Griselda Pollock has been proposed as a potential successor to replace Sir Kenneth Clark as the presenter of the BBC’s revamped version of Civilisation.
Dr. Michael Paraskos has penned an open letter to the BBC advocating for the appointment of the 64-year-old art historian Griselda Pollock for the position. Dr. Paraskos, a Professor of Social and Critical Histories of Art at Leeds University, asserts that Pollock deserves the role due to her comprehensive knowledge of art history. He suggests that instead of seeking a celebrity figure or selecting an academic from outside the field of art history, the BBC should consider Pollock to modernize the iconic program.
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The decision on who should host the series has sparked debate. Following considerations of Grayson Perry and David Starkey for the role, novelist Kathy Lette organized a petition urging the BBC to appoint a woman. Signed by over 50 prominent women, including Helena Kennedy, Shami Chakrabarti, and Jeanette Winterson, the petition highlighted the absence of women’s representation in Clark’s show, much like E.H. Gombrich’s renowned work, The Story of Art, which notably overlooks women artists entirely.
Griselda Pollock, as a co-author of Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology and the editor of our New Encounters: Arts, Cultures, Concepts series, further holds a unique position to advocate for women’s representation in the narrative of our world.