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LGBTQ+ Events During May and June

The LGBTQ+ Positive Voices @ Goldsmiths exhibition launched a couple of weeks ago at the Library, and was attended by around 40 people. It was fantastic to be able to celebrate the launch and share the enthusiasm for works in the exhibition with some of the exhibitors, University staff, students and also members of the local LGBTQ+ community in attendance.

We’re running a range of events while the exhibition is on display.

Firstly, there will be a series of short in-person exhibition tours. Tickets available here.

You’ll also have the chance to get creative and get inspired by queer joy and the exhibition in our Queer Joy zine making workshop. Tickets and further information can be found here.

And a more in-depth online virtual tour and introduction for those who can’t make it to the exhibition will be taking place as part of the CILIP LGBTQ+ Network Festival of Pride & Knowledge. You can book your tickets here.

Visitors can also explore the exhibition themselves 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday (tickets for external visitors here) until 20th June 2024.

All are welcome to these free events.

You can find out more about the exhibition here.

LGBTQ+ Positive Voices @ Goldsmiths Exhibition Launches Today

Today sees the launch of the inspirational LGBTQ+ Positive Voices @ Goldsmiths exhibition, running from 7th May to 20th June. This showcase celebrates the creativity and resilience of LGBTQ+ individuals through an array of uplifting and thought-provoking art, videos, music, games, and archival materials.

The exhibition is on display throughout the ground floor of Goldsmiths, University of London Library (New Cross, SE14 6NW), including within the Special Collections and Archives rooms.

Contributions come from over 20 talented creators spanning the globe, including Goldsmiths University students. Delving into historical LGBTQ+ culture and history, the exhibition also hosts materials from the Women’s Art Library and Women’s Revolutions Per Minute archives.

Creatives who have contributed to this exhibition include:

  • Alessandro  Paiano – M+E BREATHE (video)
  • Magnus Thirteen – 陰陽鳳眼 The Yin Yang Peacock (video and photographs)
  • Ray Abu-Jaber – Beautiful Bodies: Queer Joy & self-love (visual art)
  • Ray Abu-Jaber and Kassie Fletcher – CRUISING DYSTOPIA (physical game)
  • Yufeng Wu – Breathe / Causality/Karma (visual art)
  • Kuch Bhogal – Proud (visual art)
  • R.E. and S.W. Lee – Walking in My Friend’s High Heels (video)
  • Leon Clowes – Andrew (music)
  • AnimaeNoctis – PRIDEPRIDEPRIDE / Liquid Lyrical Liberty (videos)
  • Rik Versteeg – It’s Liquid (video)
  • Konrad Natthagel – Sapphic love between goddesses (visual art)
  • Geoffrey Doig-Marx (GDM) – Gay ICONS (visual art)
  • Guillermo “Wildo” Zayas IV – Warmest Embrace (visual art)
  • Linhtropy – when it’s safe again (digital game)
  • Paty Rodriguez – ADARIM 1997  (video)
  • Stefani J Alvarez – Transfinity Testament (video)
  • Terry Gregoraschuk – “Trans4mation” (visual art)
  • Salome Zhvania​ – Only Lovers Left Undead (visual art)
  • Oxford University Press staff & friends – Pride flag (knitted flag)
  • Various collaborators – Pixel Pride (digital game)

All pieces within the exhibition remain copyright of the creators.

 

 

Goldsmiths Special Collections and Archive materials include pieces from:

  • Del LaGrace Volcano and Jack Halberstam
  • Annie Sprinkle
  • Mandy McCartin
  • Invasorix
  • Nina Hoechtl
  • Tessa Boffin
  • Gay Sweatshop Theatre Company
  • Ming de Nasty
  • Flying Lesbians
  • The Tokens
  • Berkeley Women’s Music Collective
  • Lavender Light: The Black and People of All Colors Lesbian and Gay Gospel Choir
  • Alix Dobkin
  • Siren
  • Judy Small

External visitors can book free tickets to view the exhibition here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/lgbtq-positivevoices-goldsmiths-exhibition-tickets-880889372827

There are also tickets still available for the free launch event tomorrow evening (8th May, 6:00 – 8:30pm): https://www.gold.ac.uk/calendar/?id=14968

And we will also be running a free queer joy zine making workshop on 31st May (1:30 – 4:30pm). Free tickets here: https://libcal.gold.ac.uk/event/4207926

On a personal note, it feels like such a long time since I started thinking about this, and discussing it with colleagues in Goldsmiths University. I am so excited that this vibrant and positive exhibition is now launched. And I am extremely grateful for all who chose to contribute their pieces to this exhibition.

