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.



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

Rebekah Taylor

Archivist & Special Collections Officer


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.


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!! for further information or Rebekah Taylor, Archivist or the Librarians.

Building a Better World Creative Residency-Student Statements

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

Below are examples of some student statements. Interviews from Susan and Tom are available here
Tom Ridgway, BA photography,Year1, inspired by a leaflet related to disability representation. In Class, Culture and Identity conference file
Archive Project : Mail Art asking for an image from childhood to subject
s to gain access to their stories and build an exhibiton.
Poor Dear [leaflet relating to disability],  a leaflet in the working press archive (WPA) was the trigger for my idea. Which developed through looking at reports about the͞
Life Beyond The Label exhibition (Colchester castle 2007-8) [looking at disability representation] into my exhibition of how we choose to represent our own identity by looking at childhood memories and upbringing, provided by people in response to a mail art request to a shortquestionnaire. This collection that I have gathered results into a display of prints with text as well as the combination of a book including documents and information gathered and collected from the subjects. The WPA is a truly amazing collection and has really inspired me with my own work. The extent and broad paths that things can be gathered from is mesmerising and it truly has confirmed the path I want to follow as my career [Archivist].
Susan Merrick, MA Fine Art. Using the annotated Conspiracy of Good Taste book, and inspired by the themes of identity, language and power

During this residency I am responding to the Working Press archive as a whole. The substance of the archive is for me as important as the premise for it. I am considering some of the themes and issues raised by the artists who worked with and were represented by the Press and how we see these themes and issues today over twenty years later.

The main themes I am considering are Identity, Language and Power and the mediums I am choosing to use are photography and location specific performances.

Initially I am using a Facebook blog and Instagram to disseminate my photographs and my thoughts on the themes. I have created a gif for The Conspiracy of Good Taste and I am sending out two pieces of mail art as a live exhibition and will also show the pieces that I receive in return as part of the exhibition. I will also be using one of the photographs from my blog to create a life size cut out of myself as an installation piece reflecting the culmination of my residency. This piece will be used for the exhibition but I would also like to place it in some significant locations (probably in London) and photograph these. This will be a continuing work for me.

Reactivating the Working Press archives has in turn reactivated my own sense of identity and my acknowledgment of being a working class woman artist. There is much to discuss on the issue of class; relevance, fluidity, identification or stigma, limitations and freedom. But as any artist (in my opinion) needs to consider their own perceptions and where these come from, owning your own identity is a huge part of this. Twenty years on the Working Press has a great deal to offer artistically, academically and historically and the considerations of the writers in this Press need to be disseminated much further, especially in relation to Building a Better World.

Iana Mizguina, Photography , inspired by a pamphlet, Random Access Memory Raids
My project is based on working with a ‘Random Access Memory Raids’ pamphlet found in Working Press archive. This is an agitational left wing booklet made by Conscious Collective in early 90s. My work would contain quotes and phrases from this pamphlet, as I find most of the messages still relevant nowadays. Text will be used as a part of collage, that will also include random screenshots made on my phone. Final images will be modified in Photoshop and replicate visual content that can be seen on any mobile phone screen. Images will be disturbed by certain phrases from the booklet, replacing original meaning with another. Final stream of images will be displayed as a digital slideshow and represent the on going search for truth. Also work will include QR code taking viewers to a link where images can be seen and possibly edited
Catinca Malaimare, Fine Art, inspired by Class, Myths and Culture book (published by Working Press)
In the work produced in response to the Working Press Archive I am referencing the illusion of glamour and the self-scrutiny it attracts as presented in 52 Glamour Cards (Class, Myths and Culture). Glamour is a form of visual persuasion, it is cultural and thus,
deceptive. Glamour, as visual activity, forces the eye into a compliant gaze constructed by repetition and the absence of it leaves the eye without purpose, forced into chaotic repetition.

Katharina Becker, Photography, inspired by Postcards from Poland

(published by Working Press)

Response to: Postcards from Poland by MARIA JASTRZEBSKA and JOLA SCINCINSKA


Your visual/conceptual strategy: Combining some bits of the text from the book ‘Postcards from Poland’ with images of Palestine and the current situation of occupation. Uncommented comparison between the two, how the texts strangely fits with the situation in Palestine (images). -> Text and Image

Display and dissemination strategy: Haven’t really decided on a way of presentation, I still have to experiment with different presentation types. I might print the images as postcards and put bits of the text on the back. I would also find it interesting to hear someone reading the text.

Your impressions, opinion and reaction to the Working Press Archive: I have never worked with an archive before, so it was very interesting for me to look through all the documents and to get access to a lot of different stories and opinions. It is a very sensitive and considered way of working. Making something new with something that is already there and to respond to it. Combining different opinions and perspectives.  Especially the book ‘Postcards from Poland’ which I am referring to in my project, really inspired me in many ways. It reminded me of my own family history and made me also think of the current situation in Palestine. It will be interesting to see how everyone activated or responded to the Working Press Archive. And the fact that it will grow even more through this workshop is amazing.

Yomi, Illustration

Posters from the anticopyright Flyposter book from the archives, which I used as a visual resource,inspires the image on the t-shirts.

When I was working on Creative Writing for my illustration I was looking a
t different film genres with the visual scenery from Classic film from the 1950s.
People may assume the solder is a man but I have used a silhouette, which could be
any gender or nationality.The solitary word “story” invites the viewer to decide what the image actually means.
Annie and Elodie, Photography
Inspired from records from the Class, Culture and Identity conference, related to middle class, working class mothers, they produced a performance piece, related to multiple identities
 Rebekah Taylor, Archivist & Special Collections Officer

Re-mixing archives at UCA

I did a short session with BA Media Communication students for their project , which is to explore remix culture, and to create a remixed video.

Remix can be described as utilising already existing material, such as found footage, old images and remixing/’mashing’ them together – archival images out there (copyright permitting of course!), are ideal to utilise.

Why remix? Why remix with archives? Archives allow you to re-imagine historical events through different perspectives, highlight the voices of those marginalised, such as Zoe Leonard’s and Cheryl Dunye’s fictional character Fae Richards, African-American actress born in the early 20th century 

Re-mixing archives allow you to explore areas such as nostalgia – looking at new build up of towns/previous landscape, or comparing different areas landscape in art schools.

Remixing archives can provide contemporary spins and twists on the archive – particularly useful for Creative Writing for example how would a personality of a Anarchist in the 1980s react to political issues today?

Take a look at some of our images for remix here


Rebekah Taylor, Archivist

Canterbury archive

Faith Cannon, remixing archives of UCA’s art schools