Love is in Archives…

…Every shelf we look around! February Archive Pop-Up Event

We hosted our latest Pop-Up event to showcase archival material with themes of love and romance in line with Valentine’s Day.

Love is in the Archive's Display

Love is in the Archive’s Display

The day of love finds its origins as a liturgical celebration for one or more saints named Valentinus. Valentine’s Day was not associated with romantic love until the Middle Ages, when ideas of courtly love and chivalry gained popularity. There are references to the association of Saint Valentine and love throughout the Tudor period, where the first surviving Valentine’s letter can be traced. However, the day became more popular in the 18th century, when lovers gave each other flowers, confectionery and greetings cards. In modern times certain symbols have become associated with love and Valentine’s Day, such as love hearts, doves and the figure Cupid.

We see the influence of modern ideas surrounding Valentine’s Day in the Henry’s Cat episode ‘Valentine’s Day’. Throughout the episode we see the symbol of the heart and references to romantic love. In this episode Henry’s Cat and his friends attempt to cheer up Pansy Pig by hosting a Blind Dates show. Will Pansy find her true love through the processes of the dating trials of the 20th century?

Items from Shakespeare's Music Hall, including material from A Midsummer Night's Dream

Items from Shakespeare’s Music Hall, including material from A Midsummer Night’s Dream

We also displayed items from Shakespeare’s Music Hall, or, A little of As You Like It does you good. The material for this animation project was based on a musical written by Colin Pearson, which looked at the life and works of William Shakespeare. The musical features songs about a selection of plays by Shakespeare, including Hamlet, where St. Valentine’s Day is mentioned by Ophelia:

Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.

We displayed artwork showing scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and a storyboard for Romeo and Juliet, the famed star-crossed lovers.

Storyboard for a Romeo and Juliet sequence (Shakespeare's Music Hall)

Storyboard for a Romeo and Juliet sequence (Shakespeare’s Music Hall)

View our other collections via the UCA Archives and Special Collections Online Catalogue.

Shakespeare’s Music Hall images copyright Bob Godfrey.
All images are for educational purposes only.

Hannah Ratford, Archive Cataloguer


Archi’ve Captioned – February Edition

Archives and Special Collections are launching “Archi’ve Captioned”, a just for fun caption competition. Each month we will you to come up with your best captions for an item from the archive. Entrants can email us or visit the image on our Flickr account and comment there. Get those creative juices flowing and come up with something imaginative!

This month’s image is an animation cel taken from Kevin and the Big Lizard, an episode from Kevin Saves the World (a children’s animation written by Daniel Postgate and produced by Bob Godfrey).

February 2015 Archi've captioned poster

We look forward to hearing your suggestions!

It’ll Be Puntastic… Archive Caption Competition!

UCA Archives are launching a monthly competition to find the best captions, or six word stories (see here for examples

We will be launching an external one (including alumni, but internal UCA staff and students are welcome to join in!) and internal, which will be distributed around staff and students

Each month 2 images will be selected from our art school archives – the best caption will be invited to have a tour around the archive and some coffee/cake/chocolate (the food will take place away from the archives!). Either that or let us know if you are interested in any particular parts of our art school heritage and our other collections, and (copyright permitting!) we’ll see if we can digitise that for you!

To enter simply put a comment on our flickr comments – we will announce the best caption via the comment, with our email contact and on our Twitter page at @uca_ae

We will feature several captions at the end of the month in a blog post-if you don’t want your name mentioned, let us know!

Images this month are…

A very beardy student union! Click here to add your comment. Our pitiful entry ‘I like big beards, and I cannot lie’Student Union 


What’s that in the trees? Spider man on a budget this year? Staff and students of Fashion in the 1970s! Click here to add your comment

Fashion and clothing department


Look forward to the captions! Contact your friendly archivists on

Call For Exhibition Artwork: LGBT Representation and Photographic Discourse

Shake the Bottle: We are seeking new/recent photographic work that reflect and capture contemporary LGBT experience, culture and politics. Submissions will be towards an exhibition exploring shifts in photographic representation and discourse between the late 1980s and now.

The catalyst of this event is the UCA archive of Tessa Boffin, an LGBT photographer in the 1980s/90s, who undertook work around AIDS and exploration of the tensions between contemporary media representation and ways in which performance and stereotype could be exploited through tableau, drawing on historical and mythical figures. With Sunil Gupta, Tessa co-curated Ecstatic Antibodies, an exhibition which contributed to the role that images played in the understanding of AIDS. Tessa Boffin, (with Jean Fraser) also edited ‘Stolen Glances: Lesbians Take Photographs ‘(1991). The catalogue is available here

Keywords: LGBT gender & sexuality, HIV/AIDS, performance, masquerade , politics of representation

The exhibition will be at the Herbert Read Gallery, University for the Creative Arts, Canterbury, to take place in September 2015. Please see here for further information on the Gallery and previous exhibitions

A series of talks responding to the themes raised will follow

Dates for submission: Work should be sent by Tuesday 31st March 2015, 5pm. Please submit as PDF with an artist’s statement (maximum 300 words) contextualizing the work, to Adrian Lovis at

Selection outcomes will be notified by the 30 th May 2015.Tessa Boffin image

For any further information or questions please email Adrian Lovis at

Images from ‘The Sailor and the Showgirl’, by Tessa Boffin