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Finding the Evelyn Public Baths

The watermarked front cover of the Receipt from the British automated company in the ‘Superintendents daily returns and receipt book - Evelyn’

‘Superintendents daily returns and receipt book - Evelyn’ [1] 

Within Special Collections we have a variety of items, each with its own story to tell. One such item is the ‘Superintendents daily returns and receipt book – Evelyn’, This book is full of interesting particulars that really give you a unique sense of the times. The book dates from the 25 July 1934 to the 29 August 1936 and the ‘Evelyn’ of the title refers to the Evelyn Street Baths. Each neatly printed page lists the services the public bath offered along with the cost for those services; in adjoining columns the superintendent has assiduously filled out the payments collected for the goods and services each day. I found myself going back and forth researching different elements of the book to try and gain more insight into the baths and its location, the books original home.  

      

‘Superintendents daily returns and receipt book - Evelyn’ [1] 

Armed only with the knowledge that the book had some relationship to Evelyn Street in Deptford, I first began by simply searching for the ‘Evelyn Street Baths’ in maps, public records, image databases and other archival repositories but, with no results. I also contacted different research and library establishments to try and find what information they held on the baths or the companies associated with them. 

I emailed the ‘Baths and Wash Houses Historical Archive’ [3], based in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire to enquire what exactly a Russian Vapour was, which was one of the services offered at the bath. They were incredibly helpful, providing images and reference books to check, such as the incredibly informative ‘Anges Campbell’s Report Public Baths and Wash-Houses in the United Kingdom 1918’ [5]. Through the insightful correspondence with the ‘Baths and Wash Houses Historical Archive[3], who explained about the different vapour treatments and hot boxes so thoroughly in their response, I was able to understand what a Russian vapour bath was.  

From what I understand a Russian Vapour was most likely a treatment that involved a steam bath or a steam box, sometimes referred to as simply Vapour Baths or the Vapour-Box by Robert Owen Allsop in ‘Public Baths and Wash-Houses’ [6], c.1894. Alfred W. S. Cross ‘Public Baths and Wash-Houses 1906’ [7] refers also to Russian Baths and Russian (Vapour) Baths. I also learnt that a Turkish bath or Turkish Vapour utilised dry heat whereas the Russian equivalent used wet steam. 

Sign used to advertise the Russian Vapour Baths in Brick Lane [2] 

It is said that the Russian baths were an important part of the culture of the East End Jewish community and that they ‘…were mostly used by men following work on a Friday evening, before going to the synagogue for prayers’ [2]. The baths in Brick Lane were known as ‘Schewzik’s’, named after their owner Benjamin Schewzik. I considered the influential position that John Evelyn had in Deptford as not only is the a street named is not the only thing that has shared his name in the area, Using this knowledge I explored areas away from Evelyn street focusing mainly on buildings which bore the Evelyn name in the area, but to no avail so the search continued. 

 

‘Superintendents daily returns and receipt book - Evelyn’ [1] 

A small sticker within the inside of the fabulously marbled front cover of the superintendent’s book tells us that the book itself was produced by Gaylard and Son, an accounts book manufacturer and printing contractor company based in New Cross. I explored their history in the hope that they may have saved their records, which could contain information on who purchased their books and where they were delivered to. Sadly, the business went into liquidation in 1994 and I could find no record, receipts or contact details of the company. So, while interesting this didn’t help me in my search for the bath. 

  Receipt from the British automated company in the ‘Superintendents daily returns and receipt book - Evelyn’

‘Superintendents daily returns and receipt book - Evelyn’ [1] 

In some pages there are receipts from the British Automatic Company, who most likely provided, maintained, and collected the money from, a vending machine in the baths. Although a very well-known company who had contracts with railways there is not much readily available information on the business. The National Archive does have material from the British Automatic Company Limited however this only covers the period 1967 to 1970 [17].  The receipts in the superintendent’s book give the address of the baths as Evelyn Street Bath Deptford, but after further investigation I discovered that this was just how the bath was popularly referred to at the time.  

In my research a truly fascinating and insightful blog post was shared with me entitled ‘An Urban Sociology of Water’ by Les Back’. The post explores public washing and states that ‘ The social life of water and washing provides a way to understand the history of cities’ [4] There is mention of the Laurie Grove Bath in Deptford and  the Clyde Street Baths but, nothing of the Evelyn Street Bath. 

  [13] [14]

The first, black and white, image[13] was the only reference I could find indicating the presence of a bath house in the Deptford area, other than the more well-known Laurie Grove Baths. But being unable to find its location on a map or any source information for the image meant that the search continued. I later came across a second, colour, image [14] which is clearly a later image but from the architecture I could tell it was the same building in the first photograph. In the second image however the building is identified as being the Clyde Street Baths and Library, clearly eliminating it as the Evelyn Street Baths. 

After further discussion with colleagues, I decided to search street records of the dates the book covered, which led me to find out that Evelyn Street had been bombed in the 1940s. This helped narrow my search to pre- World War II. I traced the development of Evelyn Street to see how the road had changed over the years and where there was a large enough space for a building that could accommodate a public baths. I assumed a bath house would be larger than a residential building, like the other baths on the map. The first evidence indicating the location of the bathhouse on Evelyn Street came after some extensive exploration of maps between 1900 and 1970. I was unsure if the baths had been destroyed in the bombing in 1940 but through meticulously studying the Evelyn Public Baths daily return book, I was certain that the bath house was in existence and providing service between 1934 and 1936. I focused my search as close to those dates as possible though eventually I extended my search to later years as later maps provided better detail of the area. Finally, I found a bathhouse on the map series OS 1:1,250/1:2,500, 1944–1970, online, on the National Library of Scotland.  

A screenshot of the Georeferenced maps  from the National Library of Scotland (nls.uk)

 Georeferenced maps — National Library of Scotland (nls.uk)[11] 

Everything was coming together! The baths were not in fact directly on Evelyn Street but, were between Evelyn and Clyde Street and were attached to the Clyde Street library, and bore the sign Deptford Public Bath. The baths opened in 1928 and served the community until around 1988. [16] 

Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Deptford Borough [15] 

With this added information I was even able to find a 1961 ‘Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Deptford Borough’ [15] which refers to the Evelyn Baths as one of three in the area maintained by the council. This report refers to the bath by both its popular name and gives reference to its location.  

It is not clear what exactly happened to the original building but, the Lewisham Indochinese Community Centre now stands in the place of both the library and the bath. The construction of the Community Centre was completed in November 1998.[12] 

This started out as an investigation into where the ‘Superintendents daily returns and receipt book’ had come from but, it took me on a wonderful journey of research and discovery, giving me the opportunity to think creatively and explore different tools and resources of information many of which I will use in the future.  

