Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Guide to the Carla Kirkwood Collection MS 208
MS 208  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (95.86 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Processing Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Arrangement
  • Separated Materials
  • Biographical / Historical Notes
  • Scope and Content

  • Title: Carla Kirkwood Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: MS 208
    Contributing Institution: San Diego History Center Document Collection
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 3.5 Linear feet (5 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1969-2011
    Language of Materials: Collection materials are in English and Spanish.
    Abstract: The collection pertains to social activist Carla Kirkwood and is related to her interest in women’s rights, the working class, and her art projects.
    creator: Kirkwood, Carla

    Conditions Governing Access

    This collection is open for research.

    Conditions Governing Use

    The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Alison Hennessey on April 17, 2012.
    Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

    Preferred Citation

    Carla Kirkwood Collection, MS 208, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Accession number 2000.050.


    The collection is arranged into five series:
    Series I: Women’s Studies Program, San Diego State College
    Series II: Women’s Issues
    Series III: Labor and Unions
    Series IV: NGO Forum on Women, Beijing ‘95
    Series V: Art Projects
    Items within each series are arranged by subject. Original order and/or titles have been retained for most of the collection.

    Separated Materials

    "Iron Fist" (newspaper), Volume II, Number 5, 7, and 9, previously separated.

    Biographical / Historical Notes

    Born into a military family in San Diego, Carla Kirkwood is an Emmy-winning writer, director, and social activist. Kirkwood’s activism has focused on women’s liberation and issues of the working class. In 1969, as a student at San Diego State College, she helped found the nation’s first women’s studies program. From 1974-1977, Kirkwood was active in the International Association of Machinists in San Diego. She was also safety steward for the United Steel Workers Local 1010 at Inland Steel Corporation in East Chicago, Indiana, before turning her attention to theater.
    Kirkwood studied classical and contemporary Chinese Theater from 1982-1984 at the Central Drama Academy in Beijing, China, earning a graduate degree in performance studies. In 1986 she received her Master’s of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Leeds in England with an emphasis in global performance practices. Kirkwood received her Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego in theater and dance.
    Kirkwood is an accomplished writer and director, winning three Emmy awards for her work with KPBS-TV, the San Diego Public Broadcasting affiliate. Kirkwood’s artwork and performances often deal with social issues she would like to draw attention to. In the early 1990s, Kirkwood received acclaim for the public art project “NHI” (No Humans Involved) and the accompanying performance piece “MWI” (Many Women Involved), which drew attention to the unsolved murders of 45 San Diego women. Two of Kirkwood’s solo performances, “War Diaries” and “Bodies of Evidence” were performed at the Whitney Museum of American Art in the mid-1990s. Her collaborative public art projects include “There Are 206 Bones in the Human Body” (1988) and “Welcome Back Emma! We Have Missed You So!” (1989).
    From 1994-1997 Kirkwood was a visiting professor of theater and art at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. In 1995 she attended the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women and the parallel NGO Forum on Women, in Beijing. She currently holds a faculty position at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, where she has worked for over 20 years.

    Scope and Content

    The collection contains materials pertaining to the activities of social activist of Carla Kirkwood as they relate to women’s issues, unions, and the working class, and her art projects. Publications regarding women’s liberation in the 1960s and 1970s are held in the collection, including board meeting documents related to the founding of the San Diego State College Women’s Studies Program in 1969 through the early 1970s. The collection also includes publications and flyers regarding union and labor activities in the 1970s and early 1980s, as well as flyers regarding an Ironworkers union strike in August of 1980 from the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO). There are pamphlets, reports and flyers on international women’s issues from the NGO Forum on Women ’95 in Beijing, China and the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women held in August and September 1995, both of which she attended. The collection also includes publicity for Kirkwood’s art projects, as well as scripts and VHS recordings of her performances.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Asian Women's Human Rights Council.
    Industrial Workers of the World.
    International Association of Bridge, Structural, and Ornamental Iron Workers. Local 627 (San Diego, Calif.).
    Kirkwood, Carla
    National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (San Diego, Calif.).
    New York Radical Feminists.
    NGO Forum on Women, Beijing ’95 (1995 : Huairou Xian, China).
    San Diego State College.
    San Diego Young Women’s Christian Association Women’s Center.
    World Conference on Women (4th : 1995 : Beijing, China).
    Feminist theory
    Goodbye To All That
    Kitty Litter
    Labor unions and communism
    Labor unions and socialism
    Performance art
    Political activists
    Prensa Popular
    Public art
    San Diego (Calif.)
    San Diego Wildcat
    Second-wave feminism
    Socialist feminism
    Underground newspapers
    Up From The Bottom Waterfront Worker
    Women -- China
    Women -- History
    Women -- India
    Women -- Iran -- Social conditions
    Women -- Ireland -- Social conditions
    Women -- Japan -- Social conditions
    Women -- Korea -- Social conditions
    Women -- Latin America -- Social conditions
    Women -- New Zealand -- Social conditions
    Women -- Philippines
    Women -- Social conditions
    Women -- Thailand -- Social conditions
    Women -- Turkey -- Social conditions
    Women and communism
    Women and socialism
    Women in education
    Women in the theater
    Women iron and steel workers
    Women political activists
    Women theatrical producers and directors
    Women's studies