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On a (m)other’s watch

On a (m)other’s watch

Symposium opening exhibition by Eti Wade curated by Samantha Lippett (MFA Curating), Saturday 11th April 2015

image.php‘on a (m)other’s watch’ is a collaboration between curator Samantha Lippett and mother artist Eti Wade, supported by the Women’s Art Library. The project comprises two public ‘interventions’ within the Goldsmiths campus of previously unseen works by Eti Wade entitled Joscasta and 57 Baths. The project is supported through an accompanying symposium which will provide an international overview of mother artists work.

Symposium 10-5pm
Opening reception 5-6pm

Women of Goldsmiths: Evelyn Gibbs

In celebration of Women’s History Month, Goldsmiths Library’s Special Collections & Archives has been taking time to reflect on positive female characters in Goldsmiths institutional history. A previous post looked at Caroline Graveson, the first in the prestigious post of Women’s Vice-Principal of the Goldsmiths Training Department.

Following in the stead of Graveson and the gains she made for women in the academic institution, Evelyn Gibbs provided a resolute influence for the teacher training department of Goldsmiths College during the difficult period of the Second World War.

Gibbs undertook the study at the City of Art School in her hometown of Liverpool in 1922 before being awarded a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London alongside other notables of the period such as Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. It was during her time at the RCA whereupon Gibbs would develop an interest in the craft of engraving.

Gibbs early work was heavily based on the art of carving images into wood, and this is perhaps what first beckoned her to Goldsmiths College, which by then was drawing the attention of the art world for the so called ‘Goldsmiths School’ of engravers, including the future principal Paul Drury. Her adeptness in the fine craft of engraving would lead her to winning the prestigious Prix de Rome Scholarship in 1929, complete with a scholarship which she would put to use in two years of further study of art in Italy.  Her first steps towards academia came after returning to London in 1931 and turning to teaching at a school for handicapped children as a means to support herself. It was this experience that would lead her to write a book on art teaching for children, and featured illustrations by her pupils. The Teaching of Art in Schools (1934) was well received and showcased Gibb’s flair for shaping the learning experience.

Evelyn Gibbs. Image courtesy of Goldsmiths Library Special Collections & Archives.

Evelyn Gibbs.

After demonstrating a natural instinct for teaching others as well as high degrees of artistic talent, Gibbs found herself in demand and Goldsmiths College came calling in 1934. She officially became a teacher-training lecturer at Goldsmiths College. Gibbs settled into Goldsmiths well, and was able to sustain her art practice alongside teaching, and she would make a welcome return to painting. Goldsmiths Art Collection is pleased to hold several artworks by Gibbs, with Spanish Fisherwoman being a prime example of the poignant sophistication she had achieved by then.

Spanish Fisherwoman. Image courtesy of BBC Your Paintings.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, Gibbs would follow Goldsmiths College when it was evacuated to the safer landscapes of Nottingham. Not one to be perturbed and disheartened by troublesome things occurring in the world at the time, she found the drive to help found the Midlands Group of Artists in 1943, a collective dedicated to fostering the development of experimental artists in the region. The Midlands Group would be instrumental in the assisting several notable artists, including David Hockney and Bridget Riley, a Goldsmiths alumni and influential woman artist in her own right.

Evelyn Gibbs sadly passed in 1991, though Goldsmiths College is pleased to be able to honour her memory and gains she made for women in both teaching and the art world. We hold several pieces of Evelyn Gibb’s artwork in Goldsmiths Art Collection, including Spanish Fisherwoman, in various locales around the college. The teaching of art in schools is available for loan and viewing in Goldsmiths Library. Here in Special Collections & Archives we hold much material related to Gibbs in the Womens Art Library, including slide files and Pauline Lucas’s Evelyn Gibbs : artist and traveller (2001), a detailed survey of Gibbs’ life and work. Please contact us here or alternatively call on +44(0)20 7717 2295 for more details.

‘Stop Short-Changing Us’: The BANK exhibition file

In previous blog posts documenting the activity of Goldsmiths Library’s Special Collections and Archives department, we’ve taken a closer look at the Surrey Docks Studios and the innovative Daphne Oram archive both featuring in our archival holdings. It is a testament to depth of our collection that we are able to contrast the above collections with other vivid acquisitions such as the BANK exhibition file. This particular archive is a myriad of interesting material pertaining to the activity of the infamous BANK art collective, covering the period from 1991 through to 2003. The BANK exhibition file is a compelling assemblage that charts the organisations dissident journey through the boom of the 1990’s London art scene, and sure to be of interest to those interested in the excitement and controversy of the period.

