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.

Advertisements

Creating a research guide on ‘Working Class Women’

Below is our volunteer Lorna’s description relating to her work creating research guides. You can access Lorna’s research guide here

Last week, I visited the Farnham archives to create a research guide on the topic of working class women as part of my volunteering. This topic was of particular interest to me due to my own involvement in feminism, both academically and through volunteering at the Feminist Library.

For this task, I was looking through the Working Press archives which features correspondence, newsletters and mailing lists concerning working class women writers between 1986 and 1996 created or collected by Stefan Szczelkun.

Going through the archive, I noticed recurring themes, individuals and institutions which will enable those using the guide to find further information surrounding the topic without having to read the entire archive. By referencing specific events, individuals and inst­­­itutions within the documents, users will be able to easily research the area in more depth by using key terms instead of general terms such as feminism, class and protest.

For researchers, being able to see these pieces together in the context of an archive, gives an added value to the material, in terms of the information they can gain from them. In this way it is easier to see changes within a time period as well as make links between individuals and institutions.

When choosing what items should be mentioned within the guide, I tried to look for material that summed up both the working class and female element of the research guide. This was mainly selecting writing that was either about women or from the view point of a woman.­­

Secondly I chose items that had a particular resonance with myself, as someone who had both an interest and knowledge of the topic. For example, I included items that referenced Greenham Common as I have met individuals who were at the camp.

From writing the guide, I was able to reacquaint myself with topics that interest me. Also I was able to see the archives from both the view of a volunteer as well a researcher, gaining an insight into how to make the archives more accessible and useful to those using them for research.

Lorna Harrington, volunteer

P1090528

P1090530

 

 

 

Fashion education – impact on Industry

by Lorna Harrington, MA fashion Kingston, UCA Volunteer

 

When commencing my final major project for my masters, it was natural for me, as a volunteer at UCA, to consider the archives as a starting point for my research.

As a fashion student, I have chosen to look at fashion education and how it has changed and how this is affecting industry.

This is a topic of particular interest, due to the recent cuts to both arts and education which have impacted on the study of fashion.  Some of these themes have been explored within the archive itself. For example, Jigsaw, a magazine published by second year communication design students in 1976, discusses grants for foundation students as well as cuts to teaching staff.

I am particularly interested in looking through past prospectuses, minute books and newspaper clippings within the archive.

 

Epsom Prospectuses

Prospectuses from Epsom

The images I find will not only be used for my written report but also to inspire my own designs for graphics and printed material relating to the topic of fashion and education. Some of my final major project outcomes will be in prospectuses, fashion show invites and branding for a new course.

To start with, I have been looking through material uploaded onto the UCA Archive Explored Flickr, to give me an idea of what material exists and what will be of use to me.

One of the many items of relevance to my project, is an interview with Audrey Cresswell, head of fashion featured in Jigsaw Magazine in 1976, which gives information about course content, number of students and the course’s links to industry.

16284039173_9824aace0b_k

 

As part of my research methodology, I will be interviewing key figures within the fields of fashion and education and so this particular piece will be helpful in forming my own questions for my interviewees. It will also give a sense of what has and hasn’t changed within fashion education.

I also hope to spend some of my final major project, becoming more involved in the archives through helping to curate online exhibitions as well as developing research guides.

Volunteering in the archives- MA Fashion

Volunteering experience of Lorna Harrington, alumni of UCA
As an MA Fashion student and volunteer at the Feminist Library, starting
to work with the UCA archives has been an exciting project.
I have been able to see first-hand at the Epsom campus how the art school has changed over the years through looking at past prospectuses as well as minute books. This has made me start to consider whether the art school is a feminist space, a topic I hope to explore while volunteering at the archives.
I have also had the opportunity to visit UCA Farnham where I was able to look at some of the Tessa Boffin archive and the zine collection. These were of specific interest to me, due to my studies in to feminism and my post graduate studies which have so far focused on creating my own zines and planning an exhibition.
The Tessa Boffin archive, is a collection of personal papers including hand
written notes belonging to former staff member and photographer Tessa Boffin. Part of the collection included her research for a proposed exhibition on a Billboard
which focused on a real life news story surrounding the alleged rape of a young woman by a member of her own sex pretending to be a man. Also included is the project proposal which really gives insight into what goes in to putting on an exhibition.
The zine archive includes a wealth of material and is certainly an inspiration to anyone thinking about creating their own, both in terms of content ideas as well as presentation.
I had the pleasure of looking at The Hissterics a zine created in 2001 by feminist artist Rachael House. Interestingly, since visiting the archives I have met Rachael who
was both a performer and stall holder at The Feminist Library winter fair.
From this meeting I was able to acquire three more of her zines;
C(o)unterculture–women’s land and Red hanky panky issues eight and nine. As part of my volunteering I hope to write a small guide giving an overview of Rachael House’s zine for those using the archive.
3

