Friday, 24 October 2014

Did you miss it? Listen to the audio recordings of our October 2014 Research Network Meeting

Librarian Nick Brown with Helen Couchman, Caroline Bressey, Emma Chambers & Gemma Romain 
The audio recordings of the presentations are at the bottom of the page - no need to download

Many thanks to our presenters for their stimulating talks, and to the audience for a lively discussion. Dr.Caroline Bressey and Dr.Gemma Romain of the Equiano Centre were joined by Tate Britain curator Emma Chambers to talk about their research for the Tate Britain display 'Spaces of Black Modernism'. The artworks were selected to reveal that the artistic community in Britain during the inter-war years included artists and models from diverse ethnic backgrounds. It was revealing to hear how these artists played an active and influential role in the art scene of the time, particularly in London. The curators have brought to light the trans-national exchange between artists of the pre-war era. It was fascinating to see the artworks, don't miss the display!

Caroline Bressey will also give a talk at Autograph, Rivington Place on 28 October.

Caroline Bressey

Helen Couchman

Artist Helen Couchman described her project and book 'Workers'- photographs of Chinese labourers at the Beijing Olympic site. These migrant workers often spend years many miles away from home. Helen spoke about the nature of the exchange between herself as the photographer and the labourers. She gave each one a high-quality print of the photograph, which many workers sent back to their families. The photographs enabled them to express a pride in what they had constructed. Helen then talked about her other book ' Mrs.West's Hats'; a photo-essay in self-portraiture and identity. A series of photographs show Helen trying on her late grandmother's many hats. The photographs capture her expression at the instant she saw herself in a mirror. The series elicits responses about family, memory and sense of self. Visit Helen's website to see her photographs.

Many interesting connections between the two presentations emerged over the course of the evening including; identity, portraiture, ways of connecting with the past and with others.

The audio recordings of the event are available below.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Stuart Hall Library Call for Volunteers

Dear Library users and friends, 
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 which may include:
  • Indexing and abstracting
  • Journals maintenance
  • Basic catalogue work
  • Collection care
  • Archive listing
There will also be a range of other tasks, some of which are quite mundane and some more interesting. Professional library qualifications are not essential, but knowledge of how to use a library and search catalogues is required. We can provide training in library and information work, research skills and related areas. You will need to be available approximately one day per week for at least two months.

Lunch and travel expenses up to £10 per day will be reimbursed. Please email a CV and covering letter to Nick Brown, Library Manager, explaining why you would like to volunteer at the Stuart Hall Library. 

Best wishes from the library team at Iniva
Stuart Hall Library, Iniva, Rivington Place, EC2A 3BA

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Listen to Clothes Cloth & Culture talks by Sue Jones & Michael McMillan

If you missed the event 'Saga Bwoys and Bedouin Women’on 25 September; audio recordings of the speakers are available at the bottom of this post. The photographs are of the 'conversational artefacts' chosen by the speakers. The cardigan and embroidery are now on display in the library with accompanying texts by Sue and Michael.

Michael McMillan - Garbicci cardigan or ‘yardie cardie' 

Sue Jones - embroidery by her mother

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Join us for our October Research Network Meeting 16 October 2014 at 6:30pm

Presentations by Dr. Caroline Bressey and Dr. Gemma Romain on the Tate display 'Spaces of Black Modernism' and artist Helen Couchman on her photographic practice followed by an informal question and answer session.

Eventbrite - Stuart Hall Library's Research Network

Artist Helen Couchman will be talking about her first two books, 'WORKERS (Gong Ren)' and 'Mrs. West's Hats'. She will present the books and describe how her surroundings prompted each project. WORKERS her first book is a portrait of Chinese migrant workers building the Olympic Stadiums in Beijing in 2007/08. Her second book "Mrs. West's Hats is a memorial piece about her late grandmother. The projects explore themes of repetition, participation, portraiture, self-portraiture and the role of photography as a record and a celebration.

Further information can be found at

Helen Couchman moved to London to study first a BA and then an MA in Fine Art. More recently she was invited to do a period of PhD research into her own practice ending in 2012.Couchman lived in China for nearly seven years and during her time there exhibited in Hong Kong and numerous times in Beijing as well as back in the UK and in New York. Previously she had often produced new bodies of work while working abroad, Cyprus (2003), Armenia (2004), Vermont (2005) and China (2006). She worked in New York City on new work relating to that city and Beijing (2012/2013).
Couchman will be artist in residence at The Asia Society and is planning an exhibition at CFCCA, Manchester both in 2015. She is currently based out of the UK and working in Oman on her third book.


Dr. Caroline Bressey and Dr. Gemma Romain will present on their research and curation with Tate Britain of the current display ‘BP Spotlight: Spaces of Black Modernism: London 1919-39'. The display brings together artworks which demonstrate the trans-national exchange between artists from diverse ethnic backgrounds during the inter-war years. The artworks were selected from the Tate Collection and public and private collections. Between the wars, a cosmopolitan network of artists exchanged ideas in London's art colleges, studios and clubs. They were instrumental in shaping the cultural and political identity of the city.
Caroline and Gemma are researchers at the Equiano Centre at University College London. The Centre was founded to support research into the Black Presence in Britain. Spaces of Black Modernism builds on research from the Drawing Over the Colour Line project.

Dr. Caroline Bressey is a lecturer in the Department of Geography, UCL. Her research focuses upon recovering the historical geographies of the black community in Victorian Britain, especially London. Parallel to this are her interests in ideas of race, racism, early anti-racist theory and identity in Victorian society. A large part of her research uses photography and this interest led her to collaborate with the National Portrait Gallery, London, on the representation of black and Asian people in their collections. She has worked as a curator with the National Portrait Gallery and Museum in Docklands.

Dr. Gemma Romain is a historian who researches Caribbean and Black diasporic history. Research Associate for the AHRC funded project ‘Drawing over the Colour Line'.
Vera Douie Fellow at the Women's Library, documenting interwar Black histories within the collections. Leverhulme Early Career fellowship at Newcastle University, project entitled 'Negotiating Slavery and Freedom: petitioning and protest in the nineteenth century British Caribbean'. She has worked for various museums and archives including The National Archives UK and the National Maritime Museum. She has taught at Birkbeck College, University of London on the subject of Black hidden histories in museum and archival collections.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Podcasts from 'The Subversive Stitch Revisited: the Politics of Cloth'

Hey Paul Studios, Uterus Embroidery (CC BY 2.0)

Members of our Clothes Cloth and Culture Group will be excited to see that Goldsmiths have made available audio recordings of the speakers at The Subversive Stitch Revisited: the Politics of Cloth event as podcasts on their website.

Amongst the other recordings, you will be able to listen to the presentation by Dr. Christine Checinska, the Second Stuart Hall Library Animateur. Christine was a speaker at the Goldsmiths event which was held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in November 2013. Her presentation was entitled Second Skins: cloth, difference and the art of transformation. Both Christine and Iniva contributed to the planning of the event.

The event was dedicated to the memory of  Rozsika Parker, the author of  The Subversive Stitch: embroidery and the making of the feminine (1984). The keynote speaker was Professor  Griselda Pollock, who collaborated work with Parker during the 1980s to produce key feminist art texts.