The Women's Art Library

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About The Women's Art Library Collection

The Women's Art Library began as the Women Artists Slide Library, an artists' initiative that developed into an arts organization publishing catalogues and books as well as a magazine from early 1983 to 2002. WAL collected slides, ephemera and other art documentation from artists and actively documented exhibitions and historical collections to offer a 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 and Archives, 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 digital media. We welcome donations from women artists to help us develop this collection which contributes to the curriculum and programming that facilitates new research and art projects, notably through the Women’s Art Library/Feminist Review Art in the Archive Bursary. Any donations should be accompanied by forms you can download from Artists' Documentation.

The Women's Art Library is located in the Library's Special Collections and Archives on the ground floor. The SCA study space has audiovisual equipment for group use, a photocopier and a sliding table. Independent researchers as well as students and staff are welcome to consult the collection. The Women's Art Library leaflet (PDF) The collection is catalogued in the Library catalogue and the Archive and Textile Catalogue.

Please phone Special Collections 020 7717 2295 or email special.collections (@gold.ac.uk) to make an appointment or visit for further information about access and related collections.

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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.

Download the WAL app.

For more information about this project visit the How to Make an Archive Travel blog.

Twitter: @archivetravels

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)