer, and Francesca Vale.

    This event has been generously supported by the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities, the St Andrews Centre for Contemporary Art and the School of Art History at the University of St Andrews and the Global Contemporary Research Group at ECA, The University of Edinburgh.

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