Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies

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Artists and scholars celebrate a feminist space at Leeds

December 12th, 2017

Image of Griselda Pollock © University of Leeds

A two-day symposium taking place this week at the University of Leeds will bring together significant scholars and artists who have been involved in the feminist project at the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies over the past forty years.

A Feminist Space at Leeds: Looking Back to Think Forward aims to provide a space for critical reflections and responses in the context of this feminist project that has been sustained through the work of (and inspired by) prominent feminist art historian and cultural theorist Professor Griselda Pollock in her 40 years at the University of Leeds.

The symposium will take the form of short presentations and discussions looking back towards a genealogy of a specific kind of contribution to feminism via art, art history and cultural studies. It will also look forward to ask what is urgent to scholars currently working at the intersection of critical engagements in art, feminism and education.

As part of the event, artist and curator Lubaina Himid, winner of this year’s Turner Prize, will be in conversation with alumna Ella Spencer Mills about the crucial relationship between feminism, art and education. 

Other contributions include artist/alumna Sutapa Biswas in conversation with PhD student Gill Park and a performance-lecture by Adrian Rifkin (Professor of Art Writing in the Department of Art at Goldsmiths). Mary Kelly (Professor of Art and Critical Theory at the University of California, Los Angeles) will take part in a discussion with Griselda Pollock via Skype. 

During the symposium a display of all forty volumes of the international feminist art journal n.paradoxa will be on view in the Project Space, generously donated to the University of Leeds by n.paradoxa founder and editor Katy Deepwell.

Poster for A Feminist Space at Leeds symposiumElspeth Mitchell, one of seven PhD students organising the symposium, said:

“We are delighted to welcome Turner Prize winner Lubaina Himid whose artworks and curatorial projects have been of great inspiration and support for curators, artists and art historians in Leeds.

“Another highlight for me will be the conversation between Mary Kelly and Griselda Pollock. We are excited to hear them explore crucial themes of memory and transmission, feminist pedagogy and the issue of sustaining a feminist project in radically changing political and historical conditions.”

PhD student Ruth Daly said:

While organising this event, we have been struck by the remarkable community of artists and scholars who have passed through or worked with this feminist space at Leeds. This event aims to think about the future of this kind of work in the School.”

Alongside the symposium is an exhibition in the School’s Project Space, curated by Gill Park. The exhibition features the work of Sutapa Biswas, Griselda Pollock, Jo Spence, Maud Sulter and Marie Yates. This exhibition addresses the critical and artistic innovations that have been made possible through the sustained presence of a feminist space in Leeds. 

A Feminist Space at Leeds: Looking Back to Think Forward takes place on 16 & 17 December 2017 at the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds. Full details can be found here.

The symposium is supported by the Cultural Institute, White Rose College of the Arts and Humanites (WRoCAH), the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures, Vice-Chancellor Sir Alan Langlands and the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies.

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