Re-shaping the Art School archive

Alumni Faith Cannon, Fine Art, has been working with the Canterbury archives to look at how it can be used in art today

Images from a sculpture show at Canterbury, 1989-1990

Images from a Sculpture Show at Canterbury, 1989-90

On starting this project using the UCA archive, it has made me aware of the potential collaboration with other Alumni artists from the past, and the possibilities for students today to use resources which are at their fingertips. Sometimes when you’re on a course you get so tied up with producing work and researching you forget that others have done this before – not just the famous artist, photographer, architect- but previous students. They can be an untapped resource to the artists block, a curatorial presentation or that planning for that ever looming Degree Show!

I thought I would give you a little taster of some the items I have photographed and how I have made new work from those early images. There are possibilities for others to get involved with our collaboration to heighten the use of the archival material.

New collage of past images

New collage of past images

Images from a Degree Show Into the Unknown 2007. New collage of past images from the archive.

Images from a Degree Show Into the Unknown 2007. New collage of past images from the archive.

This Catalogue was of a really high standard and would be of interest to the 3rd year students who may be planning their own shows this year. Please take a look as it is your moment to have some super images of your work.

Canterbury archive

The archives have such a creative depth of ideas to aid your own practice and development. I decided to invite others to get involved to see how they would use the past material. We asked the question ‘How could we promote the use of the archives?’ We used a mind map to channel ideas.

 

Mind map 3Mind map 4Mind map 2Mind map 1

 

This drew many interesting possibilities. One artist wanted to do a poster to promote the archives, another sketched the shapes into a design, others photographed details and images that fitted with their own practice. I decided to research one catalogue to see how long it would be until I found a person I knew, as this followed my own practice of continuum and connections. I researched some of the artists to see if after 25 years how their practice had changed. This drew me to look at the materials, processes and how they had evolved. I decided to sketch some of the images to see how the 3D sculpture would have been seen in a 2D form. Those initial ideas that artist create from pen on paper.

This collaboration between the past/present drew me to experiment with the images to see how I could manipulate them to create something new, and the research aspect fuelled the connections element of my practice – and there amongst the archives I found someone I knew!

 

Created by Faith Cannon and other contributors

Jo Robinson

Colin Pratt

Many Quy-verlander

 

 

Artistic Archival Posters

One of our volunteers, Neda, has been creating some posters out of some of our images! Take a look…

UCA holds various significant animation archives. The Animation Archives house a unique collection of over one million original materials that document British animation from the 1940's to the present day. The collections contain a vast array of internationally significant research material  These images are from the archive of Oscar winning animator, Bob Godfrey.  For Bob Godfrey's Biography see here archives.ucreative.ac.uk/Calmview/Record.aspx?src=CalmVie... The archive contains records relating to Bob Godfrey's Animation work. The archive is 2D hand drawn animation. Records include scripts, pre-production, production, post production, publicity, distribution, and exhibitions. These include scripts, storyboards, correspondence, animation cels, pencil drawings, award certificates and photographs. The archive also includes personal drawings from Bob Godfrey and photographs of Bob Godfrey, his animator and scriptwriter colleagues, and his family and friends. The material from the Bob Godfrey Animation archive are under the copyright of the Bob Godfrey Estate and should not be reused for commercial purposes without the permission of the estate. Contact archives@ucreative.ac.uk for further information

UCA holds various significant animation archives. The Animation Archives house a unique collection of over one million original materials that document British animation to the present day. 
Records include scripts, pre-production, production, post production, publicity, distribution, and exhibitions. These include scripts, storyboards, correspondence, animation cels, pencil drawings, award certificates and photographs. The archive also includes personal drawings from Bob Godfrey and photographs of Bob Godfrey, his animator and scriptwriter colleagues, and his family and friends.

Neda poster 2 - archive opening Neda poster 3 - archive opening

Tessa Boffin Research: ACT-UP – AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power

UCA Archives are pleased to have hosted volunteers from Photography at UCA. Josie and Fran talk about their research on the Tessa Boffin Archive

They are looking at publicity material and reviews surrounding the AIDS exhibition Ecstatic Antibodies

ACT-UP originated in America in 1987, the community built from people suffering from HIV and AIDS, also people who were related to people that had been killed by the disease, and even people unrelated to the disease but supportive of the movement.

Our first encounter with ACT-UP was from a letter Tessa Boffin had received from ACT-UP Manchester, handwritten and signed by ‘Andy’, with leaflets of information and some articles of their movements, what stood out for us was the P.S at the end of the letter, reading; ‘This letter is the truth, it is not a rather pathetic attempt at telling a load of fibs!!’ What one of the articles stated was that the group ACT-UP Manchester ‘did not exist when the exhibition was at York’, in America the group were at their peak, protesting various causes for their campaign in our opinion this exhibition and the struggles to show it made the group want to spread globally.

1

The main reason ACT-UP got  involved with the exhibition was not because it had anything to do with politics but due to the fact that it wanted to raise peoples awareness of HIV and AIDS, ACT-UP state that ‘we are not that concerned with it (Section 28*). We are not a Lesbian and Gay organization, we are concerned with AIDS and HIV’. This reason was one of the main things that sparked the protests as people just thought the exhibition was sexualised toward the Lesbian and Gay community.

Another thing to add would be that ACT-UP Manchester included with the letter was their own ‘Action News’ in which they discuss their interview with Mr. Royston Footer**. This was when members of ACT-UP convinced him that they were reporters and to get to him to get an explanation of why he had cancelled the exhibition in Salford City’s Viewpoint Gallery, when asked why he Footer said “I decide what is appropriate for a local authority gallery”. When the ‘journalists’ would not let this go Footer realised that he was being recorded and he made an attempt to snatch the recorder from one of the activists and dragged him across the desk “if you print any of this I’ll…” ACT-UP used this for demonstration of the aggression thrown upon them when trying to display calmly.

After this interview the tape was given to Scene Out, which then allowed for the story to make it to Manchester Evening News, when this was seen Councilor Thomas, deputy chair of Saldford Council Arts and Leisure committee, declared that he was unaware the exhibition had been cancelled and then arranged to see Mr. Footer to discuss the situation.

IMG_4742

All in all, one thing that we noticed about ACT-UP was that the group didn’t want the protesting to go out of hand and get into situations that became political; their demonstrations seemed to rock up a fuss everywhere.

 If anybody is wanting to read up about a more in depth history of ACT-UP, we suggest you watching the film that was made; United in Anger: A History of ACT UP the film gives insight into some of the reasons people joined the community and showed the demonstrations they held. Here is a link to watch the film on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrAzU79PBVM

* Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988: The amendment stated that a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.

** Mr Royston Footer was part of Salford City’s Council.

Thank you for reading our post.

Josie Evans and Frances Jackson – Second Year Photography

Tessa Boffin Research- Council Accused of Censorship

UCA Archives are pleased to have hosted volunteers from Photography at UCA. Josie and Fran talk about their research on the Tessa Boffin Archive

They are looking at publicity material and reviews surrounding the AIDS exhibition Ecstatic Antibodies

Photocopy of a newspaper clipping on the exhibition Ecstatic Antibodies. Discussing the ideas behind the exhibition and the artwork. The article describes a few various reasons as to why the Viewpoint Gallery initially cancelled the exhibition, some of the thoughts towards the exhibition were actually that it was seen as pornographic due to various poses in some of the imagery, whether this was an understatement of the ideas behind the imagery or it could simply be a  light minded opinion of the art, it would still not be a reason for the exhibition to be cancelled.

IMG_4754

Denise Birkenshaw, Salford Council’s principle art officer (at the time), held an initial meeting with two gallery programmers, Jane Brake and Paul Brownridge, in reference as to whether the show should continue or not, their overall decision was cancellation, what was interesting about this factor was how the matter was not actually discussed with anybody else on the Council’s committee and it was basically and overall opinion of Birkenshaw herself, however some other articles discussed the fact that Royston Footer from the council committee cancelled the event. It was said that ‘Birkenshaw’s decision was influenced after discovering that when the exhibition was in York’s Impressions Gallery, one of the pictures was removed to an adults only area after the police request. Other than this there were no incidents.’

