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


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

‘Great’ Women throughout History

Women’s History Month Archive Events

In March UCA Archives and Special Collections celebrated Women’s History Month by hosting different events and promoting themed material as part of our #UCAWHM social media campaign.

As part of our celebrations marking Women’s History Month, we held a pop-up event on 18th March to showcase animation archive material featuring prominent female historical figures such as Queen Mary I, Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria and Margaret Thatcher.

Women's History Month Display

Great Women Throughout History Pop-Up Display

Material from the animation Millennium – The Musical included artwork from a musical sequence about the Tudor dynasty. In the sequence, Queen Mary I is depicted as ‘Bloody Mary’ with crowds watching in horror at the sight of flames burning Protestants. The portrayal of her character is shown in the image above. The artists have designed Mary with an unpleasant, almost conniving facial expression, with the scene consisting of Mary chuckling as she rubs her hands together. In contrast, Queen Elizabeth I has an upbeat section, celebrating the reign of ‘Good Queen Bess’ as ‘the Virgin Queen’. In the artwork displayed next to the image of Mary, Elizabeth is smiling as she playfully winks at the viewer in the scene. These contrasting images present an interesting comparison of the two rulers, and are one example of how they have come to be portrayed throughout the years following their rule.

We also looked at material from the Oscar award-winning animation Great, which features caricatures of Queen Victoria. The other figure we focused on was Margaret Thatcher, whose character is portrayed in the animated series Margaret Thatcher: Where am I Now? The Steve Bell animation takes a satirical look at the life and work of Britain’s first female Prime Minister.

Our Flickr account with images used in our advertising talk

Our Flickr account featuring images used in our advertising talk

On 19th March we also held a talk featuring material from our other collections, such as the Tessa Boffin archive and the West Surrey College of Art and Design archive. ‘Men Act, Women Appear: Women in Art and Advertising’ discussed the gender portrayal of woman in advertising, with reference to college prospectuses and course guides.

We advertised these events via our social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter using #UCAWHM as our hash-tag of choice. Throughout the whole of March we posted quotes and images from our collections, which were also available for viewing on our Flickr account. Finally, we pulled together the results of our campaign into a story, using Storify.

Our media campaign with #UCAWHM

Our extensive media campaign with #UCAWHM

 We hope that through our efforts we have contributed towards the celebration of Women’s History Month and highlighted women whose lives have played a prominent part in society.

The archive material featured is available to search on the UCA Archives and Special Collections Online Catalogue.

All images are for educational purposes only. Artwork copyright Bob Godfrey. Millennium – The Musical copyright Channel Four Television Corporation.
Contact UCA Archives and Special Collections for more information at archives@ucreative.ac.uk

Hannah Ratford, Archive Cataloguer

Love is in Archives…

…Every shelf we look around! February Archive Pop-Up Event

We hosted our latest Pop-Up event to showcase archival material with themes of love and romance in line with Valentine’s Day.

Love is in the Archive's Display

Love is in the Archive’s Display

The day of love finds its origins as a liturgical celebration for one or more saints named Valentinus. Valentine’s Day was not associated with romantic love until the Middle Ages, when ideas of courtly love and chivalry gained popularity. There are references to the association of Saint Valentine and love throughout the Tudor period, where the first surviving Valentine’s letter can be traced. However, the day became more popular in the 18th century, when lovers gave each other flowers, confectionery and greetings cards. In modern times certain symbols have become associated with love and Valentine’s Day, such as love hearts, doves and the figure Cupid.

We see the influence of modern ideas surrounding Valentine’s Day in the Henry’s Cat episode ‘Valentine’s Day’. Throughout the episode we see the symbol of the heart and references to romantic love. In this episode Henry’s Cat and his friends attempt to cheer up Pansy Pig by hosting a Blind Dates show. Will Pansy find her true love through the processes of the dating trials of the 20th century?

Items from Shakespeare's Music Hall, including material from A Midsummer Night's Dream

Items from Shakespeare’s Music Hall, including material from A Midsummer Night’s Dream

We also displayed items from Shakespeare’s Music Hall, or, A little of As You Like It does you good. The material for this animation project was based on a musical written by Colin Pearson, which looked at the life and works of William Shakespeare. The musical features songs about a selection of plays by Shakespeare, including Hamlet, where St. Valentine’s Day is mentioned by Ophelia:

Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.

