Explore Your Archive: Maidstone’s first international student

Follow the whole story of UCA’s creative arts history here

UCA’s alumni magazine Creative Update undertook an interview with Maidstone’s first international student:

‘Creative Update spoke to Despina Meimaroglou, the very first international student to study at one of our founder colleges, the Maidstone College of Art. She talked to us about her experience, and how it helped her become a successful practicing artist.

Despina studied a National Diploma in Design at Maidstone from 1961 to 1965. Originally from Greece but brought up in Egypt, she chose the college after a recommendation from her uncle.

She found it challenging, being both the first international student and the only foreigner studying at the campus at the time. She said:”I struggled tremendously for at least the first three months to comprehend the English language spoken around me. As a result my main nightmare was the incapacity to follow a lecturer and take down notes.”

But to this day her fondest memory comes from the words of another student who said: “Despina you are one of us.”

A number of other people influenced her study in the UK, and career thereafter. She told us: “From day one Brian Wildsmith was the teacher who stood by me, believed in my talent and gave me a lot of encouragement and he continues to be my role model so many years on.”

Her experiences adapting to the differences in the UK, in conjunction with continuous world travel throughout her career, have been a major inspiration for her work.

She said: “It taught me how to comprehend the differences and similarities which bind us with others and therefore enable the collaboration between us. And this is exactly what my art is based upon.”

Despina’s work is currently in the mediums of digital photography and video. Over the years she has experimented with printmaking, typography, monoprints, Polaroid and large Xerox prints.

Her work looks at the mutual relationship between reality and its representation; truth and fiction; social and political facts and their distortion. “My aim is to capture and reconstitute my perception of truth from layers of time and memory as well as from mediation of social and media induced stereotypes,” she said.’

Maidstone prospectus


The Animation Archive at UCA

Library and student services at UCA are pleased to announce their new management of the Animation Archive at UCA

The collection includes the Halas & Batchelor digital collection; the archive of the internationally renowned Animator, Bob Godfrey (who started the Animation course at the West Surrey College of Art and Design), including his Oscar winning production, Great, his children’s animation, Henry’s Cat and never before realised Animation, Such as Jumbo, The Elephant You’ll Never forget, ; and also the contemporary collections donated by Daniel Greaves (with artwork from the animation Simon’s Cat), Jo Wonder and Kristian Andrews.

With records such as storyboards, scripts, animation cels, and correspondence, providing an insight into the design process, the archive explores a wide range of themes such as gender, politics and satire (such as Margaret Thatcher, Where am I Now?, circa 1999, which was a collaborative project with Steve Bell the political cartoonist), propaganda, and sex and satire.

Please see our webpage for more information

The Bob Godfrey Archive

Online Archives Catalogue

UCA’s online Archives Catalogue is now available here http://bit.ly/1aT5xAw

Search across unique material looking at the design processes within the arts, themes within the arts, including gender stereotyping, poltics and propaganda, and the social history of art.

Collections include the six former Art Schools and, further mergers, the institutional archives of UCA, the Tessa Boffin Archive, LGBT Photographer, and David Birch, landscape painter, illustration work. Work is also commencing on cataloguing the Bob Godfrey Archive, Britain’s first oscar winning animator, and the Diagram Group, Graphic Designers, working since the 1960s

online catalogue

August’s Rare Book and Archive of the Month

August’s Archive of the Month is Canterbury’s 1905-1931 Visitors’ Book. http://bit.ly/17wrejO

This is of interest to paleography (study of old handwriting),typography, local history, materials, and to the history of exhibitions/sculpture at Canterbury.

Visitors' Book Canterbury 1905-1931

August’s Rare Book of the Month is an in-house printing press 1949 book from Canterbury, produced by a student at Canterbury School of Art. It is of particular interest for Graphic Design http://bit.ly/1463ndR

The Selfish Giant, 1949