History of Art


Research Seminar Series: Responding to “Women and Creativity”

21 October 2021, 5:30 pm–7:00 pm

Responding to “Women and Creativity”

Responding to “Women and Creativity”: Catherine Grant (Goldsmiths, University of London)

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Helena Vowles-Shorrock – History of Art

This paper explores a series of tape recordings made by the British artist and filmmaker Annabel Nicolson, known as “Women and Creativity” (1978-80). It is proposed that these tape recordings, alongside a number of collaborative exhibitions and publications that Nicolson was involved in, continue the legacies of consciousness raising from the women’s liberation movement. The tape recordings themselves created spaces for politicised feminist dialogue when they were presented in listening sessions by the artist, continuing the conversations found on the tapes. The links with consciousness raising are explored through the Italian philosopher Adriana Cavarero’s concept of the ‘narratable self’, alongside Nicolson’s own writings about soundscapes, feminist collectivity and what she calls ‘hidden sounds.’ Further links are then made through a series of present-day responses to Nicolson’s questions, which were initiated as part of an online workshop in March 2021 as a way to continue and rework Nicolson’s consideration of women, creativity and feminism. These responses have become particularly important as the tape recordings are currently inaccessible, and the physical isolation of lockdown meant that preliminary research was carried out via phone and zoom interviews and consultation of digital scans. Whilst the idea to gather contemporary responses originated before the pandemic, the paper reflects on this hybrid research process and how Nicolson’s work itself crosses over between spaces of activism, research and art. 

Image: photocopies of material relating to Annabel Nicolson’s “Women and Creativity” (1978-80)

About the Speaker

Dr Catherine Grant

Senior Lecturer at Goldsmiths (University of London)

Catherine Grant is a Senior Lecturer in the Art and Visual Cultures departments at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is the co-editor of Fandom as Methodology (2019), Creative Writing and Art History (2012), and the questionnaire on “Decolonizing Art History”, Art History, 2020. She is a co-lead of two research networks: “Group Work: Feminism and Contemporary Art” and “Animating Archives”. Her book A Time of One’s Own: histories of feminism in contemporary art, will be published by Duke University Press in Autumn 2022. 

More about Dr Catherine Grant