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Chapter 12 ‘ArtActivistBarbie’


This chapter discusses feminist art activism and the creation of the character ‘ArtActivistBarbie,’ a fearless, feminist Barbie doll who is staged and posed in art galleries and museums to draw attention to gender representation, inequality and injustice. The work is a/r/tographic enquiry – an aesthetic, performative and critical pedagogic practice. The imaginative and creatively disruptive work of ArtActivistBarbie is explored as public pedagogy, public intellectualism and feminist ventriloquism which seeks to activate a critical feminist consciousness.

In: Feminist Critique and the Museum
Educating for a Critical Consciousness
Thousands of diverse museums, including art galleries and heritage sites, exist around the world today and they draw millions of people, audiences who come to view the exhibitions and artefacts and equally importantly, to learn from them about the world and themselves. This makes museums active public educators who imagine, visualise, represent and story the past and the present with the specific aim of creating knowledge. Problematically, the visuals and narratives used to inform visitors are never neutral. Feminist cultural and adult education studies have shown that all too frequently they include epistemologies of mastery that reify the histories and deeds of ‘great men.' Despite pressures from feminist scholars and professionals, normative public museums continue to be rife with patriarchal ideologies that hide behind referential illusions of authority and impartiality to mask the many problematic ways gender is represented and interpreted, the values imbued in those representations and interpretations and their complicity in the cancellation of women’s stories in favour of conventional masculine historical accounts that shore up male superiority, entitlement, privilege, and dominance.

Feminist Critique and the Museum: Educating for a Critical Consciousness problematises museums as it illustrates ways they can be become pedagogical spaces of possibility. This edited volume showcases the imaginative social critique that can be found in feminist exhibitions, and the role that women’s museums around the world are attempting to play in terms of transforming our understandings of women, gender, and the potential of museums to create inclusive narratives.
In: Feminist Critique and the Museum
Part 3 Illumination, Provocation, Imagination
In: Feminist Critique and the Museum
In: Feminist Critique and the Museum
Part 2 On War, Peace and Human Rights
In: Feminist Critique and the Museum