Seeking approval: high profile women explore the issues

Elizabeth Gower’s exhibition ‘he loves me, he loves me not’, at RMIT Gallery. Photo by Tobias Titz.

Elizabeth Gower’s exhibition at RMIT Gallery he loves me, he loves me notpoetically reflects on women’s continuing quest for approval, permission and sanction from the generic ‘he’.

We have a stellar line up of influential women ready to explore the many issues arising from Gower’s powerful exhibition – including  women’s power struggles across different generations and cultures, sexual violence and intimate partner violence, the need to please, and the ways the arts and the digital sphere provide an arena for women’s voices to be heard.

Join us at RMIT Kaleide Theatre at 360 Swanston Street (next to RMIT Gallery) for a free panel discussion on 7 April, 5.30-6.30 pm – “Seeking approval: a question of power, gender or culture?”

We have moved this event from RMIT Gallery into the Kaleide Theatre because of popular demand. Please note: there is no disabled access to Kaleide Theatre. We apologise for this inconvenience.  Those unable to attend because of this restriction are asked to contact RMIT Gallery on (03) 9925 1717 to be added to a special notification list for when the podcast of the event is released.

Art critic Robert Nelson wrote in his review of the exhibition for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald (March 21) , “Gower’s critique of patriarchy emphasises both the embeddedness and the absurdity of love mixed with power. Love should be reciprocal but it’s unhappily trammelled with gendered dependency.”

The artist herself feels there are many issues at play in women seeking approval from men – both in love and life, work and the public sphere, and sees these symbolically reflected in her exhibition at RMIT Gallery.


  • Dr Elizabeth Gower (artist, educator)
  • Dr Leslie Cannold (ethicist, researcher, author The Book of Rachael, What, No Baby? The Abortion Myth)
  • Sushi Das (Opinion Editor, The Age, author Deranged Marriage)
  • Dr Meagan Tyler (RMIT Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow, editor Freedom Fallacy: The limits of liberal feminism).
(left to right) Elizabeth Gower and Leslie Cannold, who opened the artist’s exhibition at RMIT Gallery on 10 March.

Key people

Dr Elizabeth Gower

Dr Elizabeth Gower teaches at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne. She has a PhD from Monash University, and an MA from RMIT. She has exhibited internationally in numerous solo and major group exhibitions, and her work is held in many notable public collections in Australia as well as numerous private collections in Australia, France, Italy, UAE, UK and USA.

Read more: Just cut out for her art

Dr Leslie Cannold

Dr Leslie Cannold is an ethicist, researcher, educator and public presenter on values-driven leadership, gender equity and respectful relationships. She is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Department of International Business and Asian Studies at Griffith University and Senior Lecturer at the Gender, Leadership and Social Sustainability Research Unit at Monash University. Cannold is a regular on ABC TV’s Moral Compass and occasional columnist for The Age.

Read more: Wedded bliss, until the next stage do us part

Sushi Das

Sushi Das is an award-winning British/Australian journalist of Indian origin who has worked at the Age for 20 years. She currently holds the position of opinion editor. Das has worked in various roles at the Age, including news editor and columnist. Her work has been recognised with two Melbourne Press Club Quill awards, including Best Columnist. Her memoir, Deranged Marriage, is published by Random House.

Read more: The anti ‘arranged marriage’ author.

Dr Meagan Tyler

A Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow in the RMIT School of Management, Dr Meagan Tyler’s work examines feminist theory, sexuality and violence against women, with the aims of challenging and changing social constructions and preconceptions. She is the editor of Freedom Fallacy: The limits of liberal feminism (Connor Court, 2015) which examines the rise of pop feminism, taking on topics ranging from pornography and forced marriage to sexual violence and sex trafficking, to argue that this kind of feminism does little to challenge the status quo.

Read more: Tyler writing on the Women’s Web


Registration and bookings

What: Public discussion: “Seeking Approval: A Question of Power, Gender or Culture?”

When: Thursday 7 April, 5.30-6.30 pm

Where: RMIT Kaleide Theatre, 360 Swanston Street, Melbourne.(note – staff will be outside RMIT Gallery at 344 Swanston Street to direct people to the venue which is located in the next building)

Cost: Free – bookings required. Register on Eventbrite to attend: click here

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