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Magic Me at the Women's Library

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We are celebrating ten years of arts projects at The Women’s Library with Mulberry School for Girls. Since 2004 secondary school pupils and local older women have teamed up for an annual project exploring the library’s rich archive and collection. Led by Magic Me Associate Artist, Sue Mayo, and many other artists, groups have used the library’s resources as inspiration for a range of themed projects: from beauty, to visions of utopia to tales of the heart. Magic Me’s new research report by Dr. Caoimhe McAvinchey and Sue Mayo describes the ten projects and the learning acquired over ten years of intergenerational work. On 7 November we launched the Wild Wild Women Report at Queen Mary, University of London.

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The report describes and examines the ten annual arts projects led by Magic Me from 2004 to 2013. Each took place at The Women’s Library, in collaboration with Mulberry School for Girls and local, older women. The report is in three parts:

Introduction by Susan Langford, Director, Magic Me

This section describes briefly the range of work and the practice of Magic Me in 2003, when the collaboration with The Women’s Library was developed. It then outlines changes and developments over the decade of annual projects and what it took to make each project happen successfully.

The Projects by Sue Mayo, Associate Artist, Magic Me

This is an account by Sue Mayo, lead artist for the series of Magic Me projects at The Women’s Library. Sue describes the background and aims of the series and then details each of the ten projects: the theme, materials from the Library collections used by the group, the artforms and artists, the participants and the outcomes. She discusses some of the challenges and changes that the artists and the participants worked with during the lifetime of the projects. The projects, project artists and participants are also listed overleaf.

Research report by Dr Caoimhe McAvinchey, Queen Mary, University of London

Caoimhe outlines the rationale for the research, the changing local and global contexts for the projects and the partners involved. Informed by observation and analyses of live work, archive materials and interviews with artists, participants and key partner staff, the report identifies characteristics of successful intergenerational arts practice that may be applied in different cultural collections contexts. The report addresses three specific questions that run across the decade of partnerships and practice:

• What are the characteristics of the artists’ approach in The Women’s Library projects?

• What are the possibilities offered through intergenerational arts practice in a library or heritage context?

•What is particular about working with women-only intergenerational groups?

Research report and original website supported by

 

 

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