Dr Rachel Warriner

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow

Feminist Arts-Activism, New York: Collectives, Actions, Agitations

This project investigates the important contribution of activist collectives to the feminist art movement. Focusing on three groups based in New York in the 1960s-‘70s—Women Artists in Revolution, the Ad Hoc Committee of Women Artists, and Women Students and Artists for Black Art Liberation— it will chart the histories of collectives who fought for women’s access to the art world. An important part of this project is to reflect the collective nature of art-making at this moment and interrogate the impact of collaboration for artists working to address the gendered and racial biases of the art world. It will ask how artworks connect to progressive tactics and consider how collectivity impacted feminist arts practice.

My project builds on my existing research into feminist art, activism and the politics of objects. I completed my PhD at University College Cork on the work of Nancy Spero, focusing on the period of the late 1960s and early ‘70s. Arguing that Spero engaged with the metaphor of pain in order to affectively and viscerally connect the viewer to her political artworks, I closely examined her War series, Artaud works and Torture of Women. This research formed the basis of my book Pain and Politics in Postwar Feminist Art: Activism in the Work of Nancy Spero which is forthcoming from Bloomsbury Visual Arts.

Research interests

Gender, Sexuality, Race, Feminism, American Art, Art and Politics, Affect, Emotion, Arts-Activism, Feminist art, Collaboration, Collectives, the Canon and its exclusions.


  • BA3 Special Option: Building a Feminist Art World: Gender, Politics, and Community in 1970s American Art

Other academic activity

Gender and Sexuality Research Group co-convener

The Courtauld’s Gender and Sexuality Research Group brings together scholars to investigate the ways in which feminist and queer politics have shaped or been shaped by visual culture. We organise seminars, lectures, and conferences; as well as hosting talks by artists including Turner Prize Winners Lubaina Himid, Tai Shani, Helen Cammock, and members of Array Collective. The group aims to promote feminist and queer approaches to art history at the Courtauld and beyond, offering a space to share new research and exchange ideas.


Group Work Network

Group Work: Contemporary Art and Feminism is a collaboration initiated by Dr Catherine Grant (Courtauld Institute of Art), Dr Amy Tobin (University of Cambridge) and Dr Rachel Warriner (Courtauld Institute of Art). With a focus on feminist practice, this research network examines the significance of group work, through a range of events in order to consider the implications of approaching the art world from the point of view of the relationships, collaborations and networks that support artistic production, display and reception.


Curator: Pluck Projects (2014-ongoing)

I am part of the independent curatorial partnership, Pluck Projects, with Sarah Kelleher. Together we worked closely with contemporary artists to curate exhibitions across Ireland. https://pluckprojects.wordpress.com/

Selected exhibitions:

  • Pluck@RHA, a series of interviews and public events examining under-represented histories of Irish art, 2019-2022
  • Cork Midsummer Festival Visual Arts Curators in Residence, 2019-2022.
  • Vox Materia: Alice Maher, The Source Arts Centre, Thurles (March-May 2018) and Crawford Art Gallery, Cork (September-November 2018).
  • Gaolbreak: Angela Fulcher, Cork City Hall (January-February 2017).
  • New Work from Glasgow, Windle Building, University College Cork. (November, 2015)

Recent Publications


  • Pain and Politics in Postwar Feminist Art: Activism in the Work of Nancy Spero (London: Bloomsbury Visual Arts, forthcoming 2023)

Peer review journals

  • ‘Fuck You, Angels. Artworks as Allies in Care’, Oxford Art Journal, 2022
  • ‘Nancy Spero’s Feminist Scrolls’ in Continuous Page. Scrolls and Scrolling from Papyrus to HypertextCourtauld Books Online, 2020.
  • Works of Witness: Maggie O’Sullivan’s A Natural History in Three Incomplete Parts and Point Blank Range. Irish University Review (May 2016).  pp. 171-182.
  • [Co-written with James Cummins]. ‘The Point of [an] Innovation in [Irish] Poetry [Conference]’. Irish Poetry Issue of the British and Irish Journal of Innovative Poetics. (2014) pp. 9-12.
  • ‘Picture-making on themes of failure and longing’: The picturing of human relations and the function of language in the work of Raymond Pettibon’. Artefact 4. (2010). pp. 46-60.

Book chapters

  • ‘Feminist art collectives and collectivity in Ireland’, (co-written with Sarah Kelleher) in Kate O’Shea and Megs Morley (eds.) Artist led Archive: Sustainable Activism and the Embrace of Flux, Dublin: Durty Books, 2022.
  • ‘On the Value of Experiment’, co-written with Sarah Kelleher in Luminous Void: Twenty Years of Experimental Film Society, EFS (2020) pp. 26-31
  • ‘‘Then Art Will Change. This is the Future’: Nancy Spero’s Manifestary Practice’, in Mixed Messages: American Correspondences in Visual and Verbal Practices (Manchester : Manchester University Press, 2016), pp. 182-205


  • Editorial board member: Artefact: The Journal of the Irish Association of Art Historians  (2013-2017)
  • Editor: New Work from Glasgow to accompany group exhibition, Windle Building, University College Cork in association with the Cork Film Festival, 12-29 November, 2015. Pluck Projects, 2015.
  • Editor: In Pursuit of Leisure to accompany solo exhibition by Stephanie Hough, Wandesford Quay Gallery, Cork 24 Nov – 15 Oct, 2014. Pluck Projects, 2014.
  • Invited Editor: Irish Poetry Issue of The British and Irish Journal of Innovative Poetics. (2014)
  • Assistant Editor: Enclave Review (2010-2012)

Selected Reviews and short texts

  • ‘Nancy Spero: letter to Lucy Lippard’ in The Art of Feminism: Images that Shaped the Fight for Equality, 1857-2017, Chronicle Books (2018)
  • Alice Maher: Vox Materia (editor), Source Art Gallery, Thurles, 2018
  • Gaolbreak: Angela Fulcher (editor), Cork City Hall, 2017
  • ‘Robert Rauschenberg’ at the Tate Modern. Enclave Review (2017). p. 1.
  • ‘Knitting Map’. Enclave Review (2015). pp. 5-6.
  • ‘Alice Maher Reservoir’. Enclave Review (2015). pp. 1-2.
  • ‘Louise Bourgeois at the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh’. Enclave Review (2014) pp. 3-5.
  • ‘55th Venice Biennale’. Enclave Review (2013) pp. 12-13.
  • ‘Robert Power and Rachel Barton at the Cork Film Centre Gallery’. Enclave Review (2013) pp. 2-3.
  • ‘Angela Fulcher at the Black Mariah Gallery’. Enclave Review (2012) p 12.
  • Gravity at the Crawford Art Gallery’. Enclave Review (2012) pp. 5-6.
  • ‘Black Sun’. wearenoise.com. (2012). n.p.
  • Nancy Spero at the Centre Pompidou’. Enclave Review. (2011) pp 8-9.