March Roundtable Recap- Women’s Representation In Art

Hello again! I am Marissa, one of the graduate assistants at the Kennedy Museum and facilitator of Roundtable Discussions. This blog post is the second Roundtable Recap and focuses on March’s Roundtable Discussion.  

Following the theme of this program, creating a space for conversations and discussions into social issues, trends, and challenges utilizing museum collections and how they tie in together, March’s topic was Women’s Representation in Art. This month followed the typical setup of a normal roundtable: introductions of both facilitator and participants, presentation, discussions. This time around I gave the participants a choice between what topics would be discussed from the presentation. The full presentation, which will be linked below in a PDF document, gave the choice between two groups of selections from the Kennedy Museum Collections/KMA Picks. KMA Picks is a project headed by Museum Outreach Programs Assistant, Madeline Kramer and Museum Academic Programs Assistant, Tristen Luken. 

The Roundtable Discussion for March was exciting and really focused on dialogue. The participants chose to discuss women artists and works made by women. These selections were then in dialogue with selections from contemporary artists and statistics/infographics about “Women’s Place in the Art World”. The goal for the types of artwork and information chosen for the presentation was to cover a large area of sources and allow for intermingling of ideas. By choosing less well-known artists I believe that the discussions helped to bring attention to these works and to also bring these works forward in conversations around women’s representation.  

How the PowerPoint presentation was set up:  

  • First group of KMA Selections 
  • Second group of KMA Selections 
  • Contemporary Selections 
  • Statistics/Infographics 

These PowerPoint presentations are not set up to be linear or just move in chronological order. Instead, they operate as pools, where you pick the most interesting slides that participants are gravitating towards and feel out the crowd. 

We had some returning participants from previous Roundtable Discussions and some new faces. This brought a cool dynamic into the group and opened different paths of discussion, which allowed for a wide variety of topics to be considered. The most rewarding thing specifically in this roundtable was being able to use selections from the Kennedy Museum of Art to engage critically in societal issues. Discussions ranged from topics like women vs female, representation, gaze, nude vs naked, and type of medium. This roundtable also allowed participants to begin to question some of the structures within the art world and to reckon with collected data. The discussions were so rich between the participants and each other as well as with me that I didn’t end up getting to some of the material! But that’s part of what makes Roundtable Discussions so enjoyable. They have fostered a sense of community, one that comes to the table with open and honest communication. 

The PDF document attached has the notes and slides so it can be utilized as a resource or blueprint for conversation. The information on each page has a thumbnail of the PowerPoint slide, related text information to the image, and sources/links on where that information can be found. These links may also be helpful for further exploration.