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The Miss World Spectacle (1950s - 1980s)

black and white photo of a vintage Miss World competition

We are collaborating with Bishopsgate Institute to present this thought-provoking session exploring themes important to Carolee Schneemann’s work through original items from their special collections.

Take a tour of Bishopsgate Institute's archives, examining feminist flashpoints such as the 1970 Miss World protest using curated sets of historical sources, including zines, newsletters, and pamphlets. 

After the session there will be a tour of  Carolee Schneemann with Lotte Johnson.

The day will cover subjects like agency and control, body politics, gender identity and transgressive acts. You will learn to see modern feminism differently through an increased understanding of feminist activism from the 1960s to the 80s, how women’s history interacts with wider cultural and political histories and about the unique and often uplifting stories of women struggling individually and collectively towards recognition, equality, and self-realisation

Further Information

Who is this course for?

  • Anyone curious to discover the lives and experiences of women in the late twentieth century through original historical sources and artworks
  • Informal learners looking for an accessible and engaging introduction to ‘second wave’ feminism both in Britain and the USA
  • Activists and radicals seeking information about the objectification and oppression of women during the late twentieth century.


16:00 - 18:00: Miss World Spectacle archive workshop at Bishopsgate Institute's Library with our Interpretation Manager Dr Michelle Johansen.

18:00 - 19:00: Comfort break, snacks provided, travel to Barbican Centre.

19:00 - 20:00: Curator-led tour at Barbican Centre with Lotte Johnson.

What can I expect?

  • No previous knowledge of art/feminism is required. Snacks will be provided during the break.
  • The group will walk to the Barbican Centre on foot, though participants are welcome to travel independently by other means such as bike or bus if they wish.
  • We will be looking at a range of materials, some of which have small print. Please bring reading glasses if worn.


Meet the course leaders

Dr Michelle Johansen is a social historian specialising in the history of modern London, with a particular emphasis on social class and mobility, gender, professional lives, and regional identities. Her publications include articles in Teaching History, the London Journal, and Cultural and Social History. Michelle has more than ten years' experience of delivering learning sessions at Bishopsgate Institute for all types of learners, from primary school pupils to undergraduates to informal adult learners. Her teaching approach places the emphasis on access to original historical documents, which provides a uniquely dynamic and immersive classroom experience.

Lotte Johnson is a curator at Barbican Art Gallery, London, where she has just curated the retrospective Carolee Schneemann: Body Politics, open until 8 January 2023. Her work focuses on interdisciplinary artistic expressions, feminist practices and transcultural dialogues, with a particular interest in performance. At the Barbican, she has curated solo artist commissions by Toyin Ojih Odutola (2020), Jamila Johnson-Small (2019), Yto Barrada (2018) and Bedwyr Williams (2016) and contributed to a number of major exhibitions, including Into the Night: Cabarets and Clubs in Modern Art (2019), Basquiat: Boom for Real (2017) and The World of Charles and Ray Eames (2015), editing and authoring publications for many of these projects. She previously worked at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Bishopsgate Institute