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Celebrating Buchi Emecheta

On October 23, the Library celebrated the opening of the Buchi Emecheta Space, a dedicated exhibition area on the second floor. An evening reception featured short talks by the Warden, Professor Frances Corner and Head of Library Services, Leo Appleton. They welcomed the eminent editor, writer and broadcaster Margaret Busby, OBE who shared her experience of being the first to publish Buchi Emecheta’s work in Britain, holding up her copy of the first edition of The Slave Girl, featuring the photographic portrait of the author by Val Wilmer. Angelique Golding concluded the presentations with a beautiful reading from Emecheta’s Joys of Motherhood that brought the power of her writing and her voice into the room.

 

   

Margaret Busby – Co-Founder, Allison & Busby, Professor Frances Corner – Warden, Goldsmiths, University of London, Leo Appleton – Director of Library Services, Goldsmiths, University of London, Jessa Mockridge – Artist & Writer, Angelique Golding – Department Business Manager, Goldsmiths University of London & student of Black British Writing.

Florence Onyebuchi “Buchi” Emecheta OBE (21 July 1944–25 January 2017) was a powerful and defiant Nigerian British writer, teacher, mother, librarian and ‘African feminist’. She wrote prolifically authoring over 20 books, including: Second Class Citizen (1974), The Bride Price (1976), The Slave Girl (1977) and The Joys of Motherhood (1979). Emecheta’s writing defies easy categorization and is relevant to many communities: Womanists read her fierce motherhood and solidarity; Feminists, her bold independence. Queer readers pick up on her community building. Anti-racist activists celebrate her great pride in her culture and blackness. She is held up as a writer of both Nigerian and Black British identity and continues to inspire contemporary postcolonial writers. Bravery, outspokenness and determination shoot through her novels, plays, autobiography, children’s literature and critical writing.

The Buchi Emecheta Space sees the under-used lobby on the Library’s 2nd floor  re-fitted to provide an additional display area in Rutherford Building to show projects developed from engagement with materials held in the Library, including Special Collections and Archives. The inaugural exhibition organized by the curatorial group Present Futures (a collaboration between curators Teal Baskerville, Kathy Cho and Loren Elhili) originated as a project drawing on the Women of Colour Index in the Women’s Art Library collection held in Special Collections. The show, titled ‘Becoming an archive’ is part of an ongoing project presenting the archive as a space of becoming for women and non-binary people of colour and features a wide range of practices, represented by documents, artist multiples, publications and videos. The exhibition also features a powerful new commission from Rebecca Bellantoni who held a flagmaking workshop during Black History Month.

 

 

A plaque commemorating Buchi Emecheta is installed in the space alongside a dedication from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – ‘Buchi Emecheta. We are able to speak because you first spoke. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for your art. Nodu na ndokwa.’ Jessa Mockridge initiated the project to honor Emecheta with an exhibition she co-organized with Halima Haruna, titled “comeback mother : Buchi Emecheta” (April 2018, Kingsway Corridor, Richard Hoggart Building). This exhibition was an installation inspired by visiting Buchi Emecheta’s archive, preserved by her son, Sylvester Onwordi in London. Jessa worked directly with Sylvester and coordinated colleagues Laura Elliot, Althea Greenan and Nadine Plummer (Black British Writing MA) to visit the archives of manuscripts and ephemera, borrowing a selection for study back in Goldsmiths Special Collections. The exhibition included texts selected by Anqelique and Nadine. Jessa and Halima designed the publication “comeback mother” with reproduced handwritten and type writer notes lifted directly from Buchi Emecheta’s archive. Copies were distributed at the Buchi Emecheta Space opening event and spare copies are available from Special Collections and Archives, should you like one.

The evening featured a display of Emecheta’s books that are held in the Library and a soundtrack of Nigerian popular music. The evening brought together past and current students from the MA Black British Writing course to commemorate one of the most important black women writers published in the UK alongside one of the most important black women publishers, Margaret Busby, on Elizabeth William’s invitation.

The journalist Olatoun Gabi-Williams attended and has since written an excellent article for the Borders Literature web site which was also recently published in the Guardian Nigeria.

http://bordersliteratureonline.net/womendetails/Buchi_Emecheta

https://guardian.ng/art/when-goldsmiths-college-honoured-buchi-emecheta/

The Buchi Emecheta Space is open to students and staff wishing to work with materials from the Library or Special Collections, especially critical projects that broaden the curriculum and maintain the spirit of Emecheta’s appeal to many communities. Email Andrew Gray, Academic Services Librarian a.gray@gold.ac.uk for an exhibition proposal form.

