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maat talk design
maat talk design
02/06/2023 - 02/06/2023

Gender Gap: Searching for Women Graphic Designers in Iberia (Portugal and Spain)

Talk with Maria Angels Fortea and Isabel Duarte

Design history has the same problem. In Portugal, in recent years, 28 designer monographs have been published, yet only one of these books is about a woman. There is a massive gap in the representation of women in the current Design literature in Portugal; but not only as subjects, the canon is also overwhelmingly propagated by men. From educators to bosses, clients, editors, publishers, curators, and speakers, while books and exhibitions inevitably draw from a limited number of collectors’ archives. The same situation occurs in Spain. So, while it is necessary to redress the balance of the canon through the identification of female designers, that alone is not enough. It is also critical to understand how, and by whom, history is made.

Maria Angels Fortea is a researcher and a professor interested in design and gender and the representation of women in design practice and history. In 2018, following Anna Calvera’s fight for the visibility of female graphic designers, Maria Angels Fortea and Teresa Martínez initiated the project From a Female Designer’s Perspective, with the aim of recognising the work of the first generation of professional female graphic designers in Catalonia (Spain). Maria is a member of GREDITS (Design and Social Transformation Research Group) and a professor in BAU, College of Arts and Design of Barcelona.

Isabel Duarte is a designer and PhD researcher interested in the intersections between feminism and design history. In 2020, Isabel started Errata: a feminist revision to Portuguese graphic design history, a research project aiming to uncover the invisible stories of women designers in Portugal and investigate the mechanisms of historiography that allowed these women to be forgotten. She also publishes the Errata podcast, documenting and reflecting on issues facing women designers in Portugal through conversations with thinkers, curators, historians, and designers, about their experiences and work.

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