Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Guest blog post: Joshua Hastings, Stuart Hall Library Volunteer

Joshua Hastings

My time spent volunteering at the Stuart Hall Library has been a fantastic experience. I have met so many helpful and supportive people who have aided me in my undergraduate study at the University of Westminster where I have just graduated with first-class honours in BA Contemporary Media Practice.

The opportunity to produce source notes as a guide to the Library’s unique collection based on the theme of ‘Geography, Space and Place’ enabled me to extend my research interests in cultural identity to consider the environments in which identity and cultural understanding are constructed. The importance of this came as such in my last year of study when writing my dissertation and producing my major project in which I explored the history and heritage of Britain in the rural space, and the experience of migration and new settlements from the late 20th Century to the present day. I intend to continue researching the relationship between geography, space and place, and how differing geographic locations produce varied concepts of national, cultural and racial belonging and identification.

With the help of general guidelines, I was able to freely select which material would be included in the guide. I made my selection based upon texts which helped me to understand the subject area as a newcomer, and those which I felt would be useful for others similarly exploring this subject area for the first time. I was stunned at the range of theoretic and artistic engagement in the collection and have included a select few examples ranging from general overviews to in-depth critical theory, stimulating artist works and also engaging panel discussions, each categorised accordingly.

Key themes which came out from researching Geography, Space and Place were to do with the structures of power in mapmaking and the limitations of traditional cartography in representing the world, and also how the experience of displacement and migration have altered how we presently may understand cultural identity. Also raised were questions of belonging, territory and globalisation. Whilst there are no conclusive answers or simple resolutions here, I hope to offer up multiple leads for investigation and plenty of food for thought. 

Joshua Hastings

Stuart Hall Library source notes: Geography, space and place

This guide provides an introduction to resources for exploring and studying Geography, Space and Place. The library’s collection ranges from texts on Human Geography, Urban and Cultural Studies, to audio-visual material, catalogues and ephemera from exhibitions held at Iniva. Library shelfmarks can be found under each title, and keywords are listed under each abstract to indicate a general subject area for each item.The guide aims to be indicative rather than comprehensive.

The following texts introduce key themes and theories in relation to Geography, Space and Place:

Key Thinkers on Space and Place     
ESS KEY                                                                             
Edited by Phil Hubbard and Rob Kitchin
Los Angeles; London: Sage Publications, 2011
A comprehensive introduction to the key themes and thinkers of contemporary geographic and cultural studies, and explores the importance of space and place in social, political, economic life.

Human Geography/ Cultural Studies/ Urban Studies/ Anthropology

Space and Place: Theories of Identity and Location   
ESS SPA                                                  
Edited by Erica Carter, James Donald and Judith Squires
London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1993
A collection of essays citing examples from various locales between 1987 and 1991 to examine the effects of displacement and exile on the cultural production of identity and belonging, and how these experiences have disrupted concepts of place, nationhood, and home.

Cultural Identity/ Displacement and Migration/ History/ Transnationalism

Mapping the Futures: Local Cultures, Global Change          
ESS MAP                                                  
Edited by Jon Bird, Barry Curtis, Tim Putnam, George Robertson and Lisa Tickner
London: Routledge, 1993
A range of in-depth analyses critically examining recent social, political, and economic changes and the implications of globalisation for framing and understanding cultural practice in the future.

Cultural Studies/ Globalisation/ Transnationalism/ Art & Cultural Practice
For Space
Doreen Massey
London: Sage Publications, 2010
Massey reconsiders assumed understanding of space and time, critiquing their political and social impacts on global perceptions of populations and territorial boundaries.

Human Geography/ Globalisation/ Urban Studies

In Place/ Out of Place: Geography, Ideology, Transgression       ESS CRE         
Tim Cresswell
Minneapolis, London: University of Minnesota Press, 1996
Cresswell examines the associations between ideology and geography, and the normalised hegemony of social structures which assume particular behavioural patterns and cultural understanding of people in the spaces they inhabit.

Cultural Studies/ Human Geography/ Power and Authority

Rethinking the Power of Maps                                                      ESS WOO                          
Dennis Wood
New York: The Guildford Press, 1992
An introductory read into the history of mapping and cartography as an organisational tool from the 16th Century to the present day, and also considers “counter-mapping” and “critical cartography” as an undermining process to national institutional authority over mapmaking. The book contains illustrations and examination of the mapping and counter-mapping of Palestine.

Cartographic Studies/ History/ Power and Authority/ War and Conflict

In/Different Spaces: Place and Memory in Visual Culture           ESS BUR                                           
Victor Burgin
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996
The book consults a range of psychoanalytic theories to analyse the role of visual media representation in the physical space and its effects on identity construction and constitution of ‘self’ and ‘other’ in the imagined, interior, psychological space.