Ashleigh Green

LGBTQ+ Positive Voices @ Goldsmiths Exhibition Curator

Submissions Open For Creative LGBTQ+ Project

If you’ve been following this blog for the past few months, you will have read about the LGBTQ+ Positive Voices @ Goldsmiths Library project.

As a reminder, this project is focused on creating a collaborative exhibition to be launched during 2024 in Goldsmiths Library with a theme of positive representation and experiences of LGBTQ+ people.

The exhibition will include content from Goldsmiths University Special Collections and Archives; alongside works by individual creators.

You can find out more about the project in some of our older blog posts.

Today we are opening the form for submissions.

WHAT CAN YOU SUBMIT?

Any art or creative work by an LGBTQ+ person that fits the above theme, and can be shared or represented in a digital file format is welcome as a submission. This can include image, video, audio, text files, but is not limited to these forms only.

And if your creative work relates to or is inspired by LGBTQ+ material in Goldsmiths Special Collections and Archives, even better!

Contributions from amateur, hobby, DIY artists, crafters and creatives, those who do not consider themselves to be artists or creatives, and those who have never submitted to an exhibition before are especially welcome.

Participants must be 18 or over. Submissions will be included in the exhibition at the discretion of the organiser.

Any submission you make must be your own work and something that you are happy to be shared in a public space. You will retain full copyright of your work.

You do not need to either work or study at Goldsmiths to submit an entry.

YOUR PERSONAL DETAILS

All information submitted via this form (except email) will be included in the exhibition. If you would like your submission to appear anonymously in the exhibition, please select the option at the end of the form.

Email addresses submitted will be kept securely and confidentially and will only be used to contact you about the exhibition. They will not appear on the website.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE & GO LIVE

Call for exhibition submissions closes on 31st October 2023.

The exhibition will go live in spring 2024.

Follow the Goldsmiths Library blog for updates about the exhibition.

NEED MORE INFO?

If you’d like more information about the project, please contact a.green (@gold.ac.uk)

Ready to send your contribution? Fill in the form here.

 

Paper with painted rainbow hearts surrounded by artists tools.

Image by stux on Pixabay.com

 

A Queer Project We’re Positively Proud Of

Since beginning the LGBTQ+ Positive Voices exhibition project, I’ve been exploring Goldsmiths collections, with a lot of support from the Special Collections and Archives team, and pulling out items of interest. This has been as a way to discover items for the exhibition, and also a way to discover materials that I could use as inspiration for my own creative responses to the exhibition focus – that being “positive reflections and experiences of LGBTQ+ people”. 

When I started, I wasn’t sure what shape my creative response would take. In the end, I decided to give myself some rules just so I could start creating something, rather than dithering endlessly about what form it would take.  My rules were (1) create something specifically in the Special Collections space itself (2) create something no-tech/low tech/physical, rather than digital. 

I’d recently discovered zines via the library’s own Liberate Zines collection, and I also came across the concept of photocopy art in the Women’s Art Library collection. 

So, I took those concepts and pulled together a poster collage with a DIY feel to it, which has a focus around the portrayal of gender. Why? Because I am trans*/gender non-conforming, and I wanted to see what items there were in the collection in relation to that. I included photocopied images and “negative” text (ie white on black) by Volcano DeLagrace & J. Jack Halberstam from their Drag King Book; Tessa Boffin’s portrayal of women in masculine presentation; Invasorix tarot cards; and part of a Mandy McCarthy image in a photocopy collage.

