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Group Work: Contemporary Art and Feminism

Group Work: Contemporary Art and Feminism explores the legacies and histories of Group Work in art since the 1970s, with a focus on feminist practices. Questions under consideration include: what would a (feminist) art history look like if it refused to tell a history of individual artists? And how did the collectivity inherent in much feminist organising in the 1970s and 1980s feed into artistic practice? This project thinks through the legacies of consciousness-raising in art, as well as other political group work that intersect with feminist politics, including the peace movement, anti-racist and women of colour activism, and lesbian, gay and transgender activism. The emphasis will be on feminist-influenced art practices from the 1970s onwards, exploring UK feminist communities and their international connections.

This research group has held a series of events to consider the implications of approaching the art world from the point of view of the relationships, collaborations and networks that support artistic production, display and reception.

The research group is based at the Centre for Visual Culture, University of Cambridge and forms part of a wider Group Work research network, inaugurated through a series of events at the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2019, supported by the Centre for American Art. As a sub-group of the British Art Network, Group Work aims to further develop the research network beyond the academy and to provide focused events on issues in the collection and display of feminist-influenced art. While the sub-group is based at the Centre for Visual Culture, University of Cambridge, it is partnered with the Women’s Art Library, Goldsmiths.

The group is led by Dr Catherine Grant (Senior Lecturer, Goldsmiths, University of London), Dr Amy Tobin (Curator of Exhibitions, Events and Research, Kettle’s Yard, and Lecturer in the History of Art, University of Cambridge) and Dr Rachel Warriner (British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, Courtauld Institute of Art).