contextual study: mapping landscape and gender

what: after an instructive writing workshop with Rosa Ainley last monday, i feel that for the contextual study to be useful and relevant for both my exploratory project and the direction i’m curious about exploring in my practice, i really need to tackle the area of landscape and gender. this is a huge area and i’ll need to get a specific starting point and question to tease out and help narrow my field of inquiry. i have already begun to read relevant texts for my exploratory project to inform my making. my biggest difficulty will be discussing some of my previous work along this frame of reference as my past work indirectly addressed landscape and gender rather than directly. but i feel it is an area i need to explore going forward. i.e. it will ‘support and inform’ my practice now and as it emerges rather than past work.

a more specific what: after trying some of the writing exercises on monday, i’m left with a lot of questions and statements that i’m thinking about relating to landscape and gender. i think i’ll just write them all down and out of my system.. how is landscape linked to gender? how is landscape represented by gender (past and present)? how is gender represented by landscape? is landscape / movement in the landscape inevitably linked to gender or can movement in the landscape avoid issues of gender? does the presence of the body in the landscape / landscape art inevitably involve gender and/or gender identity? what is a ‘gendered landscape’? is gendered landscape about power relations and freedom to move? can we understand gender through the landscape / movement in the landscape? or vice versa – can we understand gender through the landscape / movement in the landscape? how is landscape linked to the female body? how has the landscape been represented by the female body? is it an idealised female? is it a romantic landscape? how does it relate to an irish conext? is all landscape a gendered reading? i could go on and on.

some more possible specific statements to argue: something about exploring gender and gender identity through landscape / landscape art.. landscape is gendered and landscape art is a means of exploring gender / gender identity? OR landscape is gendered and landscape art inevitably explores gender and gender identity? 

a possible structure:

introduction: what i set out to argue: landscape is gendered and landscape art explores gender identity (a gendered perspective)?

part 1: what is landscape? how is landscape gendered (identity / power relations)? how does the landscape explore gender identity (past / present)? or how is gender identity explored through landscape (past  / present)?

part 2: what is landscape art? how is landscape gendered in landscape art (use of the body, materials, perspective)?

part 3: how has landscape art represented  / explored gender (identity)? how has my own work explored gender and gender identity (my work might be better woven through all parts rather than a specific part).

conclusion: what i discover and arrive at …. tbc!


introduction: set out argument and definitions / terms to be discussed

part 1 discusses the relationship between landscape / gender.

part 2 discusses landscape art and gender / gender representation,

part 3 discusses landscape art and resisting gender stereotypes / identity.

conclusion: landscape is gendered and landscape art reflects and resists gender identity?

reflection: i feel i have arrived at a solid structure to begin research and writing. but i wonder if i am trying to cover too much in a 2000 words essay? if so, perhaps as part 1 and 2 are part of an introduction or are weighted to make part 3 the real body of the argument, broken into parts according to work discussed and points being made. i am still unsure if i will focus in on an irish context.

a list of relevant resources: i am sourcing and building a library of relevant resources and texts related to landscape and gender. they are listed in my bibliography and are relevant to both my contextual study and my exploratory project.


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