Women in Art & Tech: A Live Panel

Isabella de Souza
written by Isabella de Souza,
Date of publication9 Mar 2024
Last updated11 Mar 2024
A DISCUSSION WITH LEADING TECH SPECIALISTS
The design of Fête relates to other works featuring zigs or rhomboids which Riley produced between 1986 and 1997. All the works included similarly feature vertical bands combined with diagonally orientated areas of contrasting colour. Moving away from the lines and geometric shapes that defined her earlier works, in the Zig/ Rhomboid works, distinctions between colour and shape fall away, each leaning on the other for definition within the same plane.Fête © Bridget Riley 1989
Joe Syer

Joe Syer, Co-Founder & Specialist[email protected]

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MyArtBroker’s panel on Women in Art and Tech, convened to celebrate International Women's Day, served as a platform to spotlight the contributions of women at the forefront of blending artistic creativity with technological innovation. Hosted by Erin-Atlanta Argun, Commissioning Editor of Edition magazine, the panellists included Kerstin Gold, co-founder of the Art+Tech Report; Bernadine Bröcker Weider, CEO of Arcual; Kristen Yraola, digital-first marketer with extensive art world experience; and Charlotte Stewart, managing director of MyArtBroker. Although there are challenges facing the sector, including the conservative mindset of traditional art market players towards embracing digital transformation, technology presents unparalleled opportunities for global connectivity and market accessibility.

Argun introduced the discussion against a backdrop of a concerning statistic from UNESCO, noting that women comprise less than 30% of the world's researchers. Despite this underrepresentation, women are spearheading some of the most significant shifts in the traditional art market through technology. Each panellist shared insights into their personal journeys, underscoring pivotal moments that drew them into the nexus of art and technology. Bröcker Weider, for instance, recounted a transformative experience managing an art gallery and leveraging early cloud computing technologies, which sparked her interest in harnessing technology to enhance global accessibility to art. Gold reflected on her transition from a corporate strategist to an art market consultant, driven by a realisation of the art world's scepticism and anxiety towards technology. Her ambition to act as a mediator and ambassador for technological advancement in the art sector underpins her work, demonstrating technology's potential to enrich rather than threaten the art ecosystem.

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Technological Advances as Catalysts for Change

Advances in technology, particularly in blockchain and AI, were discussed not only as tools for creating art but also as mechanisms for ensuring fair compensation for artists and transparency in the art market. These technologies offer unprecedented opportunities to rethink traditional practices and establish new norms that are more equitable and inclusive. The panellists pointed to the potential for technology to democratise access to art, enabling artists from diverse backgrounds to reach global audiences and for collectors to discover and support new talent. While technology offers incredible opportunities for innovation and inclusivity, it also presents challenges, particularly in terms of the digital divide.

Access to technology is not universal, and socioeconomic disparities can prevent talented individuals from pursuing careers in art and technology. The discussion emphasised the need for initiatives that provide access to digital tools and education for underprivileged communities, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to participate in and contribute to the future of art and technology. In addition to advocating for greater inclusion, the panel also explored the ethical implications of emerging technologies in art. As artists and creators increasingly turn to AI, blockchain, and other digital tools, questions arise about the originality, authenticity, and value of art in the digital age. The panellists engaged in a thoughtful discussion about the need for ethical frameworks that guide the use of technology in art, ensuring that it enhances rather than undermines the creative process and respects the rights and intentions of artists.

Advocacy and Policy Change

The conversation touched on the role of advocacy and policy change in creating more equitable spaces within art and technology. There is an urgent call to action for organisations, governments and educational institutions to implement policies that actively promote gender equality, such as equitable hiring practices, gender parity in leadership positions and support for work-life balance. Policies that encourage diversity in all its forms can lead to more innovative and resilient organisations in all sectors, including art and technology. The panel discussed the potential of technology to address social issues and promote inclusivity beyond the art world: for instance, digital platforms can be used to raise awareness about gender disparities, support social justice movements, and create virtual spaces for marginalised communities to share their stories and art. Technology, when thoughtfully applied, can be a powerful tool for social change, empowering individuals and communities to advocate for their rights and visibility.

Championing Diversity and Inclusion

The conversation emphasised that diversity and inclusion go beyond gender. It is about creating spaces where all individuals, regardless of their background, can contribute and thrive. The panellists shared their visions for a future where the art and tech industries reflect the diversity of society at large, recognising that innovation flourishes in diverse environments. By actively challenging biases and breaking down barriers to entry, they argued, the industries can become more vibrant and inclusive.

A recurring theme throughout the discussion was the importance of visibility and representation in inspiring the next generation of women in art and technology. Seeing women succeed in these fields can have a profound impact on young girls and women, helping them to envision themselves in similar roles and pursue their passions with confidence. The panellists called for greater efforts to showcase the achievements of underrepresented demographics in art and tech through media, exhibitions, conferences, and educational curricula – highlighting the diverse paths to success and the contributions of women across the spectrum of creativity and innovation.

Central to this vision is the concept of inclusion, a theme that resonated deeply throughout. The panellists shared a common belief in the power of technology to democratise the art world, making it more accessible to a wider audience. However, they also acknowledged the significant barriers that exist, including gender disparities, the digital divide, and the persistent underrepresentation of women and marginalised communities in both art and tech sectors. Addressing these challenges requires a concerted effort to dismantle existing structures of exclusion and to build a more equitable art world that reflects and celebrates diversity.

Looking to the Future

Looking forward, the panellists expressed optimism about the impact of emerging technologies on art production and consumption. They emphasised the rise of digital and generative art, the importance of digital ownership, and the transformative potential of AI in creating new forms of art. These technologies not only present new mediums for artistic expression but also raise fundamental questions about the nature of art ownership and the ways in which art is consumed and appreciated by future generations. The inclusion and support for the next generation of women in art and tech is also crucial. Panellists highlighted the importance of mentorship and the creation of platforms for young women to voice their ideas, ensuring that women have opportunities to lead and innovate at the intersection of art and technology. The discussion underscored the need for more inclusive approaches that value diverse perspectives and experiences, ultimately enriching the art and tech landscape.

The Women in Art and Tech panel provided a comprehensive exploration of the challenges and opportunities at the intersection of these fields. Through personal anecdotes, insights into industry trends, and discussions on the future of art and technology, the panellists painted a picture of a vibrant and evolving sector where women play crucial roles as innovators, leaders and change-makers. While the event celebrated the achievements of women in art and tech, it also served as a call to action to support and empower the next generation of female pioneers in these interconnected domains. An inclusive approach to technology and art underscores a broader shift in society towards recognising and leveraging the diverse strengths individuals bring to any field. By fostering environments where women's voices and ideas are heard and valued we can create a more innovative, dynamic and inclusive art world.

Joe Syer

Joe Syer, Co-Founder & Specialist[email protected]

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