This project developed Obscure Secure's exploration of twentieth century women artists in collections as artist researchers from a radical position of care. The project looked at the work of artist Kathleen Walne (1915-2011). Her work is included in the Towner Collection and was part of their exhibitions ‘A Life in Art: Lucy Wertheim’ and ‘Reuniting the Twenties Group’, 11 June to 25 September 2022.
We (Jacqueline Utley and I) fell in love with Walne’s work at Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich, back in 2014. Since 2017 we have been researching Kathleen’s work, we have met with her family and catalogued her work and archive material.
The project included a residency at Towner Eastbourne to share our research processes and invite visitors to become active researchers.
In the residency studio we displayed Kathleen’s archive material, and curated a hang of her work alongside our own. We also included a reference library and a series of questions inviting visitors’ contributions. The residency gave us a platform to raise the issues of visibility of women artists in collections, with our focus on Kathleen.
Following the residency we held a discussion event with Towner focussing on issues around gender imbalance and the underrepresentation of women artists in collections. At the event we launched our publication Listening to Kathleen Walne.

Funded by Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants.