Mind the Gender Gap: A transnational analysis of future heritage through national museums’ contemporary art collections

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract

This chapter fills an important gap in knowledge, through a new statistical method which enables us to see what our future heritage, or art history, might look like. Our national museums have policies which steer their collection of valued objects, artefacts and artworks, and lead to them becoming the art history of the future. Current collection policies do not address equality in acquisition or procurement, and with the exception of the Finnish National Gallery, museums worldwide collect an average of 80% male art. This chapter provides a new statistical analysis of artwork/artefact aesthetics, the gender/biology of the maker, and place of collection. Rather than simply focusing on gender and collection, the unique methodology enables a statistical comparison of thousands of artworks/artefacts, what they comprise of, who the maker is, where they live/work and the location/museum of collection. This is done through the creation of a new database, which will be created for this chapter, ‘Mind the Gender Gap: A transnational analysis of future heritage through national museums’ contemporary art collections’. Analysis of this database enables new findings and comparisions to emerge, and of particular interest are those which aren’t visible to the human eye – and which become apparent through statistical analysis. This method has already been identified as an important, emerging research inquiry, particularly in the visual arts where quantitative analysis has been largely rejected in favour of the qualitative. However, in doing so, scholars have missed the opportunity to balance their inquiries with those of a scientific method which have been tried and tested in previous heritage research (see for example, Gorrill 2016, Gorrill 2020). The chapter will determine patterns in collection, and prophesise what our future (gendered) art histories/heritage will look like. The chapter argues that by not addressing gender in collection policies, our (art) museums of the future will still look as masculine as they do today. ‘Mind the Gender Gap’ covers a wide geographical area which will attract a wide global readership of those interested in gender studies, how this relates to heritage, and art history, and will be of interest to advanced students, researchers, practitioners and libraries.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Handbook of Heritage and Gender
PublisherRoutledge
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

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