Collaborating with the Library

Collaborating with the Library

In the library, we love to collaborate on projects and events. This month on the library blog, we’re looking at different teams and projects in the library and ways that they collaborate with staff, students and members of the local community.

Hosting Events in the Library – Games Night

Games night, happening on November 8th, from 5pm till 9pm, in the Library, is a great example of how you can collaborate with staff in the library to hold events. This event has been organised by the Subject Librarian for Computing, Eve Jamieson, in conjunction with members of the Computing department. This event will highlight the work of current Goldsmiths students and Alumni, which attendees will be able to play, as well as talks from three members of the Games Industry who will share their expertise.

Here at the library, we love to host events in our event space and work with our colleagues across Goldsmiths, from other universities and libraries and different industries.

You can read more about Games Night and sign up for free tickets.

 

Student Library Reps

Every year we ask students to volunteer to be a Student Library Rep who can help shape our collections by purchasing items for their departments.

Working with students on this project help us to address feedback from students about the library not having or insufficient copies of books as well as ensuring the Library collection is meeting the needs of our students and giving them an engagement with the collection.

Students attend training with library staff, document their spending, and help to develop and promote Library services. Participating in the project is also a good opportunity to develop workplace skills such as budget management, negotiation, communication and teamwork.

Job Shadowing opportunities give students the opportunity to learn more about the work of the library by shadowing the various teams involved in its delivery. This year students shadowed our Scanning & Inter-Library Loans team, spent time in our Special Collections & Archives, and learnt about the work of our Subject Team.

Over the past 5 years of running this project we have seen that students who participate feel empowered and valued by the university, have the ability to influence decision-making in regards to the library’s services, collections and resources and help raise awareness of the library and its services to their fellow students. It also provides them with transferable skills in advocacy, negotiation, budgeting and promotion, which they can take with them to future careers, as well a role that they can add to their curriculum vitae and HEAR.

This year, the project runs from December 2019 to April 2020.

You can read more on how to apply for the Student Library Rep Project, and download an application.

But be quick! Applications close November 3rd.

 

PALs in the Library

What is a PAL? PAL stands for Peer Assisted Learning and is a student-led initiative run by the PAL Coordinator based in the Academic Skills Centre and a team of 34 trained students (PAL Facilitators).

PAL Facilitators run study-sessions for students where they can discuss anything from learning and their course to student life, in a friendly and informal environment with their peers. PAL participants and facilitators collaborate to run the sessions.

PAL is a space where all participants can feel comfortable to ask questions, review content, discuss knowledge, and receive advice.

PAL is running for 9 Departments in 2019/20.

There are also Ask a PAL sessions – where all UG year 0 & 1 students can drop-in and have a PAL session.

If you have PAL it will be on your timetable.

PAL is advertised through posters on campus, PAL Facilitators popping into your lectures and seminars, emails from Departments and also online 

If you are interested in becoming a PAL, recruitment occurs towards the end of Spring term each year, and are often recruited from participants in PAL sessions.

 

 

 

We’re always interested in working with students and departments to develop our services. If you have any ideas that you’d like to explore contact your Subject Librarian and they will be able to talk to you about what might work or put you in touch with the best person.

Special Collections: Fascism in London, Soviet Cinema and Russian Avant-Garde Artists

Nazhrat Iqbal was a Special Collections & Archives Intern over the summer, part of the Interns on Campus initiative.

The Special Collections and Archives has a wide selection of resources, covering many different subjects that is open to all students, no matter what your degree or studies may be.

There were many topics I enjoyed exploring while working in the archives but as a student of sociology, I was naturally curious about the papers on Fascism by Victor Seidler, who also discussed sexuality, anarchism, the political climate of Chile in 1973, etc. These papers highlighted Fascism in London; I find this particularly interesting as while studying this topic in sociology, fascism is always tied to countries like Russia, Nazi Germany or Mussolini’s Italy that are all historic for its totalitarianism but hasn’t been explored in smaller and less obvious communities like London.

Siedler had collected a number of Race Today Magazines which offered different experiences of People of Colour, telling stories of the racism they suffered. I was very curious about how Fascism impacted the South-Asian communities, a community I grew up in and am a member of. It’s not often that archives would have any history or material referencing this race group and I was eager to see how the community has changed and by what influences. The magazines informed the discriminations South-Asian people experienced at work, being restricted to cheap labour and excluded from better skilled and higher paying work, which was unsurprising given the works of fascism. The magazines also noted Race Relations Act was not developed to prohibit racial discrimination, however it was passed when Black members of the US community reacted with violence to their own abuse and demanded change be made to their treatment. The government only acted on change when they were concerned about their reaction of POC, not to prevent further discrimination.