Cultural Studies/ Psychoanalysis/ Identity/ Visual Culture

Displacements: Cultural Identities in Question  
Edited by Angelika Bammer
Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994
A collection of texts which explore the continuation of culture when dislocated from its native geographical space through the experience of displacement, colonisation, and migration; the book includes contributions by Homi L. Bhabha, Doreen Massey and Julio Ramos among other cultural theorists.

Cultural Studies/ Diaspora/ Transnationalism/ Postcolonialism/ Displacement; Migration/ Cultural Identity

Terra Infirma: Geography’s Visual Culture                                   ESS ROG                                                  
Irit Rogoff
London: Routledge, 2000
The book analyses the work of international contemporary artists to examine the extent to which geography as a signifying practice can fully represent contemporary experience of migration, ‘inbetweenness’ and belonging.

Cultural Studies/ Art and Cultural Practice/ Geography/ Migration

Rethinking Curating: Art after New Media
Beryl Graham and Sarah Cook
Cambirdge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2010
The book reflects on internationalism in art and curatorial practice, and considers a decentralised networked approach to communities across physical and virtual spaces. 

Art and Cultural Practice/ Globalisation/ New Media

Artist's monographs and exhibition catalogues

A selection of artists and exhibition catalogues addressing issues of Geography, Space, and Place:

Trade Routes: History and Geography: 2nd Johannesburg Biennale 1997             
682.2 BIE 1997
Okwui Enwezor
Johannesburg: Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Council, 1997
The catalogue for the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale 1997 includes illustrations of artists’ works and text from writers and contributors engaged in discussion of globalisation’s history and its cultural produce born from resilience and fusion, displacement and migration.

Globalisation/ History/ Displacement and Migration

Alfredo Jaar: Geography=War                                                       AS JAA                                                  
Richmond, VA; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and Anderson Gallery, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1991
The book features images and text on Alfredo Jarr’s provocative exhibition ‘Geography=War’ in which the artist confronts Eurocentric and divisive representations of the world as geographical truth, and critiques the disparity between industrialised and non-industrialised countries in the world. Catalogued also is the Arnold Peters 1974 map of the world which distinctly and accurately maps territories scaled in relation to their landmass.

Mapping and Cartographic Practice/ Power and Authority/ History/ War and Conflict

Ingrid Pollard: Postcards Home                                                       AS POL                         
London: Autograph, 2004
Pollard’s photographic engagement with geography, space and place addresses cultural identity, national history, and authority, particularly across the imagined marginalising boundaries of the British rural and coastal landscape documented in this book.

Cultural Identity/ Power and Authority/ History

Landscape Trauma: In the Age of Scopophilia                               410.111 AUT LAN                             
Richard Hylton (curator)
London: Autograph, 2001
The book catalogues works by several artists featured in the exhibition of the same title, opening up revised perspectives and views of the world by distorting, disrupting and deconstructing representations of the landscape in response to national and global changes to the geographic, social and economic climate. Contains illustrations of works by; Annabel Howland, Henna Nadeem, Ingrid Pollard, Camila Sposati, S.T.I. Consortium

Visual Culture and Representation/ Globalisation

Whose Map is it? New Mapping by Artists                                     410.111 INI WHO  
Christine Takengny, Teresa Cisneros
London: Institute of International Visual Arts (Iniva), 2010
The exhibition considers the role of mapping in contemporary art and the perspective from which maps have been produced and how they inform our world view. The booklet includes illustrations of artists’ works and texts from several writers.

Mapping and Cartographic Practice/ Power and Authority/ Visual Culture and Representation

Creative Compass: New Commissions by Agnes Poitevin-Navarre and Susan Stockwell
 410.111 RGS CRE
Vandana Petal, Teresa Cisneros
London: Royal Geographic Society
The book features information on a Royal Geographic Society’s initiative in collaboration with INIVA to engage new audiences with Geography as a means to further understanding of the world, its populations and environments. Building upon the Society’s extensive collection of maps and atlases, along with commissioned pieces by artists Agnès Poitevin-Navarre and Susan Stockwell, Creative Compass confronts the challenges that global change presents, explores the history of map making and the role of the map in everyday life, and the exclusion of information in cartographic practice.

Mapping and Cartographic Practice/ Visual Culture and Representation/ Power and Authority

Artists and Maps: Cartography as a Means of Knowing               795 ART                                            
Portland, Oregon: Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art Lewis; Clark College: 2003
This booklet features illustrations of artists’ works shown in the exhibition exploring the metaphoric and narrative components of maps in intersecting fact and fiction into our world view. Commentary by Linda Brady Tesner (Director of the Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art: Lewis; Clark College).

Mapping and Cartographic Practice/ Visual Culture and Representation
ESS DEA                            
Tacita Dean and Jeremy Millar
London: Thames and Hudson
The exhibition catalogue features illustrations from artists in addressing political, historical and social distinctions between concepts of space, place and less familiar non-places.