Much of the collage comes from a lesbian, drag king, queer feminist perspective, and it was an interesting experience for me to see how that might and might not relate to my own identity as someone who is assigned male at birth.

I decided that I wanted to focus on the creators words only, so I made liberal use of highlighters on the posters to draw attention to who these artists were and draw attention to text and images they used. When I looked at what I’d pulled together/repurposed, and was wondering why this collage of unrelated artists and their thoughts made sense to me, I realised it was a focus on the idea that we can “do” gender however we want to and that’s okay. 

As a creative practice, it was useful for me to look at materials I wasn’t aware of, and discover new artists myself. When I was talking to the SCA team about the project and things I was interested in seeing, thanks to their knowledge of the collection and broader thinking they introduced me to all the artists I mentioned above and took me in a direction I had not realised I would go in. The exhibition is about positive experiences/perspectives of LGBTQ+ people, and I wanted this piece to be about things that were positive to me in relation to my identity, and I expected that to come from AMAB bi and trans* perspective – so it was interesting to see that it didn’t work that way. The positivity of this piece in relation to how I felt was gained from an entirely different direction. 

Here are a few images of the “Do Gender However It Works For You” work in progress in different stages. Just so you can see how it came together. 

A few of the original sources

 

Content scaled up and photocopied as negatives

Paper folding, sticking and test colouring with highlighters

Photocopied collage and more colour tests

 

Completed piece?!? Maybe!

 

We have another workshop for the exhibition coming up on the afternoon of 10th August 2023, which is open to all (including anyone from outside of Goldsmiths University). We’d like anyone who wants to get involved in contributing to the exhibition to come along. The workshop will give people the chance to learn about the project, including how you can get involved. And we’ll share some of Goldsmiths University Special Collections and Archives collection with you to spark ideas about how LGBTQ+ lives can be revealed, celebrated and portrayed positively through it. Getting involved could mean one of many things – create a piece for the exhibition; pull out materials from the collection that speak to you in a positive way from an LGBTQ+ perpspective; contribute a character to a pixel style game; or share your own positive experiences in whatever form you want to. 

You can book your place at the workshop here: https://libcal.gold.ac.uk/calendar/SCA/LGBTQPositive3

Ash Green (LGBTQ+ Positive Voices @Goldsmiths curator)

Plans for LGBTQ+ Positive Voices @ Goldsmiths Library

February 2023 saw the launch event for the LGBTQ+ Positive Voices @ Goldsmiths Library project take place.

During this event we shared the background to the project, plans for future workshops in the coming year and for the exhibition on campus in 2024.

We will be running two more workshops along the same lines in 2023, on April 20th and August 10th. Booking is now open for the April event at: https://libcal.gold.ac.uk/calendar/SCA

These workshops will give participants the opportunity to find out about the LGBTQ+ Positive Voices project and explore Goldsmiths Special Collections & Archives to create their own pieces for a physical exhibition focused on “creative works that are a positive reflection of being an LGBTQ+ person.”

Attendees of the first event are also welcome to attend these upcoming workshops.

The workshops are open to all members of the LGBTQ+ community (not only those either working or studying at Goldsmiths). And if you know of any individuals or groups outside of Goldsmiths University community who would be interested in participating in this project, please let them know about it.

The exhibition at Goldsmiths University is expected to launch in February 2024, and the deadline for submissions is 20th October 2023. Details of how to submit work to the exhibition will be shared soon.

Contributions for the physical exhibition are also welcome from people who have not attended any of the workshops.

If you would like further information about the LGBTQ+ Positive Voices @ Goldsmiths project, or need support to find materials in Goldsmiths Special Collections & Archives for a piece you are creating, please contact special.collections@gold.ac.uk

We look forward to receiving your contributions to this project.

Ash Green (Project Lead) & Goldsmiths Special Collections & Archives

Be Part of the Creative Celebration of LGBTQ+ Lives at Goldsmiths Library

Back in 2021, the LGBTQ+ Positive Voices online exhibition, was launched as a celebration of LGBTQ+ people’s positive experiences, lives and perspectives. 