It’s not to say that it isn’t interesting to focus on the common and large scale examples of Fascism. There was on particular book called the Soviet Cinema which was tailored to inform readers outside the USSR how superior Russia was. It was one of the most amusing things I’ve read as their intentions to promote the greatness is so apparent; according to the book, Russian news-reel presented ‘a country which creates new material and human values.’ It also claims Soviet Cinema is able to capture the ideals of the Lenin and Stalin party and was devoted to art rather than commercialism of the Western Cinema. In Russia, film represented the national economy and was a means of reinforcing socialisation. It wasn’t before reading this book that I realised how monitored cinema was in Russia as the text claims a large part of employees in this industry received council from Stalin. This reminded me of a documentary I watched called Icarus, which stated that Putin developed an illegal doping programme for athletes because each time Russia would achieve a medal in the Olympics, his popularity would increase; perhaps the achievement of cinema had the same effect on Stalin’s popularity.

Exploring the archives, I was able to learn quite a bit on Russian Avant-Garde. My first day at Special Collections, I was given MAKE Magazines where I become increasing interested in an artist called Marevna and her unconventional use of cubism. I have no prior art background but that did not restrict me from learning about other RAG artists, such as Natalya Goncharova. From the books in the archive, I learnt that Goncharova held the belief that ‘painting could do everything sculpture could not’ and had a significant role in developing the group ‘Knave of Diamonds’. The group was said to be inspired by the early work on Picasso and curiously, I checked the archives to compare Picasso’s work and what techniques they may have taken from him. It was also enjoyable when I had the opportunity to visit the Natalya Goncharova exhibit at Tate Modern as I had the luxury to see all her art work in real life, as I was used to only seeing it in books. Avant-Garde and art is a new subject for me and it was great to be introduced to in through SCA. There were other forms of AG which caught my interest; suggest as Japanese AG and the way art was influenced by Post-Hiroshima.

-Nazhrat Iqbal

 

Celebrating Black History Month

Black History Month is a chance to focus our minds on the Black experience, but we work throughout the year to critically appraise what we do and engage with decolonising and diversifying our collections and services.

Here are some of our events, which draw on research and voices from around Goldsmiths and our wider communities.

Enigma of Arrival: the politics and poetics of Caribbean migration to Britain

Exhibition

1 October – 31 October

Library Social Learning Space, Ground Floor, Library (Rutherford Building)

This digital poster exhibition, created by EU LAC Museums Project, The University of West Indies and the Barbados Museum & Historical Society, aims to create awareness about the active migration crisis in Britain by having a specific focus on Caribbean migration from the 1940s to the 1970s. With the recent 70th Anniversary of the MV Empire Windrush landing, it aims to serve as a medium for informing the general public across the Caribbean and in the UK about the current state of affairs surrounding Caribbean migrants.

Using interpretive panels, the audience is introduced to the historical parameters and scope of Caribbean post-World War II migration to Britain and its legacy amongst later generations both at home and abroad.

https://www.gold.ac.uk/calendar/?id=12821

 

Farrah Riley-Gray : Knotted

Exhibition

30 September – 4 November

Deptford Town Hall Building. Constance Howard Gallery, basement.

The Goldsmiths Textile Collection and Constance Howard Gallery are pleased to present an exhibition by the winner of the Christine Risley Award 2019, Farrah Riley-Gray.

Riley-Gray’s practice deals with misogynoir with a current focus on hair within black cultures. She is also interested in the rituals behind textiles and weaving, examining the way in which materials can convey relationships between culture, race and gendered product making, as well as their potential to hold diasporic stories absent from other historical or archival sources.

https://www.gold.ac.uk/calendar/?id=12749

 

‘Pressure’

Film and Discussion

18 October

Library Social Learning Space, Ground Floor, Library (Rutherford Building)

As part of Goldsmiths Library’s celebration of Black History Month we have a special screening of Horace Ové’s 1976 film ‘Pressure’ widely hailed as the UK’s first black feature film. This screening will be preceded by a discussion with artist Zak Ové (son of Horace), actor Herbert Norville (Tony in the film Pressure) chaired by Professor Julian Henriques (Goldsmiths).

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pressure-film-conversation-horace-ove-herbert-norville-and-julian-henriques-tickets-74417170761

https://www.gold.ac.uk/calendar/?id=12820

 

Buchi Emecheta Space Opening and Present Futures Exhibition

23 October – 6pm – 8pm

Buchi Emecheta Space, Second Floor, Library (Rutherford Building)

Join us for the opening of a new exhibition space in the Library for students, dedicated to Buchi Emecheta OBE.

