Inspired by a wave of high-profile feminist exhibitions in European and American museums in this century, a conference in Stockholm in February 2008, and by the dearth of relevant references during my PhD research, I collaborated with Angela Dimitrakaki of the University of Edinburgh on an edited collection of essays, and led an international research network project to explore the relationships between feminism and curating in North America and Europe (with a focus on Britain, the post-communist and Nordic countries).
Politics in a Glass Case: Feminism, exhibition cultures and curatorial transgressions was published in 2013. The book was a long time in the making because we specially commissioned essays from scholars and curators, and because the material just kept arriving: exhibitions like elles@centrepompidou (a collection display at the France's National Museum of Modern Art) and Gender Check (a major exhibition on gender and Eastern European Art shown in 2010/11 in Vienna and Warsaw) took place as we were writing and editing.
As we watched these projects unfold and spoke to colleagues from around the world about their curatorial and critical practices, we gathered a range of ideas and information about how feminists were working in contemporary curatorial practices, and noted the extent to which the problems they were working around were the same ones that were addressed by feminists in earlier decades. The book brings together different generations of curators, artists and historians to rethink distinct and unresolved moments in the feminist re-modelling of art contexts, and addresses the role of feminism in museum collections as well as in exhibition practice, museum technologies, the international biennial circuit, and curatorial categories like 'relational aesthetics'.
The contributors to the volume are Deborah Cherry (Amsterdam), Malin Hedlin Hayden (Stockholm), Lubaina Himid (UCLAN), JoAnna Isaak (Fordham University, NY), Amelia Jones (McGill, Quebec), Katrin Kivimaa (Institute of Arts, Tallinn), Alexandra Kokoli (Aberdeen), Kuratorisk Aktion (Denmark), Suzana Milevska (Academy of Fine Art, Vienna), Suzanne Lacy (Otis College), Lucy Lippard (USA), Sue Malvern (Reading), Nancy Proctor (Smithsonian Institute), Bojana Pejic (Berlin), Helena Reckitt (Goldsmiths), Jessica Sjoholm Skrubbe (Stockholm), Jeannine Tang (Bard College) and Catherine Wood (Tate Modern).
As part of this research project, I successfully bid to the Leverhulme Foundation for funding for an international research network, which hosted major conferences at the Smithsonian in Washington DC; Tate Modern; and the Institute of Arts, Talinn; and small seminars in Brighton, Montreal, Edinburgh, and Stockholm. Information about the activities of the network and links to documentation including video of the Tate Modern symposium can be found at http://arts.brighton.ac.uk/research/irn