Join the Women of Colour Index (WOCI) Reading Group in exploring, activating and indexing representations of cultural identity within the Panchayat Special Collection at Tate, Session 4

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Join the Women of Colour Index (WOCI) Reading Group in exploring, activating and indexing representations of cultural identity within the Panchayat Special Collection at Tate, Session 4

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

Event Date: Friday 31st August 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:

‘(A) A perspective emphasising mainly Assimilation

This perspective has four main features:

(i) A belief that race relations in Britain are by and large good, that it is counter-productive to try to improve them too fast, and that problems are only caused by extreme right wing groups.

(ii) A belief that curricula of educational establishments should reflect at all times British traditions, history, customs and culture.

(iii) A belief that ‘children are all children’, and that teachers should pay as little attention as possible to racial and cultural differences amongst their pupils/ students, or to racism in education and society at large – the ‘colour blind’ approach.

(iv) A belief that black people, before they can possibly learn anything else or be integrated into the mainstream of the education system, need to learn to speak and write correct English.’
ILEA, Inner London Educational Authority. Race, Sex and Class, 2. Multi Ethnic Education in Schools, 1983.

* 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.

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.

The reading group meets on a monthly basis to discuss work within the Women of Colour Index (WOCI); a unique collection of slides and papers collated by artist Rita Keegan that chart the emergence of Women of Colour artists during the ‘critical decades’ of the 1980s and 1990s. Reading group sessions aim to improve the visibility of women of colour artists whilst using material in the archive to generate discussion, thought and practice around current social and political concerns. All people of all backgrounds, genders, sexualities, disabilities, religions and race are welcome.

To book tickets please visit Tate Webpage: http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/talk/women-colour-index-reading-group

Full PDF of ILEA, Inner London Educational Authority. Race, Sex and Class, 2. Multi Ethnic Education in Schools, 1983. Race, Sex and Class pp.20-22

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