On the evening there will be addresses by Margaret Busby OBE (Publisher, Writer, Editor, Broadcaster), Sylvester Onwordi (The Buchi Emecheta Foundation) and Leo Appleton (Director of Library Services, Goldsmiths, University of London) as well as readings from Emecheta’s works by Angelique Golding.

The space will launch with an exhibition by Present Futures:

‘Becoming an archive’ is part of an ongoing project presenting the archive as a space of becoming for women and non binary people of colour.

presentfutures.org/

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/launch-of-the-buchi-emecheta-space-tickets-74418956101

 

Windrush Conversation

30 October – 6.30pm – 8.30pm

Library Social Learning Space, Ground Floor, Library (Rutherford Building)

Both as a celebration of Black History Month and of 70 years since the arrival of HMS Windrush, Dr. Elizabeth Williams (Goldsmiths) will be in conversation with Professor William Henry (University of West London) to discuss Windrush in a historical, personal and current context.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/windrush-conversation-tickets-74419995209

 

Black History Month is a chance to focus our celebrations on Black achievements but we work throughout the year to critically appraise what we do and engage with decolonising and diversifying our collections and services.

For more information on our work around Liberating our Library and how to collaborate with us on this work please see our website.

https://www.gold.ac.uk/library/about/liberate-our-library/

We hope that you will enjoy some of our resources not just in October but to serve you throughout your studies and research with us.

 

Don’t forget to check out some of the other amazing events across Goldsmiths for Black History Month.

Here are a few of our favourites from the Students’ Union.

goldsmithssu.org/bhm

Interning in the Library Systems Team

I’m Laura, a Goldsmiths graduate who completed a two-month internship in the Library Systems team this summer. Having been at Goldsmiths for three years and spending countless days and nights in the library studying for my degree, I had no idea how much work happens behind the scenes. I knew I wanted to work in the library because for me it’s a fundamental part of university life, and that this internship would give me a wide range of experience and transferable skills. I deliberated for ages over my application although it was much shorter than I was expecting, and then had an informal interview with my line manager and someone from the careers service who asked me about why I was suitable for the role. Despite the fact that I couldn’t open the bottle of water I was given as I sat down, I was given the job.

The systems team are currently working on implementing a new Library Management System after twenty years of using the same one, and are planning to go live with it in December. The system holds the details of every item in the library and every user who has an account, as well as lists of vendors and much more that I didn’t get to see, so as you can imagine transferring all this information and ensuring that the new system works for every need is a huge project. Some of the tasks I did were:

  • I sat in on weekly meetings where the implementation team discussed updates on the configuring, testing and training of the new system. In the first meeting I didn’t understand much of what was being said, but over the coming weeks I gradually understood more after getting acquainted with both the old and new systems.
  • I helped to train some of the staff in the new system, taking them through the interface step by step as it was the first time many of them had seen it.
  • I created a questionnaire for the staff to complete in the usability of the new system, asking their opinion on how it looks and ease of use. Luckily the response was overwhelmingly positive.
  • I tested the old system against the new to ensure that data had transferred correctly: this means looking at the log of random users and checking all the dates and personal information is correct. This is necessary work to make sure that any issues with migration is picked up.

I have great respect for the systems team as well as every other person that works in the library. They ensure that students have the resources they need and are able to access them, which I am eternally grateful for as I begin my MA at Goldsmiths in September. The women-led team whose roles are somewhere inbetween librarians and technicians are ensuring that the university functions and academics can do their research, and it was fantastic to see first-hand.

Doors open on new Library social learning spaces

Library ground floor

First thing this morning, the ground floor of Goldsmiths library reopened, on schedule, after a major refurbishment.

It had been closed throughout June and July, giving us time to take on board and implement feedback from our students and staff and create a new flexible, welcoming learning environment that supports the ways different people learn specifically for social and group study.

As with any university, Goldsmiths Library is the heart of the campus. It’s open around the clock, only closing at Christmas and New Year. It’s a go to place where staff and students can access services and resources.

It was important to us that provision of these was not interrupted, so we relocated the main entrance to the side of the building for the duration of the works.  This gave us the fantastic opportunity to co-deliver services alongside our IT colleagues building on the brilliant relationship we already have from working together at weekends – Thank you IT colleagues for being amazing!

