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?
You can find an introduction to the archive is here
The last three days of the residency involved further research, in terms of which part of the archive students were responding to. It also involved, where relevant, the digitisation of the item. Students were introduced to the UCA Digitisation Unit, and scanning equipment for archival material.
Stefan also undertook a short talk, highlighting the relevancy of class today, and drawing attention to different articles, such as the BBC article ‘Construction workers win payouts for “blacklisting”‘ and articles relating to boarding schools and leaders. Relevant music related to class can be heard here
Students have now produced work, and/or and are on the way to producing work
Two of the students videos about the creative residency are available here
Results of the project mean:
- Students now have explored ways of using art within the archives, and have work to showcase for their CV
- Learned about different ways to present work GIFs
- As a result of the project the archives have 2 volunteers, one of which is interested in becoming an archivist
- Students have learned more about aspects of class and activism, and explored how understanding of the past can contribute to the present
Next steps include:
- Creating a pamphlet, including quotes from the students
- Developing an exhibition of the work
Rebekah Taylor, Archivist & Special Collections Officer