BANK began life in very much the irreverent spirit it would continue in, with founding members Simon Bedwell and John Russell posting fabricated descriptions of fake art show openings in a humorous yet salient critique of what they perceived to be a vapid and commercially orientated art culture prevailing in London at the time. They would take the first steps on the road to notoriety in 1991 and hold their first show proper. The eponymous BANK emerged within the shadow of Goldsmiths College, as the collective appropriated an old disused bank on Lewisham Way, a landmark of the surrounding area that many former and current students will no doubt be aware of.

Old bank on Lewisham Way. Photograph courtesy of Geograph.

After initial shows were received with great interest and excitement, BANK would move its base to Shoreditch in the mid-90’s, commandeering disused spaces on Curtain Road and Underwood Street. In keeping with BANK’s precocious and anarchic spirit, this was to be some years before gentrification transformed the East London area from industrial dereliction into a fashionable cosmopolitan district. As the 2003 BANK retrospective notes, with some due resentment towards the sweeping changes that occurred:

At the time the area was a dump, deserted at weekends when even the pubs shut; but you could see where it was going. The return of the 80s aspect became the basis for [1994 show] Wish You Were Here; the property market was still in recession but London had a surplus of designer yuppies and boho trustafarians, and Curtain Road is on the edge of the financial district.

The DOG and Galerie Poo Poo spaces were both based in disused industrial spaces on Curtain Road and Underwood Street respectively, where some of Shoreditch’s’ busiest bars, numerable loft apartments and a Jamie Oliver’s restaurant now reside. A perusal of the list of BANK curated shows during this period is practically a directory of the most influential artists working today. Bob and Roberta Smith, Martin Creed, Peter Doig, Gavin Turk, 0rphan.drift>, Chris Ofili, John Cussans and Adam Chodzko are just a sample of the notable names that appeared in BANK shows during their ascensions in the art world.

Over the decade, BANK would continue to grow as a collective, with a revolving roster of members that included Dino Demosthenous, David Burrows, Andrew Williamson and the current Goldsmiths MFA lecturer, Milly Thompson. The most compelling feature of the BANK collective was how their objectives and work BANK stood in such strong contradiction to the upwardly mobile trajectory of Young British Artists (aka The YBA’s) also existing around the same period. Though the Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin’s (who participated in the spontaneous Viper/BANK TV project with 130 other artists) of the YBA’s were highly successful in bringing British art back into the spotlight, they would shifts the emphasis of art production towards greater financial imperatives. The rise of this money orientated culture was a trend that the BANK collective would consistently take aim at with their unique form of avant-garde satire.

As well as putting on shows featuring other artists’ work, BANK also achieved notoriety for their own creative output as they balanced their roles somewhere between that of artist and radical curator. A reoccurring convention between the various members was to exchange the dreary press releases for art shows of the day with various sections annotated and critiqued for satire and personal amusement.

What began life as a personal joke between members would eventually culminate in a fully fledged exhibition in its own right. The appropriately titled PRESS RELEASE debuted in early 1999, showing off some of these press releases in an act of mischievous situationist inversion of normal exhibition opening rhetoric. Citing Jacqes Derrida as an influence, BANK deconstructed the banality of the corporate art world press release in a critique of an art world practice they saw as prohibitive to creativity and understanding. The press release for PRESS RELEASE does not steer clear of inflammatory rhetoric when it declares:

PRESS RELEASE may seem to be a flippant, ‘good natured’ joke, but the amusing aspects to the project are merely irrelevant side-effects to what is a serious investigation into the sinister implications of this particular linguistic manifestation…Consequently: ‘This show deals with identity and gender could mean, “I want the person who is writing this to be successful. I want you to like them. I want you to provide them with a flat in the Barbican.”

PRESS RELEASE. Image courtesy of john-russell.org.

Another example of BANK’s abrasive irreverence towards the prevailing mainstream art culture was their White3 show, an overt tongue in cheek reference to the emerging White Cube gallery that hosted many of the YBA’s during their ascension. BANK saw White Cube’s blank and vacant adaptation of minimal monochrome aesthetics as anathema to what they envisaged a vibrant and engaging curatorial space to be. White3 inverted the now ubiquitous display of artworks upon brilliant white gallery walls by creating an actual white cube in the centre of the space and installing an array of  ‘spectacles’ around it that included copies of Beowulf and images of popular figures like the Queen, in a sly nod to Guy Debord’s Society of the Specatacle.

