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Iniva Moves On

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Image by Carlos Jiménez, 2018.

Dear Friends,

Early October sees Iniva and the Stuart Hall Library move to a new home. The library will be closed for a period before we reopen in a new architect-designed space at 16 John Islip Street, London, at the beginning of next year. The transformation of this space, in a Grade II listed building, will create a world class centre for research into contemporary art and visual culture, with an emphasis on artists of African, Asian and Latin American descent.

Our move marks my third anniversary as Director. It is a landmark on our long journey. Artists helped to set up Iniva in the early 1990s, working with the organisation’s first Chair of Trustees, the revered scholar and activist Professor Stuart Hall. Iniva is needed just as much today. It supports a new generation of artists, curators and scholars who are committed to the rigorous investigation of urgent contemporary issues. We are honoured that Stuart gave our unique specialist collection his name. The Stuart Hall Library and archive, holding over 10,000 volumes and rare archival materials, is a remarkable physical and intellectual space in which to study the visual arts that examines life through the complex lens of race, class and gender.

Our relocation has achieved my ambition to establish the Library as the critical and creative hub of Iniva. It is an invaluable academic and public resource that I am very proud to preserve and to develop further. As many of you will know, I have been re-imagining Iniva for the future, investigating new ways of working with others, and preserving a vital heritage. At John Islip Street, we will be more visible with a street facing presence, and we will remain publicly accessible, open to all. New spaces within the Library will include a dedicated archive area and a reading room. This is particularly exciting as we’ve just won an annual award from the Business Archives Council to catalogue our archive and give it the profile it deserves.

Our new home is on the campus of Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London (UAL). We will remain a totally independent organisation, governed by a board of trustees, and funded as a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England. Our move reflects a long shared history of partnership between UAL and Iniva that includes the publication Recordings (1996) and the research project Black Artists and Modernism, amongst others. Both organisations also share connections through artists, curators and alumni who include Yinka Shonibare MBE RA, Isaac Julien CBE and Professor Sonia Boyce MBE RA, Professor Paul Goodwin, and David A Bailey MBE. In addition, the relocation means we become part of a dynamic visual arts and cultural quarter growing around the Millbank and Vauxhall areas of London.

During the Library’s closure, we will continue our popular events programme – do look out for regular updates including the open call for the 2019 Stuart Hall Library Artist’s Residency. As our annual partnership with The Stuart Hall Foundation, this residency will be the first in our new home.

On the eve of Iniva’s 25th anniversary, I am very much focused on the next quarter of a century. Thank you for your interest in Iniva, and for your support in so many different ways. I hope to have your invaluable involvement in our future. I look forward to welcoming you to Iniva’s new space, and to sharing our continuing journey with you.

With my very best wishes,

Melanie Keen