Winners of the 2023 WAL/Feminist Review Art in the Archive Bursary

The Women’s Art Library and Feminist Review are pleased to announce that Sophie Chapman has been awarded the 2023 WAL/Feminist Review Art in the Archive Bursary. In addition, the Women’s Art Library and Feminist Review also awarded 3 short-listed projects with a grant of £300 each to encourage further development. The short-listed projects are by Davinia-Ann Robinson, Emma Gomis and Esmeralda Valencia Lindström.

This year’s theme, A Slow Return, highlighted the value of contemplation and being amongst objects within the archive. The winning project by Sophie Chapman is titled SLUG. She says:

‘I need slowness. I want to go slow and low, like a slug – taking in what it comes across as it comes across it.’  

‘I want to rethink my relationship to time. I want to rethink my relationship to productivity. I want to allow the lessons of slowness from the lockdowns to resurface in my body. I want to give things room. I want to let myself fully absorb them. I think we need to.’

Chapman plans to take a meandering approach to the archive looking at the practices of others who traversed disciplines and roles, and held back the tides for their communities too. She will create a reflective text, with drawings in response by Sophie Mallett and poetic image descriptions by Bella Milroy to be published in the Feminist Review.

A page of a notebook is covered with hand-written script reading: "Slug Meditations - the rushing song. SLOW DOWN SLOW DOWN AND SAVOUR SLOW DOWN SLOW DOWN AND SAVOUR 'To be slow, low, shiny and curious'"
Score for “the rushing song”, f*choir, led by Jenny Moore.
Sophie Chapman describes how “In my queer, feminist choir f*choir (led by Jenny Moore), we often start rehearsals by singing the rushing song. I’ve started singing it to groups I’m facilitating too, to remind us to slow down. On residency at the Women’s Art Library I’ll be singing it to myself at the start of each day as a kind of slug meditation. To go (as my old collaborator Kerri Jefferis once said) “slow, low, slimy and curious” like a slug.”

Chapman is an artist that values interdisciplinarity, collaboration and experimentation. She makes films, texts, drawing and performance, and also runs a queer work-in-progress sharing night called “MINCE” in south London. Alongside being an artist Chapman has worked in the arts for 10 years as a facilitator, educator, organiser, support worker and curator. Through this bursary she’s currently questioning where choice ends and surviving capitalism begins…

Short-listed Projects
In response to the high quality of submissions to The Slow Return, the Women’s Art Library and Feminist Review awarded 3 short-listed projects with a grant of £300 to encourage further development. The projects are:

‘Embodied Practices of Stillness’ proposed by Davinia-Ann Robinson

Robinson is a London-based interdisciplinary artist of Jamaican descent. Her practice and research are explored through sound installations, sculpture, writing and performance, and she examines how tactility, presencing and fugitivity contribute to the dismantling of colonial and imperial systems of extractions through which nature and the bodies of black, brown, and indigenous people are expressed within colonialism.

‘Attention to Detail: Metonymic Reading in the Archive’ proposed by Emma Gomis

Gomis is an essayist, poet, editor, and translator of Catalan-American descent. Through her co-founded publication ‘manifold press’, she publishes texts and experimental criticism; her work incorporates video, theory and collaborative works within several archives.

‘A Wet Archive’ proposed by Esmeralda Valencia Lindström

Lindström, a multidisciplinary artist and researcher, takes focus on the biological phenomenon of dry rot and the cohabitation that exists between humans and non-humans within institutional spaces. Through her practice of bacterial cultivation, Lindström rethinks the relationship between art, decay and the idea of a human-centred research environment.

An exhibition showcasing A Wet Archive is in production for autumn 2023 at the Women’s Art Library and Buchi Emecheta Space in Goldsmiths Library.