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Library/Documentation Centre

The need to gather in the school relevant documentation about the Arts and Visual Communication is present from the first moment. The bringing together in one place of periodics and non-periodics (with the, by then, unusual possibility of photocopy), audio tapes, slides, film, graphic documentation, etc., is an innovation. João Assis Gomes and Sofia Avillez are responsible for this task when the school opens in 1973. Jorge Alves da Silva and Paula Massano will follow in 1973 and 1974, with João Assis Gomes again being in charge from 1975 until 1982 (with the collaboration of Luísa Correia Pereira until 1978). Between 1983 and 1988 the development of the so called documentation centre is the responsability of Rui Sanches. The collection needs a space of its own (which will vary) and a minimum of administrative autonomy (that remains difficult to attain). Its growth as well as its capacity to respond to the school’s needs will depend, in the years to come, from the implementation of a structured Art History and Theory program that is an integral part of the departmental offer (that is also why the persons in charge of the documental collection will frequently add to this responsability that of being the heads of the Art History and Theory department). Manuel Castro Caldas will take charge of the centre from 1988 to 1994, followed by Alexandre Conefrey in 1994/95. By then, the documentation centre registers about 3.500 books and catalogues, 180 periodic publications and 60.000 slides. Manuel Castro Caldas will again be in charge in 1996 and Delfim Sardo between 1997 and 2000. By the end of the 1990’s, the growth and diversity of the bibliographic and documental material already justify a rigorous selection policy and the need for a larger space becomes accute. From 2001/02 onwards Manuel Castro Caldas will take on the responsability of both the centre and the Art History and Theory department. In September of 2009, with funding from the Almada City Council, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Millennium bcp Foundation and REN-Redes Energéticas Nacionais (National Energetic Networks), the Library (name that now substitutes that of Documentation Centre) moves to the Quinta de S. Miguel in Almada, where it occupies spaces expressly renovated for the purpose. Dependent to a great extent on private and institutional donations, the collection suffers radical selections and at the same time grows significantly: by the end of 2012 the books and catalogues amount to 40.000, ranging from single artist monographs to theory, technique, exhibitions and collections, the decorative arts and the arts of traditional societies, not to mention selected literature, poetry, philosophy and general reference. The selection criteria are dictated, above all, by the needs and interests of the departments. An extensive documental and press archive, covering the national production from the second half of the 20th century up to the present, constitutes an added incentive for the growing interest on the part of students, researchers and cultural entities. In May 2013, within the scope of Ar.Co’s commemorations of its 40th anniversary, the Library is the object of a documental exhibition at the Arts Library of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon. 

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    Documentation Centre / Library, Ar.Co Rua de Santiago, 18, Lisbon.

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    Ar.Co's new Library at Quinta de S. Miguel, Almada.

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    Ar.Co's new Library at Quinta de S. Miguel, Almada.

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    Ar.Co's New Library at Quinta de S. Miguel, Almada.

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    Ar.Co's new Library at Quinta de S. Miguel, Almada.

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    Ar.Co's new Library at Quinta de S. Miguel, Almada.

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    Ar.Co's new Library at Quinta de S. Miguel, Almada.

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    Exhibition "Ar.Co's Library" at the Arts Library of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, 2013.