LGBTQ ALMS Conference Day 1

I was fortunate enough to attend and present at day one of the LGBTQ  (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning) conference held at the Bishopgate Institute, 22nd June 2016.

The day one conference is available here

Events/talks included a talk on the artist Gluck, a woman, who dressed as a man from the Fashion Curator at Brighton Museum. Donations to the museum included dresses, ‘female’ clothes, and there was a mystery in terms of whether she really wore it, was it for significant others? This demonstrated the importance of context. Questions afterwards also highlighted differences in interpretation regarding the artist – whether she actually identified as a man, or otherwise?

Also in the sources panel, of particular interest to me, was Daniel Laurin on ‘Contains Nudity: Experiencing the Erotic in the Queer Personal Archive’. Talking about The Mario Prizek Archive ‘housed in the University of Toronto’s Media Commons’, he looked at nudity within the collection – a range of different types of nudity- ‘photographs of friends showering at the cottage in the 1970s, but also for materials that document Prizek’s sexual exploits’. I was interested in the fact that ‘contains nudity’ was a phrase that describes all this material in the collection – saying as much about the archivist, as the material

Art responses to collections and the ethics of art responses were apparent in Ken. To be destroyed: photography, a transgender relative and a family archive  by Sara Davidmann (London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London, UK) and Documentary Theatrics: I am my own wife’s archival deceptions by Polly J. Thistlethwaite (Professor and Chief Librarian, City University of New York, USA). The former talk looking at transgender correspondence and photographs within their family. Correspondence was entitled ‘to be destroyed’- very powerful – although i believe that it is vital to keep, there is an argument for respecting someone’s wishes – although would their minds change today? Artwork was produced with photographs – manipulating photographs so the transgender person could appear as they wanted to appear. The second talk looked at playwriting/creative writing /documentary theatre , and the dangers of distorting fiction so it appears as facts.

I presented in a terminology panel. There was a talk on language and appropriate terms – UDC: A Universal Discriminative Classification?– by Gregory Toth (Metadata & Discovery Manager, Senate House Library, London, UK). I looked at cataloguing multiple identity collections, involving research into terminology and description, controlled vocabulary, and ways to improve collections’ searchability.

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This was a fantastic day and very much enjoyed being here!

Rebekah Taylor

Archivist & Special Collections Officer

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D.I.Y Cultures

Blog post by volunteer, Lorna Harrington

On Saturday 29th June I volunteered at D.I.Y Cultures as part of the Feminist Library. The event was a zine fair which included talks and workshops as well as stalls held at Rich Mix in Bethnal Green. While at the event I purchased a number of zines as well acquiring two issues of ‘Cuntry Living’ a feminist zine for the UCA Archives.

Going to the event was a great way to get to know people who create and sell zines. I was able to talk to Laura Chapman who is part of ‘Cuntry Living’ who was really enthusiastic about archives and the importance of them when creating your own zine.

The zine is produced by English and Art students in the Oxford area but is open to contributors from any subject area or location. Themes covered include gender, street harassment and body image through text and collage printed on pastel newsprint.

For those new to zines especially in the context of feminism it included an article giving an introduction to zines and their role in the fight for gender equality.

Having visited the fair, I came away with a lot of inspiration and a desire to create my own zine as part of my final major project. What struck me was the longevity of the medium and the communities they create. Whether in an institutional archive or in someone’s own personal collection, their influence is not singular or throw away.

For my first zine, I intend to focus on and celebrate the achievements of living women within art and design who although seem to dominate the education system do not always get the credit they deserve within industry.

While it may seem a big step to make your own zine, with many covering previously taboo subjects such as sexuality and mental health issues, many zinesters are looking for contributors or collaborators.  This is an easy way to start getting involved in the zine community and being on the way to creating your own.

Artwork from Canterbury archives

Below is the blog post by Faith Cannon, volunteer, who has been working with archives

Faith Cannon
B .A. Honours Fine Art, UCA Canterbury
Artist in-residence for the Archives
Since using the archives as a resource it has greatly opened my eyes to possibilities that are at our fingertips. As we develop as artisans we need to experiment and find the areas which fulfil us personally. So research is always needed within your chosen field. The archives can aid that research but we often look at the famous artisans rather than the more obscure. Perhaps that’s because we want to please others during our studies rather than ourselves. I have found that there are so many less well known people that show great understanding in their chosen field. So please take a look!
During this year I have photographed many of the archival boxes which I hope will be online for you to see. After doing this I decided to collaborate with others from my cohort to map out ways to promote the use of the archives, we came up with some great ideas and hope to develop these further within UCA.
I decided to make artwork from one of the resources in the archive. I chose a 1990 catalogue from a sculpture exhibition. I followed my own practice of connection to see if there would be artists I knew who had shown work in this exhibition and yes there were.

Canterbury

These are but a few of the artists which exhibited at Canterbury. The archives show you the process that they went through to bring this exhibition together. I asked one of the artists what they remembered of this exhibition and he said “it was a large exhibition which was aided by many institutions around Canterbury and he suggested that perhaps we should do this again as an exhibition for the future!”
This drew me to focus on sculpture and how the 2D form of drawing is the beginning of ideas and develops into the 3D sculpture. I experimented with processes and materials from sketching, painting, carving, weaving to manipulating digital images. I found that this fed my experiential learning which drives my practice.
This display I hope evokes the possibilities of using the archives! So have a go!!
faithcannon@aol.com for further information or Rebekah Taylor, Archivist or the Librarians.