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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.

 

Conference Registration Now Open for Ain’t I a Woman? : The “Black Woman” in Historical and Contemporary Context

A two day online conference 27th & 28th October, 2-6pm GMT 

Public life and academic research too often negate the lives of Black Women, they are rendered invisible or framed wholly in pathological terms. This conference showcases emergent research and provide fresh perspectives into the phenomenal lives and contributions of Black Women past, present and into the future upon the societies in which they live.

Additionally, invited celebrated speakers will share with the audience perspectives from their own professional careers and achievements. It is hoped this will uplift and inspire everyone pursuing their own trajectory.

Keynote Speakers: Prof Olivette Otele Professor of the History of Slavery-Bristol University, Stella Dadzie, Feminist, author, Intellectual

Headline Interviews: Margaret Busby OBE (Editor, Writer, Broadcaster, Publisher), Sisonke Msimang (Author, Intellectual ‘The Resurrection of Winnie Mandela’ 2018), Pascale Lamche (Producer, Director, Film ‘Winnie’ 2017)

The Organisers are three Black Female Historians, Dr. Juanita Cox ‘Project: The Windrush Scandal’, The Institute of Commonwealth Studies, Dr. Angelina Osborne, ‘100 Great Black Britons’(2020), Dr. Elizabeth Williams author ‘The Politics of Race in Britain and South Africa’(2017)-Goldsmiths, University of London.

Download and read the full two-day schedule published here: Conference Programme_Ain’t I a Woman Oct 2021

Please sign up via Eventbrite

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.

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

LGBTQIA+ Month in the Library

Flag-LGBTQ

 

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

 

 

 

 

comeback mother: Buchi Emecheta

My father told me very, very early in my life that why my third Ibo name is Nnenna –father’s mother, was because I am his comeback mother. It was said that when my father’s mother was dying, she had promised my father that she would come again, this time as his daughter.

-Buchi Emecheta, date unknown, from archive document

download

Comeback mother: Buchi Emecheta was an archive show in fragments that unfolded in parts throughout its durational install, running from 5th – 19th April, 2018. The show centred on Buchi Emecheta’s personal archive: books, manuscripts, plays, personal letters, publishers letters, notebooks, ephemera, essays, newspapers and unpublished material. Elements were shown in both the Kingsway exhibition space and the Library at Goldsmiths.

Buchi Emecheta was a powerful and complex Nigerian British writer, teacher, mother, library worker and feminist. She wrote prolifically and defied easy categorization. She is loved by many: Womanists read her fierce motherhood and solidarity. Feminists, her bold representation of the personal political. Queer readers have picked up on her strong community making. She is proudly held up as a writer of both Nigerian and Black British identity and has inspired many contemporary postcolonial writers. She spent her life demonstrating how she is many things. The tensions, refusals and stands shoot through her novels, plays and critical writing.

At the ‘mid-way reception’ we invited author, Irenosen Okojie to read from her collection ‘Speak Gigantular’. Angelique Golding (MA Black British Writing) read from Buchi Emecheta’s ‘Head Above Water’ and we were very pleased to have Sylvester Onwordi with us to say a few words about the Buchi Emecheta archive. Sylvester’s photographs of the reception are featured on the Buchi Emecheta Foundation website.

We have many of Buchi Emecheta’s books in the library. If you’ve not read her yet, ‘Joys of Motherhood’ is an excellent place to begin. I’d also recommend ‘Head above Water’ and ‘In the Ditch’. Many of her titles will be re-published with Omenala Press. To support the exhibition we curated a reading list and book display at the front of the library. One of the important things looking at Buchi Emecheta’s work was to acknowledge contemporary writing and storytelling that has come before, around and after her.

You are welcome to access our reading list.

come back mother: Buchi Emecheta was co-organised by Halima Haruna and Jessa Mockridge in collaboration with Buchi Emecheta Foundation, Goldsmiths Library and supported by Goldsmiths Alumni & Friends Fund. With a very big thanks for all kinds of shaping, support and care from Sylvester Onwordi, Nadine Plummer, Angelique Golding, Althea Greenan and Laura Elliott.

– Jessa Mockridge

Up close and personal with an exhibition:

As a history student, I have always been fascinated by exhibitions. Learning about the topic of the exhibition is quite remarkable. When I was asked to help with one at my placement, I jumped at the chance.

The exhibition I helped for was on the Balkans. Preparation for it took up two of my daysexhibition_1.png at the placement. Firstly, I had to do a bit of research on the Balkans. If I did not know anything about the Balkans, how was I supposed to find sources for the exhibition? Once that was all sorted out, I looked through the special collections and library catalogues to find sources. In order to keep track of the sources I found, I made a table. These tasks marked my first day working on the exhibition. The next day was a lot more varied. I was moving around, which was a nice change from having my fingers glued to the keyboard. I had to physically collect the sources; most of which were luckily in Special collections. The exception were 2 vinyls from the vinyl collection in the library. I spent about an hour trying to find the vinyl collection, only to find one was not available. I actually checked their availability on the catalogue before I went, just in case anyone was wondering. This part was right up my street: I had to analyse the sources to see if they were suitable. I kept most of the sources, apart from a few books and letters. The letters were very difficult to decipher — rich coming from me with my handwriting. When I eventually did decipher them, I found them to be irrelevant. Was it a waste of time deciphering them in the first place? Maybe, but if the source turned out to be detrimental to the exhibition, I would have slated myself for being so lazy.

exhibition_2Setting up the exhibition was the highlight of my day. It was a lot harder than I first anticipated. Getting the books to stay on the pages I wanted them to required a lot of DIY on my behalf. I eventually figured out the solution: making a stand out of foam blocks, binding together the blocks and book and then taping them together. I was pretty impressed with my efforts. They were not on the same level as many other exhibitions I have been to, but ju st being able to help with an exhibition was so enjoyable. I tried my best to present the items in an organised and creative way. The images of Balkans dancers were my favourite source. The women resembled dolls and I could hear the instruments, probably because I listened to Balkans music the day before. The other sources used were books on Balkans textiles, a CD and the vinyls mentioned earlier.

If asked to help at an exhibition again, I definitely would. It teaches you a lot about how to be selective and creative. When you see the joy the exhibition brings to people, it makes all of the work that goes into it 100% worth it.

 

This blog was written by Danielle, a history at work student, who completed her placement at Goldsmiths Special Collections.

 

Libraries Week, October 2017

Libraries Week: 9-14 October, 2017

Libraries Week brings together a UK wide network of libraries from all sectors to showcase the diversity of activities and services on offer. Goldsmiths Library is planning an exciting and varied programme of events.

Rocket-girl-facebook-banner


Special Collections and Archives Open House

10th October : 10am – 5pm

Discover and handle material from our collections, including archives, artist books and documentation, textiles, rare books, scores and ephemera. Open to all, drop in.

Location: Special Collections & Archives reading room (Goldsmiths Library, Rutherford Building, Lewisham Way, New Cross)


An Interactive Fairytale Adventure for Under 5’s and their Carers. 

11th October : 2.15pm, Deptford Lounge

A special collaboration between Goldsmiths Library and Deptford Lounge

15.30 Babies-IMG_1778www.bubblesphoto.co.uk

Join Becky, her cello and her ukulele, on her travels through a fairytale land, inspired by the School Practice Collection in Goldsmiths Library. We’ll be going on an interactive fairytale adventure, bringing storybook characters to life with songs and live instrumental music.

Location: Deptford Lounge 9 Giffin St, Deptford SE8 4RJ


File Under Female (Exhibition and publication) 

12 October – 3 November

Part of the culmination of artist Bella Milroy’s residency at the Women’s Art Library.

Open to all, drop in.

Location: Kingsway Corridor, Richard Hoggart Building, Goldsmiths, University of London, Lewisham Way, New Cross.


Opening reception for artist Bella Milroy’s exhibition File Under Female.

14 October: 1pm – 5pm

Open to all, drop in.

Location: Room 142, Richard Hoggart Building and Kingsway Corridor, Goldsmiths, New Cross.


Communing, collapsing, collaging, continuing… An introduction to book art
13th October: 6 – 8pm
Workshop run by artist, Sarah Kelley

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How does a book move from one life toward another? In this workshop you can explore the book as an artistic ally and look at how we might receive from them without necessarily needing to read them. We’ll go on to find some inspiration in order to communicate back – using a variety of simple collage and book alteration techniques. You’ll leave with some new ideas and a piece of book art in progress, to continue and develop in your own time.

Please book through Facebook to attend or email a.sinclair@gold.ac.uk


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