Adventures in the Archives
What is a feminist archival research methodology?
'Adventures in the archives' investigates the relationship we have with archival spaces, by bringing together researchers, archivists and art practitioners for a day of discussion and exploration at the Feminist Library in Southwark. The title of the project is taken from the Raincoats' and the Slits' 1979 song 'Adventures close to home'; we want to think about how archives become, for feminist communities, a home for our collective imagination. The Feminist Library, founded in 1975, has been supporting research, activist and community projects for over 40 years. It is entirely volunteer run, and as is the case with many libraries and community hubs, has been recently threatened with closure and is now due to move to new space in Spring 2018 following a successful campaign to defend it. Engaging with objects in the library's archives, we want to think about the politics of public archival space, and of feminist uses of it; in particular thinking through the way in which we engage collectively and as a community rather than as disconnected individuals.
The project thus rethinks the relationship between individual and collective subjectivity, exploring the relationship between physical objects, bodies and intellectual work. The project asks:
- How do we perform in an archive?
- How is an archive a performative space?
- How can we develop a feminist archival methodology?
We will ask these questions in collaboration with participants, who will select a particular object or artefact as a prompt to start a conversation and/or performance. The output will be documented in an experimental film, directed by Azadeh Fatehrad, and a blog which will also serve as a community hub for those interested in feminist historiography.
The project forms part of Herstoriographies: The Feminist Media Archive Research Network.
This project is a collaboration between King's College London's Department of French and artist and curator Azadeh Fatehrad. It was supported by the university's Culture team. as part of the Early Career Researchers scheme.