In 1913, three suffragettes attacked a number of important pictures in Manchester Art Gallery as part of the campaign for women’s votes. Over 100 years later, museums and galleries still remain rich sites for feminist actions, interventions and disruptions (such as those by the Gorilla Girls), as many institutions continue to fall short in terms of their representation of women and female artists. As part of Wonder Women 2018, researcher, writer, curator and artist Dr Jenna C Ashton from Manchester Metropolitan University, will lead a discussion at the People’s History Museum about how museums are responding to the many challenges faced by women and girls around the world today.
The event follows the publication of Ashton’s new edited collection; Feminism and Museums: Intervention, Disruption and Change (2017–2018), which examines the impact and influence of collecting, interpretation and engagement activities across a range of different museums, galleries and heritage organisations. After all, surely our cultural institutions have a role to play in shaping the kind of society we live in, rather than simply responding to it?