Fine Art alumna wins funding to research into lack of female technicians in UK galleries

2014 graduate Effy Harle, a self-employed gallery technician, will explore womens’ role in UK manual trades focusing on exhibition production

Effy Harle, Self-portraits with art school technicians (John), 2014. Photo Julian Hughes. Courtesy the artist
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Effy Harle, Self-portraits with art school technicians (John), 2014. Photo Julian Hughes. Courtesy the artist

An alumna from our BA (Hons) Fine Art course has recently been awarded funding to research womens’ role in the UK manual labour trades, specifically focusing on the production of contemporary art exhibitions.

Effy Harle, who graduated back in 2014, has been awarded an a-n Artist Bursary of £1,000, which will enable her to carry out a research project. She will develop a critical understanding of the roles played by women in the manual trades in the UK, with a focus on manual labour within exhibition production. The bursaries are awarded by the a-n (Artists Information Company), a membership organisation which exists to support artists and to influence cultural policy in the UK. Effy was one of 70 artists to be selected for an award.

In the four years since she graduated, Effy has worked in numerous galleries across the Midlands, including Nottingham Contemporary, New Art Exchange and Eastside Projects. She concurrently undertook vocational training in carpentry, joinery and furniture making, which has enabled her to become a self-employed gallery technician. It is through this work that she has noticed a distinct lack of female technicians working in the sector. Through this research project, she is looking to develop a support network of fellow practitioners to promote and nurture a growing skilled female workforce in UK galleries and beyond.

Discussing the project, Effy explained: “Gallery technician work can subsidise studio rent and other artist essentials, and alongside building temporary studio walls, it also offers the opportunity to build valuable work relationships with curators and institutions. So why are there no female art technicians?”

She added: “The bursary will enable time and space for me to step back from my day-to-day work environment and take focused time to gain a critical understanding of the situation. I’m interested in exposing alternative ways of production where women are fundamental members of the team, and not just token females in the band of builders.”

Fine Art alumna wins funding to research into lack of female technicians in UK galleries

Published on 5 April 2018
  • Category: Culture; School of Art & Design

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