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Artist Iris Andraschek was awarded on 24 April 2009 the first prize in the art competition sponsored by the BIG organization, for art in the public space, for her proposal at the Arkadenhof of the University of Vienna. Members of the jury: Katharina Blaas, art historian, Director, Kunst im öffentlichen Raum, Niederösterreich (art in the public space, Lower Austria); Mona Hahn, artist; Susanne Holler-Mündl, BIG Competence Center; Johann Jurenitsch, Vice-Rector University of Vienna; Paul Katzberger, architect
Consulting member: Eva-Maria Höhle, Bundesdenkmalamt (federal ministry for care of monuments), Austria

Failure as the starting point

The failure to adequately recognize, on an equal basis, the achievements of women academics at the University of Vienna, was the starting point for an art project in the Arkadenhof. The situation has been critically studied for many years; academics, women and men, as well as students have repeatedly begun initiatives and awareness-raising campaigns.

Artist Iris Andraschek brings this failure to expression through a shadow inlay, with the title Der Muse reicht’s (The Muse Has Had It). Women and men have not only equal rights; they also contribute equally to research and study curricula.

The fact that women were admitted to the University only since the beginning of the twentieth century, which first made women’s academic careers possible, and that women have been professors at the University, founded in 1365, only for a little more than the last fifty years has in this way been thematized as a social phenomenon.

The art project as impulse

A central issue for Andraschek was to tie into the project the voices of women academics, both in the generation of the shadow, but also as contributors of ideas for the pedestal inscription. This interaction led to the idea of investigating the topic academically, as a supplement to the artistic reflection. For the year 2010, a symposium is planned which, beginning from the art project, will deepen the exploration of gender/science/memory/representation. In conclusion, one of the two pedestals will be inscribed with a text that ensues from the multifaceted discussion process.

The art project and the resulting discussions that continue to sound out the topic, are a further step in the direction of thematizing gender equality at the University. With a broadly diversified mix of measures, this goal should be reached in the near future. A concentration in coming years will be, along with awareness-raising, increasing the percentage of women in fields of natural science.