Professor Griselda Pollock, winner of the Holberg Prize 2020, funds Women’s Art Collection Curator role

Distinguished art historian and winner of the 2020 Holberg Prize, Griselda Pollock, has made a generous donation to the Women’s Art Collection, which will fund the Collection’s Curator role for the next 12 months.

Pollock’s donation will also fund additional research into the Collection and its history, which will inform new Collection displays.

Pollock is the Professor of Social and Critical Histories of Art at the University of Leeds. She is known for her academic work on feminist, social, queer and postcolonial interventions in the histories of art and cultural studies, and has been one of the most influential scholars in these areas for over 40 years.

Pollock helped to establish ‘feminist interventions in art’s history’ as an academic field in the 1970s, and for forty-eight years dedicated herself to teaching, researching and expanding the ways art is studied and interpreted by developing new concepts through which to think the social and historical complexities of gender and of art.

Among Pollock’s most notable works are:

  • Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology (1981, co-authored with Rozsika Parker), which identified the institutionalized sexism that structures the discipline of art history and argued that women artists have always existed and made art, as much because as despite the different conditions, gender ideologies and social practices they had to negotiate. Republished by Bloomsbury Revelations, 2020
  • Differencing the Canon: Feminist Desire and the Writing of Art’s Histories (1999) which analyses the tenacity of the canon of Western art while elaborating her feminist concept of differencing through new readings of the works of Artemisia Gentileschi, Manet, Van Gogh and Lubaina Himid.
  • After-Affects/After-Images: Trauma and Aesthetic Transformation in the Virtual Feminist Museum (2013) focusses on works of art across the twentieth century in a range of media that negotiate that traumatic century of war, forced migration, exile, dictatorship and genocide to develop a theory of art as transformation.

Griselda Pollock comments:

“I am so delighted to be able to support such an important collection of work dedicated to making visible to the public and part of the students’ daily lives the work of so many brilliant contemporary women artists. This gift consolidates the long relationship I have had with the Women’s Art Collection, beginning when I wrote in the very first catalogue published in 1992 and attended the opening celebrations. Watching the Collection evolve over the last 28 years and begin to get the recognition it deserves has been a true pleasure, and it brings me much joy to be able to support the  vital work of the Curator and the development of Collection at a time when women as artists and in the arts need supporting more than ever.”

In March 2020, Griselda Pollock was awarded the Holberg Prize in recognition of her outstanding contribution to research and her development of feminist and postcolonial analyses of gender, race, class in art and visual culture.

Dame Barbara Stocking, President, Murray Edwards College comments:

“Griselda Pollock has been a long-standing supporter of the Women’s Art Collection and we are very grateful for her generous gift. With this support we will be able to continue our vital work in raising the profile of the Collection and championing women artists within the ethos of a College for women dedicated to gender equality.”