So what does our refurbished ground floor look like? We’ve gone for muted colours, plants and wood so the space feels calm and natural. Now when people arrive, they enter through new proximity reader access gates. Comfortable sofa areas have been created, where people can hold relaxed conversation and enjoy coffee breaks. There are window seats to take in the views of New Cross, which are already proving popular. And, if people prefer, they can use one of our new booth spaces with screens that provide discreet places to work together on presentations and essays.

All the feedback we’ve had from students and staff so far has been really positive about how the space looks and feels, which we’re thrilled about. But, as important as it is to create an attractive, welcoming environment, libraries have to work to support study. Alongside spaces for individual working they need to provide spaces that encourage creativity, collaboration and social learning.

The ground floor of Goldsmiths Library now has a proper events space. This will be used to increase the visibility of and access to our special collections and archives.

It will give academic staff and Post Graduate Researchers the opportunity to publicly share their work and build on the success of the popular Research Cafes. Here, students will have the opportunity for learning outside their courses and departments will be able to collaborate with the Library on events, such as International Games week. If you have ideas do get in touch with your Subject Librarian.

Flexibility and creativity are a key element of the new ground floor. We’re going to have a fantastic interactive installation that will encourage playfulness and give library users a way to engage with the space and reflect on their emotional wellbeing.

Our new maker space provides 24/7 access to a variety of equipment encouraging creativity. We currently have a sewing machine, binding machine and lots of paper based craft equipment and we’ll be developing the space with library users as we go. It’s a work in progress but more details are available at https://libguides.gold.ac.uk/makerspace

On the rest of the ground floor group study tables allow different sized groups to work together. Visitors can configure spaces to meet their own learning needs using the new flexible furniture and ceiling power units. We’ll be trying out different learning and teaching activities and we hope you will find new ways to work in groups too.

We are all delighted and excited by the Library’s new ground floor and are looking forward to seeing what you, our students and colleagues, make of it.

That work has completed on time is a tremendous relief and a great achievement. Thank you to our colleagues in Goldsmiths Estates and Facilities, IT services and to everyone who supported making this happen. We really appreciate the effort everyone went to, and I am sure students and staff will too now they are using the spaces.

Library staff carry out a variety of activities throughout the year to look at how the spaces are actually used by people and we collaborated with the Anthropology Department to observe student activity and use of the library spaces in 2017. Surveys, reports, complaints and compliments all fed into the project and our Subject Team works closely with departments on aligning library resources with the needs of the departments and their students.

Receiving and acting on user feedback has been crucial to this project. The next time you visit the Library, let us know what you think of its new entrance hall and the improved facilities we’ve provided throughout the ground floor social study area. Leave feedback at https://www.gold.ac.uk/library/contact/anonymous-feedback/

Improving the Library Social Learning Spaces

During June and July we’re going to be refurbishing the ground floor of the Library.

A number of significant improvements are planned, but making these a reality will require all of the ground floor, including the Library entrance and café, to be closed for the duration of the works.

To ensure that students and staff are able to continue to access all the Library’s facilities, a new temporary entrance will be set up at the side of the building, opposite the Amazon Lockers.

At the end of July, when work is completed, we will have a wonderful new collaborative and flexible space on the ground floor that is full of life.

Improvements will include an events space allowing departments to collaborate with the Library on events and increasing the visibility of our Special Collections. A maker space will be created to encourage student creativity. There will be booths with screens for more private work and group study spaces with flexible furniture.

 

Why are we making these improvements?

Goldsmiths’ Library is open 24 hours a day. Only closing for Christmas and New Year, it’s seen as a ‘go to’ space where all students and staff can access services and resources.

Ensuring the Library is an attractive, welcoming physical learning environment that supports the way people learn is a key element of university life.

It needs to be able to support a range of online and offline activities that reflect the way students want to and are asked to learn.

Students are increasingly working together on projects. One of the aims of this refurbishment is to create flexibility and blended learning spaces that allow collaboration and exploration to happen while also motivating and inspiring students and being adaptable to changing needs.

 

Acting on student and staff feedback

We continually listen to student and staff feedback and use this to respond to student behaviours and needs, and adapt our spaces and services where possible.

Some of the different sources of feedback that we’re using to feed into the project are:

  • User experience (UX) activities
    • Library staff carry out a variety of UX activities throughout the year to look at how the library spaces are actually being used by people
    • Library Services collaborated with the Anthropology Department, MA Anthropology, to observe student activity and use of the library spaces in 2017
  • Student Feedback
    • Student Library Reps (including reports from SLRs and focus groups)
    • Departmental Representative Annual Reports (Campus Space 2018 and Student Communities 2019)
    • PGT student experience survey
    • PGR student experience survey
    • NSS comments
    • Complaints, compliments and comments (received through email, LibChat and staff feedback)
  • Departmental feedback
    • Our Subject team works closely with departments on aligning library resources with the needs of the departments and their students.
    • The Library User Group (LUG) is made up of academic representatives and students from each department. It meets termly to discuss Library development in line with their needs.
  • External factors
    • Library Services commissioned an external consultant to audit and comment on the physical spaces at the Library with representatives from across the student body.
    • We have visited exemplar libraries and looked at current trends in library and learning design to inform the refurbishment.
  • Library Statistics

 

Where are we now?