IMG_4768

A quote from the article said that ‘…a council spokesman gave the official reason that the show was “not suitable for a public gallery where young children might be”.’ this shows the conflict that the exhibition had with the council’s ideas of right and wrong. The idea that the imagery was not suitable to be shown in a ‘family gallery’ was slightly outrageous in the sense that the idea of Ecstatic Antibodies was to not horrify people, but to bring peoples attention to the matter and help the crisis, suggesting that maybe the younger generation should be able to view such things in the intentions of learning about such diseases and safer sex.

The majority of articles and opinions have actually been based on a single image, Tessa Boffin’s Angelic Rebels: Lesbians and Safer Sex, which shows two women embracing (fully clothed) with sex toys and various other objects on the floor, the article that we looked at taken from The British Journal of Photography actually captioned the image “Oral sex? Tessa Boffin thinks not”, suggesting that their views were that the image was sexually explicit. Tessa ‘told The British Journal of Photography: ‘A lot of the work as been badly misread… two women dressed as angels who end up embracing: they (Birkenshaw) said my work was about lesbians having oral sex… It’s about lesbians and safer sex’.’ The fact of the matter is that there was no communication, for something that was meant to speak out to the public about heath and disease it became about sex and the right to show the human body and their relationships.

Thank you for reading our post.

Josie Evans and Frances Jackson – Second Year Photography

Tessa Boffin Research: Lesbian erotica on show: By women, for women

UCA Archives are pleased to have hosted volunteers from Photography at UCA. Josie and Fran talk about their research on the Tessa Boffin Archive

They are looking at publicity material and reviews surrounding the AIDS exhibition Ecstatic Antibodies

This next blog we are talking about small article in the ‘The Pink Paper’ about the show Lesbian Erotica and how a show has finally been made for women to express themselves. The photograph the article used, is the most used Tessa Boffin image when talking about sexuality, and the comments that are made in the article are in support of this exhibition, for example: ‘For too long the portrayal of lesbian erotica has been by men, for men, from past to present’.

The majority of imagery used to display women are sexualized, however is this opinion of the artist or whether the viewer took that opinion. The Angelic Rebels: Lesbians and Safer Sex displays multiple ideas behind HIV and AIDS, also the ideas of teaching people about safer sex. It is true to state that most artistic work that has been produced about women have been by men, this demonstrates the ideas that male fantasies fuels their imagination for creating art, this is not a bad thing, however the article displays the joy that finally there was an exhibition containing work of women that was created by women, in a sense allowing ‘…women to give their side of the story’.

Tessa Boffin, being a lesbian herself, was able to express her own opinions on her sexuality through her art, ‘…female homosexuality has been almost exclusively a matter of male titillation’ this quote from the article expressing the fact that imagery of lesbians were normally seen as for the pleasure of men, from Tessa’s perspective she moved this idea to the expression of her own experiences and also in the idea of helping others to understand.

IMG_4757

Pornographic styled imagery is mostly aimed towards the male audiences, we are not suggesting in any way that the imagery in Ecstatic Antibodies was pornographic, but that the ideas towards sexualisation of women are mostly aimed for men. For a slightly crude example, there are not many porn sites that are aimed at women in this day and age, so the fact that this exhibition was created for the soul purpose for women caused for slight celebration in the ability for women to express themselves without being seen as sexual. The idea that women are viewed as sexual objects but are not meant to enjoy the sexual world is borderline brutish, ‘…Representing and repossessing their own sexuality’ that was the aim of the exhibition and is now the main focal point in society today, this has not changed.

comic

‘We’re Taking Lesbian Sexuality Back from the Male Gaze* and the Result Is Awesome’

“This comic says it all about men co-opting lesbian sexuality for their own pleasure – and how we can take it back. Finally, the kind of queer media we’ve been wishing for!”

The reason we chose to refer to this comic, relating to the article By Women for Women as it helps our argument on the fact that the male gaze is constantly around the sexualisation of women. This comic strip shows the mindset of lesbians when growing up and when in relationships, they are still affected by the men in and around their lives, their preferences in media (films, TV programs and music) created by men and aimed at men, they are not targeted at a female audience making it harder for lesbian women growing up in a world were sex is aimed at men. The comic is humorous, however at the same time it really pushes the feelings that become overpowering in some women’s lives, the ideas that everything they say and do is for a sexual cause, but of course the ending reveals that even though she felt this way she overcame it and told everyone that it is none of their business what she does in her private life, this linking to Tessa Boffin’s cause to express her opinions on HIV and AIDS, as it shows how peoples opinions of the subject that is being fought for sometimes downs out your want to continue, but Tessa did not stop until she was heard, like the women in the comic.

