Writing gown: the challenges of making a new artwork about sexism within academia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


The chapter uses the process of writing as a means of evoking an artwork, an embroidered academic gown, that at the time of writing remained unmade. The author investigates how the subject of the artwork, institutionalised sexism and internalised oppression, what Clance and Imes termed ‘Imposter Syndrome (1978) are responsible for the work not having been made. The author employs Laurel Richardson’s insights into writing as a way of bringing worlds into being to find out more about what the artwork looks like and what it means. The study’s originality lies in its imagining-into-existence of a new visual artwork via autoethnographic writing processes. The investigation is set within the context of three other works by women: Agnes’s jacket, Marguerite Duras’ essay ‘The Chest of Drawers’ and Rona Lee’s ‘Avid Metamorphosis 1’ as well as feminist theories of artwork by women involving stitching. The key conclusions that the study draws are its implicit revelation of the psycho-social make-up of the author both in and through the writing process and in relation to the ‘Gown’ artwork, which is seen to be as responsible for the artwork not being made as are the conditions of institutionalised sexism in which the author-academic-artist-woman is operating.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSurviving sexism in academia: strategies for feminist leadership
EditorsC. Kirsti, H. Hassel
Place of PublicationUK
ISBN (Print)9781138696846
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Surviving sexism in academia: strategies for feminist leadership on 03/07/2017, available online: https://www.routledge.com/Surviving-Sexism-in-Academia-Feminist-Strategies-for-Leadership/Cole-Hassel/p/book/9781138696846


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