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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

Visible Women – Arts & Gender

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    The Visible Women – Arts & Gender conference was the first in planned series of five exploring gender equality, and was supported by the John Browne Charitable Trust.

    Murray Edwards College and the John Browne Charitable Trust have a shared mission towards equality between men and women, as well as a shared interest in the arts. The conference was hosted in Paula Browne House at College on 9 and 10 September 2021.

    Purpose of the conference

    The aim was to explore the experience of women in the arts, and the developing understanding and analysis of the omission of women's creativity and leadership. This is despite some attempts to bring about change. We are now aware of the low percentage of works by women in art galleries (public or commercial) and about the small number of female film directors, for example. The conference explored how and why men and women's contributions are judged differently and whether the creativity of women is undervalued. These judgements affect women's access to resources and their reputation. The absence of women from diverse backgrounds is also particularly apparent.

    With this backdrop, the conference explored what more can be done, including by the leaders of today. It also gave attendees the opportunity to listen to the views of younger women on how they see what is needed to achieve greater equality for the future.


    The Call to Action is the practical outcome of the conference. It presents specific recommendations to ensure the creative Arts become genuinely more inclusive, and better reflect, recognise and inpsire creative talent in our society.

    The Detailed Report provides a full summary of the conference.

    Day 1: Evening keynote speech from Maria Balshaw, CBE, Director of Tate


    Day 1: Evening recital from Professor Joanna MacGregor

    Day 2: Panel discussion – the uneven field


    Day 2: Panel discussion – the invisible women in visual arts


    Day 2: Panel discussion – leadership