Differencing the Canon: Methods of Researching and Archiving Women's Sculptural Practices

This symposium at The Hepworth Wakefield is the final event in the Henry Moore Institute's Researching Women in Sculpture season.

This one day coference will look at innovative research methods in art history, archive and collections practices, museological and curatorial methods with the ambition to make new narratives around women’s creative practices.

The programme includes a keynote lecture with Professor Griselda Pollock (Professor Emerita of Social and Critical Histories of Art, University of Leeds) in conversation with Harriet Loffler (Curator, The Women’s Art Collection, Cambridge).

The event will be of interest to all those working in art historical research, oral history methods, archival and collection practices, research and authoring histories of creativity and media.

About the symposium

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.

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

Further information including the full programme can be found on The Henry Moore Institute website.

Booking information

Book your place here via Eventbrite.


The Hepworth Wakefield
Gallery Walk


Barbara Hepworth, Hollow Form with Inner Form, 1963/68, plaster; Barbara Hepworth, Figure for Landscape, 1960, plaster; Barbara Hepworth, Six Forms (2 x 3), 1968, plaster. Photo: Joanne Crawford, courtesy The Hepworth Wakefield.