Painting by Artemisia Gentileschi

"Taking this evening class was one of the best decisions I've ever made." - Angela Hou (Royal College of Art student)

At a Glance

  • Live online course
  • 2 hours a week
  • Mondays 18:00 - 20:00
  • 10 weeks: October to December
  • Tutor: Rebecca Wade
  • Fees from £115 to £210
  • Imperial College attendance certificate (T&Cs apply)
Booking link

Woman have always made art, often despite social, political and economic structures that limited access to education, patronage and institutions. More than merely the subject of art by their male peers, many artists who were women found success in their own lifetimes, although their work was not always recognised by art history.

Through this engaging ten-week course, Dr Rebecca Wade invites us to join her to discover the fascinating and often surprising history of women in art, from the Renaissance to the present. As well as revealing a selection of exceptional artists and their work, we will find out how and why women were marginalised in the history of art and the feminist strategies that have sought to confront this fundamental inequality.

The course is organised chronologically and thematically to investigate the changing role of women in Western art history from the Renaissance period to the present day. In the classes we will think about shifting ideas of beauty and femininity, objectification and the body, gender and sexuality and how these concepts and experiences intersect with class and race.

During the course we will examine the work of some of the more well known women artists such as Artemisia Gentileschi, Angelica Kauffman, Louise Bourgeois, Barbara Hepworth and Tracey Emin, and also less well known figures, including Harriet Hosmer, Kühne Beveridge, Marlow Moss, Mary Gillick and Lucia Nogueira. Towards the end of the course we come right up to date to consider the work of living artists, including Alison Wilding, Phyllida Barlow, Paula Rego, Rana Begum, Lubaina Himid, Sonia Boyce, Haegue Yang and many others.

The aim of the course will be to provide a broad overview of the issues at stake for thinking about the role of women in art history and to learn about some of the key artists who shaped the development of art and its social contexts since the seventeenth century.

No previous knowledge of art history is necessary and the content will be equally accessible to both those new to the subject and those with more experience. The course is organised to encourage discussion and debate, while also allowing us to explore the historical development of modern art, and the ideas and influences behind the work of the artists of this period.

Online Access to Course

This is a taught live online course which means you will be taught alongside other students on the course by a tutor at a specific time on a specific day of the week. To take part in the course you will need a suitably equipped and internet-enabled device. Please find full details and instructions below under 'Course Delivery'.

Attendance certificate

Those who attend at least 80% of the course sessions will receive an attendance certificate from Imperial College London upon completion of the course.

Course Information

Course Programme

Week-by-week programme (subject to possible change)

  1. Where Do We Begin?
  2. Finding Favour at Court in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries
  3. American Women Sculptors in Nineteenth-Century Rome
  4. Beyond Rodin in fin de siècle Europe
  5. Modern Gender Rebels from Paris to Cornwall
  6. The Festival of Britain and the New Elizabethans
  7. The Other New York School
  8. Second Wave Feminist Art Practices
  9. Young British (Women) Artists
  10. Where Are We Now?

All classes last two hours and include a 10-minute break midway through.

Additional Reading

There is no compulsory reading required for this course and there is no set course text, but if you would like to read more on the subject we suggest:

  • Whitney Chadwick, Women, Art and Society. London: Thames and Hudson, 1990
  • Great Women Artists, London: Phaidon, 2019
  • Rozsika Parker, Griselda Pollock, Old mistresses: Women, Art, and Ideology, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981
  • Griselda Pollock, Vision and Difference: Feminism, Femininity and the Histories of Art, London: Routledge, 1988

Your Tutor

Photograph of Rebecca WadeDr Rebecca Wade is an art historian and curator. She completed her PhD at the University of Leeds and has held research fellowships with University of Cambridge Museums, the Henry Moore Foundation and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. She is co-editor of Art versus Industry? Visual and Industrial Cultures in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Manchester University Press, 2016) and her monograph Domenico Brucciani and the Formatori of Nineteenth-Century Britain was published by Bloomsbury Academic in 2019. She is a Trustee of Leeds Art Fund and a Board Member of the Museums and Galleries History Group.


Course Delivery Method: Live Online (Zoom)

All our online courses are taught live which means you will be taught alongside other students on the course by a tutor at a specific time. To take part in the course you must be able to attend the online session at the time stated for the course description.

All times stated are British Standard Time.

To take part you will need a computer, or laptop, or tablet computer, connected to the Internet. The device you use will also need to have a camera, microphone and speakers. Most devices now have these built in, but if not you might have to buy them from a computer shop and to connect them to your device.


This course will use Zoom as its online delivery method. Zoom is very easy to use and you do not need to set up a Zoom account to use it. Near the date of your first online session you will be sent an email with a web address (or URL) that will allow you to access the course. This is called the Course Link. All you need do is click on the Course Link in the email and you will be asked to enter your name. This is the name that will be seen by your tutor and other students in the class.

