Feminist Interventions in Curatorial Practice at Appalachian University Art Institutions

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


This thesis addresses a gap in scholarship by centering curators at often-overlooked university art institutions in the Appalachian region in order to analyze the practical applications of feminist curatorial methodologies in comparison to established feminist curatorial scholarship Three case studies focus on the Reece Museum at Eastern Tennessee State University, the Art in the Libraries initiative at West Virginia University, and the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University. This study uses qualitative and anecdotal data collection methods, such as surveys and one-on-one interviews to demonstrate how feminist methodologies are employed as a theoretically informed curatorial practice, following the framework originally developed in feminist curatorial scholarship. An analysis of feminist curatorial scholarship reveals three core principles of feminist curating: institutional critique, collaboration and engagement, and inventive exhibition strategies. Data analysis found that staff at these three university institutions utilize various intersectional methodologies under the umbrella of feminist interventions when creating exhibitions in their respective institutions. The concept of "feminist curating," as understood and expressed by the staff, has evolved from traditional gender-centered approaches to address a broader scope of socio-economic inequalities as well as power dynamics within museums It is intended to serve as an entry point for further critique of self-described curatorial feminist methods and their practical implementations, in order to analyze what these strategies and practices look like, and how they are intended to affect the university community.



feminist curatorial interventions, university art institutions, Appalachia, institutional critique, collaborative practices, exhibition curating