Guest speakers

Guest speakers for the conference

Lynne Segal
Anniversary Professor | Psychosocial Studies
Birkbeck College | University of London

Forever Young: Cruel Optimism in the Targeting of Elderly Consumers
Advertising either ignores the elderly altogether or, when choosing to address them, it encourages the illusion that there is no real difference  between the young and the old. In so doing, advertising mirrors a world in which old age is feared, never celebrated, but instead muted out with promises that the market can keep the dutiful consumer forever youthful.  Moreover, the ways in which older women and men are addressed in the marketing of commodities and services differs considerably along traditional gendered lines, which I will also address.


Barbara Casavecchia
Writer | Independent Curator
Accademia di Brera | Milan

Mommy Dearest: Representations and Stereotypes of Motherhood
Among the oldest surviving sculptures, from the Paleolithic period, are small figurines such as Venus of Willendorf, symbolizing fertility through female pregnancy. The representation of motherhood has ‘sacred’ is a topos of art history. Since the advent of psychoanalysis and the avant-gardes of the 20th century, the depiction of iconic ‘mothers’ underwent a dramatic turn, further emphasized by second-wave feminism and the increasing success of women artists. The contemporary debate around issues of gender and reproduction generates new, non-canonical images of motherhood, which I will also address.


Guest speaker for the visit to the Père Lachaise cemetery

Charlotte Foucher Zarmanian
Researcher | Art history
Lab LEGS | CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research)

Women in the cultural and artistic worlds buried in the Père Lachaise cemetery
The short visit I am glad to propose you turns around four feminine figures active in the cultural and artistic worlds of their time: Abbess Héloïse d’Argenteuil (1101-1163), actress Rachel (1821-1858), and artists Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899) and Charlotte Besnard (1854-1931).
From their respective tombs—all located in the Père Lachaise Cemetery, also known as the artists’ cemetery—the life of these women questions substantial aspects of the human condition, including but not limited to religion, being in a heterosexual or homosexual couple, remaining single, exposure to gender stereotypes, and agency and strategies of compliance or transgression. Since their very times, these aspects have remained at the foundation of women’s emancipation and integration in such male-dominated cultural and artistic worlds.