DR. JANE WILDGOOSE NESTA Fellow
KEEPER OF THE WILDGOOSE MEMORIAL LIBRARY
ARTIST, WRITER, BROADCASTER, CONSULTANT
DR. JANE WILDGOOSE works across a wide range of disciplines exploring the values, narratives, and memories that become attached to remains of all kinds. Whether devising complex cabinets and installations combining hundreds of museum objects with specially devised handicrafts; researching, writing and designing a medical/musical performance based on a curious piece of Baroque music describing surgery to remove stones from the body; or co-devising a broadcast for BBC Radio examining a hair from the head of Horatio Nelson bought on eBay, Wildgoose's appraisals of the past are transported into the present with a strong appeal to the senses and the imagination, underpinned by detailed research and thorough knowledge of the history of collecting.
As Keeper of her own collection, The Wildgoose Memorial Library (WML), she presides over an ever-evolving "memory theatre", of evocative found and hand-crafted objects, documents, photographs and books, that takes a central place in her practice. Beyond the WML, Wildgoose works to commission with high-profile public and private collections in the UK and USA - eg Sir John Soane's Museum, London; the Yale Center for British Art and Yale University's collections of natural history and decorative arts [Promiscuous Assemblage, Friendship, & The Order of Things], the Portland Collection, Welbeck, and Waddesdon Manor (Rothschild Collections/National Trust) [Beyond All Price] - where her long experience of leading and participating in ambitious collaborative projects informs her close working relationships with curators and collections managers.
Wildgoose was appointed Visiting Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Life Writing Research at King's College London in 2016, and she is a Founding Partner of the Centre for Philosophy & the Visual Arts at King's. In 2015 she completed a practice-based PhD in the School of Art & Design History at Kingston University (supported by a PhD Studentship from the University) with a thesis entitled Collecting and Interpreting Human Skulls and Hair in Late Nineteenth Century London: "Passing Fables and Comparative Readings at The Wildgoose Memorial Library"; An artist's response to the DCMS "Guidance for the Care of Human Remains in Museums" (2005): focusing on the histories of medical collecting, anthropology, and mourning in late Victorian London.
Wildgoose's scholarly - though poetic - hunter-gatherer approach has brought her commissions to co-devise and present broadcasts for radio, write essays to accompany exhibitions, and publish articles/reviews in the academic, specialist, and national press. Recent publications include a chapter in Wonder in Contemporary Artistic Practice (Christian Mieves & Irene Brown, ed., Routledge, 2016) and an article in the Spring/Summer 2016 issue of West 86th, the Bard Graduate Center Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History & Material Culture published by University of Chicago Press. She is a regular speaker at conferences (including Keynote Speaker: Working Wonder conference, Newcastle University, 2013, and Concept and Context in Practice conference, University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, 2011). As a consultant her clients include the Strandlines project at King's College London, and the Wellcome Library.
Wildgoose's abiding concern with the "social life" of things has led her to take an active part in debate about ethics concerning human remains in collections as a speaker at both art and science venues (including the ICA, and the Royal College of Physicians in London), and as co-convenor of the multidisciplinary conference The Business of the Flesh: Art, Science & Access to the Human Body bringing together artists, pathologists, medical collection curators, ethicists and legal experts, in association with Ruskin School of Drawing & Fine Art, Oxford University. She was commissioned as artist in residence/consultant by the Natural History Museum, London, to report on their human remains collections in light of changes to law relating to them following the introduction of the Human Tissue Act (2004), and when subsequently commissioned to write/present a Sunday Feature for BBC Radio 3, brought questions raised in her researches to the wider public by focusing on two human skulls in her own collection: examining the complex issues surrounding the possession, scientific analysis and public display of human remains [A Tale of Two Skulls].
Wildgoose is a NESTA (National Endowment for Science Technology & the Arts) Dream Time Fellow, and was a Museumaker selected maker in 2010.
In 2001 Wildgoose received a Wellcome Sciart R&D Award as project co-ordinator and artist/researcher/writer, working in collaboration with a consultant gastroenterologist and an opera director; the project resulted in a medical/musical performance that toured the UK supported by an Arts Council Touring Project Award, and featured as a chapter in Experiment: Conversations in Art & Science (Wellcome Trust, 2003). Wildgoose was co-recipient of two Arts Council 'Year of the Artist' Awards in 2001.
Wildgoose is an experienced lecturer and tutor (including co-leader of the Material Thinking & Creative Practice Module, MA Museum & Galleries Studies at Kingston University in 2011) as well as a mentor to mid-career artists.
Copyright Jane Wildgoose and The Wildgoose Memorial Library