Makers, not Muses

  • Alec Dudson
  • Anna Dorothea Ker

The story of Notamuse, the graphic design trio determined to make women more visible in the field.


Photography by MINA AICHHORN

The kinds of conversations that Silva Baum, Claudia Scheer and Lea Sievertsen bonded over during their master’s studies in graphic design at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences led them to question why so few women were being presented in their curriculum, lectures and on the stages of design conferences. The friends began to investigate, reading up on gender studies, speaking to their classmates and lecturers, and dedicating their studies to enhancing the visibility of women in design.
Their sense of purpose was accelerated when, following a presentation of their research proposal, a male professor told them that gender inequality had ceased to be an issue in the 1980s, when feminism fulfilled its goals. If you look back throughout art history, he said, there are many examples of women – it’s full of muses. This misguided belief, as infuriating as it was to hear, struck at the heart of the matter: women aren’t here to be portrayed by men, but to create in their own right. And so Notamuse found its name and began to take shape as an online interview series, a forthcoming book, and a movement that’s gaining traction around Europe. In their own words, Silva, Claudia and Lea take the story from here.

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