Appel à communication : « Gendering Museum Histories » (Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, 7-8 septembre 2016)

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, Autoportrait, 1790
This conference addresses the relationship between museums, galleries and gender during the last 400 years. Museums can be understood as buildings, institutions, collections, displays, interpretations and groups of people; each of these aspects has both reflected and shaped ideas about gender and its construction and meaning. While the gendering of collections and museum displays has attracted some attention (for example Porter 1990; Machin 2008), too often other gendered aspects of museum and gallery history, such as employment practices or visitors, have been mentioned only in passing, yet it seems likely that museums have been responsible both for defining and for subverting gender roles and identities. This conference aims to draw attention to this topic, and to bring ideas and practices relating to gender from different periods of museum history into productive dialogue.

We are delighted that the keynote speaker will be Merete Ipsen, Director of the Women’s Museum in Aarhus, Denmark, who will be speaking about gender in museums between the 1970s and the present.

We welcome proposals for 20-minute papers which address the points below, or which address other aspects of gender and museum history (papers dealing with contemporary museums should also have a historical comparative aspect). We are keen to receive proposals which engage with the full spectrum of gender presentation.

Topics may include but are not restricted to:

  • Gender, display and curatorial practice
  • Interpreting and narrating gender in museums
  • Museum collecting/collections and gender
  • Gendered performances: museum and gallery visitors
  • Gender and invisible workers: museum photographers, copyists, clerks, warders, assistants etc
  • Gender and volunteering
  • The development of museum governance: trustees, committees & c
  • Gender, philanthropy and patronage/matronage
  • Museums and the enforcing/contestation of gender roles
  • Gendered space and gendered buildings
  • Gender, sexuality and museums
  • Gendered objects of study in museums: personality museums etc.

Please submit a 300 word max proposal, along with a 1-page max CV, to, by 11 March 2016

We will consider proposals for 3-paper panels; please submit individual paper proposals along with a rationale for the panel as a whole and indicate if you will supply a chair for the panel or not.

We also welcome proposals for posters as there are likely to be a relatively small number of paper slots. Posters should address the themes given above. Proposals for posters should be received by 29 April 2016 (same email address) and should include title, author(s) and brief description (2-300 words) of the poster content.

The final poster format will be as follows:

  • Maximum size A2
  • Orientation may be landscape or portrait
  • The title of the poster and the names and contact details of all authors should appear at the top

Please note, all participants whether speakers or poster presenters will have to cover their own costs including conference registration (though it is anticipated this will be less than £10 for MGHG members).

Leave a Reply