Explore Your Archive: Women in the Arts

Follow the whole story on storify

Our archives tell the story of the role the Art Schools played in women education.

David Haste, Artist, and ex staff member of the Kent Institute of the Art and Design, and soon to be author of the ‘Art Schools of Kent’ provides general contextual information related to women in Art Schools:

‘Art Schools were first established as Design Schools in the 1840s…they were an immediate attraction to middle class women, particularly so when it was still commonly believed that art was a luxury in education permissible for girls, but quite unnecessary for boys’ – David Haste

‘The Art Schools were important in teaching training. Elementary school teachers were predominantly female and they attended art schools to obtain a proliferation of certificates by which their salary was judged. Towards the end of the 19th century art school were teaching a range of crafts and these like much else carried gender identities. “Masculine craft skills” [were] technical drawing, print furniture etc…”feminine craft skills” [were] needle crafts…embroidery, tapestry, dress/costume design ’-David Haste

Here we focus on Epsom and Ewell Technical Institute and School of Art

19th century
Courses included in the 1896 and 1897 prospectuses were: Shorthand, Drawing, Carpentry, Home Nursing, Cookery and French. Late 19th century, Cookery

Due to lack of Secondary School provision, the Surrey County Council proposed that the Technical Institute should be used temporarily as a secondary school for girls providing accommodation for 160 pupils from September 1921.
Images of women at work in the art school on both the 1921, and 1925 prospectuses suggest the popularity of Art Schools for women.
The timetables were Art Classes, Millinery, English, Cookery, Shorthand (theory and speed), French, Typewriting and Office Routine

Women's Art Class, 1919-1920

1925-1926 prospectus

In classes in the 1932 prospectuses ‘the Cookery and Dressmaking classes are recommended to those interested in Domestic Subjects’, while ‘for boys and young men there are carefully arranged classes that should prove of great value. Their attention is also drawn to the instruction given in Interior Decoration, Architectural Design, Geometry and Perspective in the Art School’.
While Cookery and Domestic classes are not specifically designated for women here, Industrial Classes are specifically highlighted for males
The 1937 prospectus offers courses in Life Wood, General Engraving and Art , Illustration, Elementary Drawing and General Life Subjects, Shop Window Display, Dress Design, Crafts and General Art Subjects. There are no specific classes for males and females

1932-33 prospectus

Domestic and Cookery classes have no mention here. The 1953 prospectus offers National Diploma in Design, Dress Subjects, Graphic and Advertising Design, Painting, Sculpture and Pottery, and Industrial Crafts
There are no specific classes for males and females, although teachers within Dress and Design are all female. There are, however, also women teaching on the Industrial Crafts course

There are no specific classes for males and females. Classes are Drawing, Painting and Sculpture, Design and Crafts, Dress Design, and Graphic Design


Explore Your Archive Workshop

On the 31st July Hilary Wicks, Epsom Manager, attended the Explore your Archive Workshop on Wednesday 31st July 2013

Explore your Archive – The Campaign, was developed by the Archives and Records Association
The campaign covers the UK and Ireland, and there is an emphasis on celebrating diversity

Although the campaign will start on the 16th November the campaign starts there is no end date

Themes include exploring:

• The adventure of it
• The story each user goes through
• Ways and items to inspire everyone

Posters will be available to download as well as images for stickers and button badges

Story boxes

• Look at what we have got and is in our collection
• Does the content appeal to someone who doesn’t know archives very well

Measures of Success could include

• The number of archives taking part
• Increase in footfall
• Media coverage
• Visible champions
• Feel good factor in the sector
• Public awareness and support

Outstanding Timeline

August – More posters, artwork and stickers to be made available to download
Production of badges
National planning
ARA Conference

The main place to get information will be The National Archive site and delegates are encouraged to be involved with sharing ideas on the community pages.

A hashtag has been created for the campaign #explorearchives


The National Archives

What are The National Archives doing for the campaign?

Theme is going to be ‘Secrets, scandals and lies’

Think about how going to present storyboxes and what will go in them

• High quality digital scans
• Online storyboxes
• Workshops where people can sign up and take the time to look through the actual material themselves

• There will be a section on the website that links to Twitter
• Links to images
• The website will be hosted by the National Archives but will be specially branded for the campaign

Social Media Ideas

• Digitise your images
• Do live tweets from a particular historical timeframe
• Tweet as a historical individual
• Tweet extracts from diaries
• Blog
• Sounds – could use audiobook
• Portray what is in your storyboxes online
• Video – capture reaction to storyboxes
• Vine – This is a new mobile app owned by Twitter that enables users to create and post video clips
• Put longer videos on youtube

Discuss ideas on the online community forums.

Events ideas

• Behind the scenes at archives
• Anniversaries
• Completion of projects and opening of buildings
• Feature on users
• Competitions
• Objects (unusual or different)

Explore Your Archive: Fashion and Textiles

This Explore Your Archive posting looks at Fashion and Textiles at Medway College of Design, through a alumni case study, in the 1950s and 1960.

Follow the whole story here at UCA Storify Explore Your Archive

The Fashion/Textiles course at Medway College of Design hosted one the famous designers, Zandra Rhodes

Images relating to Zandra Rhodes and dress making displays at the Medway Fashion course can be found in our vast collection of press cuttings dating from 1958, collected by library staff at the institution. Prospectuses also provide details of the courses relating to fashion and textiles during Rhodes’ period at Medway College of Design.

Please note, for newspaper clippings that these records are displayed for learning and education purposes, and we operate a take-down policy

Zandra Rhodes at Fashion Show

1961 Fashion Exhibition

1961 Fashion Exhibition

One of the college’s most famous students, Zandra Rhodes joined the second year of the intermediate foundation course in 1957, bypassing the first year through her advanced artistic ability. Her mother, Beatrice Rhodes, taught dressmaking at the college, which Zandra tried to keep a secret from her peers. After her foundation course, she studied for a further two years for the National Diploma in Design. She originally intended to be an illustrator, but also experimented with printing processes on paper such as lino-cutting and lithography in addition to studying printed textiles. Her interest in printed textile design stemmed from the influence of one of the tutors at the college, Barbara Brown, who taught two days a week at the college, as well as being an innovative textile designer for Heal’s throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Rhodes refocused her studies on printed textiles and went on to win a scholarship to the Royal College of Art, becoming one of the most pioneering and influential textile designers of the late 1960s and 1970s who took her remarkable pop art inspired fabrics and revolutionised the fashion world.

Annual dressmaking display 1961 – incl Zandra Rhodes’ sister. The News

The Zandra Rhodes Digital Study Collection can be accessed here This is a digital collection of Zandra Rhodes garments. This was done by the Centre for Digital Scholarship at UCA, Farnham Campus