Artist in residence – Canterbury

Faith Cannon, graduate in Fine Art from Canterbury, is going to be our artist in residence in the archives. Here’s her work in her own words:

Faith Cannon -BA Fine Art

Previous use of archives- Maidstone UCA Campus

Previous use of archives- Maidstone UCA Campus

Previous use of archives- Maidstone UCA Campus

Previous use of archives- Maidstone UCA Campus

Previous use of archives- Maidstone UCA Campus

Previous use of archives- Maidstone UCA Campus

Previous use of archives- Maidstone UCA Campus

Previous use of archives- Maidstone UCA Campus

A little about me- I have just graduated from UCA after studying part time for 6 years at Canterbury and my foundation year was at Maidstone Campus.

My artistic practice is drawn from the theory of experiential learning and the use of recycled materials which hold their own unique footprints. These connections to the past functions and history behind the materials, inspires my practice to further their existence through process and manipulation. I use varied media to create new art work; I incorporate my own past work and ideas to then create something new and contemporary.

Why I want to promote the use of the archives!

On finishing my degree I was reviewing areas that I wanted to develop my artistic practice further. I had used the archives previously in my work and collaborated with fellow artists to form an exhibition at UCA Maidstone as part of our studio work. So I decided to contact Rebekah Taylor to see if I could aid and promote the use of the archives as a resource for students at UCA. Rebekah was very enthusiastic and we came up with initial areas of focus with digitalisation of some of the archives from Canterbury past degree shows. This will allow students visual access to past artworks, presentation, curator practice, artist statements which could aid them in their own studies. We also want to promote the development of new work from these artefacts’ in a contemporary way. To do this I intend to collaborate with other artist. So watch this space!

Degree show 2015 Herbert Read Galley

Degree show 2015 Herbert Read Galley

Degree show 2015 Herbert Read Galley

Degree show 2015 Herbert Read Galley

Highlighting Our History’s Diversity

LSS Archives & Special Collections needs you for Black History Month (October) and beyond…

Our archives & special collections celebrate diversity, looking at the history of curriculum in art schools, history of migration, refugees, and history of diversity in artistic works, such as Photography and books.

Diagram group - black history month, from history of africa 9
We are looking for students and volunteers (externally and internally)  who are interested in doing investigative work in our collections to develop online exhibitions, social media, such as blogs and infographics around our collections. We are particularly interested in highlighting how they can be linked to today’s issues, and how our collections can be interpreted artistically
Our collections include our art school heritage, with our records from art schools dating from 1889. They include minutes looking at diversity in curriculum. This directly links to UCL’s ‘Why is My Curriculum White?’ project.

Epsom minutes - 90-94 monitoring 8

Epsom minutes, 1990s

Epsom minutes - 90-94 monitoring 7

We will, throughout black history month and beyond, be doing a series of blogs on our collections and diversity to get your creative juices flowing! We will be looking at the links between different historically marginalized groups. We will also be exploring controversial material.

We hold the original diverse artwork from The Diagram Group, dating from the 1960s, graphic design book publishers.
The Working Press, books by and about working class artists, 1986-1996, aimed to help with publication of marginalized groups, including black artists, women artists, disabled artists, touching on identity, and migration.
We hold the Tessa Boffin archive, the first British lesbian to do work into AIDS as early as the 1980s, and her work contains material on stereotype and stigma

stereotype and stigma. jpg

The Bob Godfrey animation archive, Britain’s first Oscar winning animator, looks at stereotypes in Europe with the animation ‘Know Your Europeans’ and the history of UK in relation to diversity with animation such as ‘Great’ (1975) and ‘Millennium’ (1999)
If interested in getting involved you can reach us at archives@ucreative.ac.uk

The Knights Move: The work of Tessa Boffin Upon the raised subject – The Masculine, the new Feminine

The Knights moveTessa Boffin, an artist who battled with the confliction of transgressions, the AIDs epidemic, and all the negative and destructive ‘pop’ culture surrounding such ripe topics of the 80’s and 90’s.

Boffins archive here at UCA Farnham is formed by a selection of her raw journals and collected material, a body of work that plays an important part in the progression of further understanding the position of the feminine in today’s culture. Boffin’s work materialised during a time when the word ‘Feminism’ was becoming a word of transgression, The Knights Move 1991, ‘her muscles exaggerated by a robust suit of armour’ (Cherry, 2002, 109) – The Masculine the new Feminine.

The definition of the word itself was changing; feminism was becoming a threat to political and social structure associated to the masculine identity – hence the media adopting it as a form of destruction of any remaining positivity on the subject matter. Through this social, cultural and political battle of the sexes in society the feminine was discarded, a quality seen to be suppressed, weak, controlled… – but this can and should be challenged. Arguably, the feminine and the masculine identity are only man-made identities used as a tool to feed or protect ones desire for power.

Women have not always been the passive subject nor vulnerable object, but warriors and a respected figure of nature; the giver of life. In reference to Yin and Yang, the harmonious balance, which originated from, I Ching, China’s most spiritual book – later the Han scholar Dong Zhongshu manipulated this philosophy into a tool for power by associating gender to philosophy; making yang more inferior to Yin, Yin being the female, the feminine, and the Yang the male, the masculine. This is not only an example of a man-made separation of sexes twisted into the harmony of the universe but further evidence of the use of Confucian used to control and suppress women politically. Along with, Mary Magdalene’s portrayal has been subjected to – and in many cases overshadowed by – the identity of a prostitute. Could it be possible that this is yet another example of a constructed identity used to un-stabilise her role as an important companion of Jesus? Philosophy is a form of religion – and in the wrong hands can become ones foundation to dictatorship.

It’s important to state that the masculine is not the bad guy here; the masculine is also a man-made identity used as a tool for power. It is nor the subject of feminine and the masculine which is the problem but in fact a political structure put in place to provoke the battle of the sexes. In reference to the Tang Dynasty, Empress Wu was the first female emperor to rule China and saw her own existence beyond gender, as a neutral being. This adds to our notion of the suppressed gender, which slowly becomes a way to unconsciously formulate some kind of social and political construction within society, helping form the word ‘civilisation’, and all stemming from our primitive desire for power and control.

Boffin conflicted between battles of her own sexuality and where this stood not only politically and socially but most poignantly, her mind. An on-going personal battle is evident within her journals and collected material; so is a spirit to challenge, which remains relevant and current to our times.

Through her playful practice of role playing, Boffin brings forth a sense of artificial existence within political and social structures that feed into the mainstream of pop culture. She provides questions as a way of trying to understand the world around her and gains control by adopting the power element associated to the identity of the masculine – an experience that manages to deconstruct both identities of the masculine and the feminine.

Boffins collected materials and journals are intense, and in some cases quite disturbing. Yet Boffin’s work demonstrates a depth and sensitivity to the world that surrounded her – and played part in Boffins on-going battle with social and cultural corruptions, hidden by the many blind corners of many constructions.

By Katie McGurk 

 Learning Support Advisor, UCA

MA student at Royal College of Art