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Resources on women artists and designers

We have gathered together a selection of resources from Art UK and museums, galleries and art collections around the UK that explore the work of women artists and designers.

Use them during Women's History Month and International Women's Day in March (as well as throughout the year) to plan lessons and activities around women in art and design.

Freedom and Change

Freedom and Change 1984

Lubaina Himid (b.1954)


Learning resources for schools and young people

The first section of this Round-up includes links to learning resources created specifically for schools and young people. They include resources that explore individual artists as well as more general themes relating to women and the arts.

Art UK resources

A selection of Art UK resources including lesson plans, videos and activities created for teaching primary and secondary students.

Resources for primary students

Superpower portrait: Lubaina Himid's The Tailor

Ideas for looking closely at an artwork by contemporary artist Lubaina Himid.

The Tailor

The Tailor 2010

Lubaina Himid (b.1954)

Manchester Art Gallery

Resources for primary and secondary students

Textile art and gender

Focusing on a textile artwork by artist Jann Howarth, this resource considers the visibility of women artists and the role of textiles in art, including gender associations and stereotypes. 

Lorna Graves and sculpture in relief

These lesson plan ideas are inspired by a workshop that took place at a SEND / ASN school with a variety of ages. It focuses on the sculpture of Cumbrian artist Lorna Graves.

Make a paper sculpture inspired by home with Lisa Traxler

Make a 3D artwork inspired by the theme of 'home' and the work of artist Lisa Traxler.

Sculptor's techniques and sculpture in focus videos

Watch videos focusing on women sculptors and their work and discover how sculptors use tools and materials to explore their ideas.

Sculptor's techniques: Susan Cutts

Sculptor's techniques: Ros Burgin

Sculptor's techniques: Christine Kowal Post

Sculptor's techniques: Erin Dickson

Sculpture in focus: Dobbin by Tessa Pullan

Resources for secondary students

Hazel Reeves in her studio with the original clay model for her statue of Emmeline Pankhurst

Hazel Reeves in her studio with the original clay model for her statue of Emmeline Pankhurst

Telling stories through sculpture: Hazel Reeves' sculpture of Emmeline Pankhurst

Find out how sculptor Hazel Reeves was inspired by the story of Emmeline Pankhurst and her fellow Suffragettes to create this sculpture.

Dora Gordine and portraiture

Explore the portraits and techniques of artist Dora Gordine.

Halima Cassell and geometric pattern

Discover how Halima Cassell uses geometric patterns in her ceramic sculptures.

Maud Sulter and the subversive portrait

Analyse the powerful photographic portraits of Scottish Ghanaian artist Maud Sulter.

Prunella Clough: from source materials to abstract paintings

Find out how artist Prunella Clough developed her abstract paintings from photographs and notes.

Rachel Maclean: modern life, make-believe and monsters

Explore the themes behind the mesmerising films of Scottish artist Rachel Maclean.


Terpsichore (from the series 'Zabat') 1989

Maud Sulter (1960–2008)

Museums & Galleries Edinburgh – City of Edinburgh Council

Aberdeen Art Gallery

The art of empowerment
(Primary and secondary resources)

These resources explore the depiction of women and women as cultural producers against the background of the Suffragette movement. Watch the video and download resources designed for primary and secondary students.

The art of empowerment

Zandra Rhodes: 50 years of fabulous

A look at the work of the experimental and flamboyant British fashion designer Zandra Rhodes. Watch the video and download resources designed for primary and secondary students.

Zandra Rhodes: 50 years of fabulous


Arts Council Collection: 'Breaking the Mould: Sculpture by women since 1945'

Discover resources produced to accompany the 'Breaking the Mould' exhibition. They include an education pack and video that can be used in the classroom to explore artworks from the Arts Council Collection online.

'Breaking the Mould' learning resources


Position 2018

Grace Schwindt (b.1979)

Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre


Ben Uri Collection: portrait and identity resources
(Suitable for primary and secondary students)

Explore the lives and work of three women artists, featured in the Ben Uri Collection's portrait and identity resources.

Dorthy Bohm (b.1924), photographer and mixed-media artist

Dora Holzhandler (b.1928), painter

Käthe Strenitz (b.1923), artist and printmaker


Courtauld Collection: Helen Saunders and the modern city
(Primary students)

This resource looks at the drawings and paintings of Vorticist artist Helen Saunders and her depictions of cities. It includes ideas for creative activities inspired by her work.

Focus: Helen Saunders and the modern city

Vorticist Composition Yellow and Green (formerly 'Gulliver in Liliput')

Vorticist Composition Yellow and Green (formerly 'Gulliver in Liliput') c.1915

Helen Saunders (1885–1963)

The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)


Government Art Collection: Art Spark resources

Art Spark is a series of resources about artists in the Government Art Collection.