Right now we’re in the middle of appointing contractors to work on the ceiling, electrics and lighting over the summer.

We have already appointed CDEC to install the different technology we need, and BOF to work with us on the furniture.

Before Easter a group of us visited furniture studios in Clerkenwell to test some of the different furniture and help us refine what we’re going to be using in the spaces.

Benefits

When work is finished at the end of July, we will have flexible, technology rich social study space designed with student needs in mind and student experience at its heart.

It will be a focal point for study, events and student life that will give people space to think, explore and collaborate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The newly refurbished space will feature:

  • An events space
    • providing an opportunity for academics and PGRs to share research publically, building on the success of our Research Cafes
    • giving students the opportunity for learning outside their course
    • giving departments the chance to collaborate with the library on events, such as the International Games week
    • increasing the visibility of and access to our special collections and archives
  • A maker space
    • providing open to all, 24/7 access to a variety of equipment
    • encouraging creativity
  • Booth spaces with screens
    • providing a discreet place to work on presentations
  • Sofa areas
    • allowing relaxed conversation and comfortable coffee breaks
  • Flexible furniture
    • enabling people to configure the spaces to meet their own learning needs
    • enabling us to trial different teaching and learning activities
  • Group study tables
    • allowing different sized groups to work together
  • An interactive installation by Random Quark
    • encouraging playfulness
    • enabling library users to engage with the space and reflect on their emotional wellbeing

Alongside the fully refurbished ground floor, improvements will be made throughout the building that will positively impact on the student experience.

These will include powered doors to our Assistive Technology Centre, proximity readers and new access gates at the front of the building, plugs in the first floor silent study rooms and the post graduate room on the second floor, a new exhibition space and improved furniture in the Prokofiev room.

The provision of Library Services is not, of course, exclusively down to the physical building, furniture and equipment. It is enhanced and created by excellent resources, workshops, events, teaching, staff support, professionalism, technical expertise and people.

We will continue to deliver and build on successful initiatives and activities that happen in the Library, such as our Academic Skills Drop in sessions, Research Cafes, Workshops, Ask a PAL sessions, Art space sessions and one to one tutorials and be open to new ideas, working with you to co-create a collaborative environment.

The next few weeks may be a little disruptive but we will have much improved facilities as a result and will be able to deliver an even better student experience

We’ll keep you posted!

Building a modern law library

We start teaching LLBs at Goldsmiths in September 2019. We’ve not done so before. How then were we to build a law library from scratch? What could we do without? What were must-haves? Are there advantages to brand new collections? Are there disadvantages?

For a start, our collection, like our LLB itself, is very forward-thinking. It wouldn’t have been right if we tried to duplicate old law libraries with shelf after shelf of collections of law reports, legislation and paper journals, all gathering dust through lack of use. Buying all the physical sets needed for such a collection would have been very difficult to justify, especially in a time when, for environmental reasons amongst others, we don’t want a hugely paper-based collection. In addition, space at Goldsmiths, like in most solicitors’ firms and barristers’ chambers, is at a premium.

Going digital

Law has always been ahead of the game when it comes to digital resources and so for many years libraries in law firms have been getting larger digitally, while getting smaller physically. Our collection very much mirrors that model. As a result, we have a very real-world collection, with a strong emphasis on digital resources.

Like most academic libraries we have subscriptions to Westlaw, Lexis Library, HeinOnline and Nexis. But unlike most academic libraries we have also gone for a subscription to Practical Law – a service which is heavily used in law firms. And now that Practical Law and Westlaw are partner databases, they integrate seamlessly.

We have also gone for large collections of eJournals and eBooks from major law publishers, eg over 1,500 OUP titles, over 3,000 CUP titles and all the newly published Hart eBooks. We are also one of the first universities to buy access to Sweet & Maxwell’s set of student eTextbooks (all of which are fully integrated into Westlaw, with hyperlinks from the text directly into relevant cases and legislation).

Fully available collection

We have made sure that all the modules on the LLB have core student textbooks available digitally, so that there will be no waiting to access these textbooks and you can access them from anywhere in the world. But don’t worry if you do prefer paper copies, we do have them too for these core student textbooks.

