Extracts from a conversation between Contemporary Arts MA student Camilla on placement with us, and Morgan, a volunteer who led on the production of the short film about Helen de Main‘s work for 21 Revolutions.
Camilla: What drew you into the Glasgow Women’s Library?
Morgan: I first discovered the library through my university women’s group and once I’d found out that there was this amazing place with all these cool projects and opportunities, I couldn’t wait to become a volunteer and start getting involved.
Camilla: What made you want to be a part of the Ripples on the Pond group specifically?
M: I hadn’t heard much about the artists in the exhibition so I thought it was a great way to find out more about female artists in Scotland.
C: What did you think about the Gallery of Modern Art and the Ripples on the Pond exhibition?
M: The exhibition itself was great, and its connection to Glasgow Women’s Library just makes it even better. There are so many works that I never would have seen, and interesting people I never would have met if I was not part of this project.
C: Which film did you take the lead on?
M: I took the lead on Helen’s De Main’s film. The Spare Rib magazines which influenced her work were actually quite foreign to me so after hearing about them and the role that they played, it really piqued my interest in Helen’s work.
C: Were you aware of the great inequalities that women in the arts face before the Ripples on the Pond project?
M: As I have a strong interest in film, I knew a lot about the inequalities that exist for women both on and off the screen, so unfortunately it was not a surprise for me to discover how poorly represented female artists are. This lack of recognition was one of the reasons why I asked all the artists we interviewed what it is like to be called a “female artist” whilst their male colleagues are so rarely identified by their gender.
C: Has being a part of the Ripples on the Pond project altered your ideas about your own abilities and your ability to take part in contributing to the arts?
M: Being a part of this project has not only been a great way to get out of my comfort zone and interview people that I didn’t know anything about, but it has also challenged me to get more involved in the arts. I have even started looking at more arts jobs since doing the project so it has obviously had an effect on the way I see my future shaping up to be.
C: What were your aims with the artist interview films, and what do you want viewers to take away from them?
M: I wanted the films to be educational so it actually worked out quite well that most of us were just finding out things about the artists whilst we were interviewing them. That way, the questions really came out feeling more genuine. My hope is that people come away from the films having learned at least one thing or at least feeling like they had been entertained, even if it is just for a minute. That would be good enough for me!