Acknowledgement

A version of this piece has also been published on the Bath and Wash Houses: Historical Archives webpage under the title ‘ Finding the ‘Evelyn Public Baths’ Deptford Public Baths 1928 – 1988’. [3]

References  

  1. ‘Superintendents daily returns and receipt book – Evelyn’ uncatalogued special collections item  
  2. Jewish Museum London. 2021. Russian Vapour Baths < https://jewishmuseum.org.uk/50-objects/2002-27/> [Accessed 07 February 2022]  
  3. Bath and Wash Houses: Historical Archives [Online] Available at <https://www.bathsandwashhouses.co.uk/> [Accessed 07 February 2022] 
  4. Back, L. An Urban Sociology of Water [Online] CUCR: Centre for Urban and Community Research Available at: <https://cucrblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/12/an-urban-sociology-of-water-by-les-back/> [Accessed 07 February 2022]  
  5. Campbell, A. 1918. Report on Public baths and wash-houses in the United Kingdom. Edinburgh; Constable.  
  6. Allsop, R., 1894. Public Baths and Wash-houses … Illustrated, etc. E. & F.N. Spon: London. 
  7. Cross, A., 1906. Public Baths and Wash Houses. [Place of publication not identified]: B.T. Batsford. 
  8. Gov.uk. 1994. Gaylard & Son Limited Filing History  [Online] Available at <https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/00712703/filing-history> [Accessed 10 February 2022]   
  9. RomanticLondon.org. Undated. Explore Horwood’s Plan – Romantic London. [Online] Available at <http://www.romanticlondon.org/explore-horwoods-plan/#17/51.48654/-0.03529> [Accessed 17 February 2022]  
  10. National Library of Scotland (NLS.UK). c. 1900s. OS1: 1 Million – 1:10K, 1900s [Online] Available at <https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17&lat=51.48417&lon=-0.03003&layers=175&b=1 > [Accessed 17 February 2022]  
  11. National Library of Scotland (NLS.UK). 1944 – 1970. OS 1:1, 250/1:2,500, 1944 – 1970 [Online] Available at < https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=19&lat=51.48217&lon=-0.02860&layers=170&b=1> [Accessed 17 February 2022]  
  12. Lewisham Indochinese Community Centre. 2022. Our history [Online] Available at <https://indochinese.co.uk/about-us/our-history/> [Accessed 17 February 2022]  
  13. n.d. Clyde Street baths and library. [image] Available at: <https://i.pinimg.com/564x/aa/a5/69/aaa5696364263a70553377810cb2405a.jpg> [Accessed 17 February 2022]. 
  14. n.d. Evelyn Public Baths Deptford [image] Available at: <https://i.pinimg.com/564x/e4/76/0c/e4760ca3d264cfde0a5deb25239befda.jpg> [Accessed 17 February 2022].   
  15. 1961. Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Deptford Borough [image] Available at:<https://wellcomelibrary.org/moh/report/b18237204/37#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=37&z=-0.1377%2C0.4526%2C1.4228%2C0.5554 > [Accessed 17 February 2022].  
  16. 2014. Edith’s Streets: London Local History [Online] Available at < http://edithsstreets.blogspot.com/2014/12/london-and-greenwich-railway-deptford.html 
  17. the British Automatic Company Limited material at The National Archive (Reference: T 193/350)  

 

by Shanique Thompson, Special Collection and Archives Assistant

Help Us Improve Our Library Search

Hello all, I hope you are doing well! 

The Library team is working on a research project over the next few weeks to improve Library Search. The Library Search is Goldsmiths’ information database that helps you find hardcopy and electronic resources like articles, books, and journals. The Search is therefore an important aspect of the university, as it supports academics in providing and sharing resources for their modules, as well as enabling students to find those resources. The Library Team wanted to ensure that the Library Search tool is easy and convenient to use, as well as inclusive and accessible. So, we created a research survey to find out more about your experience, and any feedback you may have.

Screenshot of search results in Goldmsiths Library Search system

 

The survey will start by asking about your general experience with the Library Search, including the specific resources you use to find information. We will then go on to ask you about any issues you may have with locating both physical and electronic resources. Your feedback will be asked about specific features of the Library Search – particularly the bookmark function, the filter for Special Collections and Archives, as well as the Library Induction. Finally, if you have any problems with the digital accessibility and inclusivity of the Library Search, this survey will ask you to mention these areas, as well as suggest further improvements. 

The survey should take around 20 minutes to complete, and it closes on 3rd July. Your opinion truly matters, so come and help us improve our Library by clicking on this survey link.

Thank you, and have a lovely summer!

 

Sarah Rex-Lawson

Library User Experience Research Project Team Member

Creative Computational Arts in the Library Space

‘Artists need an audience’, stated MA Computational Arts student Yasmin Jones, and Goldsmiths Library provided space and support to deliver.

We recently hosted an exhibition of MA/MFA Computational Arts student work and lighting talks by Goldsmiths lecturers and research students. 

Throughout the day, the ground floor of the library became a bustling creative space where students and staff could view the unique outputs of our students. Visitors engaged with various interactive pieces within the space, speaking with the creators about the creative process, thoughts, and mechanisms behind their creations. Guests could do anything from creating an eco-friendly city to tripping up Average Mario. 

 

 

Here’s what some people had to say about the event. 

What value did the library space deliver for this specific event, the students, and the lecturers? 

Yasmin Jones, MA Computational Arts: The library space was great for this event. It was sufficiently spacious, which allowed students to set up their project as desired to highlight their work. Using this space also meant that visitors could discover the pop-up by accident, which broadened the range of people who came to view our work. The fact we were positioned near the entrance was also useful for those attending who are external to the university. We were also big fans of the amount of power outlets! 

Alan Zucconi, Lecturer: The library has been an invaluable space to run events. It has always provided a spacious, yet cosy venue that feels very welcoming. It allows visitors to experience what Goldsmiths really is like, and for the students to see exhibitions and talks that they would have not normally attended. 

Jesse Wolpert, Lecturer: It was so wonderful to be able to finally hold an in-person event again and the library was the perfect space for it.  The students were so happy to be able to show off their projects, get feedback from visitors and be part of a live exhibition. 

What was the value to students showcasing their work? 

Yasmin Jones: This was an unfamiliar exhibition space to most students. This allowed us to learn to be adaptable when setting up a project and meant some had to innovate to find ways to mount their work. The tables we used were a good layout for this event and they were large enough even for the big pieces of work. This event was valuable to students who hadn’t had the opportunity to showcase their work to the public before and was great fun as a cohort as we hadn’t seen each other’s work installed yet. 

Jesse Wolpert: The students had only been able to show their work in class last term. Being in a public space gave them a whole new insight into how their work would be received. 

Artists need an audience, and the library was an excellent setting for students to set up their interactive installations. Students learnt about installing in a new environment, how to trouble-shoot problems on the fly, working together to curate the event and what to do when installations break! 

 

 

 

How did you find working with the library team? 

Yasmin Jones: The library team were great! They kept in contact with us before the event and communicated what would be possible in the space with regards to installing work. They were especially helpful during the setup, and we appreciated their effort to print posters letting people know that we would be using the space. 

Jesse Wolpert: The library team were super encouraging and helpful. We were given a lot of space to use and having the tables set up (with so many plugs!) was perfect for the computational work we do. It was amazing to have the large screen for the talks and the PA system already set up. 

Jesse, what value did you find the event provided to your fellow lecturers? 

We had 12 inspiring 6-minute talks from staff, students and ex-students. The speakers really enjoyed the opportunity to share their passions, their projects and their ideas. It was finally an occasion to celebrate each other’s work and learn more about our colleagues and students. 

What are some other highlights? 

Yasmin Jones: The ability to cordon off the space was really useful and helped with the flow of visitors and ticketing. 

Jesse Wolpert: We hope to do more events at the library as the space is so welcoming and encourages conversation and cross-pollination of ideas. 

 

 

 Caitlin Moore, Subject Librarian

 

 

New UKRI Open Access policy – what you need to know, how to comply and how we can help

The new UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Open Access policy comes into effect on 1 April 2022. The policy applies to:

  • peer-reviewed research articles submitted for publication from 1 April 2022
  • monographs, book chapters and edited collections published from 1 January 2024 (unless a contract has been signed between the author and the publisher before this date that prevents adherence to the policy).

If researchers receive funding from UKRI, they will need to comply with the UKRI Open Access requirements.

In this post, we will outline the key policy points our researchers at Goldsmiths need to know to ensure compliance and what the Online Research Collections (ORC) team in the Library are doing to help our researchers meet the new requirements.

Context

The new UKRI policy builds on earlier Open Access initiatives in the UK that have aimed to accelerate the movement towards openness in academic research. The Finch report, published in 2012, paved the way for a significant change in the way academic journals are published. Following the report, Research Councils UK (RCUK) revised their Open Access policy to require journal articles based on research that they have funded, to be published as Open Access. The Wellcome Trust also developed an Open Access policy and the REF2021 Open Access policy followed in 2016. Open Access is now seen as an integral part of research in the UK with the UK Government emphasising the importance of effective open research practices in the UK Research and Development Roadmap published in 2020.

UKRI is a member of cOAlition S, an international consortium of research funders who launched a new Open Access publishing initiative called Plan S, which commenced on 1 January 2021. The aim of Plan S is to make immediate, full Open Access a reality and centres on ten key principles. These principles are the framework behind the new UKRI policy. More information on Plan S is available here.

In the wake of Plan S, Read & Publish agreements (also know as transitional agreements) have now emerged to support the transition to Open Access. These are agreements where the costs of publishing Open Access, through the payment of an Article Processing Charge (APC), is included as part of our Library subscription agreement with a publisher. These deals are seen as a way for publishers to transition their subscription journals to full Open Access and will play an important role in enabling our researchers to meet the new UKRI Open Access requirements.

Peer reviewed research articles from 1 April 2022

Peer reviewed research articles submitted for publication on or after 1 April 2022 which acknowledge funding from UKRI will need to be made Open Access from the date of publication. The policy applies to all peer reviewed research articles and conference papers published in proceedings with an International Standards Serial Number (ISSN).

There are two routes to compliance:

  • Route 1 (Gold Open Access): Making the Version of Record (published version) free and unrestricted to view and download on the publisher’s website from the date of publication
  • Route 2 (Green Open Access): Making the Author’s Accepted Manuscript (AAM) free and unrestricted to view and download on a repository such as Goldsmiths Research Online (GRO) from the date of publication

All articles must be made Open Access by the date of publication with no embargo period and be published with a CC BY licence unless UKRI has agreed, as an exception, to allow publication under the more restrictive CC BY-ND licence.

A Data Access Statement needs to be included in research articles covered by the policy, even where there is no associated data or where the data is inaccessible. The statement is intended to inform readers where the underlying research materials associated with a paper are available, and how the research materials can be accessed. The statement can include links to the dataset, where applicable and appropriate.

How do I meet the requirements for research articles?

UKRI expect that the significant majority of venues that publish UKRI funded research articles will be able to offer suitable Open Access options to UKRI-funded authors by April 2022 and they emphasise that researchers can publish in the journal or platform they consider most appropriate for their research, provided UKRI’s Open Access requirements are met.

If authors are using route 1 (Gold Open Access) to achieve compliance, there are several options for publication:

  • Publishing an article Open Access via a Read & Publish agreement. As of March 2022, Goldsmiths has agreements in place with SAGE, Springer, Taylor & Francis, Wiley and PLoS. Further information about our agreements is available here. JISC are continuing to negotiate further agreements with a range of publishes on behalf of UK academic libraries. They have recently secured a Read & Publish agreement with Elsevier, and we will communicate information about agreements available to authors published by Elsevier and other publishers when they become available.
  • Making use of the block grant we receive from UKRI to pay an Article Processing Charge (APC). UKRI funds for paying APCs can only be used if the journal meets the JISC requirements for transformative journals or transitional agreements (authors should email gro@gold.ac.uk at the submission stage for confirmation that a journal requiring an APC payment is compliant with the policy). UKRI favours journals that are part of a transitional Open Access arrangement as they are seen as committing to transitioning from being a subscription journal to a fully Open Access one and therefore help advance the long-term aim of Plan S to shift the focus of academic publishing from the subscription model to making Open Access the default.

If authors are using route 2 (Green Open Access) to achieve compliance, they must include the following set statement provided by UKRI in any cover letter/note accompanying the submission:

‘For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising’

The statement will allow authors to post their AAM in a repository such as Goldsmiths Research Online (GRO) with a CC BY licence and no embargo regardless of the standard policy of the publisher. This element of the new UKRI policy is aligned with the Plan S ‘Rights Retention Strategy’ which intends to avoid the situation where authors sign exclusive agreements with publishers that inhibit immediate Open Access.