We displayed artwork showing scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and a storyboard for Romeo and Juliet, the famed star-crossed lovers.

Storyboard for a Romeo and Juliet sequence (Shakespeare's Music Hall)

Storyboard for a Romeo and Juliet sequence (Shakespeare’s Music Hall)

View our other collections via the UCA Archives and Special Collections Online Catalogue.

Shakespeare’s Music Hall images copyright Bob Godfrey.
All images are for educational purposes only.

Hannah Ratford, Archive Cataloguer

Raiders of the Lost Archives: Fantasy and Adventure

Fantasy and Adventure with Kevin Saves the World!

Our January Pop Up Event focused on the recently catalogued Kevin Saves the World series, a children’s animation series written by Daniel Postgate and produced by Bob Godfrey Films and Kine Aune. Based on the book of the same title, the series features Kevin, a young boy who wants to live an ordinary life but keeps finding himself involved in all kinds of unusual adventures. These unusual adventures transport the viewer into various fantasy scenarios, and so the natural theme for our Pop Up Event was fantasy and adventure.

Material from various episodes of the Kevin Saves the World series

Material from various episodes of the Kevin Saves the World series

Fantasy is a term generally used to define a genre that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary plot element. The genre was traditionally inspired from mythology and folklore, but developed as a distinct type of literature during the Victorian period. Farah Mendlesohn attempts to define the types of literary fantasy in her book Rhetorics of Fantasy. She offers the follow categories into which fantasy genre can fall:

Portal Quest: Essentially there is a portal through to another world that has magical elements

Immersive: The entire story is set in a magical world

Intrusive: Elements from the magical world seep into our own

Liminal: The story is set in our world. Magical elements are accepted as opposed to being surprising

We find elements of Portal Quest fantasy (Kevin and the Computer Game, Kevin and the Big Lizard, Kevin and the Baked Beanstalk). We also find elements of Intrusive fantasy (Kevin and the Genie, Kevin and the Boogie Woogie Bogeyman, Kevin and the Recipe Book, Kevin and the Ghosts, Kevin and the Goblet of Eternal Life). However we have a crossover with Kevin and the Vikings, where the hero is transported through a portal, but then returns to the real world with the magical elements escaping and following him to create an Intrusive fantasy. And then of course, every episode borders on the Liminal. Throughout his adventures, we are reminded that Kevin is an ordinary boy who wants an ordinary life, and whilst he sees the fantastic elements as an annoyance, he does not seem particularly surprised by them.

Pre-Production material for Kevin and the Beanstalk and Kevin Saves the World episodes

Pre-Production material for Kevin and the Beanstalk and Kevin Saves the World episodes

It should be noted that Mendlesohn specifically states that her book applies to literary fantasy, and does not consider television and film. So perhaps we should not categorise Kevin Saves the World in this way. Instead of categories, we can look at sub themes. There are clearly influences from legends (Kevin and the Big Lizard, Kevin and the Goblet of Eternal Life), fairy-tales (Kevin and the Genie, Kevin and the Baked Beanstalk), folklore (Kevin and the Boogie Woogie Bogeyman, Kevin’s Christmas Treat), mythology (Kevin and the Vikings), and even the supernatural (Kevin and the Recipe Book, Kevin and the Ghosts, Kevin and the Seven Deadly Drop-Ins). Alongside these influences, we also see an element of popular culture – the Kevin and the Goblet of Eternal Life storyboards and scripts pose more than one similarity to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade!

Whichever way we choose to define or categorise the episodes of Kevin Saves the World, it is apparent that the series as a whole combines a number of influences from which its roots stem. However, at the end of each episode Kevin, much to his relief, is able to return to the real world and resume his ordinary life… Until the next adventure!

Archive resources and freebies!

Archive resources and freebies!

The Kevin Saves the World series is now catalogued as part of the Bob Godfrey Collection. View it via the UCA Archives and Special Collections Online Catalogue.

Kevin Saves the World images copyright Bob Godfrey and Daniel Postgate.
All images are for educational purposes only.

Hannah Ratford, Archive Cataloguer

Explore your Archive Pop Up Events – UCA Farnham Library

Explore your Archive! Discover our hidden original artistic treasures at our archive pop up events!

This term Archives and Special Collections will be hosting a series of ‘Pop-Up’ Events in the Farnham Campus Library between 13:00 and 14:00 on various dates as listed below. We will be demonstrating original archival material from the Bob Godfrey Animation Archive and focusing on different themes with each event.

