A new App launched by the Women’s Art Library at Goldsmiths, University of London, provides a new way to learn about the women artists represented in this unique archive.
Users can read about artists, view their art and hear them ‘in conversation’ - discovering how each artist’s personal journey informed the trajectories of their work.
A ‘participate’ feature on the App allows users to share their own artworks, while spreading awareness of the Women’s Art Library, by creating an ‘artist slide’ and posting it on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram.
The first seven artists featured on the WAL App include Marcia Bennett-Male, Kim Thornton, Caroline Hands, Claire Collison, Angela Edmonds, Kathleen Fox and Freddie Robins. Their work includes sculpture, painting, prints, photography and knitting.
Together, their art represents aspects of the wide diversity in women’s artistic journeys, providing the user with an opportunity to wander through artworks that deliver views into the “unapologetically domestic”, “dark humour”, “survival”, and the “unconscious”. Though perhaps most works unify on one (feminist) point – it’s all political.
The WAL App is part of a project called How to Make an Archive Travel?, which aims to promote the Women’s Art Library while making the politics of women artists – their artworks, journeys and archives – more visible.
The project is led by Dr. Ana-Maria Herman, Research Associate at the Women’s Art Library and Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Invention and Social Process in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths.
Dr. Herman decided to create the WAL App came as she was completing her PhD in Sociology at Goldsmiths.
Dr. Herman explains:
“In 2015 I heard about this amazing archive of artist slides, catalogues, and other materials related to women artists held at the Women’s Art Library at Goldsmiths. I was disappointed that I hadn’t heard about it sooner and, when I looked up its website, I realised little of the archive was available in digital form.
“I thought it would be great to develop an app that could inform Goldsmiths’ students and the wider public about the Library and the women artists represented. I also saw it as an occasion to do research – more precisely, to investigate how (and if) apps can act as feminist interventions in gender politics.
“I pitched this idea to the Women’s Art Library and eventually to the Centre for Invention and Social Process – and was thrilled to have their joint support. The app will promote the Library, women and their artwork, while simultaneously enabling a most interesting ‘digital’ sociological experiment!”
Althea Greenan, Curator at the Women’s Art Library, adds:
“Why is it important to make an archive travel? My role is to ensure the Women’s Art Library is responsive to contemporary women’s practice; I think the archive is healthy when it is challenged. The WAL app is a new approach to digitally archiving artists by working directly with practicing artists as well as their beautiful 35mm slides to bring art documentation to life in the intimate space of a personal mobile device.”
The Women’s Art Library, founded in the early 1980s as a place for women artists from around the world to deposit unique documentation of their work, now represents thousands of artists. It continues to collect slides, artist statements, exhibition ephemera, catalogues, and press material in addition to audio and videotapes, photographs and CD-Roms.
Download the WAL App via iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wal/id1189925919?ls=1&mt=8
Download the WAL App via the App Store https://appsto.re/gb/Fqn7gb.i
Find out more about the project at https://howtomakeanarchivetravel.wordpress.com
Find out more about the Women’s Art Library at http://www.gold.ac.uk/make/