March 2024: Symposium, York St John University

Exhibition at Vessel, Yorks St John University.
Photo: Peter Griffiths

21st March 2024

I am one of the speakers at the symposium Talking Sculpture: Dialects of Making, a collaboration between Talking Sculpture Making (TSM) and Vessel Gallery at York St John University. This symposium positions a distinctly community-driven and collaborative practice to extend the overdue conversation positioned by the current exhibition in Vessel of the same name. In refusing historical practices which have denied women artists space, the positioning of community building is integral to the ongoing feminist repositioning of abstract sculpture. Talking Sculpture: Dialects of Making supports a national and intergenerational dialogue of abstract sculptors working across the UK today, and holds space for ongoing discussion.

Keynote Speaker: Prof Griselda Pollock, feminist writer and academic.

Speakers: , Dr Victoria Sharples, Artist, curator, academic, Dr Julia McKinley, artist, academic, Natalie Rudd, curator, writer.

Panel: Gillian Brent, Katrina Cowling, Dr Charlotte Cullen, Alexandra Harley, Hannah Honeywill, Sheila Vollmer

Chairs: Becky Gee, curator, Sam Metz, artist, Sarah Roberts, artist, curator.

Hosted at York St John University, the symposium will coincide with, and act as, the closing event for the exhibition ‘Talking Sculpture: Dialects of Making’ at Vessel Gallery. This group exhibition includes Talking Sculpture Making (TSM) members Gillian Brent MRSS, Alexandra Harley MRSS, and Sheila Vollmer MRSS, alongside sculptors Katrina Cowling, Hannah Honeywill MRSS, and Dr Charlotte Cullen MRSS. This national and intergenerational exhibition of abstract sculpture will initiate a material discussion of women making abstract sculpture and situate the public discussion to be held through the symposium.

This method builds on TSM’s commitment to exhibiting as a space to initiate dialogue. These discussions have been recorded and made accessible through TSM’s website. The symposium will continue this action, recording the conversations held within the panel discussions so to reach a further public audience.

This symposium has been made possible with support from the Henry Moore Foundation and York St John University.