We do also have one set of law reports, a very key set – the All England law reports – in paper, so that students can get a feel for a physical set. But, as with most solicitors and barristers, our students will mostly use digital versions of law reports and legislation from our various databases.

Preparation for the workplace

Sometimes digital collections can take a bit of know-how to be able to use them fully. Students will be given as much help and training as they need from Greg Bennett, the law librarian, who has worked at magic circle firm, Slaughter and May and the Institute of Advanced Legal studies, amongst other places. So by the end of their time at Goldsmiths, students will be fully prepared to use the kind of legal libraries that they will have in their careers ahead.

The main advantages of our new collection at Goldsmiths are that it is fully bespoke to the needs of the students; it will teach them how to use the actual resources that they are likely to encounter in their careers; and it is friendly to the environment. You might consider that there is a disadvantage in that it doesn’t “look” like a traditional law library. But then, we at Goldsmiths, like to do things differently 🙂

 

Spotlight on the Women’s Art Library

Spotlight on the Women’s Art Library

The Women’s Art Library collection was established in the 1970s to enhance public knowledge of the practice, impact and achievement of women artists. Gifted to Goldsmiths in 2003, it has become the principal collection relating to visual arts in Special Collections.

Dr Althea Greenan, Special Collections & Archives Curator, tells us more about the collection and her work here.

What is the history of the Women’s Art Library (WAL)?

“It was set up by a collective of women artists as the Women Artists’ Slide Library to raise the visibility of women’s art practice. Self-identified artists sent in their slides while artists and scholars documented exhibitions and the presence of women artists in historical collections such as the Imperial War Museum.

“The organization became an educational charity in 1983 and received arts funding over the next 18 years, developing the slide library into a research collection and publishing a newsletter that evolved into the internationally distributed Make, the magazine of women’s art.”

What’s in the collection?

“In addition to the 35mm slides, there are photographs, posters, videotapes, audiotapes, press cuttings, periodicals, ephemera and books and catalogues which you can find in the Library catalogue.

“There are different forms of artists’ archives – from the artistic work journals of Helen Ganly to the performance scripts of Clare Gasson’s ‘The River’. Nina Hoechtl’s artistic research is represented by a gold lamé costume, while the box marked ‘Food Art’ includes Paula Roush’s SOS biscuit, still uneaten, made with former employees at Bermondsey’s Peek Freen biscuit factory in 2004.

“One of the most critically important sections of the collection is the Women of Colour Index, built up by the artist, activist archivist Rita Keegan from the mid-1980s. It captures the emergence of UK black women artists at the time as curators and artists. The Women’s International Art Club archive is the oldest sub-collection and dates from 1900-1974. There is much more.”

Can it be viewed online?

“The WAL is catalogued like an archive in the Library’s Archive and Textiles Catalogue, and some collections, like the Mail Art box, have been photographed and can be viewed online, item by item. But there is no digitized version of the WAL that I consider a surrogate for the real thing.

“However, there is a gem of a pilot digital project that introduces seven artists represented in the WAL called the WAL App, downloadable from the Apple store. It was developed by alumna Dr Ana-Maria Herman as a platform for women artists to become more visible to each other and make the WAL archive travel. Ana is working on taking this project further to combine technology with advocacy for parity for women artists.”

What does your work involve?

“Facilitating researchers’ interaction with the materials includes teaching and listening, and a constant exploration of the WAL collection.

“I develop the collection by working with artists creating new work and oversee low budget publications like postcards and posters that will give a project an afterlife that becomes part of the WAL story.

“I oversee an exhibition programme that has connected the Kingsway Corridor space with Special Collections. It’s seen wonderful exhibitions by women artists in photography, print, installation and film as individuals or in small collectives.

“I work to make the WAL and Special Collections available to local art collectives needing support, and recently facilitated a podcasting day for the group Desperate Artwives.

“Items from the WAL are often out on loan as critical exhibitions looking at feminist art histories flourish around the country and there are items from the WAL’s Fanny Adams collection currently on show at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill.

“The WAL contributed to the excellent Alexis Hunter show here at Goldsmiths CCA. I was delighted to contribute to the show’s catalogue, adding to other articles and chapters that I have written that introduce the WAL collection to scholarly discourse.

“I’m also asked to talk in many different settings, from self-storage units to Somerset House, and see this as an important aspect of my work of advocating for the WAL and Special Collections. I’ll be speaking on feminist archives and how cultural institutions represent women’s art practice at the Royal Academy next.”

What upcoming exhibitions will the WAL be hosting?

