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A visitor views Veronica Ryan's installation at The Hepworth Wakefield, May 2021. Photo: Jo Crawford
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Differencing the Canon: Methods of Researching and Archiving Women's Sculptural Practices

Fri 23 Sept 2022, 9.30am - 7pm

Join Henry Moore Institute (HMI) and The Hepworth Wakefield for the final event in the HMI Researching Women in Sculpture Season.

Keynote speakers: Professor Griselda Pollock (Professor Emerita of Social and Critical Histories of Art, University of Leeds) and Harriet Loffler (Curator, The Women’s Art Collection, Cambridge).

Featuring: Holly Argent (Artist), Fiona Fisher (Dorich House Museum), Professor Rebecca Fortnum (Glasgow School of Art), Dr Denise Kwan (Artist, Researcher and Writer), Professor Hilary Robinson (University of Loughborough), Dr Basia Sliwinska (Universidade NOVA de Lisboa), Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski (University of the Arts London / Tate Britain), Dr Rachel Warriner (Courtauld Institute of Art), Rosamund Lily West (Kingston University), Dr Hester R. Westley (British Library).

Download the full programme here.

Conference outline

There has been a focus in recent years on corrective approaches to the history of British sculpture. Art historical and sociological research alongside curatorial activities have highlighted the marginalisation of women working in sculpture from historical accounts, institutional collections and archives, exhibiting opportunities, career development and educational training. Publications and exhibitions have worked to introduce women’s names to alternative narratives previously dominated by men, including Breaking the Mould: Sculpture by Women since 1945 (Arts Council Collection/touring 2021), and Fifty Women Sculptors (Aurora Metro Books, 2020).

Questions remain, however, regarding how, as researchers, archivists, art historians, curators, researchers and sculptors, we undertake our strategic, reparative work of inclusion. Is there a risk that a merely supplementary but still selective canon of some women practitioners will be produced, curated, collected, written about, archived and so become financially and art historically ‘valued’? This symposium seeks to challenge the historical and curatorial deselection of artist-women and develop innovative and extended research methods that are attentive to more inclusive value systems. It seeks expanded narratives, to build, and archive, a fuller picture of the sculptural practices of women in all their diversity.

This symposium is organised by Dr Anna Douglas and Dr Kerry Harker (Curatorial Researchers, The Hepworth Wakefield/ University of Leeds) in collaboration with Rosamund Lily West (Kingston University) and the Henry Moore Institute and will form the closing event of the Institute’s Researching Women in Sculpture season.


Book your place

The event takes place in person at The Hepworth Wakefield. Tickets include all talks, lunch, refreshments and a drinks reception from 6-7pm. Free entry to The Hepworth Wakefield galleries and an optional introduction to the exhibition Sheila Hicks: Off Grid is also included in the ticket price.

Concessionary rates for students, The Hepworth Wakefield Members, over 65s, disabled and unwaged people apply. Please bring proof with you to show when checking in at the conference.


The event will take place in the ground floor auditorium at The Hepworth Wakefield. The auditorium has level access from the foyer and is easily accessible by wheelchair. The gallery spaces on the first floor, where they are accessible via lift; all gallery spaces have level access and double doors. There are three accessible toilets within the building.

For further information, please visit:  Access and getting around The Hepworth Wakefield.

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