Most journals require an embargo on the Author’s Accepted Manuscript (AAM), and do not allow it to be made Open Access under a CC BY licence. It is therefore essential that authors using this route are clear with their journal at the point of submission what UKRI requires of them in terms of Open Access and that they check that their publication agreement is compatible with UKRI requirements.

Monographs, book chapters and edited collections from 1 January 2024

There is a new requirement for monographs, book chapters and edited collections published from 1 January 2024 (unless a contract has been signed between the author and the publisher before this date that prevents adherence to the policy) which acknowledge funding from UKRI to be made Open Access.

There are two routes to compliance:

  • Route 1: Making the Version of Record free to view and download on the publisher’s website within 12 months of publication
  • Route 2: Making the Author’s Accepted Manuscript (AAM) free to view and download on a repository such as Goldsmiths Research Online (GRO) within 12 months of publication. The policy allows the author and publisher to agree the appropriate version to self-archive on a repository.

Long form outputs must be published under a Creative Commons licence. UKRI has expressed a clear preference for a CC BY licence, but the more restrictive Creative Commons licences CC BY-NC and CC BY-ND are permitted if an exception is agreed with UKRI.

In 2022 UKRI will publish further guidance on exceptions around the use of third-party materials where permissions for reuse in an Open Access book cannot be obtained and exemptions where the only appropriate publisher is unable to offer an Open Access option that complies with the policy.

The policy does not apply to trade books (defined by UKRI as an academic monograph rooted in original scholarship that has a broad public audience), scholarly editions, exhibition catalogues, scholarly illustrated catalogues, textbooks, and all types of fictional works and creative writing. However, a trade book is considered to be in scope of the policy where it is the only output from a UKRI-funded research project.

How do I meet the requirements for monographs, book chapters and edited collections?

UKRI’s policy on long-form publications won’t be implemented until 1 January 2024, and much of the guidance on this part of the policy has yet to be released.

UKRI has committed to providing a dedicated fund of £3.5 million per year to support the long-form publications Open Access policy. The process for allocating the funds and the definition of eligible costs is being developed. The funding will be held at UKRI in a central pot, and it is anticipated that the funding will be available via an application process.

Although Open Access publication for monographs is less well developed than for research articles, support for fully Open Access books is on the rise with projects such as COPIM (Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs) and Opening the Future working towards building a strong infrastructure for Open Access book publishing.

In anticipation of the new UKRI policy, JISC are working to develop new Open Access publishing models and initiatives for monographs (for example book processing charges and membership models that support Open Access). We will monitor these developments and communicate them to our researchers at Goldsmiths.

If I am funded by UKRI, what should I do?

Our previous messaging around Open Access compliance for REF2021 emphasised the importance of authors acting upon acceptance, but the new policy will require authors to consider whether a publishing platform offers compliant Open Access options prior to selecting venues for publication.

Given the complexity of the policy we are advising that authors email gro@gold.ac.uk at the submission stage for confirmation that their chosen publishing venue is compliant, and we will offer advice to authors on the next steps they need to undertake.

JISC in collaboration with UKRI is currently developing an online tool that will enable researchers to identify whether a journal offers an Open Access option that complies with the policy. Once this resource is released the process of identifying eligible journals should be a lot easier for authors.

If you want advice on whether the journal or publisher you wish to submit your research to is compliant, please email gro@gold.ac.uk.

Is this the announcement of the next REF Open Access policy?

The UKRI policy is not the announcement of the next Research Excellence Framework (REF) Open Access policy. However, the policies are expected to align and UKRI have made it clear that compliance with their Open Access policy will also ensure compliance for the next REF.

Although the REF 2021 publication period closed on 31 December 2020, researchers should continue to comply with the REF 2021 Open Access policy by depositing the Author’s Accepted Manuscript (AAM) of journal articles and papers in conference proceedings with an ISSN to GRO within three months of acceptance.

How do I find out more about the policy?

The Online Research Collections (ORC) team in the Library have prepared guidance on the new policy which is available here.

If you have any questions about how the new policy affects your work, please email gro@gold.ac.uk.

Pieter Sonke, Open Access Adviser

Reading for pleasure – books to read in 2022

If you’re looking for some suggestions for what to read next look no further. Adil Rehman, our Reader Services Positive Action Graduate Trainee, has shared some of his favourite fiction reads for 2022.

William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair

The Victorian period is considered the golden age of English literature and is when the novel became the leading literary genre in English. A Victorian novel then, must be a part of your reading list for this year.

Thackeray’s Vanity Fair is recognised as a classic of English literature. The novel follows the lives of two contrasting women – Becky Sharp and Amelia Sedley.

Becky craves wealth and a position in society and is willing to manipulate everyone in her journey to success, while Amelia’s gentleheartedness attracts the devotion of William Dobbin.

Through his witty satire, Thackeray exposes the gluttony, snobbery and vanity of English society, and leaves the readers with timeless moral lessons.

Find it in our library here.

 

Agatha Christie, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

If you are in search of a detective story to read this year, then Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is an excellent choice.

Though largely controversial at its time of publication for ‘breaking the rules’ of detective stories, the novel has gone on to become one of the most celebrated detective novels of all time. It has seen multiple adaptations in both radio and film, and in 2013, the British Crime Writers’ Association voted it the best crime novel ever. [1]

Join detective Hercule Poirot as he comes out of retirement to solve who murdered his friend Roger Ackroyd.

Find it in our library here.

 

Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

Invisible Man follows the journey of an unnamed African American man as he learns how to navigate through a world that renders him ‘invisible’ as ‘people refuse to see’ him.

The book deals with many issues that African Americans, including the author, faced at the time, and in particular, how racism acted as an obstacle to individual identity.

Readers may see its continued relevance today as African Americans continue to deal with issues surrounding race. The Harlem race riot and instances of police oppression in the book, for example, bring to mind recent events in America.

Invisible Man won the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction in 1953, making Ralph Ellison the first African American to win the award. [2]

Find it in our library here.

 

 

Percival Everett, Erasure

In the words of Robert J. Butler, Erasure ‘signifies’ on Invisible Man. That is, Erasure makes meaningful references to Invisible Man (and other ‘African American’ literature) ‘as a way of def

ining how contemporary America has developed new ways of rendering black people “invisible” by “erasing” their individuality and encasing them in empty social roles’, making it the obvious next read on your list. [3]

The plot surrounds writer Thelonious “Monk” Ellison, whose manuscripts are continually rejected by publishers because they are ‘not black enough’. Monk is enraged by the success of Juanita Mae Jenkins, as her bestseller We’s Lives in Da Ghettos, reduces black Americans to negative stereotypes. Monk writes My Pafology as a satirical response to Jenkins’s novel (which is included in its entirety within Erasure), but to his despair, it wins ‘The Book Award’.