An array of ephemera and material pertaining to PRESS RELEASE and other BANK output can be found here in Special Collections & Archives. Kindly donated by founding member Simon Bedwell in 2006, content includes a self-titled book that includes interviews with the various members and detail information about exhibitions including images, alongside many of the notorious press releases including Zombie Golf, White3 and PRESS RELEASE. A listing of the BANK exhibition file contents can be found here. Get in touch with us at special.collections@gold.ac.uk or alternatively call on +44(0)20 7717 2295 to find out more or arrange collection viewings.

From the Archive: Surrey Docks Studios

A little known piece of historical information about Goldsmiths is that before London’s Surrey Docks were revitalised into the towering Surrey Quays, the college ran a space for its Fine Art students in a disused Dock Office. The building was loaned to Goldsmiths in the 1970’s and 80’s. Michael Craig-Martin, a former member of Goldsmiths teaching staff and highly influential artist in his own right, makes reference to the usage of the studios in this interview, describing the importance of the availability of spaces such as these as being essential for Goldsmiths to allow its art students to develop their creative identity in a relaxed space. As Craig-Martin himself claims: “[we were] kind of left alone, which seemed to be important.”

Exterior of Surrey Dock studios. From Wikipedia.

Much is made of  Craig-Martins influence on the students that formed the cluster of famous Goldsmiths Fine Art Alumni such as Damien Hirst and Angus Fairhurst (1966-2008), that would eventually become known as the YBAs (Young British Artists). Famously, whilst Hirst was in his second year of study at Goldsmiths, he would organise and feature in the massively influential Freeze show that would announce the arrival of Hirst and the other formative YBAs onto the art scene with much clamour and irreverence. Not to downplay Hirst’s own ingenuity and precociousness in organising such an important event, but the assistance of Craig-Martin and other Goldsmiths academic staff aided Hirst in finding such a fantastic venue as the Surrey Docks studios in order to debut his conceptual vision. The image below offers a glimpse of the interior of the exhibition, demonstrating how much the Surrey Docks studios had to offer as a space for innovative young talent in the art world.

Freeze exhibition in construction. From Damien Hirsts personal website.

For those interested in the works exhibited in Freeze, Special Collections and Archives hold copies of the exhibition catalogue. We are also pleased to house the Angus Fairhurst Collection, a collection of books that showcases the late artists influences and other interesting details about his life. Contact us at special.collections@gold.ac.uk or alternatively call on +44(0)20 7717 2295 to find out more.

Goldsmiths At War: The Goldsmithian.

Written exactly 100 years ago today on 15th December 1914, this Christmas letter from the first ever warden of Goldsmiths, William Loring (1865-1915), strikes a slightly somber note for the festive period. Following the outbreak of World War I, Loring takes a moment to reflect upon the difficulty of war and implores Goldsmith students to make the best of peaceful times, a fact made more tragic by his passing shortly thereafter in battle at Gallipoli in 1915, after deciding to rejoin the armed forces as a Captain in the Scottish Horse.
 
Goldsmithian_Dec_1914_3
For more information on Goldsmiths and WW1 go to http://www.gold.ac.uk/ww1/goldsmiths-at-war/
And follow us on Twitter: @goldsmithslib  #GoldsmithsAtWar

Richard Hoggart : Archive Exhibition and Cataloguing project

In Special Collections and Archives we currently have an exhibition celebrating the life and works of  Richard Hoggart;  from his early years in Leeds, to the publication of ‘The Uses of Literacy’, The Chatterley Trial, the founding of the Centre for Contemporary Culture Studies, and finally as Warden of Goldsmiths.
Richard Hoggart: Life and Works’, will continue in Special Collections and Archives  until 8  January 2015.
This month we also started work on the Richard Hoggart archive cataloguing project – what busy bees we are!
                                               Hoggart Archive

Explore your Archive: Daphne Oram and the Oram Collection

Goldsmiths library and Special Collections have been excited to participate in the Explore Your Archives social media events taking place this week across archives nationwide, seizing the opportunity to show off some of the interesting and unusual items we have to stimulate academic curiosities. As you may have noticed from our twitter output today (13th November), it’s ‘selfie’ day and we’ve been using the opportunity to show off the variety and depth that Special Collections has to offer. So far we have tweeted selfie images of the Women’s Revolutions Per Minute, Women’s Art Library and our Daphne Oram archive collections that we house, the latter of which you can see below:

The particular item on display in this ‘selfie’ is Daphne Oram’s (1925 – 2003) personal computer, one of many items from Oram’s personal collection Special Collections is pleased to house within its archives. Oram was a central figure in early British experimental electronic music, famous for her involvement with the widely influential BBC Radiophonic Workshop and the eponymous Oramics computer music system she designed.

