Breaking the Mould Study Day

Breaking the Mould Study Day, a day-long programme of talks and discussions presented alongside the current Arts Council Collection Touring Exhibition.

Programmed in partnership with Djangoly Gallery, Lakeside Arts, University of Nottingham, the day aims to be an open and informal forum to discuss and delve into areas of research prompted by the exhibition context and themes. Areas of focus will range from, but are not limited to, intersectional reflections on the relationship between sculptural practice and identity, formal and informal networks; alternative exhibiting strategies and spaces, market forces and the commercial context and the challenges involved with sustaining a career. 

The day will be chaired by the Curator of Breaking the Mould, and former Senior Curator of Arts Council Collection, Natalie Rudd. 


About the Study Day

Where: Hosted by Arts Council Collection and Djanogly Gallery, Lakeside Arts, University of Nottingham

When: Saturday 4 December 2021, 10am - 4pm

And also streamed online. 

Tickets for the Study Day can be booked via the Lakeland Arts website


Schedule for the day: 

1000-1030 Registration, coffee

1030-1040 Neil Walker - Welcome and introductions

1045-1125 Hilary Gresty and Natalie Rudd in conversation - an introduction to the exhibition development and context

1125-1140 Open questions from the audience and discussion

1145-1215 Naomi Polonsky - Women, Sculpture and Site-Specificity: The New Hall Art Collection

1215-1300 Lunch and networking

1300-1330 Katie Cuddon - Presentation of a new body of work created following the birth of the artist's daughter.

The artist will explore the presence of an ‘other’ (the child) and how this has influenced and reconfigured her sculptural practice. 

1330-1400 Julia McKinlay - An introduction to Threshold, an artist-led space for showing Sculpture founded in Leeds in April 2021.

This presentation will discuss recent exhibitions by women sculptors and the challenges facing sculptors to make and exhibit. It will further discuss how Threshold aims to work towards a sustainable model for commissioning sculpture in Yorkshire.

1400-1430 Break, tea and coffee served

1430-1515 Artists Sokari Douglas Camp and Permindar Kaur in conversation with Natalie Rudd

1515-1545/1600 Open discussion between speakers and chair summary


Areas of focus:

  • Learning: the opportunities and challenges faced by women within the art school system during this period.

  • Networks: formal and informal networks; alternative exhibiting strategies and spaces; mentoring opportunities.

  • Identities: intersectional reflections on the relationship between sculptural practice and gender identity, sexuality, race, class, disability and age.

  • Materiality: material choices and inventions; alternative working methods; interdisciplinary working practices; international influences.

  • Legacies: exhibition and collection investment / market forces and the commercial context; documentation and published legacies; the challenges involved with sustaining a career

  • Current developments: new work, forthcoming projects, new thinking around sculptural practice, curatorship, exhibitions, engagement and collections; interventions into existing literature.



About the exhibition

Breaking the Mould is the first extensive survey of post-war British sculpture by women in a public institution. Spanning more than seventy years and exploring the work of fifty sculptors, this exhibition provides a radical recalibration, addressing the many accounts of British sculpture that have marginalised women or airbrushed their work out of the art historical canon altogether. All of the works in this exhibition have been selected from the Arts Council Collection which holds more than 250 sculptures by over 150 women. The selected works highlight the Collection’s long-term commitment to women working in sculpture and the strength and diversity of a wide range of practices. Many of the represented artists have challenged ingrained notions of sculpture as a ‘male occupation’ by embracing new materials, subjects and approaches. Others have avoided institutional bias by producing work for alternative spaces or the public domain.

Arts Council Collection: Breaking the Mould Study Day

The exhibition, which is part of the Arts Council Collection’s 75th anniversary celebrations, has been initiated in response to Women Working in Sculpture from 1960 to the Present Day: Towards a New Lexicon, a research project led by Catherine George (University of Coventry) and Hilary Gresty (independent).

More information about artworks and artists featured in Breaking the Mould, alongside resources that accompany the exhibition, can be found via our exhibition page.


The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

With more than 8,000 works by over 2,000 artists, it can be seen in exhibitions and public displays across the country and beyond. This website offers unprecedented access to the Collection, and information about each work can be found on this site.