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What is the library?

What is the library? Or what is the library not?

The library is not

a complete history of art in the north east. ran by librarians. the dewey decimal system. connected to an institution. a gatekeeper of knowledge. a members only club. only for those who identify as women or as an artist. a claim on behalf of artists. without purpose. funded. fixed. one interpretation. one historiography. a microhistory. a male genealogy. the library is not resolved. a manifesto. relational aesthetics. an installation. the library does not subscribe to gender essentialism. it is not soley for art practices about women or feminisms.

The library is

an archive. documents. photocopies. a proposition. an open library. archival research. practices of women. women working in the north east of england and other places. local. walks with books. maps. stories. many women. a project born from a question. the question, who is rita?. a reaction. a collection. a re-contextualisation. something to resist categories. fragmentary. a place to read. reading together. thinking with one another. a desire to learn about the regions’ art and cultural history. a history of community projects and investment. and the dissolution of investment. a cultural resource. a researchers’ resource. a resource to find those that came before us and those that continue to make work today. the library is often an invitation. it is no fixed outcome. it is always in a temporary state. always changing. it is speculative. nomadic. problematic. a work-in-progress. on-going. it has aims. project work with contemporary artists. a place to meet artists from the past. a space for meeting each other. a devoted place. conversations. a way of collecting, storing and caring. a thing to organise. a thing to purposefully not organise. self-organised. a public programme. a store. a multiplicity of material. photographs. images. memories, imagined and remembered. documentation. artists with gallery representation. artists without gallery representation. physical. spatial. imaginary. a web of connections. friendships and support networks. relational. challenging. a way of reading and looking. overlooked practices. alternative legacies to those already written into history. a changing agenda.

The Women Artists of the North East library is a project working towards carrying out these activities, processes and ways of working and these are all things it aims to be (and avoid being).

Read more about how the library began on the About page.