Women have always made art, but for centuries formal recognition of their work has been hampered by social, cultural and economic structures. Today, there is growing interest in the contribution of women artists, including redressing historical collections to include important and lesser known artists from key periods in art history as well as the critical role of contemporary artists and designers.

This online course explores the unique contributions of women to the art world through historical and contemporary art and design from Europe, North America, Asia and Australia in the NGV Collection. Complete the course in your own time.


Week 1
What Does it Mean to Study Women Artists?
Fifty years ago, American art historian Linda Nochlin posed a question that reverberated throughout the art world: ‘Why have there been no great women artists?’ Nochlin’s challenge sparked a wave of new research and exhibitions that centralised women in the story of art history. As the NGV actively builds its collection of historical and contemporary women artists, we explore how women’s experiences have been shaped by their race, class and sexuality as well as by their gender.
Week 2
A Departure From Tradition
Discover how women artists have been at the forefront of new, experimental, and avant-garde art and design movements.
Week 3
Feminisms Learn about the ways women artists have historically fought for recognition, the emergence of the feminist art movement in the 1960s and 1970s, and how feminist artists have responded to postcolonialism, influenced emerging practices such as performance art and installation art, and continue to engage with evolving ideas around feminism today.
Week 4
The Body
How have women artists and designers privileged the body as sites for discussions around gender, identity and feminism?
Week 5
Craftswomen and Designers
Discover the work of female designers and makers across Europe, Asia, America and Australia, including historical works attributed to anonymous craftswomen and cutting-edge designs by female pioneers of the modern movement and contemporary practice.

Course objectives

  • Discuss the key issues and debates surrounding the recognition of women artists
  • Identify and discuss key works in the NGV Collection created by women artists and designers
  • Analyse how women artists and designers have responded to the obstacles they have faced throughout history and continue to face today
  • Discuss the principles of feminist art

Enrolment options

Standard Course Enrolment

Includes 8-week access to learning materials from the course start date.


  • General: $69
  • NGV Members: $63

Course dates are yet to be announced. Please register your interest to keep up to date about future courses.


Grace Cossington SMITH
The Bridge in-curve, 1930
tempera on cardboard
83.6 x 111.8 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Presented by the National Gallery Society of Victoria, 1967
© Estate of Grace Cossington Smith