 Find it in our library here.

Robin Robertson, The Long Take

The Goldsmiths Prize was established in 2013 ‘to reward fiction that breaks the mould or extends the possibilities of the novel form’. Robin Robertson’s The Long Take won The Goldsmiths Prize in 2018 for achieving exactly this. [4]

A noir narrative written with the intensity and power of poetry, The Long Take is one of the most remarkable and unclassifiable books of recent years.

Walker, a D-Day veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder, cannot return home to rural Nova Scotia, so looks instead to the city for freedom, anonymity and repair. We follow Walker through a sequence of poems as he moves through New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco and we witness a crucial period of fracture in American history, one that also allowed film noir to flourish. [5]

Find it in our library here.

Lucy Ellmann, Ducks, Newburyport

Lucy Ellman’s Ducks, Newburyport won The Goldsmiths Prize in 2019.

Erica Wagner, Chair of the Judges, described is as ‘that rare thing: a book which, not long after its publication, one can unhesitatingly call a masterpiece. In her gripping and hypnotic book, Ellmann remakes the novel and expands the reader’s idea of what is possible with the form’. [6]

The novel is written in the stream of consciousness narrative style and consists of a single sentence that runs over 1000 pages.

An Ohio housewife worries about her children, her dead parents and weapons of mass destruction. An indictment of America’s barbarity and a lament for the way we are sleepwalking into environmental disaster, Ducks, Newburyport is a revolution in the novel. [7]

Find it in our library here.

 

 

 

References:

[1] https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/agatha-christie-s-the-murder-of-roger-ackroyd-voted-best-crime-novel-ever-8923395.html

[2] https://www.nationalbook.org/awards-prizes/national-book-awards-1953/

[3] Butler, Robert J., ‘Percival Everett’s Signifying on Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man in erasure’, Canadian Review of Comparative Literature, 45 (2018), 141-152

[4] https://www.gold.ac.uk/goldsmiths-prize/

[5] https://www.gold.ac.uk/goldsmiths-prize/prize2018/the-long-take/

[6] https://www.gold.ac.uk/goldsmiths-prize/prize2019/

[7] https://www.gold.ac.uk/goldsmiths-prize/prize2019/ducks-newburyport/

 

 

Return of the Research Café

 

The Library led Research Cafes are up and running again for 2022.

What is a research café?

Research Cafes are an opportunity for researchers to come together with an audience made up of students, staff and the general public to give a 10-minute presentation about their current or recent research in a relaxed, friendly environment. The presentations are then followed by a short Q&A session. Occasionally the Research Cafes have a particular theme, however, generally they are non-specific and open to research on any topic. As an example of the breadth of coverage, topics presented last year included; practice research, post emancipation racial politics and geopolitics in the British colony of Jamaica, and lesbian identities at The National Fat Women’s Conference of 1989.

 

Why should I get involved?

Research Cafes provide many benefits for both the speaker, who has an opportunity to engage with the public and promote their research, and the audience, who have the chance to hear first-hand what it’s really like to undertake research, find out any problems that were encountered and how they were overcome, and ask any other questions about the research that they may have.

Our research cafes are completely inter-disciplinary and as such facilitate a unique bringing together of people from across Goldsmiths and beyond, enabling cross fertilisation of ideas, sharing of best practice and the establishment of new connections.

 

Where do they take place?

Formerly delivered in the social area on the ground floor of the library (hence the name), following the pandemic we have now moved our Research Cafes online, affording the opportunity to attend to an even greater number of people. All Research Cafes are held 12-1pm on a Wednesday afternoon, so you can pop along on your lunch break.

 

When is the next cafe?

Our next event takes place on Wednesday 2nd February 12-1pm and is a Covid special highlighting the work of Dr Claudia Bernard, Professor of Social Work and Head of Postgraduate Research in the Department of Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies, alongside colleagues; Dr Anita Sharma and Dr Teresa Peres. They will speak about their research for Co-POWeR (Consortium on Practices of Well-being and Resilience in black, Asian and minority ethnic families and communities) which focuses on the ways in which discrimination is worsening the impact of Covid-19 on black, Asian and minority ethnic people in the UK. A full description of the research can be found here.

Subsequent cafes scheduled include:

16th February, 12pm-1pm – LGBT special

30th March, 12pm-1pm – Non themed, all topics welcome

 

How do I sign up?

To sign up as an attendee for any of our upcoming Research Cafes visit our Eventbrite page: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/goldsmiths-research-cafe-tickets-240341867997

All Research Cafes will take place on Microsoft Teams. You will receive an email containing the Teams link and instructions for joining on the day of the event.

To participate in the research cafes as a speaker please email Elizabeth Williams, Academic Support Team Manager: E.Williams(@gold.ac.uk) or Mark Preston, Subject Librarian: M.Preston(@gold.ac.uk)

We look forward to welcoming you at one of our events!

The Research Café team

 

 

 

 

How Race Today Evolved into the Forefront Radical, Anti-Racist Publication in 1970s Britain

Race Today, January 1974

From 1974-1988, Race Today, a journal of the Race Today Collective, was an integral component of the struggle for racial justice in Britain. Race Today was pioneering in terms of its reports and analysis of struggles by Black and Asian workers in the UK against police and institutional racism. The Collective’s work was not just journalistic, as it was also a campaigning organisation, which supported grass-roots movements that aimed to advance the struggle for Black Power, the fight for Women’s Liberation and anti-colonial campaigns to free the countries which came to be known as the ‘Third World.’ Race Today centers race, class, and sex at the core of its analysis of events in Britain and across the world. The magazine’s global reach is represented by its writers. Contributors include CLR James who lived above the journal’s offices in Brixton; Darcus Howe and Leila Hassan, the magazine’s editors; and writers, activists, and intellectuals such as Mala Sen, Barbara Beese, Akua Rugg, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Selma James, Farrukh Dhondy, John La Rose, and Walter Rodney.

With ongoing struggle against police brutality, institutional racism and racial bias, the fight for racial justice has never been more urgent. It took a momentous turn with the Black Lives Matter Movement and now more than ever, is it important to bring to light the insightful publications, anti-racist campaigns and fearless journalism reflected in the Race Today Journals. Between 1973 to 1988, the Race Today journal and its writers ferociously fought for issues like police accountability, workers justice, trade unionism etc, challenged racist organisations and linked experiences of Black communities in Britain to struggles of other communities.

