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Re reading the Library

Re reading the Library was a series of workshops and discussions with artists Katy Bentham, Tess Denman-Cleaver, Emily Hesse, Fiona Larkin, Nellie Saunby and Holly Argent between August and October 2019.

During a series of gatherings, we used written instructions and activities to navigate the library material. Selected items prompted discussion about memories (remembered and imagined), some temporary categories emerged and priorities suggested for how the library might be used.

From these workshops, four reading lists were generated and these now exist as four various ways you might read library. These reading lists and written instructions became the guide for curating the Women Artists of the North East Library at Freelands Foundation Reading Room in October 2019.

Read more about how the project travelled to London on the Art Licks Weekend page

The Reading Lists are available for download here:

About the artists

Katy Bentham is an artist and writer based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Spanning moving image, photography, installation, text and live performance, her work often takes the starting point of drawing together seemingly disparate subject matter – from pop culture, history or wider society – as a means of illuminating ideas around socio-economic structures, technology and the personal. A Donna Summer record may collide with a BBC art documentary, Mackintosh furniture provide the backdrop to an ABBA karaoke session. In 2018 she co-edited Eros in Blue with Sophie Soobramanien, a collection of new writing from the Northeast on the ‘expanded erotic’ and love as art practice, printed in collaboration with Foundation Press in Sunderland. She is a studio holder with The NewBridge Project and a current member of the LUX Critical Forum at Tyneside Cinema.

Tess Denman-Cleaver is an artist whose work spans performance, writing, workshops and installation. She is currently Artist in Residence at the Sonic Arts Research Unit (Oxford) exploring relationships between radio technology, language and sound. Tess was the Artistic Director of Tender Buttons theatre and performance company between 2010-2018 and a programmer for The Northern Charter between 2015-2018.Tess has a PhD on landscape and performance philosophy. She also works as Producer, Artists’ Moving Image at Tyneside Cinema on the Projections programme.

Emily Hesse’s (b.Middlesbrough, 1980) interdisciplinary, often collaborative practice includes the use of performance, drawing, writing, film, photography sculpture and installation to question and aggravate social and political power dynamics through psychogeography, philosophy, regional folk histories, collective action and the use of land and its associated materials as a physical form of protest. Deeply rooted in social structures and the landscape itself, Hesse’s work is born of the space she occupies and utilises aesthetics as a tool for subversion. Hesse takes her own land, marginalised narratives, personal items from her home and family life, the often ugly and unfamiliar materials of historical significance and draws out their political and social mythologies, highlighting unknown content and transforming them into encounters/objects or sites of collective familiarity.

Fiona Larkin is an Irish artist living and working in Newcastle.  She works mainly in photography and moving image which stems from a practice of performance to camera work. She is concerned with ideas of perspective shift, of long looking and the possibility for alongsideness as a productive and creative structure. She recently completed a PhD at Northumbria University.

Nellie Saunby is an artist based in Newcastle upon Tyne and works across sculpture, text, drawing, video and performance. Recently she has shown work at the Newbridge Project (Gateshead), the Northern Charter, Culture Lab and System Gallery (Newcastle upon Tyne). She has also been part of a collaborative performance work shown at Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival, Middlesbrough Art Weekender, G39 (Cardiff) and the Star and Shadow Cinema (Newcastle).

Holly Argent is an artist with a research-based practice often using archives as a starting point. She leads the project Women Artists of the North East Library, existing as an archive and a rolling programme of events. She has presented work in: Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival 2019, Projections at Tyneside Cinema, The Everyday Political at CGP, Art Houses in Whitley Bay, Studio is Sudden: with Giles Bailey and CIRCA Projects, Can I be me? at The Northern Charter. She curated Women Artists of the North East Library at Workplace Gallery in Gateshead and co-curated Where Do We Go From Here? at Ex Libris Gallery. Residencies include Hospitalfield, Arbroath (2019) and the Forshaw Rome residency at The British School at Rome (2017).