Dr Helen Gorrill


Art and Design Office, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design

Portrait photo of Helen Gorrill
On this page



Helen leads the MFA artistic research and writing, and the Contemporary Art Practice dissertation module. She is the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) lead for DJCAD, and selected by the University of Dundee for its prestigious Honorary Graduate's Award for Inclusive Practice 2021, receiving a Highly Commended for the award in 2022 and 2023.

Helen is currently in a three-book deal with Bloomsbury Academic Press (London & New York): firstly, Women Can’t Paint: Gender, the Glass Ceiling and Values in Contemporary Art (2020) (international rights/translated with HayalPerest Turkey, and available as Kadindan Ressam Olmaz, 2022); secondly, her new upcoming monograph for Bloomsbury, War Paint: Gender Inequality in the Virtual Artworld; and thirdlythe upcoming Wife, Witch, Whore: Essential Conversations about Gender, Art and Culture.

In 2022, she featured in the BBC Radio 4 documentary Recalculating Art, alongside Tate Director Frances Morris, and on the BBC World Service, together with Sky News. Helen’s research has achieved global acclaim in 2022, featuring in national press across the world. She is an invited speaker for the 2022 Gender Summit for the European Parliament, November 2022, and a keynote at a number of prominent international institutions in respect of gender inequality in the arts.

Helen is also one of the invited contributors to Phaidon’s 2022 blockbuster art compendium Great Women Painters (New York), and Routledge’s new International Handbook of Heritage and Gender. She is also project-leading a new book on the British feminist art movement for presentation at the Tate, ADN Barcelona and Istanbul Biennale in 2023.

Helen's PhD thesis 'The Gendered Economic and Symbolic Values in Contemporary British Painting was co-supervised by the Royal College of Art. Helen’s work Women Can’t Paint is held in the permanent research collections of the V&A, the Met (New York), MoMA (NY), Baltic, Tate Britain, the Museums Association, and many other international institutions. Women Can’t Paint is also in the Top 25 USA academic bestsellers for art and design, and entered its second print run in 2022.

Helen’s artwork is included in the Brooklyn Museum’s artabase archive (New York). She has written on gender equality in the arts for The Guardian/Observer, and been interviewed for multiple publications on art and gender including the Sunday Times, German Bild and a number of prominent newspapers in South America and Europe. As an academic she applies disruptive techniques to challenge stagnancy in gender equality, feminist methodologies and the visual arts. Helen welcomes applications from prospective PhD projects in the areas of visual arts (in)equalities, gender, intersectionality, feminisms (art and theory), gendered aesthetics, and painting theory.

Helen is also CEO and founder of Boom Publications at DJCAD, an award-winning start-up eco-publisher shortlisted for the national Converge Challenge finals 2022, and founded as a university press to raise funds for disadvantaged students. 


Helen welcomes applications from doctoral applicants.

Current PGR and PhD students:

Kennedy: Lauren-Marie: 

The Gendered Politics of Veganism

MacKinnon, Kirstin: 

Gender in the Artworld: A Finnish/Scottish Perspective.

Pakdel-Cherry, Sara:

Middle-Eastern Feminist Revolution Art and Gendered Textuality


Karami, Mahtab:

Comparative Gendered Aesthetics in Contemporary Afghan Painting, pre/post Taliban occupation


Media availability

I am available for media commentary on my research.

Contact Corporate Communications for media enquiries.