Feminist Art Making Histories was announced by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Irish Research Council, autumn 2021.
Loughborough University and the Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dún Laoghaire, are working together to record, curate, and archive 50 years’ worth of oral histories and digitised records of feminist artists in Ireland and the UK. The three-year-long digital humanities project aims to unearth 'hidden' and 'untold' stories of feminist art across both islands from the 1970s to the present day, so the transformative and radical advances of this generation are never forgotten.
The UK partners are granted funding of £325,201 from AHRC, and the Irish partners are granted €240,000 from the Irish Research Council. The grant is awarded to Feminist Art Making Histories by AHRC/Irish Research Council: UK-Ireland under the Collaboration in the Digital Humanities Research Grants Scheme.
Professor Hilary Robinson (Loughborough University) is the UK Principal Investigator; Dr Tina Kinsella (Institute of Art, Design and Technology) is the Irish Principal Investigator; the co-investigators are Dr Elspeth Mitchell (University of Leeds) and Dr Amy Tobin (University of Cambridge). The team is completed by two research assistants. FAMH will be extended by project partner the New Hall Collection of Women's Art, University of Cambridge; and archive host, the Digital Repository of Ireland. The Advisory Group members are Prof Caroline Bassett, Director, Cambridge Digital Humanities, University of Cambridge; Dr Althea Greenan, Director, Women’s Art Library, Goldsmiths; Prof susan pui san lok, Director, Decolonising Art Institute, University of the Arts London; Dr Aileen O’Carroll, Policy Manager, Digital Repository of Ireland; Prof Dorothy Price, Courtauld Institute.
FAMH will gather stories and accompanying memorabilia – such as leaflets, tickets, and other ephemeral items. These will be captured digitally and then uploaded to the Digital Repository of Ireland. This archive will be an invaluable resource for artists, art students, historians, cultural policy-makers, and many others whose work touches on feminist art. In addition to creating the digital archive, the researchers will develop appropriate methods to collate and present such a resource, and will share their methods at the Centre for Digital Humanities, Cambridge, to benefit artists, historians, curators, museologists, teachers, and digital resource developers. Of the importance of the research, Professor Robinson and Dr Kinsella said: “Loughborough University and the Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dun, Laoghaire, welcome this funding announcement. “The heritage and care for art by women is structurally marginalised within museology, art history, and arts pedagogies. It is not valued by the art market, with just 0-to-5 works by women in lists of the 100 most expensive per year in recent sales by living artists. Contemporary art textbooks mention few British/Irish feminist artists and have few British/Irish feminist authors. Over 50 years history of feminist art in UK/Ireland thus is ‘hidden’ through bias or ignorance. “The collection and preservation of this archive is urgent for the purposes of current and future knowledge generation, but it is also time-critical insofar as a distressing number of feminist artists, art writers, teachers, and curators active in the 1960s-1970s have already died. “These critical practitioners, their unique and rare perspective on and testimony to feminist art practice are, for the most part, lost to us in the present day. Our aim is to discover and preserve what histories we can from those still able to tell them.”