Race Today, October 1974

However, Race Today did not begin as a radical, anti-racist publication when it was founded in 1958 by the Institute of Race Relations. It was scholarly and conservative in nature. In 1972, the editorial committee and Race Today Staff protested the increasingly academic and politically neutral scope of the magazine. An internal coup, led by Ambalavaner Sivandandan, allowed the editorial community to take over control from the IRR management to adopt a more radical direction. Darcus Howe then embodied this new approach. An experienced journalist in campaigning media, he previously worked for Black Panther party’s Freedom News and was also the editor of briefly run Black Dimension Journal. It was Howe’s extensive media experience, immense political knowledge of Black liberation struggles and colonial legacies that made him an appropriate leader to execute this radical vision. He redirected and reconstructed the magazine’s original academic origins to fit the front lines of racial justice and politics.

Howe was deeply inspired by this political mentor and Race Today contributor CLR James, a Trinidadian historian and socialist, who advocated for unity between white working class and non-white communities. Howe became conscious of making the journal a platform for grassroots movements. As a result, in his first editorial, he set out to commit to centering the voices of Black and working-class communities instead of speaking for them himself. He further made it known that Race Today would open its pages to independent grass roots self-activity with a goal of furthering its development. As a final move after the split from IRR, Howe moved the journal’s offices from an institutional building in King’s Cross to a space in Brixton, at the heart of the Black community.

Race Today, August 1974

Race Today defined the power of community and togetherness after shifting away from the IRR. It was devoted to the community in many forms but especially culture. The Collective understood that culture and unity was a vital part of liberation movements. For this reason, the journal used its platform and voice to celebrate Black art, literature, music and sports during its tenure. It displayed works from major Black icons, such as Toni Morrison, Grace Nichols and James Baldwin on expression and Black identity. The Collective also organised cultural events such as book fairs and supported local musicians to perform at events like the Notting Hill Carnival while defending the Carnival’s cultural significance. For Black & Asian people, their community and unity became one of the only forms of support due to the racism and xenophobia they faced at places of work, schools, and neighbourhoods. Race Today captured this essence of community while fearlessly fighting against discrimination which is something we should mirror in current times.

The international coverage in the journal helped bring home the idea that liberation and equity are global needs. Issues covered situations beyond borders and showed the solidarity extended by the Collection to the exploitation and dehumanisation of communities and effects of colonialism. Thus, alongside accounts of Black people in Britain, there were extensive discussions of the struggles of workers and citizens in the Global South and showed support to Asian communities too.

Though Race Today was widely read influential in the 1970s and 80s, the magazine is now hard to access with only a few archives around the country containing the complete publication. Visit Special Collections and Archives to access 18 issues of the Race Today publications, located in the Vic Siedler Collection.

Race Today, August 1972

Adya Jalan, Decolonising Projects 2021

 

Bibliography

Field, Paul, Bunce, Robin, Hassan, Leila, & Peacock, Margaret. (2019). Here to Stay, Here to Fight. London: Pluto Press.

The Race Today Collective: Why Press and Media are Vital in the Fight for Racial Equity

Black Britannia: The Race Today Collective Demonstrated the Radical Potential of Journalism

 

 

 

And Action….. Redressing BAME representation in academic libraries

 

It may come as a surprise to you that the UK library workforce identifies as 96.7% White*- this is compared to a UK population that identifies as 88% White.

It’s only in the last 2 years that SCONUL (Society of College, National and University Libraries) and CILIP (Chartered Institute for Librarians and Information Professionals), which are the library and information sector’s leading representative bodies in the UK, have worked with staff to establish networks that platform BAME voices and experiences – SCONUL’s BAME Staff Forum and CILIP’s BAME Network, both of which have Allies networks.

As with other areas across HE, libraries are hugely underrepresented by people from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. This is true throughout the workforce but is most startling at the very top, with only 3 BAME library directors.  One of those 3 is Goldsmiths’ Library Director, Marilyn Clarke.

Recognising the enormous value, advantage, and creativity that diverse voices and experiences bring to all aspects of what we do, faced with this reality we had no choice but to become activists. So, at Goldsmiths library, as part of our Liberate our Library* initiative and EDI commitments we are being proactive and intentionally taking positive action to change our staff profile and contribute to a more diverse recruitment pipeline within the sector. One way that we are doing this is through our positive action BAME Graduate Traineeship. The role has been a long time coming! Finances and a global pandemic slowed us up, but we’re thrilled that we launched the inaugural traineeship this year.

The intention of the role is to have an annual opportunity for a BAME Graduate who has not necessarily had any experience but is interested in exploring a career in the Library and Information sector to do so. We have designed the role, so it allows the successful candidate the opportunity to experience library work across all its core functions. The idea being that they come away with broad ranging experience, the skills and knowledge necessary and hopefully, a desire to build a career in libraries.

We’re determined to make this the best grounding experience in library work that we can so, acknowledging that our BAME Graduate is in a unique role and is moving around teams, we’ve established a ‘Buddy’ scheme so that they can share their experiences, have support and a network to help them settle in. Gloria Ojosipe, our Library Administration Coordinator, is championing this.  She has a wealth of professional, Goldsmiths, and life experience, and is also an academic mentor.

We decided to offer our first traineeship to a Goldsmiths Graduate and are pleased to introduce Adil Rehman, who began working with us in September.

Adil has just finished studying English and History at Goldsmiths. He has always been interested in the humanities and had considered becoming an English teacher after his degree as he wants to experience living in different countries and thought teaching would be a good fit.

While studying Adil spent a lot of time in the Library and enjoyed being in the environment. When he was picking up some books with a friend in 2020 they had a conversation about how cool it would be to work in a library, but he didn’t think any more of it until he got a job alert from CareerSpace advertising the role and thought he’d go for it!

He says he had no particular expectations of what it was like to work in a library before starting, but has been surprised at how many staff there are and how many different things we do. As a student he used Reading lists and online   resources but had never really thought about how they get created and had only really considered books and the helpdesk as library work. Now that he has started. like the rest of us, his family and friends have been asking him if he spends all day reading books (we’d love to, but sadly we don’t).

Adil has been enjoying moving around the different teams, getting to know people and learning about different aspects of library work. He is looking forward to getting to know more about Special Collections, his appetite having been wetted after being shown the works of Charles Dickens*, which were published in monthly issues after Dickens’ death and sold on newsstands.

