The Building a Better World Creative Residency, has artist in residence Stefan Szczelkun at the fore, creator of the Working Press Archive. The residency is to explore the Working Press archive, books by and about working class artists, 1986-1996, and respond to the collection artistically. The Working Press, which contains correspondence, conference material, publicity, the published book collection (some annotated) and pamphlets and zines collected by Stefan, looks at difficulties of marginalized groups being published, funding difficulties, and intersectionalities between class, gender, race, nationality and disability. The archive also questions what class actually is-what makes someone working class?
An introduction to the Working Press archive is available here
The two days involved artists Stefan, and David Moore. It included finding about the participants, and any previous experience with archives they may have had. It included introducing participants to the Working Press, including showcasing the Working Press publications, which is on the library catalogue, which also included an annotated book, The Conspiracy of Good Taste. The unpublished material, such as letters, conference material, posters, can be accessed on the archive catalogue
Items that I drew to participants attention included records from the Culture, Class and Identity conference, and correspondence, and mail art, from the collection. I also highlighted a selection of zines and pamphlets donated by Stefan collected at the same time as the Working Press.
Ideas included developing projects based on the idea of class and identity, and what being working class actually means – is it a question of financial means? Questions also included what does being a working class artist mean? Other ideas included directly adapting posters relating to a political message, and also developing the idea of mail art. One student, Susan Merrick, from Fine Art has started a blog, looking at charity shopping and class
We are looking forward to see what the students produce!
Rebekah Taylor, Archivist & Special Collections Officer