A new podcast profiles female sculptors who worked against preconceptions

Sculpting Lives dedicates each episode to understanding one sculptor from multiple angles.

23 March 2020


Launching this week is a new podcast for art lovers to get stuck into, diving deep into the narratives and work of some of Britain’s greatest female sculptors.

Sculpting Lives: Women & Sculpture will explore the lives and careers of six artists “who worked (and are still working) against preconceptions, forging successful careers and contributing in ground-breaking ways to the histories of sculpture and art.”

The first episode, launching tomorrow (24 March), will look into the work of Dame Barbara Hepworth, arguably one of the most well-known sculptors – regardless of gender. “Although a lot has been written about Hepworth, there’s still a great deal to find out – there is a mystique and there are assumptions made about her,” says Sculpting Lives’ hosts. “In this episode, we challenge those ideas, go to the places she lived and worked, and explore why she remains such a powerful influence on artists today.”

Further episodes include artists Dame Elisabeth Frink, Kim Lim, Rana Begum and Phyllida Barlow, one of the UK’s most established sculptors working today. A teacher at the Slade School of Fine Art for many years, Phyllida found recognition in her own work during her 60s. Within this episode, featuring a candid interview with the artist herself, she explains “how she came to sculpture, how she defines what sculpture is, how she disrupts those ideas, her recent successes and how they have impacted her.”

Leading these sculptural investigations are the knowledgeable minds of Jo Baring, the director of the Ingram Collection of Modern British & Contemporary Art, and Sarah Turner, deputy director for research at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art London, which is part of Yale University.

As a series, Sculpting Lives disrupts the view that “the profession and practice of sculpture was seen by many throughout the 20th Century (and before) to be very much a man’s world,” the pair explains. By travelling to the places significant to each artist profiled in each episode and recording there, Jo and Sarah explore their “artworks, networks, connections and relationships of these artists” both historical and contemporary.

Sculpting Lives will be free to download via iTunes from tomorrow.


Barbara Hepworth in the carving yard in 1960 (c) Bowness


Rana Bugum, photography by Josh Murfitt


Phyllida Barlow, installation view, cul-de-dac, Royal Academy of Arts, London 23 February – 23 June 2019

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Sculpting Lives: Elisabeth Frink, Lying Down Horse, France 1969

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Lucy Bourton

Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.


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