Programme of Explore your archive pop up events

Join us to delve through a range of exciting material and to find out more about the archive and the services we provide.

Look out for our Explore Your Archive badges and pencils!

To find out more email archives@ucreative.ac.uk


Can I pretend that today is Wednesday, please?  If it were, then this post wouldn’t be a day late…and I’ve still have two-and-a-bit days left of Lovely Archive Time to go…

Sigh.  Wordpress says ‘no’, and apparently is going to publish today’s date at the top of this post just to spite me.  Wordpress and I are not on fantastic terms right now after it sent a large chunk of my previous post to the Great Recycle Bin in the sky.

So, yesterday’s news, today (You Heard it Here First).


The very first known pictorial representation of a Wunderkammer, belonging to Ferrante Imperato (published in 1599)

Wednesday was busy, busy, too.  I spent both the morning and the afternoon working with Film and Media MA students (Journalism, Animation, Documentary Filmmaking, Filmmaking, Photography…the list goes on!)  I really enjoyed teaching a group of creative individuals that spanned such a wide variety of disciplines, as everyone could bring something different to group discussions.

I began the morning’s session with a second talk about Wunderkammern (Cabinets of Curiosity).  I find the history of Wunderkammern fascinating (a history that of course interlinked with Rudolfine Mannerism, Alchemy, the expansion of Renaissance Trade routes, major shifts in the production and classification of knowledge, the carnivalesque…and lots of other interesting areas), and so many of the objects that were originally housed in collections of the 16th and 17th centuries still seem contemporary.  Take Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s Vertumnus, which was painted in 1590-91 for Rudolf II – Holy Roman Emperor and curiosity collector extraordinaire:



I then moved sideways from Wunderkammern (and, specifically, Rudolfine Prague), to Jan Švankmajer, an artist who has created his own extensive Wunderkammer in his house at Horni Stankov (inspired by Rudolf II), as well as numerous pieces that refer directly to alchemy and the transmutation of base matter.

The homunculus in the alchemist's laboratory.  Still from Faust, 1994

The homunculus in the alchemist’s laboratory. Film still from Faust, 1994

As a group we then began to examine the psychology of collecting, and collecting as methodology (both within the work of artists like Švankmajer, and in relation to new media).  So many interesting anecdotes and points of discussion emerged!  The afternoon also included great presentations by Yuwei (on digital culture and collecting), and by Rebekah Taylor (on creative archiving methods, cataloguing, and collecting).

Last, but not least, we finished the day by introducing students to the lovely animation archive itself.  It sounded though it might prove very useful to some students further down the line, so watch this space!

In the evening I screened Švankmajer’s latest feature film, Surviving Life (Theory and Practice) (2010) in The Glasshouse, at the student union.  It was great to see familiar faces from both my BA and MA classes, and was also a bit of a treat to be able to sit in a comfy, worn tub chair to watch the film again on the big screen.

Oh, to have my own home cinema…

Free Creativity Residency Workshops, 22nd-26th September 2014: Artist in the Animation Archives

Creative Residency


Location: University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, Surrey in the Animation Archive, G193

Dates: 22nd September -26th September

Details of dates/times and further information can be found here


The residency, led by Sonia Friel, will be held at UCA, within the Animation Archive, which includes the animation works of Bob Godfrey, Britain’s first Oscar winning animator. Sonia Friel is undertaking an AHRC funded PhD at Norwich University of the Arts relating to animation that explores representations of the fragmented body in the work of Jan Švankmajer and the Quay brothers.

The residency will consist of a series of workshops, talks, archive development sessions (including processes of animation cataloguing) and a film screening of Jan Švankmajer’s surrealist work, Surviving Life: Theory and Practice (2010)

Workshops include ‘Wünderkammer’ where the archive will be investigated to creatively build an electronic collection of texts and images into a digital ‘Wünderkammer’ or ‘cabinet of curiosities’ and ‘Surrealist Games’, where the workshop will replicate a selection of games using materials from the Animation Archive


The workshops are free, but booking is necessary due to limited space. To book a session to attend please email Rebekah Taylor on rtaylor8@ucreative.ac.uk


Date Event
22nd September 9:30-12:0013:00-16:00 Archive developmentWünderkammer
23rd September 10:00-13:0014:00-16:00 Surrealist games                             Surrealist games
24th September   10:00-13:0014:00-17:00 WünderkammerArchive development
25th September   9:30-12:0013:00-16:00


Archive developmentSurrealist games

Film screening

26th September 9:30-12:0013:00-14:00 Archive developmentLunchtime lecture

Its Great! Britain’s First Oscar Winning Animation

As our catalogue entry for Great, 1975, Britain’s first Oscar winning animation is up then its a good time to provide background into what makes it so ‘Great’!

