Interventions, Curatorial or Archival Disruption, Education and Activism, HerStories. The selected 19 cases from the original 57 focus more precisely on museum-initiated practice, demonstrating that “intervention, disruption and change” does not rely on maverick outsiders to implement temporary innovative feminist strategies, but that change can most definitely be led from within. When addressing structural inequalities, this is a significant difference. All too frequently, interventions from outside an organisation can start a radical and promising conversation around change, only to be shelved and things to be “back to business as usual” once a project is over. The examples in this reader evidence feminist strategies at play, as led by curators, directors, educators and affiliates, to offer confidence to practitioners considering how to best navigate and negotiate social justice issues. Importantly, this volume still offers a depth and variety of examples across global feminist practice in a curatorial, and museums and galleries context, engaging with diverse issues across gender and sexuality, indigenous rights, class, refugees, sex work, domestic abuse, and representation of women’s voice and material culture.
These case studies are presented together for their variety of positions and organisational perspectives. They are not to be passively accepted as the “best” of feminist practice within museums, and should – as any case study – be critiqued and unpacked by the reader for their context, and for the positionality of the author. I advise students and practitioners to read these case studies alongside the publications of Reilly (2018) and Sandell (2012, 2017, 2019) to form a picture of the current state of activism within museums. I also suggest readers seek out Indigenous-led research and practice on gender, feminism, social injustices and material cultures, which offer different approaches and methodologies. There is also a gap in knowledge and practice around interactions between museums and feminism, or activism, coming out of the African continent. As I stated in Feminism and Museums, this publishing work is simply part of a longer process (active and historical) of evidencing feminist practices, which I see as a parallel process to my feminist social action curation. Katy Deepwell’s extensive feminist publishing practice (n. paradoxa from KT Press) offers an outstanding and inspiring example of dedicated feminist publishing (which is both physical and digital).
This Reader is divided into two sections: Feminism from the InsideOut, and Making Feminist Space.