*“The NY, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” (1975). It is used to describe when the audience is put into the perspective of a (heterosexual) man. Female characters are sexualized, and the camera may zero in on female body parts considered sexual. This takes after the psychoanalytical term brought into popular usage by Jacques Lacan.

Thank you for reading our post.

Josie Evans and Frances Jackson – Second Year Photography

Original comic: http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/04/lesbian-sexuality-male-gaze/

Tessa Boffin Research – Public opinion based on one image from Ecstatic Antibodies

UCA Archives are pleased to have hosted volunteers from Photography at UCA. Josie and Fran talk about their research on the Tessa Boffin Archive

They are looking at publicity material and reviews surrounding the AIDS exhibition Ecstatic Antibodies

Public opinion based on one image from the overall exhibition

We are Josie and Fran and we have been working on the Tessa Boffin archive, listing and looking at the things that she had collected in connection to Ecstatic Antibodies: Resisting the AIDS Mythology. The book and exhibition launched with it represent and powerful exploration of both images and text of the AIDS crisis. The contributors disrupt the politically laden mythology of HIV and AIDS, and affirm the persistence of love and desire in the face of death.

Tessa Boffin, a photographer was the first British lesbian artist to produce photography work in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Together, she and Sunil Gupta curated the travelling exhibition Ecstatic Antibodies: Resisting the AIDS Mythology, and edited the accompanying book. Her Angelic Rebels: Lesbians and Safer Sex (1989), remains one of the most important photographic artworks to address AIDS from a lesbian perspective. Boffin was active in promoting the importance of lesbian photography, and in bringing it to a largely ignorant audience, she was able to mould it into a subtle language with which to articulate specific aspects of the lesbian experience generally erased in mainstream culture.

‘‘Homosexuality is an evasion/flight of difference.”

IMG_4796While looking into different items we came across what we thought was an article written about the exhibition, after reading it in further detail we realised that it was a letter that someone had written in to The British Journal of Photography. The following writings express some of the quotes we found interesting, ‘…bizarre sexual fantasies will merely reinforce the (supposed) popular misconceptions of the nature of AIDS’. We feel like this may have been kept to show the public’s view and the views that they themselves (Tessa Boffin and Sunil Gupta) thought that they would come across during this exhibition, seeing as most of the clippings that we have sorted through detail the fight that they had trying to get the show seen. In this letter his comments seem to portray an uneducated and unnecessary attitude towards the work of Ecstatic Antibodies; ‘Exhibitions of pretentious ‘artistic’ fooleries may have good publicity value, but will contribute nothing to the understanding of the disease.’ – seeing as most people that didn’t know the whole side and the purpose of the exhibition this was their main opinion, it was about sex and not about the story of the aftermath from various artists.

‘The militant sexual activists (of whatever predilection) may conduct business as usual under the banner of ‘safer sex’; there is no particular reason why the good people of Salford should be belabored with their theatricalities under the thin pretext of ‘AIDs awareness’, and no amount of exhortation to safer sex will necessarily result in saner sex.’ Martin describes the exhibition executives as ‘militant sexual activists’ which allows us to suspect that his opinion of the actual exhibition being put up is a way of protesting for sexuality, rather than the awareness of HIV and AIDS. A few other articles we read suggested similar ideas, that maybe the show did not display the right amounts of awareness for the HIV, AIDS and safer sex, however the majority of viewers did not go and see the show. The majority of the articles and pieces of writings we have looked at actually suggest the split of opinions, however the majority of positive views come from the gay and lesbian community, people suffering with HIV and AIDS or women, although this is just a brief first overlook it is something that stands to mind about the opinion of people who don’t fit these genres.

IMG_4794

After reading, it had become clear that Martin J Dobson knew about activity’s that had been going on with Salford Council and by the sound of what he had written into the magazine he was in agreement that it should not be shown, or at least been one of the many that they thought would complain about the nature of the exhibition. All this negativity was based off of one image, his response to this was this ‘My apologies to any contributors whose integrity I may have mistakenly impugned, obviously it is difficult to judge a complete exhibition from a single picture’. From this we believed that his apology was sincere – however it displays that he himself believes that his opinion was a judgment made too irrationally.

 Thank you for reading our post.

 Josie Evans and Frances Jackson – Second Year Photography