A gifted musician, Oram decided against pursuing a career in classical music, turning down a place at the Royal College of Music to join the BBC and co-found the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. During this period she developed a combined interest in technology and artificially produced sounds. Oram’s approach was informed by the rigid modernist technique of Pierre Schaffer’s musique concrète and other avant-garde musical aesthetics of the time. Such musical movements challenged dominant modes of classical music composition by introducing sonic details procured from the technological and cultural upheavals of post-war society. She would weave these experimental influences into her compositions with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. During this period she also began the research that would lead to the creation of Oramics, a new technique of sound synthesis. Not only was Oramics one of the earliest forms of electronic sound synthesis, it was also innovative through its pioneering of the audiovisual interface in music production.

Daphne would leave the BBC in 1959, though her research on the Oramics project would continue. The completed Oramics machine required the composer to physically draw onto a synchronised set of ten 35mm film strips overlaying a series of photo-electric cells. These drawings, when processed through the Oramics machine, would generate electrical charges to control amplitude, timbre, frequency and duration. Oramics was remarkable for being one of the first devices to engineer sound from electricity, an undoubted influence on the synthesizers and digital music suites of today that are able to produce a similar spectrum of synthetic sound. It should be noted that there was something of a difference in size however, as the Oramics machine was far from a portable device – requiring an entire room to be fully operational. The complete Oramics machine can currently be viewed at the Science Museum​ in London (more information here).

Here at Special Collections in Goldsmiths Library, we hold many materials relevant to Oram’s work, taken from her own personal archive. In 2007, Goldsmiths College collaborated with the Sonic Arts Network to bring this collection into the academic community where it can be properly studied and developed​. These include not just the personal computer shown in the ‘selfie’ but a whole plethora of useful materials relating to her work. This includes papers on her work at the BBC, design notes on the Oramics system, personal photographs, musical scores and scripts and much more.

​You can learn more about the Oram archive and our various other collections here, or directly get in touch by emailing Special Collections or calling (+44) 020 7717 2295.

Talking Textiles

Dorothy LintonHmong hat

Talking Textiles is a once monthly lunch time get-together for anybody interested in textiles or curious to find out more. A small selection of textiles from the Goldsmiths Textile Collection is available for viewing and discussion at the Constance Howard Gallery. For those keen to be involved further, there is the opportunity to research a chosen textile and to share findings or questions at the following session.

The Goldsmiths Textile Collection includes works by Goldsmiths alumni and other textile artists, collections of teaching samples, ethnographic and historical textiles and dress and print and archival materials relating to textiles. A diverse range of examples is on view at Talking Textiles and over the next few sessions will include a boy’s hat made by the Hmong people of Northern Thailand, an illustrated St. Johns Ambulance bandage from WW1, a felt sculpture by the artist Dorothy Linton and a sample of Victorian beetle wing embroidery.

Dorothy Linton 2Bandage detail

After the viewing, there is a chance to share your own textile projects and chat with other textiles enthusiasts over tea and coffee. The event is open to the public, as well as Goldsmiths students and staff and is an opportunity to foster relationships and share knowledge across disciplines and between different communities interested in textiles.

The next event is at 1 pm on Thursday 13th November.

For more information visit www.gold.ac.uk/textile-collection

beetle wing s 4986

Women of Colour Index Project: Gillian Elinor Donation

Profile of Rita Keegan

Profile of Rita Keegan

We are extremely excited and pleased to announce the commencement of the Women of Colour Index Project which has been made possible by the kind donation of Jonathan Rosenhead in the name of Gillian Elinor, a feminist activist and arts educator responsible for Feminist Arts News and contributor and supporter of Women’s Arts Movement, Women  Artists Slide Library (now the Womens Art Library located in Goldsmiths Special Collections) and the Head of Art and Design at UEL.

This is a 12 month project focused upon a collection within the Women’s Art Library charting the emergence of Black Women’s art in the UK during the ‘Critical Decades’ of the 1980s and 1990s. The collection comprises ephemera, press cuttings, exhibition catalogues and slides of individual artworks and installations. The project will create archival records of the material to be widely shared online through our own Archive databases and Archives Hub. In addition the collective X Marks The Spot in collaboration with original coordinator Rita Keegan will explore new connections and themes that have emerged in the subsequent years and relaunch the Women of Colour Index. The final phase will be an event celebrating the Women of Colour Index Project and The Gillian Elinor Donation.

