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Press release

  • 29 August 2006

Is the arts world a man's world?

Would the Mona Lisa still be smiling if she had been painted by a woman? If the Sistine Chapel's ceiling had been completed by a female hand, would it still have been as popular?

Centuries of discrimination against women artists overshadowed by their male peers will be debated by leading art historians at a University of Sussex conference. The work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and Brit sensation Tracey Emin will be examined as part of the event, titled Difference Reframed: Reflections on the Legacies of Feminist Art History & Visual Culture on 16th September, 2006.

Professor Griselda Pollock , feminist art historian at the University of Leeds and author of Old Mistresses and Vision and Difference, is the guest speaker for the event, which will include papers from academics across the UK, America and Australia.

In a debate covering all aspects of feminism in art history, delegates will look at examples of collective exhibitions, comparing the representation of female and male artists and asking whether attitudes toward women in art have changed since the 1970s. The one-day conference will interrogate traditions of feminist art history, theory and practice from contemporary feminist and other perspectives.

Alexandra Kokoli, associate tutor and lecturer in art history and gender studies at the University of Sussex, says: "Feminism is no longer the 'F' word. There is still a lot of discrimination against women in large group exhibitions today and there is still a misconception that female artists are simply not as good as men.

"This conference will be a dialogue between emerging, new academics and an established scholar, like Griselda Pollock, who has had a truly shaping influence on the discipline."

Anticipated issues at the conference will include; What is the place of feminism in art history and the study of visual culture today and how has the content and deployment of key theoretical concepts changed since the 1970s?

Notes for editors

Tickets to Difference Reframed: Reflections on the Legacies of Feminist Art History & Visual Culture are available, price £20 or £15 for students and concessions. All bookings must be made by 8th September.


For more information visit


University of Sussex press office contacts: Jacqui Bealing and Jessica Mangold,

tel: 01273 678209, email:


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