Join WOCI in exploring, activating and indexing representations of cultural identity within the Panchayat Special Collection at Tate


Join the WOCI Reading Group in exploring, activating and indexing representations of cultural identity within the Panchayat Special Collection at Tate, Session 2

Full address: Tate Britain, Library & Archive Reading Rooms, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG

Event Date: Friday 25th May 2018

Time: 10.30am – 1.00pm

In these collaborative monthly research sessions at Tate, the WOCI Reading Group will draw upon the Panchayat Special Collection during its anniversary year; collectively exploring and highlighting the unique material within this vital collection of rare publications and exhibition ephemera from the 1980s.

Workshop reading text:

‘The need’*

There is an urgent need, and there is an increasing demand from teachers, for resources which expose and challenge racist and sexist ideas. The world view reflected through school currucula is rooted in Britain’s colonial past and its global economic interests today. It is this perspective that underpins racism, sexism and class inequality. If teaching is to be truly educational we must provide learning materials which question this blinkered picture of society.’

Association for Curriculum Development, working against anti-racist education since 1982.

* photocopies of the extended version of this text will be available during the session.

About the Panchayat Special Collection

Panchayat was co-founded by Shaheen Merali and Allan de Souza in 1988, after consultation with artists Bhajan Hunjan, Symrath Patti, and Shanti Thomas. Panchayat was first organised by its co-founders as a project based arts organisation whose focus was to create an archive of works by contemporary artists who produced issue-based work, often in relation to developing and addressing plurality in multicultural environments. As Panchayat developed it was involved in publishing, curating exhibitions, programming conferences, and workshops.

The Panchayat Collection consists of documentation and reference library material relating to the cultural activities and activism predominantly in Britain, mainland Europe, North America and SE Asia between the 1980s and 2003. The Panchayat archive’s collecting strategy focused on the growing interactions within a globalising artworld of Black and Asian artists, as well documenting their commitment to the intersection between race, class, gender, policed sexualities, and (dis)ability. Dr Janice Cheddie and Shaheen Merali were keepers of the Panchayat Archive at the University of Westminster 2002 -2015 and remain central to its future development.

In May 2015 the contents of the collection were donated to the Tate Library as part of its Special Collection and since then has attracted researchers from both the arts and the humanities, including newer audiences that are interested in diasporic connections, Black and Asian British artists 1988- 2003, curatorial practices that emerged in the late eighties and in the role of women of colour in the visual arts and education.

All people of all backgrounds, genders, sexualities, religions and race are welcome.

About the WOCI Reading Group

The Women of Colour Index (WOCI) Reading Group was set up in October 2016 by artists, Samia Malik, Michelle Williams Gamaker and Rehana Zaman. The WOCI Reading Group aims to improve visibility for women of colour artists whilst using archive material to generate discussion and practice around current social and political concerns. Previous sessions have focused on seminal exhibitions such as Testimony: Three Black Women Photographers (1986) and The Image Employed: the Use of Narrative in Black art (1987), and artists such as Zarina Bhimji, Martina Attile, Jagjit Chuhan, Sharon Curtis, Nina Edge, Maxine Walker, Sutapa Biswas, Sonia Boyce and Chila Kumari Burman.

WOCI Reading Group follow keenly in the footsteps of Rita Keegan who compiled the Index and Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski, Lauren Craig, Mystique Holloway, Gina Nembhard and Zhi Holloway, who as the formidable art and art research collective X Marks the Spot (XMTS), took WOCI as the focus for their residency at the Women’s Art Library in 2012 culminating in the publication Human Endeavour.

To book tickets please visit Tate Webpage:




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