Goldsmiths Special Collections and Archives


A thumb print rug from the Textiles Collection

I had the opportunity to visit the Special Collections and Archives at Goldsmiths, University of London, in September.


A garment from the Textiles Collection

This is a dedicated national resource for students and academic researchers. Examples of items available for viewing include rare books, slides, textiles, ephemera, mail art, posters and music resources such as scores, vinyl, tape and CDs.  .


Some of the Guerilla Girls resources

The resource contains a diverse range of collections, one example being the Women’s Art Library which has a variety of specialist materials dedicated to women artists, both historical and contemporary. There are a large number of exhibition catalogues and books as well as a collection of slides and ephemera boxes giving a detailed insight into the artists’ own working processes. Examples include works by Clare Gasson, Jo Spence, and feminist art-protest groups the Guerrilla Girls and Fanny Adams.

Other collections include the Oram Archive containing documents and materials relating to the pioneering avant-garde electronic musician Daphne Oram (a founding member of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop) and Women’s Revolutions Per Minute (WRPM), with its range of recordings of music performed, composed and produced by women through feminist distribution methods. The Women’s Art Library is an important resource for those interested in art history and practice.


Display from the Textiles Collection

One of the more recent acquisitions to the Special Collections & Archives is the Textiles Collection part of the Constance Howard Gallery based in Deptford Town Hall. The Textiles Collection has existed since 2010 and holds a specialist reference library that includes historical and anthropological works on textiles and dress, books on textile materials and techniques, rare materials on textile and fibre art, exhibition catalogues and books and pamphlets on individual artists.

The collections and archives are accessible by staff and students of Goldsmiths; visitors can also consult the collections and archives by contacting the Lbrary in advance. A full list of Goldsmiths Special Collections & Archives can be found here:

There is much of interest and I would recommend a visit to explore these collections further.

Bren O’Donnell, October 2015.