Content Picks: Women in Sculpture

9 July 2021



To celebrate our latest Touring Exhibition, Breaking the Mould, we’ve brought together a curated selection of amazing online content focussing on women working in sculpture for you to enjoy…

Breaking the Mould, is the first survey of post-war British sculpture by women and represents the strength and diversity of a wide range of practices. Many of the represented artists have challenged widespread 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 public sites.

Breaking the Mould is currently on show at Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, until 5 September and will subsequently tour to venues across the UK, until Spring 2023.




Watch, read, and listen below to learn more about artists from the exhibition... 




1. Sculpting Lives Podcast

Written and hosted by Jo Baring and Sarah Turner, this podcast series explores the lives and careers of five women who worked (and are still working) against the preconception that sculpture was not suitable for women artists.

Each 45-minute episode takes a woman sculptor as its subject, exploring the art works, networks, connections and relationships of these artists. The work of all five artists from the series is featured in Breaking the Mould.


Listen to the complete podcast series here


2. In Conversation with Veronica Ryan

The Arts Council Collection : Content Picks: Women in Sculpture

In the May issue of its quarterly newsletter, FOCUS, the Freelands Foundation interviews artist Veronica Ryan about her Freelands Award exhibition Along a Spectrum, currently on show at Spike Island in Bristol, until 5 September 2021.

Ryan is best known for her sculpture that is evocative of shapes, forms and objects from the natural world. Over the years, she has experimented with scale, material and technique while remaining focused on the interplay between conflicting opposites: revelation and concealment, container and contained, absence and presence.


Read the issue here

3. Inside Culture With Mary Beard

The Arts Council Collection : Content Picks: Women in Sculpture

In the latest series of her topical arts programme, Mary Beard looks at how we remember - not just as individuals, but as a society and a nation.

In the first episode, Arts Council Collection artist Cornelia Parker is at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park with a preview of the new exhibition Breaking The Mould, remembering the work of female sculptors in Britain since the Second World War and thinking about how we reconfigure our landscape as an act of remembrance.


Watch on BBC iPlayer


4. Art UK: Celebrate female sculptors

The Arts Council Collection : Content Picks: Women in Sculpture

Art UK’s learning resources now feature new lesson plan ideas focused on sculptors Dora Gordine and Lorna Graves, which include child-presented films and clay-based activities.

They have also added new 'Sculptors' techniques' videos featuring Christine Kowal Post, who sculpts large pieces from wood inspired by strong women, and Fiona Campbell, whose installations created from found materials focus on the cycles of nature.

Access them here: 

5. Barbara Hepworth at the Tate

The Arts Council Collection : Content Picks: Women in Sculpture

This British Council produced film, available via the BFI Player, documents Barbara Hepworth’s 1968 Tate retrospective, accompanied by a beguiling and crisply enunciated narration by Hepworth herself, in which she describes her techniques and the aims of her work.

The exhibition illustrates a broad range of Hepworth’s output, from early wood carvings to her abstract stringed figures of the 1930s and the monumental grandeur of her 1960s pieces.


Watch for free via the BFI Player

Breaking the Mould is an Arts Council Collection Touring Exhibition 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). 

After the first presentation at Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Spring 2021, Breaking the Mould will tour to Djanogly Art Gallery Nottingham Lakeside Arts, The Levinsky Gallery at the University of Plymouth, Ferens Art Gallery Hull and New Art Gallery Walsall.

Related Content

Artist Profile: Rose Finn-Kelcey

Amy Tobin, Lecturer in History of Art, University of Cambridge and Curator, Kettle’s Yard, explores the work of Rose Finn-Kelcey
Breaking the Mould with Gomersal Primary

Find out about the Arts Council Collection’s ongoing partnership with Gomersal Primary School in West Yorkshire
Breaking the Mould Publication

Breaking the Mould: Sculptures by Women since 1945 is the first publication to focus on women sculptors in Britain from the post-war period to today.

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.