Resources for younger ages and families:

Gillian Wearing uses mainly photography and performance to explore themes of identity, self-portraiture and gender.

Download the Gillian Wearing resource

Joan Carlile (1606–1679) painted the earliest artwork by a woman in the Government Art Collection. Find out about the artist and her work.

Download the Joan Carlile resource

Resources for 14+ students and young people

Discover what makes these emerging contemporary artists tick as they introduce their artwork, describe their passions and inspirations and the life events that have shaped them.

The paintings of Michaela Yearwood-Dan (b.1994) are often based on observations of society and self. Her works explore themes of class, culture/race, gender, nature, love, loss and reflection.

Download the Michaela Yearwood-Dan resource

Madelynn Green (b.1993) works from photo and video reference material as well as her imagination. Her subjects include family and social dynamics.

Download the Madelynn Green resource

Summer '97

Summer '97 2018

Madelynn Mae Green (b.1993)

Government Art Collection


National Galleries of Scotland: ARTIST ROOMS resources
(Secondary and 16+ students)

Vija Celmins creates meticulous drawings and paintings of a select range of subjects including the surface of the ocean and microscopic spiders' webs.

ARTIST ROOMS: Vija Celmins

Working across a range of media, artist Louise Bourgeois used memories and experiences of childhood and life events to create artworks that explore identity.

ARTIST ROOMS: Louise Bourgeois


National Portrait Gallery: Cindy Sherman
(Secondary students)

Artist Cindy Sherman manipulates her appearance, inspired by a range of cultural sources from film to advertising. This resource on art and photography from the NPG encourages students to question what a portrait can be.

Download the Cindy Sherman resource


(Secondary students)

Find out about fashion designer Mary Quant and explore activities related to fabrics and design with the V&A.

Download the Mary Quant resource

Resources for research and inspiration

This section of the Round-up lists overview resources about women artists and designers. These haven't been produced specifically for schools and teachers but use them to research information, ideas and images for lesson planning. Some of the videos could be used within lessons for teaching secondary or 16+ students. These resources would also be helpful for self-directed adult learners.

Art UK: discover women artists

This A-to-Z of women artists pulls together artists from collections across the UK in a series of Curations. Use them for inspiration or to research and explore women artists in lesson planning.

Discover women artists in Curations


National Galleries of Scotland: why are there so few female artists?

This National Galleries of Scotland video addresses the question of why there are so few female artists.


The National Gallery: women artists in the collection

This resource from The National Gallery explores the representation of women in the collection – the artists, the patrons and the women who inspired the paintings. It examines the social and cultural environment to understand what it took to succeed as a female artist in times when opportunities for women were so few. Although not specifically for schools, it is a useful contextual resource for teachers:

The National Gallery: women in our collection

Self Portrait in a Straw Hat

Self Portrait in a Straw Hat after 1782

Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (1755–1842)

The National Gallery, London


Tate: women in art

Research and discover the stories and achievements of women artists. This resource pulls together videos, articles and artworks. Use it as a source of inspiration or for lesson planning ideas.

Tate: women and art


V&A podcast: women artists

Listen to a discussion about the role of women artists in the nineteenth century and how the context for women artists has changed over time.

V&A podcast: women artists

Artists and designers in focus

Use these resources to research individual women artists and designers. They haven't been produced specifically for schools and teachers but might be useful for sourcing ideas and images in lesson planning.

Some of the resources have been written for young people. Others could be used by older secondary-level students, 16+ students and self-directed adult learners.

Germaine Greer

Germaine Greer 1995

Paula Figueiroa Rego (1935–2022)

National Portrait Gallery, London

Art UK: discover artists

Discover biographies, stories and videos about women artists – as well as their artworks – on our artist pages:

Louise Bourgeois

Tracey Emin

Zaha Hadid

Isabel Rawsthorne

Paula Rego

Bridget Riley


Derby Museums

Discover the Surrealist paintings of artist Marion Adnams, who lived and worked in Derby, with this virtual tour of an exhibition at Derby Museums.

Marion Adnams: a singular woman

Alter Ego

Alter Ego c.1940

Marion Elizabeth Adnams (1898–1995)

Derby Museums

Explore Makers in Derbyshire videos. Watch designers and makers at work and find out about the materials and techniques they use:

Megan Crook

Megan Crook designs and produces bespoke knitwear, clothing, interiors and textiles jewellery. Each piece is skillfully crafted in vibrant and detailed patterns.

JMJ Pottery

Janine Mannion-Jones began working in clay when she was eight years old. She founded JMJ Pottery, which creates bespoke pots and handmade domestic stoneware and containers, coated in their unique coloured glazes.

Curiousa & Curiousa

Curiousa & Curiousa design and manufacture hand-blown glass lighting from their Derbyshire workshop and have a showroom in Islington, London. Esther Patterson, the designer and founder of the company, has a real passion for all things British-made and for true craftsmanship and traditional manufacturing skills.