The project was organised by Ash Green (they/them) during the pandemic, and it was partly inspired by their experience of visiting LGBTQ+ exhibitions (including the Museum of Transology, and The Transworkers Photography Exhibition), and seeing others like them represented in those exhibitions. At the same time, some of the personal stories shared alongside items within those exhibitions made Ash feel as if they had a positive future as a trans/gender non-conforming bisexual person. When Ash put out a call for contributions to LGBTQ+ Positive Voices the intention was to give other LGBTQ+ people a space to celebrate their own stories, and a space that allows visitors to experience creative works that are a positive reflection of being an LGBTQ+ person. The exhibition includes videos, dance performance, paintings, digital artworks, audio pieces and games, representing a broad spectrum of sexual and gender identities from 26 artists and creative contributors from around the world. Each exhibition page includes personal stories in the creator’s words alongside the exhibition piece.

A collage of resources from Special Collections & Archives for the LGBTQ+ Positive Voices project

 

As a follow up to this online project, Ash Green is running a series of workshops with Goldsmiths Library Special Collections & Archives (SCA) in 2023 with the same goal in mind – to support Goldsmiths LGBTQ+ / queer community (& beyond Goldsmiths) to capture and share their positive experiences and stories. We also want to use the opportunity to highlight this positive representation using Goldsmiths SCA materials as a springboard. This could be in the form of: 

  • creating individual pieces of art or creative responses to pieces in the collections or 
  • selecting items from the collections and commenting on how they feel it is a positive representation of LGBTQ+ lives. 

… but doesn’t have to be limited to these suggestions only. 

The project will culminate in a physical exhibition in 2024, as well as including appropriate pieces created throughout the project in the LGBTQ+ Positive Voices online exhibition. 

And by creating new materials focused on the SCA collections, these pieces and their creators could also become a part of Goldsmiths University Special Collections & Archives. 

We want to encourage anyone in the LGBTQ+ community to participate, regardless of whether they see themselves as an artist/creative person, or not. If you are an LGBTQ+ person and have a “positive voice” to share, then you are the perfect participant. 

So, we are inviting members of the Goldsmiths LGBTQ+ community to come along to the project launch event (16th February, 2023), which will focus on the background and plans for the project. Event attendees will also be able to explore some of the Goldsmiths Special Collections & Archives and start thinking about (and even create) a contribution for the exhibition if they wish to. 

Follow up events (in spring and summer 2023) will have a similar focus to this event and attendees of the launch event can attend as many as they wish to. 

Book to attend the upcoming event here.

If you’d like more information about the project, including support for finding and accessing Goldsmiths Special Collections & Archives materials  outside of the workshops, please contact special.collections (@gold.ac.uk)

Not just a Photocopier: Exploring CopyArt through Rita Keegan’s practice

Visit Photocopying Yourself into History, an exhibition which gives insight into the organisation, Community CopyArt, and Rita Keegan’s practice. You’ll find the exhibition in Buchi Emecheta Space at Goldsmiths Library Second Floor, 20th July – 8th October 2021.

While exploring the Women’s Art Library, particularly the Women of Colour Index Group Art Shows, I came across a folder on “Community CopyArt.” Looking through the pamphlets and posters, I learnt that Community CopyArt was founded in 1983 with a grant from the Greater London Council (GLC), as an arts collective located in Kings Cross. The organisation used photocopying or “CopyArt” as a new medium of communication which combined elements of photography, collage and graphic arts with the technology of photocopiers. This is exactly what I had been embodying in the decolonising project that I undertook at Special Collections and Archives – photocopying material from: books, zines, archives within the existing collections or from outside, which is brought together in new folders by themes. This method of duplicating, deconstructing and reconstructing through photocopying, allowed me to bring together a community-based archive by arranging material thematically which challenges the conventional way of organising and collecting.

