Collecting Her Thoughts: Lightning Talks on Women Art Collectors Across Time
Boston (14 juin 2024), avant le 26 avril 2024

In his introduction to 19’s 2021 issue on women collectors, Tom Stammers writes that “the renewed study of female collectors promises to reconfigure the history of art and the history of gender alike.” Across time, women’s access to the social and financial resources necessary to collect art has been different from that of their male counterparts, often more limited. Both because of and in spite of these limitations, women have served as art patrons, developed ideologically and materially expansive collections, and promoted art in public arenas. Yet, women collectors have been systematically excluded from museum and curatorial studies, perhaps in part because their collections and practices may manifest differently.

For this graduate student colloquium, we seek brief, 10-minute lightning talks that take up the theme of women art collectors. How does the study of female collectors challenge and expand existing museum studies scholarship? Who were these women, and why did they collect? How might a private or domestic collecting practice differ from a public-facing curatorial project?

Possible subjects include, but are not limited to: 

  • Women collectors, women archaeologists, women’s collecting circles,
  • Women’s roles in taste-making and national identity formation,
  • Museum formation, overlooked contributions to museum studies,
  • Domestic collecting and decoration, revisiting the “separate spheres” phenomenon,
  • Women’s philanthropy, collecting as activism,
  • Feminist curatorial practice,
  • Intersectional perspectives of women collectors and museum practice,
  • Barriers or opportunities for women’s art acquisition,
  • New methodologies or approaches to collection, revising gendered collecting terminology 

We welcome submissions from graduate students in the disciplines of art history, archaeology, literary studies, queer and gender studies, history, english, cultural studies, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, museum studies, and related fields. Projects at all stages, including works in progress are welcome, as this will be a space for community and conversation. 

Submit a 150-word abstract and a current CV to by April 26, 2024. We will be in touch by May 3. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide financial support for travel.

This colloquium is organized by Danarenae Donato, Ilaria Trafficante, and Toni Armstrong at Boston University. It is supported by Boston University’s History of Art and Architecture Department, Archaeology Department, and the Women’s and Gender Studies Department.