Northern Ireland’s Feminist and Queer Art Histories

This symposium will examine how feminist and queer art and visual culture challenged Northern Irish art and society since 1968. The period is one in which wider political developments relating to gender and sexuality evidence both the challenges that women and LGBTQ+ people have faced in gaining equality and the energy of groups that fought for it. Complicating much of the current discourse around Northern Irish art after 1968, which is often dominated by examinations of the impact of ‘the Troubles’, this symposium seeks to nuance this discussion by highlighting the complex and various approaches to political art making that formed a significant part of Northern Irish practice. Northern Ireland’s Feminist and Queer Art Histories will explore the ways in which attention to gender and sexuality can help us rethink the writing of Northern Irish art history.

Keynotes: Dr Fionna Barber (Reader in Art History in the Manchester School of Art) and Emma Campbell (Activist/Artist/Academic and member of Array Collective).

Professor Maria Fusco – Special Event: Screening and Performative Reading

The symposium is a collaboration between the Courtauld’s Gender and Sexuality Research Group and the Northern Irish Art Network.

Organised by Rachel Warriner (The Courtauld), Edwin Coomasaru (The Courtauld), Anna Liesching (Northern Irish Art Network) and Clare Gormley (Northern Irish Art Network).

This event has passed.

21 Jan 2022

Friday 21st January 2022, 10am - 5.30pm GMT

Free, booking essential


Registration closes 30 minutes before the event start time. If you do not receive log in details on the day of the event, please contact  



Northern Ireland’s Feminist and Queer Art Histories Conference Programme

10.00–10.15: Introduction

  • Dr Rachel Warriner (Courtauld), Dr Edwin Coomasaru (Paul Mellon Centre), Anna Liesching (Northern Irish Art Network), Clare Gormley (Northern Irish Art Network)

10.15–11.15: Keynote 1

Chair: Dr Edwin Coomasaru (Paul Mellon Centre)

  • Dr Fionna Barber (Manchester Art School), ‘Repeal and Reparation: The Timely Change of Northern Ireland’s Art Histories’

11.15–11.30: Break

11.30–1.00: Panel 1

Chair: Clare Gormley (Northern Irish Art Network)

  • Dr Catherine Spencer (St Andrews), ‘The Trace and the Stain’
  • Dr Shonagh Hill (Queen’s University Belfast), ‘The movement of feminisms in the work of choreographer Oona Doherty’
  • Dr Clare Gallagher (Ulster University), ‘Our foot’s in the door: expanding the field of Northern Irish photography’

1.00–2.00: Break

2.00–3.30: Panel 2

Chair: Dr Rachel Warriner (Courtauld)

  • Dr Isobel Harbison (Goldsmiths), ‘Try Lizzie Borden: The Derry Film and Video Workshop & distribution beyond the Broadcast Ban’
  • Alessia Cargnelli (Belfast School of Art), ‘Layering feminist methodologies: self-organising, collaborating, and resisting as praxis in the work of women-led artists advocacy groups in the 80s’ island of Ireland’
  • Patrick Hickey (Ulster University), ‘Sex, Desire and Homoeroticism in Northern Irish Painting’

3.30–4.00: Break

4.00–4.55: Keynote 2

Chair: Anna Liesching (Northern Irish Art Network)

  • Emma Campbell (Activist/Artist/Academic and member of Array Collective), ‘out with you f*cking wh*res!’

5.00–5.30: Screening and Performative Reading

Chair: Anna Liesching (Northern Irish Art Network)

  • Prof Maria Fusco (University of Dundee), ‘History of the Present: a working-class Belfast opera’
Red ink drawing of a landscape
Ursula Burke, After Jan Frans Van Bloeman, from the series Arcadian Landscape, 2014, Indian Ink and Gouache on Fabriano Paper, 22cm x 14cm.