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The library breaks its silence


When the Stuart Hall Library was asked to contribute ideas of supporting the upcoming Iniva exhibition Progress Reports: art in an era of diversity, the library began to look at ways we could highlight this unique resource. The library has always provided supporting material for Iniva exhibitions and events through project bibliographies and displays of library and archive material. The library staff play the role of explorer, sorting through library materials and hidden gems in the archive in order to provide further research material for staff and visitors.

But Progress Reports required something more. In 2008, Stuart Hall, the founding chair of Iniva and Rivington Place asked “… Is the era and the goal of ‘cultural diversity’ in the arts now over? Has the globalisation of the art world – “let a thousand biennales bloom” – ‘solved’ the problem? The Progress Reports exhibition explores the concept of cultural diversity over the last 15 years since Iniva was founded and the library wanted to contribute something more than just a reading list.

We wanted to bring alive the unique aspects of this library collection, uncovering new art histories and amplifying the voices of the people in this resource. A bibliography could demonstrate the key texts in the recent history of cultural diversity, but a live performance could interpret and interrogate the resource and cultural diversity policies.

Live Bibliographies: Performing the Text is a research project with performance poet Joyful Noise. In collaboration with the librarians and Obinna Nwosu, Joyful Noise has undergone a period of research using the library and archive exploring artists, policies, reports, academic texts, images, talks, and exhibitions focusing on cultural diversity. This research period will culminate in a free live performance in the Stuart Hall Library, Saturday 20th February 2:30pm.

Live Bibliographies has been an exciting research project for the librarians with our reference skills contributing to a unique live performance. The event will feature new pieces by Joyful Noise with an audiovisual collaboration with artist Trevor Mathison. Joyful Noise uncovers lost voices, illuminates new art histories, and playfully interacts with the lexicon of heritage and identity present in the library resource. Her work focuses on translating and playfully engaging with the formal language used to express cultural diversity policies.

Live Bibliographies will, of course, be supported by an annotated bibliography created by Joyful Noise in collaboration with the librarians. The annotated bibliography will act as a map for the library, threading links between each resource and documenting this original research experience.

The library event is free, to book a place contact bookings@rivingtonplace.org 0207 749 1240. We will be documenting the progress of this research project in the run-up to the event, please continue to check the blog for further information.