Thesis Title: Women's agency in the African Contemporary Art World; exploring Afropolitan art networks
There is an historical critical silence around women and gender in the art world, where gender disparity persists. Scholarship to correct this focuses primarily upon art networks in the West. To address this silence I explore female agency and networking within the ‘African contemporary visual art world’; an exciting subgenre of the wider contemporary visual art world. I gather rich empirical data through a series of in depth interviews with women who work as curators, art fair directors, gallery owners or managers, art practitioners, art historians and scholars.
African and Diaspora women are highly visible in decision making and influencing roles in this emerging and expanding field. I view art world events around the African contemporary art scene as inherently ‘Afropolitan’, suggesting that Afropolitan networks of individuals congeal the global ‘spaces’ of the African contemporary art world. ‘Afropolitanism’ is a form of cosmopolitanism relating to ideas of connection and belonging to Africa which has been conceptually led by women of colour. In tracing how women operate within local, national and transnational art networks my research will shed light on the role of female transnational networks in cultural production and female agency in relationships between Africa and the West and between African countries on the continent.
Field research focuses upon West and North Africa and includes visits to art organisations inkey sites. Research trips will include Dakar, Lagos, London,Marrakech and New York. I work in an interdisciplinary way, amalgamating anthropology and art history methodology and research practice.
February 2019 Marrakech and Casablanca, Morrocco
Supervisors and Institution(s):
Dr Rebecca Jones (maternity leave covered by Dr Benedetta Rossi), University of Birmingham
Dr Amy Rushton, Nottingham Trent University
Professor Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll, University of Birmingham