Urban Studies/ History/ Power and Authority

Audio-visual material

A select of archived recordings exploring Geography, Space and Place held in Stuart Hall Library’s audio-visual collection;

INIVA : ‘Nation’   
(panel discussion)                                                                  
CD 316
London: INIVA, 2009
This audio CD recorded at INIVA features discussion led by Argentine-born Gabriela Salgado exploring concepts of national and transnational identity as a subject for artists and a context for their work, with responses from artists Alexandra Handal and Nada Prija who reflect on their practice and examine to what extent local notions of belonging and rootedness have been redefined by transnationalism in the arts.

Visual Culture and Representation/ Cultural Identity/ Transnationalism

Crossing Boundaries Symposium                                                    CD 320     
London: Royal Geographic Society, INIVA, 2010
The tracked CD documents various panel discussions with geographers and artists on the convergence of humanities and the visual arts by INIVA and the Royal Geographic Society, and considers creative and critical approaches to mapping and cartographic processes, the limitations of traditional cartography, and also the technology used to produce and read maps.
Mapping ; Cartographic Practice/ Visual Culture; Representation/ Technology

Whose Map is it? 
(panel discussion)
CD 327                                                                      
London: INIVA, 2010
The CD contains two sessions, both featuring artists in discussion of their work and engagement with mapping. The first features Colombian, Moroccan and Nigerian artists exhibited in INIVA’s ‘Whose Map is it?’ show who expand on their selected themes concerning migration, land ownership and borders. How these artists have used mapping creatively is then explored by Dr Harriet Hawkins in conversation with Heath Bunting in the second part of this audio CD.
Visual Culture and Representation / Displacement and Migration/ Mapping and Cartographic Practice

Whose Map is it? The Content and Meaning of the Spaces we Encounter
CD 329
London: INIVA, 2010
This CD is a recording of a panel discussion between Paul Goodwin and Alex Vasudevan held during INIVA’s ‘Whose Map is it’ exhibition, focusing on the city space and analysing migrant patterns in urban areas. The panel elaborates on contemporary mapping practices by artists in relation to their research, examining urban development in Lisbon and the history of squatting in Berlin.
Urban Studies/ Visual Culture ; Representation / History/ Displacement ; Migration

Friday, 26 July 2013

Volunteers for Closed Week, 12-14 August 2013

End of Closed Week, 2012

Stuart Hall Library, part of Iniva at Rivington Place, is a special Library focusing on international visual arts.

The Library will be closed for a week in August (12-16) to undertake essential Library housekeeping work, and the Library team are looking for volunteers to help.

This is an opportunity for:

- those with an interest in libraries

- pre-library school applicants to acquire basic Library skills

You will gain valuable insights into how a special Library collection is managed and organised by working on tasks including:

- Shelving

- Journals maintenance

- Basic catalogue work

- Collection care

Professional Library qualifications are not essential, but knowledge of how to use a Library and searching catalogues is required. You will need to be available for three days, from Monday 12 to Wednesday 14 August, 10.30-4.30.

Lunch and travel expenses will be reimbursed.

Please email a CV and covering letter to Sonia Hope, Library Manager explaining why you would like to volunteer at the Stuart Hall Library.

Closing date: Friday 2 August.

Informal meetings to be held week beginning 5 August.

Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) explores key issues in society and politics, creating a platform for artistic experiment, cultural debate and exchange of ideas. We work with artists, curators, creative producters and writers to promote a greater understanding diversity in a rapidly changing world.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Notes from the Stuart Hall Library – 2012_2013: No.7 From: Roshini Kempadoo (Animateur for SH Library) – 8th July 2013.

credit: Karen Roswell
credit: Karen Roswell
The Trouble With Research symposium held for the first time June 27th 2013, acted as a dimension to the SHL Research Network meetings Sonia Hope and I had co-convened and as a culmination of the work by the first SHL Animateur. The day was packed from 12:00 – 6:00, with some 12 contributions by artists, critics and researchers. As with the SHL Research Network our intention was to explore/expose the kinds of research involved for the artist, the scholar undertaking written research; the critic; and the cultural activist. The intention too was to frame the conversation within the context of Stuart Hall’s writings, cultural politics and modes of reflecting, thinking and creating cultural work.

