#MyMuseum: Glasgow Women's Library shortlisted for the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018
- Katharine Gemmell
- 7 June 2018
Adele Patrick tells us more about their nomination for the prestigious prize
The Glasgow Women's Library has been recognised for its achievements and innovations by being shortlisted for the prestigious Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018. The £100,000 prize, supported by the Art Fund, is designed to seek out exceptional museums in the UK, with past winners including the V&A and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum. This year it's the only Scottish nomination (no Scottish museum has won the award) and is the first for a museum established with a feminist vision at its heart.
The GWL, situated in the city's east end, started off as a grassroots organisation when it launched in 1991, and has grown into a cultural institution that attracts a diverse range of users. All of the objects in its collections have been donated and the displays are curated by local women from different communities. As the only accredited museum in the UK dedicated to women's lives, histories and achievements, it has already achieved the honour of being named a Recognised Collection of National Significance.
In conjunction with this nomination, the museum has kick-started a public engagement campaign centring on the question 'Why a Women's Museum?' Adele Patrick, GWL's Lifelong Learning and Creative Development Manager, tells us that the aim is to show both how the museum works and to display its national relevance. 'We might be a small community project, but people might not know that we work with Turner Award-winning artists, that we are used by researchers from America, or that we opened Glasgow International.'
The nomination and public engagement campaign allows the GWL to share the work that it does, such as the library's Adult Literacy and Numeracy project. Patrick hopes to show the public that they can't be put in the box of 'hand-sewn local community project' and that they're a force to be reckoned with in the museums world. Through the hashtag #MyMuseum they want to showcase the varied backgrounds of its users and the uses of the space.
The library's nomination is ultimately a timely recognition because of heightened awareness of the importance of representation and inclusion, and as an overdue nod to this Scottish institution. 'The fact that we have been selected this time round sends a message about what museums could be in the future,' says Patrick. 'They should be for everyone and people should see themselves reflected in the governance, collections and programming of the museum.'
Other museums on the shortlist include Brooklands Museum in Weybridge, The Postal Museum in London, Ferens Art Gallery in Hull, and Tate St Ives. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on Thursday 5 July at London's V&A.
To find out more about the museum visit womenslibrary.org.uk or use #MyMuseum for support.