The Interval, #11, Glasgow Women’s Library edition

Welcome to The Interval (#11), VocalEyes’ weekly selection of accessible cultural experiences, available online. This week’s edition is by Glasgow Women’s Library

Welcome to Glasgow Women’s Library

Glasgow Women’s Library is unique. It is the only Accredited Museum in the UK dedicated to women’s lives, histories and achievements, with a lending libraryarchive collections and innovative programmes of public events and learning opportunities. If you’ve not come across us before, you can listen to an audio-described introduction to GWL. This recorded guide highlights GWL’s achievements, details how to access our resources, outlines our provision for blind and partially sighted visitors, and includes descriptions of the architecture and layout of our building in Bridgeton.

Women Make History

GWL celebrates women’s lives historically and today. Our Women Make History project is led by volunteers who have uncovered the hidden histories of women’s lives across Glasgow. Their research has come together in Women’s Heritage Walks which we lead throughout Spring and Summer. These tours are available on our website in large print formats and we have audio tours for most walks including our recent Stride with Pride LGBT Heritage Walk and our two Suffragette walks which were developed to celebrate the centenary of some women getting the right to vote. Be transported around the city and hear stirring stories of activism, creativity and unsung heroes in these powerful audio tours.

Artists and Writers

Every year GWL puts on Open the Door, an annual writing festival, which showcases women writers, past and present, in an inclusive, informal and warm atmosphere. Our digital festival, which took place this May, focused on the environment and eco-feminism. We spotlighted Scottish novelist, Jessie Kesson, Brazilian abolitionist and author, Maria Firmina dos Reis, and Kenyan activist and writer, Wangari Maathai. There’s lots of resources to explore on our website. Some highlights include a podcast on nature writing, Calm Slam spoken word finalists, and three FLUP podcasts with Tomiwa Folorunso. In this podcast Tomiwa sits down with Funmilola Fagbamila, the Nigerian-American activist, playwright, author and scholar, one of the original organisers of the Black Lives Matter Movement. From Rio de Janeiro they discuss activism off and online, and protecting and looking after yourself.

a green background of leaves with a woman wearing yellow

Above is a graphic titled ‘Wangari Maathai’ created for the Open the Door festival by artist Rhona Forbes. It is an illustration of a green background of leaves with a woman wearing yellow, gazing off to the right of the image. The text surrounding the image reads: While it’s sometimes foolhardy to take on something that’s too big for you, it is incredible what you can achieve if you are single-minded enough.’

If you enjoy listening to podcasts, you might like to dip into our series of 21 Revolutions podcasts. To celebrate our 21st year, GWL commissioned 21 artists and 21 writers to create new work inspired by our diverse and remarkable collections. In these podcasts, writers and artists including Jackie Kay, A L Kennedy, Louise Welsh and Zoe Strachan, Jen Hadfield and Leela Soma, talk about the inspirations behind their work.

Online events

The Library doors may currently be closed, but our team and many volunteers are still working from home, and we have a host of digital content to enjoy. Our Story Cafés are relaxed events where you can listen to our librarian or visiting writers read aloud from their own work and from the work of women writers from around the world. Coming up this June, our Story Café on Women and Running is taking place online – gather around for a story and a poem or two, and keep an eye on our calendar of online events.

Beyond the Library

As a team, we’ve been coming together to talk about articles and podcasts. Last month we read this Fugitive Libraries article which spoke about how public libraries may be a democratic commons, but they have often excluded Black voices and perspectives. One of the libraries highlighted is The Free Black Women’s Library. You can hear more about The Free Black Women’s Library in this episode of the Black feminist podcast Hear to Slay. This month, as part of our commitment to action in the face of the current climate crisis, we’re listening to an episode of the podcast Mothers of Invention, which looks at feminist climate change solutions from around the world. This episode, Against the Grain, investigates food and its connection to climate.

We would also like to highlight On the Engender, Scotland’s feminist blog and podcast, and we recommend checking what’s coming up as part of Refugee Week from 15 to 21 June.