The resource began as an artist-led slide library and was developed in order to enhance public knowledge of the practice, impact and achievement of women in visual culture.
The library contains published and unpublished written documentation, photographs, posters and videos in addition to a substantial slide collection and artists' files on contemporary and historical women artists. The artists' files contain paper documentation, photographs and slides, postcards, photographs, press cuttings and ephemera, with much of the material donated by women artists. Early feminist art journals held include Feminist Artists Newsletter (UK), Heresies (USA) and Matriart (Canada).
There is also a complete run of the MAKE serial publication titled The Women Artists' Slide Library Newsletter, The Women Artists' Slide Library Journal, Women's Art Magazine and Make, the magazine of women's art.
One of the most important sections of the collection is the Women of Colour Index (1985-1995) which was developed in collaboration with the African-Asian Visual Artists Archive. This includes information on individual Black women artists working in the UK as well as key exhibitions that took place during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Archives of key arts organisations and arts events include the Women's International Art Club (1901-1978) and the International Festival of Women Artists (Copenhagen 1980, Nairobi 1985) as well as important individuals such as Dame Laura Knight (1877-1970), Pauline Boty (1938-1966) and Jo Spence (1934-1992).
Search the collection
These two links enable online searching in the Women’s Art Library collection. The collection is constantly accessioning new material, so please contact the curator if you do not find what you need.
- Women’s Art Library Archive Catalogue
- Women’s Art Library Items Catalogue (search then select Women's Art Library from the 'Library Collections' menu on the right)