Sunday 26 August 2012

Glasgow Women's Library celebrates its 21st birthday

This press release just in from the brilliant team at the GWL:
In celebration of its 21st anniversary Glasgow Women’s Library will launch an exhibition entitled 21 Revolutions: Two Decades of Changing Minds at Glasgow Women’s Library at the Intermedia Gallery, Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow on 21st September 2012. This exhibition heralds an unprecedented showcasing of women artists’ work in Scotland. Glasgow School of Art currently has a major survey show of the post ‘Glasgow Girls’ generation of women artists (1920- present day) and Paisley Museum and Art Gallery is showcasing the original ‘Girls’ along with a new show by Sharon Thomas that celebrates Scottish female figures of note. Now, Glasgow Women’s Library, the only resource of its kind in Scotland, has commissioned 21 of Scotland’s most exciting women artists to each create new limited edition fine art prints inspired by items and artefacts in its library, archive and museum collections.
These new works draw on sources including campaign badges, knitting patterns, Suffragette memorabilia, album covers, recipe books, feminist newsletters and a myriad of books from the GWL shelves. A selection of these objects will also be displayed in the CCA exhibition along with the prints. Among those exhibiting in ‘21 Revolutions’ are internationally renowned artist Claire Barclay, who has shown work in Tate Britain and represented Scotland in the prestigious Venice Biennale, and two recent Turner Prize nominees, Karla Black and Lucy Skaer. To raise funds to support the Women’s Library’s ongoing work, the exclusively commissioned prints - limited to an edition of only 20 each - will be available to buy from the CCA exhibition and from GWL’s website. As part of the overall ‘Two Decades of Changing Minds’ programme, supported by Creative Scotland and Museums Galleries Scotland, GWL also commissioned 21 high-profile and emerging women writers to create new short stories or poems similarly inspired by its collections.

Authors including Louise Welsh, Liz Lochhead, Denise Mina, Jackie Kay and A. L. Kennedy have produced new texts that will be launched at reading events as part of the Women’s Library’s ongoing Lifelong Learning programme and through a series of downloadable podcasts from September 2012. The importance of GWL’s collection was recognised last year when the Library gained Full Accreditation as a Museum. The sole resource of its kind in Scotland, GWL has amassed a significant collection of historical and contemporary artefacts and archive materials celebrating the lives, histories and achievements of women in Scotland. The collection encompasses rare pieces from the Suffragette movement, 1930s dress making patterns and important newsletters and documents from the Second-Wave Feminist Movement, as well as housing the UK’s National Lesbian archives. GWL also provides a range of innovative lifelong learning programmes supporting thousands of women across Scotland every year, including several dedicated projects targeted at engaging women who feel remote from cultural and learning establishments.

Co-founder of Glasgow Women’s Library, Dr Adele Patrick, who is now the Library’s Lifelong Learning and Creative Development Manager, said,
Throughout its history the Women’s Library has promoted and worked with a range of local, national and international women artists, writers and performers. We are really excited about this 21st anniversary programme, which will celebrate the richness of our collections, while using them as a catalyst for new work from established and up and coming contemporary women artists and writers.
Reflecting on the Library’s history Dr Patrick stated,
It’s changed days since our birth as a grassroots organisation, staffed entirely by volunteers. I well remember a small group of us setting up in a small, freezing space in Garnethill, inspired by the idea of a place dedicated to celebrating the richness of women’s culture in Glasgow and Scotland. The damp, inaccessible conditions weren’t promising and it would be several years before the Library appointed its first employee and several more before it was able to recruit a Librarian thanks to support from Glasgow City Council. Now we have 14 paid members of staff and seven major projects, we have expanded our work right across Scotland and are a fully Accredited Museum. The next step for us is to work towards further accreditation to become Scotland’s recognised and re-named national women’s library, museum and archive. GWL sees this initiative as a major contribution to our Social Enterprise expansion, so that we generate our own income and work towards more financial independence. We are thriving and growing year on year but, in stark contrast, our sister organisation, The Women’s Library in London, is faced with closure due to public sector cuts. As a charity we always need to work hard to attract income from a range of sources – we can never be complacent.
Set up in 1991, GWL opened its first premises in Garnethill, having developed from the broad-based arts organisation, Women in Profile, launched in 1987 to ensure that the representation of women’s culture in Glasgow was visible during the City’s tenure as the European City of Culture in 1990. GWL remains an important legacy for the City from that European City of Culture year.Glasgow Women’s Library is unique in Scotland and the key hub for information on gender and women. GWL’s library and archive collections house the most significant range of feminist and women’s issues related texts in Scotland. It has a collection of materials that link the Suffragette campaigns of the 19th and early 20th century to the explosion of political campaigns and social shifts brought about by Second Wave Feminist activism from the 1970s onwards. Items in the GWL’s collections are wide-ranging encompassing texts, posters, badges, banners, pamphlets and materials that relate to the array of women’s lives and experiences, from radical feminist literature to lesbian ‘Dime’ novels, dressmaking patterns to recipe books.
  • 21 Revolutions: Two Decades of Changing Minds at Glasgow Women’s Library will preview on Friday 21st September 2012 , 6-9pm and will run from Saturday 22 September –Saturday 13 October, open Tuesday to Saturday,11am – 6pm at the Intermedia Gallery, Centre for Contemporary Arts, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3JD.
  • The participating visual artists are Sam Ainsley, Claire Barclay, Ruth Barker, Karla Black, Nicky Bird, Ashley Cook, Delphine Dallison, Kate Davis, Fiona Dean, Helen de Main, Kate Gibson, Ellie Harrison, Elspeth Lamb, Shauna McMullan, Jacki Parry, Ciara Phillips, Lucy Skaer, Corin Sworn, Sharon Thomas, Amanda Thomson, Sarah Wright.
  • The participating writers are Karen Campbell, Anne Donovan, Margaret Elphinstone, Vicki Feaver, Helen Fitzgerald, Muriel Gray, Jen Hadfield, Jackie Kay, A. L. Kennedy, Liz Lochhead, Kirsty Logan, Laura Marney, Heather Middleton, Alison Miller, Denise Mina, Donna Moore, Elizabeth Reeder, Leela Soma, Zoë Strachan, Louise Welsh, Zoë Wicomb.
  • Gallery tours of the ‘21 Revolutions’ exhibition will take place with artists and the GWL Archivists on Saturday 29th September at 2pm and Saturday 6th October at 2pm at the CCA.
  • Readings of work commissioned from the writers will take place on Wednesday 26th September, 6.30pm – 8pm; Wednesday 3rd October, 6.30pm – 8pm; and Saturday 13th October, 4pm – 5.30pm at the CCA. For further information contact: Dr Adele Patrick, Glasgow Women’s Library, 15 Berkeley Street, Glasgow G3 7BW