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Women and the Arts Forum

Women have continually been excluded from art historical narratives. As the tide of the art world turns to reexamine these histories, the National Gallery’s Women and the Arts Forum sits at the forefront of this important conversation by directly addressing the various and integral roles that women, past or present, have had in the arts.

Given that these roles were previously invisible or overlooked, at this exciting and much needed juncture we ask: historically, what has it meant to be a ‘woman artist’? What impact have women had in Western art history? What is their legacy in the history of the National Gallery and its collection? And how can these legacies be made visible? These overarching questions sit at the heart of the Forum’s project, explored through an ongoing programme and related research activities.

The growing Women and the Arts Forum network is comprised of Independent and PhD Researchers, University Academics, Exhibition Managers, Gallery Directors, Curators, Learning and Public Engagement Producers and other professionals who work in museums or other arts-based institutions.

Join the network

Please complete our enquiry form

Who we are

Image: Detail of Berthe Morisot, 'Summer's Day', about 1879
  • A research Forum set out to expand our knowledge of women artists and professionals of all kinds associated with the National Gallery and its collection.
  • A collaborative enterprise that brings together museums, galleries and academic institutions for the purpose of sharing their work on exhibiting, collecting and researching women artists.
  • A free professional network for researchers, academics and museum and gallery professionals, both within and outside the UK, who have a working interest in women and the arts. 

What we offer

Image: Detail of Rachel Ruysch, 'Flowers in a Vase', about 1685
  • As part of our Anna Jameson Lecture series, an annual lecture that invites an acclaimed specialist to share their research on women artists and art historians, both past and present, as well as access to a complimentary, scholarly PDF article version of the Lecture through our website.
  • An annual Women and the Arts Conference incorporating a variety of talks by visiting academics and researchers, as well as gallery professionals within and outside the National Gallery.
  • Educational material, knowledge exchange and skills sharing.
  • Exciting opportunities to network with peers and leading experts.
  • A quarterly newsletter that keeps network members informed of new and upcoming events and exhibitions related to women and the arts.

The Women and the Arts Forum is generously supported by Professor Diane Apostolos-Cappadona in honour of her mother, Stacia Apostolos.

We are also grateful to Hannah Rothschild and the Rothschild Foundation for supporting our online resource on women and art.


Anna Jameson Lecture Series

The National Gallery’s annual Anna Jameson Lecture invites a guest speaker to share their research focused on women in the arts.

Find out about the Anna Jameson Lecture series

Women and the Arts Conference

The National Gallery’s annual Women and the Arts Conference brings together specialists to explore women, past and present, who have contributed to the nation’s cultural life, especially through association with the Gallery’s collection.

Find out about the Women and the Arts Conference

Women artists in the collection

Trailblazers and rule-breakers; discover some of the female artists in the collection including Artemisia Gentileschi, Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun and Rosa Bonheur.

Learn more about women in the collection.

Women and the Contemporary Art Programme

Related exhibitions and displays