Once you have entered your name you might be asked to enter a password to enter the class. The password will be included in the email sent to you. Once you enter the password you will either be taken directly into the class, or asked to wait in a virtual waiting room until the tutor is ready to let you into the class.

We have also produced a Handy Guide to Zoom [pdf] which gives you basic information on how to use it.

Course Fees and Rate Categories

HoursWeeksStandard RateInternal RateAssociate Rate
 20  10  £210    (Early Bird Rate: £190*)
£125    (Early Bird Rate: £115*) £165    (Early Bird Rate: £150*) 
* The Early Bird rate is available for enrolments made before the end of 30 September for courses starting in October

Rate Categories and Discounts

Standard Rate

  • Applicable to all except those who fall under the Internal Rate or Associate Rate category, respectively.

Internal Rate

  • Current Imperial College students and staff (incl. Imperial NHS Trust, Imperial Innovations, ancillary & service staff employed on long-term contracts at Imperial College by third-party contractors)
  • Individuals enrolling under our Friends & Family scheme
  • Staff of the English Chamber Orchestra
  • Current Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication (CLCC) staff, current CLCC PhD students, Science Communication (Sci Comm) postgraduate students, and students enrolled on an Imperial College 'Language for Science' degree programme should contact before completing the online enrolment form

Associate Rate

  • Alumni of Imperial College and predecessor colleges and institutes
  • Austrian Cultural Forum staff
  • City & Guilds College Association members
  • Francis Crick Institute staff, researchers and students
  • Friends and Patrons of the English Chamber Orchestra
  • Harrods staff
  • Historic Royal Palaces staff
  • Lycee Charles de Gaulle staff
  • Members of the Friends of Imperial College
  • Members of the Kennel Club
  • Members of the London Zoological Society
  • Members of the South London Botanical Institute (SLBI)
  • Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
  • Natural History Museum staff
  • National Health Service (NHS) employees
  • Residents of postcodes SW3, SW5, SW7, SW10 and W8
  • Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council staff
  • Royal College of Art and Royal College of Music tutors and other staff
  • Royal Geographical Society staff
  • Science Museum staff
  • Staff of Exhibition Road Cultural Group (Discover South Kensington) organisations
  • Students (non-Imperial College)
  • Teachers and other staff of UK schools
  • Tutors and other staff of institution members of the Association of Colleges
  • Tutors and other staff of other universities and higher education institutions
  • Victoria and Albert Museum staff

Late enrolment

It is possible to enrol on many CLCC Evening Class and Lunchtime Learning programmes after the course has started. For non-language courses this is subject entirely to agreement by the tutor. For language courses it is subject to agreement by the language Coordinator conducting level assessment. If you want to join a course late do bear in mind there might be work you will need to catch up on, particularly in language courses.

Applicable terms & conditions

Please read the Terms and Conditions [pdf] before enrolling on any course.

Term Dates

HoursWeeksAutumn termSpring termSummer termSummer School
 20  10 11 Oct - 13 Dec 2021 (10 weeks)  n/a n/a n/a
This is a one-term course

Enrolment Process

Web enrolment starts 2nd August 2021

Enrolment and payment run through the Imperial College eStore. Please click on the blue booking link on the relevant course page noting below instructions:

  • Our rate categories are explained on the course page and your applicable rate category must be selected on the eStore
  • First-time eStore users please create an account by entering an email address and password. These credentials should also be used for future bookings. Imperial College users please note the eStore is not a single-signon College system
  • The booking process involves entering payment details after your course choice and applicant details are collected via an in-built questionnnaire
  • The following email notifications are sent:
What is sentWhen is it sentWhat does it contain
1. Payment confirmation Is sent instantaneously following submission of your online application
  • This is a receipt for your payment and includes payment date, order number and course title
  • Confirmation of your place on your chosen course will follow later
2. Enrolment confirmation Is sent within 10 working daysPlease treat your payment confirmation as confirmation that your applicant details and payment have been received
  • Re-confirms your course choice
  • Shows your course's term dates
  • Confirms the day and time of your course
3. Programme information Is usually sent on Friday late afternoon the week before term starts
  • Contains joining instructions for your course, incl. tutor contact details
If you need further help with the above information please ring 020 7594 8756

Any Questions?

If you have enjoyed this course, why not look at other arts and humanities evening class courses at Imperial College. This includes courses on the history of western art from ancient Greece to the nineteenth century, Understanding Modern and Design, the history of film and cinema and Greek and Roman mythology in art. We also run practical courses in art and photography and creative writing classes, and a growing programme of science based evening classes.