This animation is based on the life and times of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, engineer, set in Victorian England.  Great is a 30 minute comic-opera based on the life of Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

This film showcases technical developments within 2D animation, showcasing a combination of animation styles, including real life actions sequences.

The film which was too long for a short and too short for a feature, was not widely seen in cinemas but it did go on to become the first British film to win the Academy Award for Animated Short Film and also won the best animated film at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

UCA holds animation Cel artwork, drawings, sketches, and dope sheets, and helps de-mystify the process of creating 2D animation and the different stages involved, and would be ideal for someone exploring how to create a 2D animation, and interested in the history of animation, what use of acetate cels add, the use of colour blocking, what different colours were used and why were they changed?

In terms of social history, this is a fantastic look at how many ways well- known figures are portrayed. This is an irreverent look at key, often respected figures, such as Isambaard Brunel, which could cause offence. Its interesting to compare the images of Brunel to more stately images, such as one’s seen in the Brunel museum.

Likewise we see an excellent image of Queen Victoria, sitting on her ‘throne’, aka the toilet! The power of image to reduce people of ‘power’ such as the royal family, to comedy figures…

Next year, 2015, is Great’s 40th anniversary, so watch this step for events and exhibitions




Ways of using Animation Archives in Studio Practice

Adam Sharp, Producer from A&BTV explains how the archives of Roobarb, created by Grange Calveley and animated by Bob Godfrey, helped to develop a new series, Roobarb and Custard


Bob Godfrey logo 001resize


‘Roobarb was created by Grange Calveley in the early 1970’s. Grange’s first sketch of Roobarb (on top of a piano with a brush) encapsulates beautifully the concept and character of the show – based entirely on Grange’s own pet dog.


From this early drawing, Grange wrote the entire 30 episode series.


Grange worked with animation director, Bob Godfrey, to create a test animation of what would later become episode 1 and set about getting a commission from the BBC. Once commissioned a team of animators, including students from St Martin’s started to draw the series. There was no style-guide as such other than employing the wobble or boiling effect, which was both economically and logistically pragmatic.


The series was a critical and commercial success garnering awards and a massive audience of 7 million within weeks of first transmission.


Unfortunately, all the original artwork for the 1974 series was lost in a studio fire in the 1980’s.


In creating a new show 30 years later, we decided we had to go back to the original episodes to help create the style-guide using screen grabs. Interestingly the TX quality of the original shows is nowadays deemed substandard and would not pass QC. There were discussions at the time to bring the animation bang up to date and clean the entire look and feel up. We decided however to take the best elements of the original series and retain the loose style and boiling effect in order to make the new series look and feel as much as possible like a natural progression from the original show.


Grange had already written the 39 new episodes. Each script starts with a sketch / image of what Grange is trying to portray in that particular story. These and other images that Grange creates at this stage are used to convey a look and feel for the finished animation – a pre-storyboard guide. It was imperative that we found a new animation team that;

  • Understood the history and heritage of the characters involved
  • Could work with us and the original series screen grabs to create the style-guide
  • Understood the humour and subtleties of Grange’s writing and characters


After a long and exhaustive, global search we landed with Gerard O’Rourke’s Dublin-based, Monster Animation. Gerard’s animation director Jason Tammemagi was then tasked with the new series.

The style sheets and storyboards were then used in a relatively straight-forward manner to create the new show with Flash. The only real issues were then deciding on how much of a wobble to include and how the marker-pen colour changes could be implemented best.

The new series “Roobarb and Custard Too” was first broadcast to critical acclaim in 2005 on Channel 5’s Milkshake strand and continues to be shown today.

For more information go to http://www.roobarbandcustard.tv’

Images of the storyboards produced from the original archives of Roobarb are available to internal students and researchers to UCA http://imagebank.ucreative.ac.uk/?c=535

The Bob Godfrey Studio Archive catalogue can be found here http://archives.ucreative.ac.uk/CalmView/Record.aspx?src=CalmView.Catalog&id=BG&pos=1