Skip to main content


A Moving Target: Curating Activist Feminism

General Programming

dateApril 26, 2023 timeWednesday, 6:00pm EDT location Faculty House, Columbia University locationVirtual Event
  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
  • The British Library
  • Public Humanities Workshop, The University Seminars, Columbia University
  • The American Trust for the British Library
  • The Center for Women's History at the New York Historical Society
email address [email protected]
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required. See details.
Women facing away on steps wearing red robes and white hoods

Dr. Polly Russell, Lead Curator for the British Library’s Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women’s Rights exhibition and Head of the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library, joins Dr. Valerie Paley, Senior Vice President and Sue Ann Weinberg Director of the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library at the New York Historical Society, as well as founding director of the institution's Center for Women’s History, to discuss the challenges, opportunities, and pleasures of curating feminist public history.

Dinner reception to follow.

Please email [email protected] to request disability accommodations. Advance notice is necessary to arrange for some accessibility needs.


Polly Russell is Head of the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library having formerly been Lead Curator for Contemporary Politics and Public Life. Polly was the Lead Curator for the library’s major exhibition Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women’s Rights and the accompanying podcast series of the same name. She was also the British Library project lead for Sisterhood & After: An Oral History of the Women’s Liberation Movement and for the digitized Spare Rib magazine. Since 2012 Polly has had a column in the Financial Times Saturday magazine, The History Cook, she is the historical presenter on the BBC2 history series Back in Time, and the founder and curator of the British Library’s annual Food Season.

Valerie Paley is senior vice president and the Sue Ann Weinberg Director of the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library at the New-York Historical Society. Formerly the chief historian at the institution, she was founding director of its Center for Women’s History, the first such center in the United States within the walls of a major museum. A graduate of Vassar College, Valerie holds an MA in American Studies and a PhD in History from Columbia University, where she serves on the adjunct faculty at the Columbia Center for American Studies. Her work at New-York Historical encompasses a critical range of curatorial, scholarly, and administrative responsibilities. She is the 2020 recipient of the American Historical Association’s Herbert Feis Award, recognizing distinguished contributions to the field of public history.

image credit: (cc) Victoria Pickering "The Handmaid's Tale"