Regular updates on the project will be available through the Library blog, for more information please contact Althea Greenan a.greenan@gold.ac.uk

Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace Day: Celebrating the achievements of women in science, technology engineering and maths.

Lovelace_creative_commons_image

Augusta Ada King,

Countess of Lovelace (10 December 1815 – 27 November 1852)

English mathematician and writer, and collaborator on Charles Babbage’s early mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine.

Ada Lovelace Day this year will be held on Tuesday 14 October. Over the coming year, FindingAda.com will develop into a resource for women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), as well as for parents, teachers and lecturers who care about encouraging girls and young women to enter the STEM disciplines.

For more information on FindingAda and Ada Lovelace:

Web: http://findingada.com/

Twitter: @FindingAda

Facebook: FindingAda

Interested in learning more about women in STEM ?

Have a look at our reading list of books and special collections in the Library:

Material on Ada Lovelace

Conceving Ada

Leeson, Lynn Hersman. (1997)

(DVD Collection) 791.43737

Ada Byron Lovelace: To Dream Tomorrow

Arnholtz , C Frances, Fuegi, J. (2003)

(DVD Helpdesk Collection) A34

Documenta (13): Ada Lovelace

Krysa, Joasia. (2011)

(Special Collections) SCP 709.051 DOC/LOV

Ada a Life and a Legacy

Stein, Dorothy. (1987)

510.92 STE

The Bride of Science

Woolley, Benjamin. (1999)

510.92 WOO

Francis, J Fuegi J. 2003 Lovelace and Babbage and the Creation of the 1843 ‘Notes’ IEEE Computer Society Washington DC

Charles Babbage Pioneer of the computer

Hyman, Anthony. (1982)

510.92 HYM

Material on Daphne Oram

The Daphne Oram Archive

Please refer to http://www.gold.ac.uk/library/collections/special-collections/ or come a speak to a member of staff in the Special Collections and Archives office.

An individual note : of music, sound and electronics

Oram, Daphne (1972)

(Special Collections) 789.9 ORA

The Woman from New Atlantis (Article)

Wilson, Dan. The Wire Magazine London (No. 330, Aug 2011)

780.5 Periodicals

Daphne Oram

(Special Collections) Women’s Art Library Artist File

The Daphne Oram Tapes, Vol. 1

Oram, Daphne (2012)

CD 7838

Oramics / Daphne Oram.

Oram, Daphne (2007)

CD 6052-53

Four aspects / Daphne Oram.

Oram, Daphne. 2003.

CD 5011-12

Not necessarily “English music” : a collection of experimental music from Great Britain, 1960-1977.

Leonardo music journal (Vol 11, 2001) CD 7457

An anthology of noise and electronic music : second a-chronology, 1936-2003.

Sub Rosa (2003)

CD 5011-12

Women in Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Technology

Women Composers and Music technology in the United States

Hinkle-Turner, Elizabeth. (2006)

Ashgate Aldershot

780.973082 HIN

Women of Mathematics: A Bibliographic Sourcebook

Campbell, P Grinstein, L. (1987)

Greenwood Press Inc. Westport

510.92 WOM

Women in Science, Engineering and Technology: Three Decades of UK Initiatives

Alison Phipps (2008)

Trentham Books Ltd

331.4815 PHI

Women in Science: A Social and Cultural History

Ruth Watts (2007)

Routledge 509.2 WAT

Cyberfeminism and Artificial Life

Kember, Sarah. (2003)

Routledge London

113.8 KEM

Complexities: Women in Mathematics

Anne M. Leggett (2005)

Princeton University Press

510.92 COM

Scientists Anonymous: Great Stories of Women in Science

Patricia Fara (2007)

Wizard Books

(School Practice Collection) 509.2 FAR

Feminism and Science (Oxford Readings in Feminism)

Evelyn Fox Keller (Editor), Helen E. Longino (1996)

OUP Oxford

Nobel Prize Women in Science: Their Lives, Struggles, and Momentous Discoveries

Sharon Bertsch McGrayne (2001)

Henry (Joseph) Press

Margaret Alic 2001 Hypatia’s Heritage: A History of Women in Science from Antiquity to the Late Nineteenth Century The Women’s Press Ltd

H. Patricia Hynes 1990 Reconstructing Babylon: Essays On Women And Technology. Earthscan Publications Ltd

Portrait of Ada Lovelace is courtesy of Creative Commons