It’s early days for Adil and you will be hearing lots more from him throughout the year – but for now, welcome Adil – we’re delighted you’ve joined our team.

We’re incredibly excited about this role. We’re excited for Adil’s journey and for the opportunity to work with and learn from him. We’re also pleased that we’ve been able to create this as an annual BAME traineeship. This will allow us as a library to be more representative of the communities we serve and show our BAME students that there is a place for them in academic libraries, if they want it, which is incredibly important in student engagement, interaction, retention, and attainment.

 

Marilyn Clarke, Nuala McLaren & Adil Rehman

With thanks to Carl Dunford-Gent, Gloria Ojosipe, Careers, HR, and the Library Team

 

*https://www.cilip.org.uk/page/Workforcesurvey/ – ‘A Study of the UK Information workforce / CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) and ARA (Archives and Records Association) commissioned report.

*https://www.gold.ac.uk/library/about/liberate-our-library/ – decolonising and diversifying collections and the profession.

* https://librarysearch.gold.ac.uk/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=44GOL_SYMPHONY191436&vid=44GOL_VU1&search_scope=Physical&tab=default_tab&lang=en_US&context=L

The works of Charles Dickens.

Black History Month 2021: The Black Woman

Top row, left to right: Dianne Abbott, Sojourner Truth, Maya Angelou and Miriam Makeba; Second row, left to right: Nanny, Bernadine Evaristo, Harriet Tubman and Jackie Kay

Top row, left to right: Dianne Abbott, Sojourner Truth, Maya Angelou and Miriam Makeba; Second row, left to right: Nanny, Bernardine Evaristo, Harriet Tubman and Jackie Kay

When you see a Black woman, what image does it conjure up in your minds eye? Be honest now, I would hazard a guess, admittedly dependent on who you are, but in general it is an image more pitiful than celebratory…well unless you are thinking of a pop-culture figure, but even with those transcendent figures their ethnicity or race is rather glossed over and rendered a non-fact. That’s how the media chooses to side-step uncomfortable truths and chooses to mass market an appeal for max profits. So Beyonce’s lyrics to “Formation” clearly referencing The “Black Power Movement” jarred and shocked her White fan base (See SNL’s hilarious ‘The Day Beyonce Turned Black’ The Day Beyoncé Turned Black- SNL – YouTube) and her “Brown-Skinned Girl” signalled that perhaps she had a racialised context that she cared about after-all, not just the melodious pop tunes that appealed to a fan base who did not understand the heritage that made her who she is.

In the rest world we are used to seeing Black women as our institutional cleaning staff, the cluster of students within particular subject disciplines (totally absent from others), as professional staffers, but there are yawning gaps and sparse representation at senior levels. In public life; political, financial, CEO-cliques, the upper echelons of health care, media, the judiciary  even working across the Royal households and charities at senior level, it is truly painful particularly when you travel to the USA and see the sheer brilliance of representation across the board unlike the UK, Europe, and parts of the English-speaking world. In the British HE system we all know that the absence or near absence of Black women across the executive and senior executive is totally “normalised” irrespective of the EDI agenda which quite frankly has benefited every other “protected characteristic” and White women on the whole. As for significant representation on decision-making funding bodies, as research-leads, early career researchers, as departmental HoDs, it remains an intractable state of affairs.

Of course, the voices of Black women that work in HE testify loud and clear for those that really want to hear; so many testimonies of the micro-aggressions from colleagues and students alike. Made to feel out of place, a “space invader” to coin sociologist Nirmal Puwar’s term. Or conversely treated as exceptional, one minute lauded but the next encouraged to “stay in your lane.” Always having to justify oneself in a way that demonstrates value. Not encouraged to be innovative, or a “thought-leader” breaking new ground, as White peers would be-with the knock-on effect of a rapid rise. The odd heralded appointment then quick departure a little while longer with no accountability. Overlooked for promotion or actively discouraged to go for promotion. Or promotion when it comes taking twice as long than for White peers. The micro-management or overburdened with higher expectation to perform when compared to White peers. The subtly of being undermined, patronised, and gaslighted. Sound familiar to some? Again, I guess it depends on who you are and to whom you have bothered to ask those difficult questions of. It has all been chronicled time and time again. HE is a reflective microcosm of the larger society, and it ain’t changing anytime soon, if COVID working stories of BAME HE academics and professionals are anything to go by.1

However, this is the time to talk, the Black Lives Matter phenomenon has opened debate in the UK as elsewhere. The Rhodes Must Fall campaign is calling for accountability not only in representation of the figures of the past, but who it is that narrates the histories going forward. The “Ain’t I A Woman” conference platforms scholars who are researching the rounded and multi-faceted elements of Black women; mothers, grandmothers, adventurers, innovators, business people, teachers, activists and more in new and innovative ways. As part of Goldsmiths’ Library’s Black History Month series three Black British historians invite you to gather and join the palaver of scholars and notable women who together will present a nuanced view; past, present and future. As our celebrated Maya declared powerfully:

“They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.”
Extract Maya Angelou, “Phenomenal Woman” from And Still I Rise.

Author: Dr. Elizabeth Williams

References:

  1. See, Ahmed, S, On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life(Duke University Press, 2012), Bopal, K, White privilege: The myth of a post-racial society (Policy Press, 2018), D. Gabriel, Transforming the Ivory Tower: Models for gender equality and social justice (Trentham Books, 2020), Gabriel, D. et al Inside the Ivory Tower: Narratives of women of colour surviving and thriving in British academia (Trentham Book, 2017), Mirza, H. et al, Dismantling Race in Higher Education: Racism, Whiteness and Decolonising the Academy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), Puwar, N. Space Invaders: Race, Gender and Bodies Out of Place (Berg, 2004),

Notes:

Image designed for the conference ‘Ain’t I a Woman?: “The Black Woman” in Historical and Contemporary Context’, Goldsmiths, University of London, 2021, organised by Dr. Juanita Cox , Dr. Angelina Osborne and Dr. Elizabeth Williams.

1 Olive Morris, ‘STREET ART OF OLIVE MORRIS by BREEZE YOKO,’ by StockCarPete used under CC BY 2.0 / original image changed to: red, yellow and black.

2 Audre Lorde by Elsa Dorfman, used under CC BY-SA 3.0  / original image changed to: red, yellow and black.

3 Professor Wangari Maathai by Oregon State University used under CC BY-SA 2.0 / original image changed to: red, yellow and black.