Three elements were important to conceptualising the symposium.
The first was to consider perspective and place. This is to consciously consider our own projects, here in London as a metropolitan centre of Europe, from within the context of the international frame – if only to be reminded of our own perspectives and positions from which we speak. A dialogue between Christopher Cozier - an international artist, curator and cultural activist - and I became the starting point for the symposium. He was able to speak cogently about some of the ‘trouble’ associated with being construed as a Trinidadian/Caribbean artist by curators working internationally. Christopher also presented the importance of thinking beyond and through conceptual frames of identity and self, which also includes the use of technologies as a practice of self-determination, self-articulation and autonomy. 
See Christopher's project In Development
The second element was to consider the context of the present moment as Hall so often reminds us. In other words to consider the contemporary and current neoliberal regime we all work within as cultural producers. ‘Neoliberal ideas’ Hall, Massey and Rustin remind us ‘have sedimented into the western imaginary and become embedded in popular “common sense”’ to include “naturalised” economic theory of the free market; continued corporate ownership of the media; ‘competitive individualism', ‘commercialisation of “identity” and the utopias of self-sufficiency (Hall, Massey, Rustin, 2013, 17 – 19). ‘ To this end our panel Cultural interventions in neoliberal times was concerned with the notion of autonomous thinking, cultural projects, technologies and activism. This included Ashwani Sharma’s proposed concept of subtraction of blackness as integral to his notes for a manifesto associated with futurism and Michael Berrie’s paper Dot-art (.art) detailing ways in which imminent internet domain development will effect us as artists/researchers. 

    credit: Karen Roswell

    And lastly the third element was to consider the production and practice of knowledge as artists and cultural researchers. I/we wanted us to consider research process, art objects and histories as central foundations for cultural knowledge and cultural politics. It is I argue, only through our knowledge of what has gone on before that we might create radical and highly imaginary projects in the present and future. To this end, contributions included Kabe Wilson’s creative storytelling art object that re-frames and re-tells a story 
    embedded with a knowledge and history of the black power movement using Virginia Woolf’s writings; and we heard of Tahera Aziz’s sound installation [re]locate that sonically re-imagined the documentation from the Stephen Lawrence murder and subsequent enquiry. Set within the context of the Stuart Hall Library and Iniva, the contributions continue a legacy of the library, the archive and the building itself as art objects/media that socially intervene and contribute to socially and politically astute knowledge and experience. 

    Kabe Wilson’s 'Olivia N'Gowfri - Of One Woman or So', assembled from Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own and rearranged to write a new novel. Photograph credit: Karen Roswell 

    We ended the day in conversation with Ashwani Sharma and Layal Ftouni – to provide a focus on the continued Arab protest and uprisings and more specifically Lebanon, focusing on ways in which Arab/Middle Eastern artists provided other ways to provoke debate, thought and action. 

    For all those who attended and contributed – A Big Thank You.

    From the feedback and what I saw and heard there is great value in forming a network – a body of people who feel some sense of being, of coming together and exploring each other’s work and perspectives. Most folk ‘felt’ the building and the Stuart Hall Library as the appropriate space – physically and metaphorically to continue to focus on the dialogue and conversations necessary for us. 

    The SHL Animateur role, which now comes to an end, provided an opportune moment to explore and become familiar with contemporary visual work and get a sense of the depth of research entailed in creating, exploring, critiquing and examining current projects. Our thoughts for coming years and the future are to continue the Research Network – beginning again in the autumn.

    To think and act autonomously – independent of political and cultural pressures that conform to an agenda of economics and current politics - and yet collectively sustain and develop new ways of thinking and acting is not easy and requires much effort. I feel confident that we are teaching and reminding ourselves of just what it will take to continue practising as good scholars, artists and critics who have valuable contributions to make to the present and the future.

    Tahera Aziz -

    Christopher Cozier -

    Dark Matter Journal -

    Hall, Massey, Rustin (2013) ‘After neoliberalism: analysing the present’ Soundings, 53, pp. 8-22. See:

    Roshini Kempadoo -

    Tuesday, 2 July 2013

    Late night opening on July 4th until 20:00

    Still taken from Oh Adelaide (2010)© Sonia Boyce, courtesy the artist.

    Sonia Boyce: Scat

    Next Thursday, July 4th, we will be open until 20:00 to celebrate Iniva's current exhibition, Scat: Sound and Collaboration, by Sonia Boyce. Come and visit our section of the exhibition which includes books, films, magazines and other items from Sonia Boyce’s archive.
    Cover girls is a spread of popular magazines with Black British female music artists. There are also articles relating to Sonia Boyce’s long-term archive collection project, Devotional.
    Find books on pop music culture amongst the artists’ books, group exhibition catalogues and critical theory volumes on the Library shelves.
    Films and documentaries will be available to watch with headphones:
    An Audience with Shirley Bassey:  ‘50 minutes of showbiz magic’
    Top of the Pops, 40th Anniversary, 1964-2004
    The Story of Lover’s Rock, Melenik Shabazz’s documentary on British ‘romantic reggae’

    International Zine Month

    We also invite you to celebrate International Zine Month in the Stuart Hall Library. On the evening of July 4th we'll display a selection of some of our favourite zines, so please drop by and have a browse, and feel free to donate your zines! 
    Photo by Sheena Balkwill