Past Events

Framing a Slide Registry: the Origins of the Women Artist’s Slide Library

Research Lunch – Lily Evans-Hill

  • 16 June 2023
  • 1:00 – 2:00 pm
  • Paul Mellon Centre

This paper will trace the history of the Women Artist’s Slide Library (WASL), a slide registry founded to document and discover a history of women’s artistic practice in the UK. The paper will trace the history of the slide library alongside the intense feminist artistic activity in the UK during the 1970s. It will frame this history through the use of slides within this feminist activity and think of the slide as an object of feminist exchange. To do this, I will look at study groups and public slide shows to frame the desire for a centralised slide collection that resulted in the WASL. Case studies of slides being used for feminist exchange, such as in the meetings of the Women’s Workshop of the Artists Union in 1972, a slide presentation by Kate Walker of A Woman’s Place, a 1974 exhibition in a squatted house in South London, and a slide show as part of the Hayward Annual II in 1978, will give examples of slide uses across women’s art practices and organising during the 1970s. It will also introduce examples of slide registries founded by feminist artists in the US that could have acted as influential models for the UK.

The paper will present these activities, both in the UK and US, as important examples of the use of slides within feminist organising practices that formed out of the small group consciousness-raising methods gleaned from the Women’s Liberation Movement, such as the workshop structure, study groups, both small and public, and network making. I will propose that slide registries and slide shows are crucial sites to think about the formation of new spaces and formats through which women’s art and art influenced by feminism took place, leading to foundational networks and groups that developed into and alongside important exhibitions and cooperative spaces of British feminist art history. In this way, I will frame WASL as an integral project of the feminist art movement in the UK.

Listing image caption: Courtesy of the Women's Art Library, Special Collections, Goldsmiths University of London

About the speaker

  • Square Lily Evans-Hill

    Lily Evans-Hill is a doctoral researcher in art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Her work considers the history of feminist collective practices and the women’s liberation movement (WLM) in the UK. She is a member of the Feminist Library collective and currently works alongside the working group of Cinenova, a feminist film distributor. In 2022, she was Pre-doctoral Fellow at the Archives of American Art where her research focused on the history of women’s art registries in the US. Her research is funded by CHASE/AHRC.