Dr Helen Gorrill


Contemporary Art Practice, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design

Portrait photo of Helen Gorrill
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Helen lectures in Critical and Contextual Studies for contemporary art practice at DJCAD and leads the MFA artistic research and writing module. She 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); 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. Helen is also one of the invited contributors to Phaidon’s upcoming 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 Margaret Harrison and the British feminist art movement for presentation at the Tate, ADN Barcelona and Istanbul Biennale in 2023. Her first monograph Women Can’t Paint has been acquired for translation rights with HayalPerest Turkey, and is now available as Kadindan Ressam Olmaz (2022).

Helen is the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion lead for DJCAD; and Chair of In-Gear, a new initiative and forum for intersectional gender equality in the arts research, which was selected by the University of Dundee for its prestigious Honorary Graduate's Award for Inclusive Practice 2021, and she has received a Highly Commended for the award in 2022. Helen is the Athena Swan lead for the school, and the SAT Data Lead for the University's 2021 Race Charter application. She is the CEO of InGEAR Publishing, DJCAD’s in-house more-than-profit press, winning an award at the University’s Centre for Entrepreneurship 2022 challenge, and shortlisted for the national Converge Challenge. Based at DJCAD, InGEAR Publishing has identified significant gaps in the book market, including our dissertation-to-book imprint. Helen’s company donates the majority of their profits to scholarships/career opportunities for underprivileged University of Dundee students - and by commissioning InGEAR’s books, you contribute towards creating a fairer world, which is life-changing for the company’s beneficiaries.

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 (Library Journal 2021).

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 and BBC Radio 4. 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.

Currently accepting PhD applications – please get in touch for an informal discussion.