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Experiments in Art Writing

Podcast – Catherine Grant

  • 14 April 2021
  • The British Art Talks podcast is an audio series from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. In this series art historians and writers describe key literary, poetic, fictional and art materials that have shaped the form of their writing.

Catherine Grant, Senior Lecturer in the Art and Visual Cultures departments at Goldsmiths, talks about some of the most exciting contemporary developments in art writing.

Lively questions of the material form of art studies have re-emerged in recent years: of creative process, of the weight of words and voice and of possibilities of historical speculation. Creative Writing and Art History (2011) edited by Catherine Grant and Patricia Rubin features a range of essays exploring both historical and contemporary modes of creative writing about art. Fictions of Art History (2013) edited by Mark Ledbury, considers the ways in which the discipline of art history, the writing of fiction and the making and viewing of art are comingled. A range of events and sessions have reflected on art history as a literary practice – as ‘fiction with footnotes’, on the mode and potential of ekphrasis, and on diverse practices of ‘art writing’.

This vital activity in the domain of art historiography arises as a range of erstwhile critics and historians are taking leave from established epistemological modes to participate in formal experimentation.

This series hones in on the work of a set of innovative and distinctive UK based art writers, asking them to describe core encounters, materials, voices and texts that have shaped the very form of their writing, and their performance of it, throughout their careers to date.

Works referenced in this episode

Catherine Grant and Kate Random Love, eds., Fandom as Methodology (London: Goldsmiths Press, 2019).

Holly Pester, ‘Voice in My Head Calling for Witchy Methodology’, in Waking the Witch, eds. Matthew Hughes and Una Hamilton Helle (London: Legion Projects, 2019).

Catherine Grant and Althea Greenan, ‘Lost and Found: Feminism, Archives and the University Under Lockdown,’ Goldsmiths Press, 2021, https://www.gold.ac.uk/goldsmiths-press/features/lost-and-found/.

Shola von Reinhold, Lote (London: Jacaranda, 2020).

Carol Mavor, Like a Lake (New York: Fordham University Press, 2020).

Lubaina Himid, ‘Letters to Susan’ Thin Black Line(s) (London: Tate Britain, 2011).

Catherine Grant, ‘A Letter Sent, Waiting To Be Received: Queer Correspondence, Feminism and Black British Art’, in Women: A Cultural Review, vol 30, no. 3 (2019): 297-318.

About the speaker

  • Head and shoulders portrait of woman with curly hair.

    Catherine Grant is Senior Lecturer in the Art and Visual Cultures Departments at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is currently researching the legacies of feminist histories in contemporary art. The project includes the essays Fans of Feminism: Re-writing Histories of Second-wave Feminism (2011) and A Letter Sent, Waiting to be Received: Queer Correspondence, Feminism and Black British Art (2019). She is the co-editor of Fandom as Methodology with Kate Random Love (2019), as well as the collections Girls! Girls! Girls! (2011) and Creative Writing and Art History (2012). She co-edited the questionnaire 'Decolonising Art History’ with Dorothy Price, for Art History, February 2020.