Community Copy Art Poster, Women’s Art Library, Women of Colour Index, Group Shows, ‘Through Our Black Eyes’, 1988

Here’s why CopyArt has caught my deep interest – it’s the versatility of and scope of using the photocopier as a tool for anything ranging from: publications, posters, art to liberation movements. Turns out, Rita Keegan, founder of the Women of Colour Index at the Women’s Artist Slide Library (later the Women’s Art Library) was an important part of Community CopyArt. According to her, the organisation had two main aspects. One was to work with community organisations in creating their own publicity, making an affordable resource center. The other, was helping artists use the photocopier as a printmaking medium. What is more astounding is her art practice which features experimentation with lens-based media, using the photocopier and computer in both 2D and installation work. Naomi Pierce explains how Rita utilised the photocopier as an affordable and transportable tool, one that would enable her to pursue her art practice without a studio or a permanent apartment. Furthermore, her initiatives bifurcated into understanding the challenges affiliated to Black Women’s art practice and the importance of enabling visibility. In the 1985 Black Visual Arts conference she says “Black women have always been active in the arts. It’s just we have never been recorded.” So, Rita’s involvement in records and her passion for recording comes alive in her use of the photocopier, connecting these concerns to her work within organisations such as Community CopyArt. Naomi Pierce appropriately articulates Rita’s use of the machine as using a time travelling device. Through cutting, applying heat and light, she inserts herself into the past, putting an old photo with a new one, making composite connections, giving a new life to the images to make them your own, and in Rita’s words, “photocopying yourself into history.” Through our Black Eyes was a photocopy exhibition organised in 1988, which explored the theme of Black Women’s experiences of living in Britain. Exhibition workshops were held by Rita Keegan and Marlene Smith for the community.

Through Our Black Eyes, Women’s Art Library, Women of Colour Index, Group Shows, ‘Through Our Black Eyes’, 1988

Thus, long before computer programmes and design apps made digital design and manipulation a common occurrence, the photocopy machine offered varied ways to transform images. Artists started making use of innovative techniques in a genre which became known as photocopy art or Xerox art. Experimenting with montage, distortion and transformation became an attraction for many artists. This resulted in engaging visual results. Similar to the Community CopyArt workshops, artists used techniques of reducing or enlarging images, making changes to the hue and tone of the original colour and moving the original to achieve variations in visual imagery. In 1981, American artist, Louise Neaderland founded a non-profit group called the International Society of Copier Artists, intended to promote the work of Xerox artists who used the above methods to make art using photocopy. Most importantly, the ISCA advocated for the recognition of copier art as a legitimate art form. Below is an image of a Photocopy Art zine made by ‘The Rapid Publisher’ accessed from Sherwood Forest Zine Library.

Photocopy Art zine made by ‘The Rapid Publisher’ accessed from Sherwood Forest Zine Library.

The photocopier also had a high democratic potential. Changing the political landscape, the machine provided minority groups and smaller political parties a chance to be heard by the mass public. Important messages were able to be copied in thousands and distributed across regions. Community CopyArt initially provided access to four photocopying machines, an image library as well as equipment such as typewriter and badge maker. It ran workshops for activist and community groups which produced photocopied materials for events such as the 1986 Anti-Apartheid Demonstration. The organisation was committed to political and social issues while reiterating that the machines were open access, to be used as a resource and not simply a cheap alternative to a high street print shop.

As I learn more about Rita’s photocopy art practice and Community CopyArt, while embodying this method in my own archive project, I am beginning to realise the resourcefulness of the photocopier. I have been able to achieve the power of creating new archives by pulling aspects from existing collections through photocopying and create learning resources by bringing together ephemera in a theme-wise collection. This method has become a way to reinterpret and revise histories; change narratives in a certain way which favours the communities.

Adya Jalan, Decolonising Projects 2021

 

Bibliography  

Women’s Art Library, WOCI, group shows.                                               

Pierce, Naomi. “Remember me?” In Mirror Reflecting Darkly: The Rita Keegan Archive. London: Goldsmiths Press, 2021. https://www.gold.ac.uk/goldsmiths-press/publications/-mirror-reflecting-darkly-the-rita-keegan-archive/   

https://www.metamute.org/editorial/articles/rita-keegan-digital-diversity-and-colour-computers 

https://asl-group.co.uk/how-photocopiers-changed-the-way-we-work/ 

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.

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