Griselda Pollock / News

Griselda Pollock in running to host Civilisation

Griselda Pollock has been put forward as a possible successor to follow Sir Kenneth Clark as host of the BBC’s revamp of Civilisation.Griselda Pollock

News emerged in The Telegraph yesterday that Griselda Pollock, Professor of Art at Leeds University, has emerged as a contender to follow Sir Kenneth Clark as host of the BBC’s planned revamp of its landmark 1960s series Civilisation. The article said:

An open letter has been sent to the BBC putting the 64-year-old art historian forward for the role. The letter, sent by Dr Michael Paraskos, claims that the Professor of Social and Critical Histories of Art at Leeds University deserves the job as “one of the few academics around with the full breadth of knowledge of the sweep of art history.” It reads that “instead of trying to find a celebrity face” or “selecting an academic outside of art history”, they should look to Pollock to update the landmark programme.

The decision as to who should host the series has not been without debate. After Grayson Perry and David Starkey were both earmarked for the role, a petition encouraging the BBC to give the job to a woman was organised by the novelist Kathy Lette, and signed by more than 50 prominent women including: Helena Kennedy, Shami Chakrabarti, and Jeanette Winterson. Revered as it was, Clark’s show had little to say about women’s role in civilisation; much in the same way that E.H. Gombrich’s landmark The Story of Art (the most popular art-history of all time, no less) fails to even mention any women artists at all.

Co-author of Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology, and editor of our New Encounters: Arts, Cultures, Concepts series, there are few people better placed than Griselda Pollock to give women a voice in the story of our world. ■

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