In this section
About the Collection
The Women's Art Library began as an artists' initiative that developed into an arts organization publishing catalogues and books as well as a magazine from the early 1980s to 2002. The main purpose however was to provide a place for women artists to deposit unique documentation of their work. WAL collected personal files that functioned together as an alternative public space to view and experience women's art. Thousands of artists from around the world are represented in some form in this collection.
As part of Goldsmiths Library Special Collections, the Women's Art Library continues to collect slides, artist statements, exhibition ephemera, catalogues, and press material in addition to audio and videotapes, photographs and CD-Roms. We welcome donations from women artists to help us develop this collection. Please see Artists' Documentation.
The Women's Art Library (MAKE) is located in the Library's Special Collections Suite on the ground floor. The Suite's audiovisual equipment includes integrated projection facilities for group use and a slide table. Independent researchers as well as students and staff are welcome to consult the collection. Proposals for group object-based teaching using items from the collection are also encouraged.
The Women's Art Library is open in term-time Mondays - Fridays 10am - 5pm and until 7pm on Wednesdays. At other times, including summer vacation, please phone Special Collections 020 7717 2295 or email make (@gold.ac.uk) to make an appointment. For more details Go to Visitor Information page
WAL: the Women’s Art Library app
A travelling archive
The WAL App provides information about the Women’s Art Library and features women artists from the Library’s archive – see their art, read about their work and listen to their 'in conversation' audio recordings.
A special 'participate' feature allows you to help bring more attention to the Women’s Art Library – its archive and the WAL App – by making and posting your own 'art slide' on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
The App is part of a project called How to Make an Archive Travel? led by Dr. Ana-Maria Herman and is funded by the Women’s Art Library, Goldsmiths' Research Development Funds (CIG) and Goldsmiths' Public Engagement Grants.
Monica Ross (1950-2013)
The artist Monica Ross has been a key figure from the earliest days of the Women Artists Slide Library. Her groundbreaking collaborations with Kate Walker and Su Richardson in Fenix and Feministo: The Women's Postal Art Event form some of the most consulted documentation in the Women’s Art Library collection. The passionate commitment to feminism that drives this early practice continued to develop into the uncompromising art practice through which she responded to urgent social issues and connected her audience. She went on to embrace the power of performance and this culminated in the monumental Acts of Memory (2008-2013). But before this work, on the 24th of March 2000, Monica performed a script written in response to an invitation to speak on Art, Activism and Feminism in the 1970s. It was at a conference titled “347 Minutes – Live in Your Head: Ideas and Experiment in Britain, 1965–75” that Monica performed ‘history or not’, and the document seen here was especially created by her for the Women's Art Library. At last we reciprocate her tribute to the WASL and commemorate this extraordinary artist.
View the full text (pdf) of 'history or not' by Monica Ross (2000): Full text of 'history or not' (PDF download)