Curating a Feminist Exhibition: Purpose, Process and Presentation


  • Nabila Kazmi
  • Kathy Sanford
  • Darlene Clover



In January 2023, we curated the feminist exhibition titled Cultures of Head Coverings in the Wilfrid Johns Art Gallery, University of Victoria, Canada. The exhibition included a range of historical and contemporary stories by women about the head coverings and un-coverings they wear. The exhibition was a response firstly to global sexist xenophobia and secondly, to the province of Quebec’s recent ban on wearing ‘religious’ headwear in the public sector. The exhibition offered a visual and storied space for women to tell their stories through what is often viewed as a simple piece of cloth (or hair) but which is very complicated. Reflecting on our curatorial practice from conception to materialization as feminist adult educators who use exhibitions as spaces of gender justice we discuss the social and pedagogical potentials and challenges and how our principles of plurality, collaboration, subjectivity, identity, and responsibility to change informed all we did.


Author Biographies

Kathy Sanford

Dr. Kathy Sanford is a Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria. Her research interests include nonformal and informal adult education, teacher education, and gender pedagogy. Kathy’s work draws on critical feminist theory. utilizing intersectionality as a framework to research museums, libraries, schools, and in online environments.

Darlene Clover

Dr. Darlene E. Clover is a professor of Adult Education and Leadership Studies at the University of Victoria. She is co-coordinator of the Feminist Imaginary Research Network and a member of the Research Group of the International Association of Women’s Museums. Her research focus is feminist practice in museums, libraries and heritage sites.