4 Dido Elizabeth Belle by howard_morland used under CC BY 2.0 / original image changed to: red, yellow and black.

5 Diane Abbott by Chris McAndrew used under CC BY 3.0 / original image changed to: red, yellow and black.

6 Sojourner Truth by js used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 / original image cropped and changed to: red, yellow and black.

7 Maya Angelou by York College ISLP used under CC BY 2.0 / original image changed to: red, yellow and black.

8 Miriam Makeba, ‘MIRIAM MAKEBA PATA PATA 12” LP VINYL’ by vinylmeister used under CC BY-NC 2.0 / text removed, original image changed to: red, yellow and black.

9 Queen Nanny of the Windward Maroons by David Drissel used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 / original image cropped and changed to: red, yellow and black.

10 Bernardine Evaristo by Acthom123 used under CC BY-SA 4.0 / original image cropped and changed to: red, yellow and black.

11 Harriet Tubman by National Park Service used under CC BY-NC 2.0 / original image cropped and changed to: red, yellow and black.

12 Jackie Kay, ‘Paisley Book Festival – Jackie Kay 02’ by byronv2 used under CC BY-NC 2.0 / original image cropped and changed to: red, yellow and black.

 

DE/RECONSTRUCTION PROJECT : Special Collections & Archives

sheets of photocopied pamphlets and ephemera laid out on the table

DE/RECONSTRUCTION PROJECT : Goldsmiths Special Collections & Archives, Adya Jalan, 2021

“Decolonizing is deeper than just being represented. When projects and institutions proclaim a commitment to diversity, inclusion or decoloniality we need to attend these claims with a critical eye. Decoloniality is a complex set of ideas – it requires complex process, space, money, and time, otherwise it runs the risk of becoming another buzzword, like ‘diversity’”[1] Sumaya Kassim, 2017

The De/Reconstruction Project was started in 2021 as a part of Decolonizing Projects at the Special Collections and Archives. The term ‘Decolonizing’ is often used as a buzzword, but authors like Walter Mignolo, Catherine Walsh and Ariella Azoulay provide a very comprehensive understanding of the process of decolonizing. The theories put forward by them resonate with the workings of the project. Decoloniality, a series edited by Mignolo and Walsh, consolidates a diverse range of perspectives of coloniality and decolonial thought in various histories from across the world.[2] Walsh’s understanding of decoloniality focuses on the learning and unlearning of repression, resistance, and struggle in colonial history. By discussing settler colonization in the Americas, Walsh draws attention to the local movements, struggles, resistance, and the refusal that came with it. So, primarily, decoloniality emerges as a form of struggle for survival, an epistemic response and practice by the colonized and racialized subjects, against all dimensions of colonial power.[3]On the other hand, in the book, Potential History, Ariella Azoulay offers methods and lessons to unlearn imperialism. She revaluates the history of photographs, archives, and museums by proposing that the camera’s “shutter” equates to imperialism as a whole. Plunder and systemic violence are forming the features of archives and museums, and the study of history itself – all of which serve as imperial technologies of control, conquest, and dehumanization.[4]Azoulay’s methods and reasons for unlearning imperialism explain why a pedagogical approach to decolonization is required. She writes “unlearning imperialism aims at unlearning its origins, found in the repetitive moments of the operation of imperial shutters. Unlearning imperialism refuses the stories the shutter tells.”[5]

The De/Reconstruction Project is a continuously evolving community-based archive project. It is a safe space for uncomfortable conversations, stories of struggles and marginalized histories, overlooked figures and identities. It is also a learning resource made by individual contributors on themes that resonate with them. Thus, reflecting on the above authors’ understanding, the project focusses on looking at stories of struggle and resistance, unlearning the origins of imperialism and recognizes decolonization as an ongoing struggle. How can we use archives and community-based collecting practices to unlearn imperialism and maintain an ongoing form of resistance and liberation? These are some questions this archive project aims to answer.

It is open to anyone who would like to contribute and build the collection. Contributions can involve discussions on personal stories, histories, identities etc. The collection is open to use for anyone, students, researchers, and community members alike. The possibilities to the additions in this archive are endless. Any topic, relevant to the idea of decolonization, which deserves more representation or that needs to be shared or discussed with others has a place in the De/Reconstruction Project. Another purpose of this project is to challenge the conventional way of collecting archives and transferring the power of the curator to the community, creating an opportunity for communities to speak for themselves.

The collection started as a response to Race Today (a monthly journal at the epicenter for racial justice in Britain in the 1970s) and has been built on to become a compilation of publications, zines, artist outputs, posters, and ephemera on social, political and identity related issues. Initial themes or folders include topics like radical anti-racist publications, south-Asian artists and black artists whose shows focused on racial justice, migration, and identity. Through methods like printing and creating facsimiles, material was collected from around the Special Collections and Archives from collections like the Vic Siedler Papers and Women’s Art Library, online articles, zine and webpages.

The collection method of this project is based on a community-based art project/exhibition which was organized in London around the 1980s. An arts collective based in Kings Cross, Community CopyArt, organized a photocopy-based exhibition on the theme of Black Women’s experiences of living in Britain. A range of workshops were organized with Rita Keegan and Marlene Smith to demonstrate the photocopying techniques and the possibilities of creating images through this medium. Gaining inspiration from this project, photocopying became an important medium in collecting snippets of publications, posters, pamphlets etc. Photocopying and printing can allow contributors to deconstruct collections from the archive and reconstruct them with new perspectives. This resonates with the project title but also symbolizes the deconstruction of preconceived notions about issues and communities that are reinterpreted and reconstructed by contributors. Making new and true representations is an important aspect of this project; these allow the community to emphasize their own voices. Thus, CopyArt inspired a method of De/Reconstruction of the archive to reflect a decolonizing process based on accountability and learning as identified by authors like Walsh and Azoulay.

Adya Jalan, Decolonising Projects 2021

 

[1] Sumaya Kassim, “The Museum Will Not Be Decolonised,” Media Diversified, 2017, https://mediadiversified.org/2017/11/15/the-museum-will-not-be-decolonised/.

[2] Walter D Mignolo and Catherine E. Walsh, On Decoloniality: Concepts, Analytics, Praxis (Duke University Press, 2018).

[3] Mignolo and Walsh, On Decoloniality: Concepts, Analytics, Praxis, 17.

[4] Stephen Sheehi, “Can We Unlearn Imperialism? Ariella Azoulay Offers Methods and Lessons,” Hyperallergic, accessed May 11, 2021, https://hyperallergic.com/583885/potential-history-review-ariella-azoulay/.

[5] Ariella Aisha Azoulay, Potential History: Unlearning Imperialism, (London: Verso, 2019), 20.