Narratives of Protest will be in Special Collections during the month of March, featuring textile work by Connie Flynn commemorating the Suffragettes, a slide show of the activist Thalia Campbell’s protest banners, and selections from the Goldsmiths Textile Collection that include Catherine Walton’s triptych, ‘The Demo’.

“The exhibition will be an interesting backdrop to the screening on March 15 that is part of Advancing Women Artists around the Globe.

“The WAL is also featuring in an exhibition ‘Dark Energy: Feminist Organizing, Working Collectively’ at the Fine Art Academy in Vienna (29 Mar – 25 May) at the invitation of Dr Nina Hoechtl, a Goldsmiths alumna.

“There will be two installations: one featuring the project Empowered Printwork by the collaborative Sisters in Print (Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski and Aida Wilde) who worked with the WAL poster collection as part of the Goldsmiths project Radical New Cross.

“The second installation will feature a collection of films, screen-recording, art writing and prints titled Slidewalking into the Disoeuvre, which is a long-term collaborative project between myself and the artist-educator Dr Felicity Allen. The installation looks at how the WAL epitomises the idea of the archive as a dark energy that questions whose ‘knowledge can be practiced, produced, and disseminated when, where, and how?’”

How can staff keep up-to-date with what’s happening at the WAL?

“We put all our college exhibitions and events on the Goldsmiths calendar. I also have an email list to update on the wider range of activities. Just email me at a.greenan@gold.ac.uk or people can sign up to a Special Collections mailing list. Scroll down to the bottom of the page of https://www.gold.ac.uk/library/special-collections/

Special Collections is open Monday – Friday, 10am-6pm.”

LGBTQIA+ Month in the Library

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As part of LGBTQIA+ Month we are celebrating the contribution LGBTQIA+ communities have made to society through a series of events and initiatives.

12th February 4pm -7pm LGBTQIA+ Art Film Lounge

In Special Collections & Archives Reading Room watch a selection of short films from Women’s Art Library on VHS! Current suggestions…

Michelle Naismith, ‘Rock my Prehistory’, 2000; Sadie Benning, ‘Me and Rubyfruit Program’, 1989-92; Vanda Carter, ‘Moth Fight’, 1985; and Charles Atlas, ‘It’s a Jackie Thing’, 1999, ‘Dyke TV’: ‘Dyke blend / Lesbian bed death / Disgraceful Conduct / Child of Mine / Shades of Desire’; and ‘Body of a Poet: A Tribute to Audre Lorde’

https://www.gold.ac.uk/calendar/?id=12275

13th February 1-2pm LGBTQIA Research Café

In Library Social Space we have 3 Goldsmiths researchers giving 10-15 minute talks on LGBTQIA+ informed research.

  • Anna Carlile (Education) – Balancing equalities: LGBT+ education in schools serving faith communities
  • Benno Gammerl (History) – How same-sex love changed
  • Luke McGuire (Psychology) – Understanding and challenging sexual orientation and gender identity-based prejudice in childhood and adolescence

https://www.gold.ac.uk/calendar/?id=12246

13th February 6-8pm Film Night – Watermelon Woman

Screening in Library Social Space of Cheryl Dunye’s 1996 film Watermelon Woman. Cheryl Dunye plays a version of herself in this witty, nimble landmark of New Queer Cinema. A video store clerk and fledgling filmmaker, Cheryl becomes obsessed with the “most beautiful mammy,” a character she sees in a 1930s movie. Determined to find out who the actress she knows only as the “Watermelon Woman” was and make her the subject of a documentary, she starts researching and is bowled over to discover that not only was Fae Richards (Lisa Marie Bronson) a fellow Philadelphian but also a lesbian.

Liberate All Through February (and beyond) – Music, Books, Films

Music:

A Spotify playlist of music by, about and for LGBTQIA+ is here https://open.spotify.com/playlist/49LfoLSwh5jKLsjf3JNF5I

Books:

Book display at the front of the Library and we have put together a LGBTQIA+ Reading List https://rl.talis.com/3/gold/lists/01D4C337-0E93-98BE-6B78-A54B6C001A55.html

We welcome futher suggestions for the Reading List and if we don’t have the book you can suggest we purchase it as part of the Liberate Our Library initiative https://www.gold.ac.uk/library/using/finding-resources/suggestions-for-purchase/item-request-form/

Films:

Kanopy Film list, if you miss any of the screenings we have or just want to see more you we have put together a list of films you can stream

https://rl.talis.com/3/gold/lists/BD6BED68-FA59-DFA6-D48F-5D2C1D5A4A4C.html