Curating in Feminist Thought: Hillary Robinson

Feminism meets the Big Exhibition: Museum Survey Shows since 2005

Symposium Curating in Feminist Thought
Friday 6th of May 2016 at Migros Museum
Saturday 7th of May 2016 at Zurich University of the Arts

See all contributions here:


Hilary Robinson is Dean of the School of Art and Design and Professor of Visual Culture at Middlesex University, London. Her teaching and research focuses on feminist art theory, and publications include Visibly Female: Women and Art Today (1987); Reading Art, Reading Irigaray: The Politics of Art by Women (2006); Feminism-Art-Theory 1968-2014 (2015). She is currently working on a history of the feminist movement in art internationally. Hilary’s academic career has been in Belfast, Northern Ireland; Pittsburgh PA, USA; and London, England. At the University of Ulster (1992-2005), she taught art theory to studio students. She became Research Co-ordinator and subsequently Head of School for Art & Design. She also gained her first Chair, as Professor of the Politics of Art. In 2005, Hilary was appointed Dean, College of Fine Arts and Professor of Art Theory and Criticism, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. In Pittsburgh she was a board member of The Andy Warhol Museum; Quantum Theatre; Silver Eye Centre for Photography; Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council and The Mattress Factory. She headed the Creative Entrepreneurs research project, to retain artists in post-industrial Pittsburgh. She moved back to the UK to take up the deanship at Middlesex University. She is presently on the advisory and management boards for the AHRC-funded research project Black Arts and Modernism, led by Sonia Boyce.

Concept by Elke Krasny, Lara Perry, Dorothee Richter
With contributions by Amelia Jones, Maura Reilly, Helena Reckitt,
Sigrid Schade, Dorothee Richter, Lara Perry, Elke Krasny,
Hilary Robinson, Stella Rollig, Lina Džuverović and Irene Revell,
Laura Castagnini, Susanne Clausen, Michaela Melian, Nkule Mabaso

Videoprogramme with works by Martina Mullaney, Szuper Gallery,
Plan C, Liv Wynter, Louise Fitzgerald, PUNK IS DADA

Curators and their partners are working in a contested field, in which
the meanings of institutions, their power structures and modes of
participation can be debated and reshaped. “To think of institutions in terms of production (of work and discourse and political practice and solidarity) instead of representation would be, to my mind, a first feminist step”. With this provocation the curator Ruth Noack invited us in 2013 to rethink the nature of feminist critique of the museum, the gallery, the exhibition space. Is access to the representational space of the museum a meaningful or adequate tool for feminism? Can such occupations mobilize sufficient means to reform the social function of exhibition? In recent years the role of the curator has increasingly become identified with “the new economic conditions that require new contexts of collaboration and interaction” (Olga Fernandez), conditions which are identified with celebrity and authority as well as precarity and casualization. What is the gendered nature of the power relations, effects, inconsistencies and contradictions of curating in the present? And how can feminism help us to rethink the role of the curator?