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Date Range of Records: 1971-2010
- Greer, Professor Germaine [29 January 1939-]
The Greer Archive has been made available because of its historical and research importance. Statements which form part of the collection are not made on behalf of the University and do not represent the University's views. It contains material that some researchers might find confronting. This includes: explicit language and images that reflect either the attitudes of the era in which the material was originally published or the views of the creators of the material but may not be considered appropriate today; names, images and voices of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in published and unpublished printed material, audio recordings and photographs; discussion and descriptions of sexual violence, medical conditions and treatment. The Germaine Greer audio series consists of audio recordings that have either been recorded or collected by Greer. The physical collection is made up of 138 magnetic audio cassette tapes, 7 Digital Audio Tapes (DAT), and 3 Mini Discs with a combined total of approximately 153 hours of audio recording. The cassettes, DAT’s and Mini discs are all contained within plastic casings. The majority of the items were labelled prior to their UMA accession and where applicable these inscriptions have been used to title the items within the collection. The arrangement of the series is consistent with the order in which it was received and is therefore not in chronological order. Audio cassettes have an expected life span of 30 years and as such the original audio materials within this collection are not accessible to the public. The audio series has been digitised to allow access to researchers. Many of the audio recordings on cassette are of poor sound quality, and where possible access copies have been remastered to increase audibility. Master copies of each recording are retained for preservation by UMA and contain the recording ‘as is’ prior to remastering. Along with mp3 access copies, UMA have created time coded summaries of each recording. These summaries act as a finding aid for researchers to locate information relevant to their research. Where redactions of information are required this was undertaken on both the mp3 access copy and the corresponding time coded summary. Originals have been retained of both for preservation and future use. The content of the recordings within this series consists of a variety of formats including: audio diaries, lectures, interviews, radio programs, field recordings, music, and messages left on answering machine tapes. While many of the recordings were produced within a studio environment a significant number have been recorded by Greer herself with the use of various personal tape recorders. The earliest examples of audio material within the series are two public appearances recorded while Greer was on her 1971 book tour of the USA in promotion of her book The Female Eunuch. One recording is a lecture presented by Greer at the University of California titled ‘The Culture of Rape’ in which Greer discusses sexual oppression and the culture of rape within western society, and the other is Greer’s address to The National Press Club in Washington in which Greer discusses the sexual inequality of news coverage and the media’s responsibility towards the representation of women. The most recent audio material in the series is a recording captured by Greer in 2010 of a discussion with visual artist Rose Wylie at Wylie’s home. During her visit Greer buys a painting from the artist. This recording was used for an article written by Greer for The Guardian titled, ‘Who is Britain’s hottest new artist? A 76-year-old called Rose Wylie’. The early audio recordings within the series are predominantly lectures, radio appearances and tape recordings of interviews conducted by Greer. The earliest examples of Greer speaking into a personal tape recorder are two audio cassettes recorded by Greer during her time spent in Ethiopia during the famine of 1983-1985. Commissioned by The Observer to write an article on the famine in Ethiopia, Greer recorded her observations of the country, its land and its people. Intimate and transporting, this recording paints Greer’s experience in vivid detail: ‘Slipping and sliding through the ankle deep mud in the camp, dressed in the clothes that you and I have sent to Oxfam, a child in a real mink hat… another child in an orange plastic car coat.’ Speaking directly into the recorder this recording blurs the line between reportage and personal diary and for its profound sensitivity it is a significant recording within the series. Greer’s experience travelling abroad is evident throughout the series with travel diaries documenting fragments of visits to Singapore, Bangladesh, China, Ethiopia, Poland, Cuba, Russia, Kazakhstan and China. The series contains four recordings of Greer’s 1985 visit to Cuba where she met and interviewed Cuban revolutionary Vilma Espin and attended the Fourth Congress of the Federation of Cuban Women held in Havana. Fidel Castro was a speaker at the conference and is heard on the recording made by Greer. Other notable interviewees/speakers in the series are Susan Hiller, Cornelia Parker, Gita Mehta, Rose Wylie, Dr. Geoffrey Davis, Naim Attallah, Primo Levi, Federico Fellini, and Luciano Pavarotti. A cassette from 1987 contains the first of Greer’s distinctive audio diaries. In this recording Greer is driving along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. Her discussions include observations of the roadside vegetation and how she had earlier seen evangelist preacher Jimmy Swaggart conduct a revivalist session on television which she states her father ‘would have been sick to his stomach to see’. This style of audio diary does not feature again until the mid-nineties when they dominate in the series. In 1988 Greer travelled to Tasmania to conduct some genealogical research and in 1989 and 1990 promoted her book Daddy, We Hardly Knew You by appearing