National Galleries of Scotland | NOW | Jenny Saville and Christine Borland

Watch video interviews featuring contemporary artists at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. 

Watch: Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, best known for her monumental paintings of the naked female form, discusses her inspirations and motivations.

Watch: Christine Borland

Sculptor Christine Borland discusses the inspiration of anatomy and the human body as well as her processes and techniques.


Phantom Twins

Phantom Twins 1997

Christine Borland (b.1965)



Oxford Brookes University

Explore the fascinating sketchbooks of artist Evelyn Dunbar, who is best known for recording women's contributions to the Second World War on the home front, particularly the work of the Women's Land Army. She is also notable for being the only woman on the payroll of the War Artists' Advisory Committee on a salaried basis. 

Sketchbook 13: 1938–1940
Sketchbook 14: 1940–1942
Sketchbook 15: 1941
Sketchbook 16: 1942


Potato Sorting, Berwick

Potato Sorting, Berwick

Evelyn Mary Dunbar (1906–1960)

Manchester Art Gallery


Royal Academy: short films about women artists

Watch an introduction to the seventeenth-century artist Artemisia Gentileschi in this short video:

Artemisia Gentileschi

Watch artist Tracey Emin discussing her inspirations and work:

Tracey Emin and Edvard Munch

Tracey Emin: I want my time with you


Bristol Museums

This video resource is one of a series made by Bristol Museums celebrating local artists and creatives. Bristol-based artist Helen Wilson Roe's paintings and sculptures often focus on the untold stories of Black people. Watch the artist discussing her work:

Watch: Helen Wilson Roe

Henrietta Lacks (1920–1951) – More than a Cell

Henrietta Lacks (1920–1951) – More than a Cell 2021

Helen Wilson-Roe

Royal Fort Gardens, Bristol


Hepworth Wakefield

Meet Barbara Hepworth

Be inspired by Barbara Hepworth. Find out about the artist, key themes in her work and her inspirations and influence. This resource, created as a collaboration with Google Arts & Culture, includes videos, information, and artworks with zoomable images so you can explore them in detail.

Explore the 'Meet Barbara Hepworth' resource

Contemporary women artists

Discover information and videos about some of the contemporary women artists who have exhibited at the Hepworth Wakefield. You can find more women artists on the Hepworth's artist pages.

Artists include:

Phyllida Barlow

Mona Hatoum

Tau Lewis

Helen Marten

Magdalene Odundo

Eva Rothschild

Veronica Ryan 

Clare Woods


National Portrait Gallery: photographers in focus

Find out what influences photographers, who they have enjoyed shooting and tips for preparing for a photographic session in these interviews. Women photographers featured in the resource include:

Mary McCartney

Carla van der Puttelaar

Olivia Rose

Sandra Lousada

Eva Vermandel


lick your teeth, they so clutch

lick your teeth, they so clutch 2021

Rachel Jones (b.1991)

Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre

Tate Kids: 'Who is... ?'
(Primary students and families)

The Tate Kids 'Who is... ?' resources feature stories of over 20 women artists and designers, including:

Activist artists The Guerrilla Girls

Storytelling painter Paula Rego

Surrealist artist Eileen Agar

Turner prize winner Lubaina Himid

Contemporary painter Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

Textile designer and artist Anni Albers

Contemporary artist Rachel Jones


Victoria Art Gallery, Bath and Northeast Somerset Council

The Victoria Art Gallery are in the process of creating a series of videos focusing on women artists in their Collection. Use the links below to find out more.

Watch: Emmeline Deane and Anna Bilinska

Discover Emmeline Deane's fascinating portrait of fellow artist Anna Bilińska.

Watch: Rosa Bonheur

Rosa Bonheur was one of the most famous and successful female artists of the nineteenth century. Explore the life and works of this French artist who specialised in painting animals, (and had a rebellious streak!)

Discover more women artist videos on their YouTube playlist.

Victoria Art Gallery: Women artists playlist


Anna Bilinska (1857–1893)

Anna Bilinska (1857–1893) 1884

Emmeline Deane (1858–1944)

Victoria Art Gallery


V&A: fashion designers

Find out all about the ground-breaking British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood. See fashion designs in the V&A collection, read articles and watch videos of her designs in action on the catwalk!

Vivienne Westwood

Discover the life and extraordinary fashion designs of Nigerian fashion designer Shade Thomas-Fahm.

Watch: Nigeria's first fashion designer


Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust

Explore this extraordinary Scottish artist and see her pioneering abstract artworks.

Explore the life and work of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham

White, Green, Ochre, Red and Black

White, Green, Ochre, Red and Black 1956

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (1912–2004)

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust

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