Women of Colour Index (WOCI) Reading Group
Women of Colour Index (WOCI) Reading Group
Intercultural and Intersectional Skills Training for Practice Research in the Arts
In 2016 Artists Samia Malik, Michelle Williams Gamaker and Rehana Zaman co-founded the Women of Colour Index Reading Group an extensive resource collated by artist Rita Keegan, based at the Women’s Art Library, Goldsmiths College. On the basis of our research we aim to delve deeper into this rich legacy of artist’s of colour to develop the skills of art practitioners and researchers today. The focus here is on responding to the legacy of women artists of colour to improve the visibility of these artists and also to create a self-reflexive space for researchers to acknowledge their own relationships to race, class, gender and sexuality.
The conditions of how we relate to these subject positions and how these complex positions shape how we are read as cultural contributors within institutions, impact upon our ability to research within our respective institutions and beyond.
The aim of the training sessions is to create a forum for discussing this openly and through critical frameworks, which is key to our research strategy. We strongly encourage individuals from all backgrounds, genders, religions, sexualities and races to engage with our research and hope that we have a strongly interdisciplinary and intergenerational mix of researchers to add complexity to our conversations. We hope the connections formed through our conversations with CHASE researchers beyond Goldsmiths will develop long-term collaborations and contributions to the field.
Please register for the sessions below
Archive – Wednesday 1st November 2017
Time: 16.45 for a 17.00 start - Please meet outside the Women's Library and await entry, a day pass will be issued in order to access the room.
Location: Women’s Art Library, Special Collections Suite (room G28) Ground Floor of the Library, Rutherford Building, Goldsmiths College - directions here
Session Facilitator: Rita Keegan
What does the archive offer? To whom is it addressed? Does the positioning of information as something from the past offer accessible material for addressing concerns of the present? How can the archive speak to researchers today? Can the archive move from something “static” to a more fluid, i.e. as a “living” source of knowledge transfer? How do we understand our role as researchers through the practice of mining archives, and how does this raise the question of ethics and our responsibility to the content we find?
This session will be facilitated by Rita Keegan, artist, lecturer and archivist, whose meticulous work compiling fragments and documents that detail the diverse practices of various women of colour artists, makes up the Index.
Embracing the Past to Reinvent our Futures – January 2018
Session Facilitator: TBC
This will be an experimental session on embracing research techniques selected from a number of artists from the Women of Colour Index, to specifically utilise their practice-based research methods. This may involve asking workshop participants to actively adopt the social-political tools for production that the women artists of colour from the Index have used in their artistic practice. We will also experiment with more general, qualitative and quantitative methods from across the arts and sciences to see how these can inform a method drawn specifically from practice. (For example, this may include community-based engagement, poetry, performance, writing, and photographic techniques, including audiovisual forms of documentation). We wish to encourage critical discussion about the work of women artists of colour, the conditions of production and the limited platforms for dissemination of their research, both historically and today. We will also spend time discussing the emotional consequences of making work from marginalised positions within institutions to approach a more constructive, intercultural and intersectional methodology for researchers seeking to re-invent their futures within these spaces.
Translation: Silence and Invisibility – can the archive speak – March 2018
Location: Women’s Art Library, Special Collections Suite (room G28) Ground Floor of the Library, Rutherford Building, Goldsmiths College
Session Facilitator: Ego Ahaiwe
This session will look at what constitutes an archive and the power it holds in shaping our conception of the legacy of an artist/researcher. We will focus on the role of documentation, which is arguably, one of the most important practice research skills. If documentation is utilised with care and rigour, we can map out a more nuanced understanding of the legacy of a practitioner. In asking ‘Can the archive speak?’ we acknowledge that the practices of women artists of colour consigned (or confined) to the archive often becomes an institutional straight-jacket and far from helping an artist’s research to be seen, can make practice appear silenced and invisible. We will look at all forms of documentation, considering writing, drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, performance, photography, audio visual documentation and consider how this is embodied through documentation and how this feeds into the fact and fiction of an artist’s narrative. The focus of the session will explore how we translate what we find in archives.
Propagation as Propaganda – May 2018
Session Facilitator: TBC
The dissemination of practice-based research outcomes may take many forms. During the past academic year we have actively tried to bring WOCI into a number of research contexts from libraries, galleries and museums. Our goal is to work not only with WOCI at Goldsmiths, but to also develop conversations with other archives where overlaps in content and agenda can be found. This will include the Panchayat Collection (Tate Britain) and arts commissioning organisation Pavilion, in Leeds. Following on from our last session, we want to find more radical ways of disseminating the cultural production of women artists of colour. Our argument is that we need to propagate several forms of artistic research (through exhibitions, performance, books, video, web-based platforms as modes of dissemination) We want to propose this takes a more radical form through ‘propagation as propaganda’, which actively promotes the working practices of female artists of colour to inform the new generation of researchers today. The focus of this session is to pick up the conversations linked to our session on translating archive material and how this differs with propagating content. Vital to this question is what is included and excluded when we disseminate research? How does this feed into the mythologies of artistic practice? How does this help or hinder artistic production and our reputations as cultural producers?
Writing (Retreat) – June 2018
This two-day residential workshop will explore and experiment with different modes of writing for research. We will ask participants to draw upon their own histories of making and position their intercultural subjectivity at the heart of their writing. We will visit Leeds(Pavilion’s feminist photography archive) and Preston’s Making Histories Visible Archive, set up by Professor Lubaina Himid MBE. We will participate in a series of walks in the city centre and its surrounds. Utilising urban, suburban and parkland environments to create a shifting landscape for our conversations and to offer visual stimuli for our writing. We hope that the mobile, physical and fluid nature of our walking-research strategy, will also embody a visible performative manifestation of our practice-based research. As practitioners interested in exploring the histories of women artists of colour, as well as researchers interested in acknowledging our intersectional positions as makers. The writing contributions may form part of a publication we wish to develop as a result of the ocnversations from the CDF training scheme.