WOCI Reading Group
WOCI (Women of Colour Index) Reading Group is currently organised and facilitated by co-founder, director: Samia Malik and co-assistant Alaa Kassim. WOCI is a collection of slides and papers collated by artist Rita Keegan Indexing Women of Colour artists during 1980’s and 1990’s. Reading Group sessions aim to improve the visibility of women of colour artists whilst using material in the archive to generate discussions, thoughts around practices of: anti racism, anti colonisation and political justice. All people of all backgrounds, genders, sexualities, religions and race are welcome.
In October 2016, WOCI Reading Group was co-founded by artists: Samia Malik, Michelle Williams Gamaker and Rehana Zaman. In 2015 Samia started working with WOCI at WAL (Women’s Art Library) at Goldsmiths University, that raised urgent, paramount questions about institutional censorship of the Index and women of colour artists, between 2015 – 2016 these issues were explored by Samia as an artist and curator. Leading up to proposal by Samia to instigate WOCI Reading Group inviting Michelle Williams Gamaker and Rehana Zaman co-facilitate monthly sessions at WAL. Reading Group’s initial aims were to make Black and Asian art history part of art educational curriculum; aiming to make WOCI histories visible to students and public.
Timeline of past reading groups
Since October 2016, reading group has met monthly starting off at WAL and then running sessions in various other art institutions please visit link to see WOCI Reading Group sessions timeline between 2016 – 2018: https://wocireadinggroup.wordpress.com/timeline-of-past-reading-groups/
WOCI Reading Group would like to acknowledge credit to the work of Black and Asian women of colour artists and cultural practitioners who precede us, work alongside us and who, through their projects, art works and activities, have been influential to the critical practice and feminist politics of the reading group. Foremost amongst these is Rita Keegan, artist, lecturer and archivist, whose meticulous work compiling fragments and documents that detail the diverse practices of various women of colour artists, makes up the Index. We are acutely aware of the significance of the works and practices that are made visible within the archive as well as those that remain hidden – experiences and ideas that have been relegated to the past yet remain relevant to our present times. We hope by engaging with these works we are able to activate and improve the visibility of archive and women of colour art histories.
We would also like to credit: 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. The residency was made possible by an endowment made on behalf of the feminist art historian and activist Gillian Elinor to the Women’s Art Library. Human Endeavour functions as ‘a creative finding aid’ for the Index bringing together a rich collection of interviews and responses that contextualise the archive whilst speaking to the present. The publication launched in October 2015 with the exhibition Show and Tell in the Special Collections and Archives at Goldsmiths University. Human Endeavour is a critical reference point for the activities of the WOCI Reading Group, which formed shortly after the event Celebrating the Women of Colour Index in conversation with Rita Keegan at The Showroom gallery in May 2016.
We would like to thank Althea Greenan whose tireless care and support of the WOCI Reading Group has helped motivate our continued work with the archive.
Women’s Art Library
WOCI is located at: The Women’s Art Library (MAKE) is located in the Library’s Special Collections Suite on the ground floor at Goldsmiths University, Rutherford Building, Goldsmiths Library, 8 Lewisham Way, London SE14 6PP.
Facebook: WOCI Reading Group