From takeover to debacle: An analysis of the Nympghate network using Twitter data

Maria Paula Arias


On January 26, 2018 the painting Hylas and the Nymphs was temporarily removed from the Manchester Art Gallery’s walls and taken underground to its store. The removal was part of a ‘takeover’ event that questioned the relationships between historic works of art and contemporary social-cultural contexts. The following days saw a barrage of online comments accusing the Gallery of censorship, of ‘feminism gone mad’, and of inadequacy. In this article I use Twitter data and Actor Network Theory to explore how a community and a narrative took shape around the takeover. The analysis shows how this Nymphgate network was influenced by a series of human and non-human actors, as well as by Twitter’s technological affordances. This study is part of a larger project, as such it leads to question the potential effects of this mediatized debacle to the Gallery’s organizational strategy — including the roles of, and relationships between, decision-makers, social media, and visitors within it. 


Twitter; Actor Network Theory; social media analysis; content analysis 

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Copyright (c) 2020 Maria Paula Arias

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