on radio programs. In the early 1990s Greer continued to appear on radio both promoting her own work and appearing as a guest presenter. During this time Greer also conducted interviews with Luciano Pavarotti and Federico Fellini. These interviews were recorded in Italian and have been time coded in both English and Italian. An earlier interview with Primo Levi in 1985 is also time coded in both Italian and English. In 1994 Greer travelled by train through Russia and Kazakhstan on route to China. An article based on the trip was commissioned by Granta magazine and various documents relating to the journey are held within the Print series [2014.0046]. During her trip Greer created audio recordings documenting her view from the train window. Observations of the passing landscape and vegetation are a reoccurring theme within the series and are a dominant feature in the audio diaries. In 1996 the audio series is constructed almost entirely of audio diaries: 11 of the 12 cassettes in the archives holding for that year. Listening to these records researchers will have access to a different aspect of Germaine Greer’s life and personality. Most of these recordings were captured while Greer was walking her poodles Molly and Margot through the English countryside and contain general musings regarding her immediate environment; and discussions of her archive, research, pets, friendships and everyday life. As the 1990s come to a close the audio diaries become less common within the series as most of the archive is made up of Greer’s radio appearances. Holdings from 1997 include a 5 part audio series presented by Greer for the BBC titled ‘What is Culture’. These recordings are held on Digital Audio Tape (DAT) and are likely to have been given to Greer by the producers of the program. Rather than the published version of the program they are uncut recordings of Greer reading for the various episodes. Another recording of Greer behind the scenes is a recording for BBC Radio Cambridgeshire captured in 1995. In this recording Greer reads a segment for the radio program Fourth Column. The recording includes Greer getting ready to record, doing several takes reading the script, and general discussions with the producer. In 1999 Greer promotes her book The Whole Woman extensively on radio in both the United Kingdom and the United States of America. A theme throughout the series is Greer’s involvement in music. Audio diaries include discussions regarding her position on the advisory council for the Britten Sinfonia. There are several recordings of appearances on radio programs in which Greer selects and discusses the playlist for the program thus highlighting a diverse taste in music from Opera to Ethiopian pop music. From the year 2000 on, contents of the audio series are quite diverse. Holdings from the early part of the decade are primarily third party radio broadcasts. In 2002 Greer took part in a discussion with American artist Susan Hiller in which the focus was primarily based around gender and the arts. Other audio recordings of Greer in conversation with artists include a public discussion with Cornelia Parker and Greer’s final interview in the series with Rose Wylie. In 2003-2004 the audio diary returns to dominate the series. These later diaries were recorded primarily while Greer was driving in Australia, usually between Cave Creek Rehabilitation Scheme in Queensland and New South Wales. As in the earlier recordings Greer discusses her surroundings; however this time focuses on the towns, traffic and roadside vegetation seen along the way. Throughout these recordings Greer often amuses herself by playing ‘the creek game’ in which she reads the often comical names of each creek she passes while driving. Like the earlier audio diaries these recordings allow access to a more personal side of Germaine Greer. In 2005 Greer visited Dhaka and conducted interviews regarding the systemic rape of women during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971. The series contains interviews with two people who worked within abortion clinics in Bangladesh at the time as well as an in-depth interview with Dr Geoffrey Davis who travelled to Bangladesh in 1972 to instruct medical practitioners on his technique to terminate late term pregnancies. In 2007-2008 Greer’s Australian audio diaries continue and in 2007 she presents some of her findings regarding the deterioration of biodiversity in Australia, outlining some of the mechanisms involved in the destruction of native Australian flora and fauna. Other lectures included in the series include: ‘The Culture of Rape’ (1971), Germaine Greer at The National Press Club in Washington (1971), ‘Population Control as the New Fascism (1975), ‘Australia: A Just Society?’ (1988), ‘Sex and Food’ (1989), ‘From the Canon’s Mouth: Problems in the Study of Women’s Literature’ (1991), ‘The Goddess and the Birthing Machine’ (1999), and ‘Infinite Riches in a Little Room: suggestions towards an alternative aesthetic’ (undated). In addition to audio material recorded by or featuring Greer, the archive also contains various radio programs and lectures collected by Greer including: Anthony Burgess’ Grand Tour of Rome (1991); an interview with Patricia Williams regarding her lecture series ‘The Genealogy of Race’ (1997); Dr Sarah Buckley presenting a lecture titled ‘The Science and Beauty of Birth’ (1999); a program discussing and presenting the works of William Shakespeare (undated); and an interview regarding the book of Psalms, featuring unknown speakers (1999). The audio series also contains two recordings captured through the use of a telephone answering machine. These recordings were captured c1976-1977 and contain the voices and messages of many people connected to Greer at the time including friends, colleagues, agents and journalists.
138 x Compact Cassettes; 7 x Digital Audio tapes (DATs); 3 x MiniDiscs
Collection Category: Culture and the Arts, individuals
Access Conditions: Access: Restricted
Finding Aids: Yes listed ONLINE
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