The Art of Being Dangerous

Alana Tyson 'Alter Ego I'
On International Women's Day 2021, we are thrilled to announce a brand new book emerging from the Dangerous Women Project - The Art of Being Dangerous: Exploring Women and Danger through Creative Expression, edited by Professor Jo Shaw and Dr Ben Fletcher-Watson. Forthcoming from Leuven University Press in early May 2021, the book is an unique and kaleidoscopic collection of feminist visual and literary art, featuring contributions from more than 50 artists from around the world.
With almost 100 evocative images, this collection showcases an array of contemporary art that highlights the staggering breadth of talent among today’s female artists. It offers an unparalleled gallery of feminist creativity, ranging from emerging visual artists from the UK to multi-award-winning writers and translators from the Global South.
From International Women’s Day 2016 to International Women’s Day 2017, under the leadership of Prof. Shaw and Dr Peta Freestone, IASH ran a major project titled the Dangerous Women Project. It showcased writings on the topic of ‘what makes a dangerous woman’ on a dedicated website (, with one entry per day for an entire year. A major inspiration for the project was the tendency by some in the media to describe particular women as ‘the most dangerous woman in’ Scotland, or the UK, or the world, etc. This is done, we think, as a means to try and control such women. As a result, we were particularly pleased to publish a reflection by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who has received this treatment quite widely in the press, on her reflections on the topic. While the Dangerous Women Project was wider in scope, this new book is a collection of entries, fully revised and updated, on the topic of dangerous women and art. It includes poetry, short stories, biography, essays on art history, film, photography, sculpture, architecture, painting, crafts and much more.
We were excited by the opportunity to explore the presentation of the idea of ‘dangerous women’ in the classic book format. As this had originally been a digital project (supplemented by a number of in-person events that took place in Edinburgh during the period when the website was being built, one entry at a time), it was interesting to see how well the work of our contributors ‘translated’ onto the physical page. We were greatly helped by the enthusiasm and investment of Leuven University Press in the design process in bridging that gap between the digital and the physical.
Professor Jo Shaw
Read more from Prof. Shaw here.
The book is available to pre-order in the UK from Amazon now:
EU/international readers can sign up for notifications about pre-ordering from Leuven University Press:
You can also still pre-order a copy of the other book from the Dangerous Women Project, to be published by Unbound in early 2022:
Image: ‘Alter Ego I’ © Alana Tyson | Used by kind permission of the artist.