Building a Better World – Artist in Residence, Day 1

The Creative Residency or Artist in Residency, is an initiative s internally funded by the University for the Creative Arts, and initiated by bookRoom, With Emmanuelle Waeckerle  and Rebekah Taylor .  Building a Better World, involves artist Stefan Szczelkun,as the artist in residence, and the Working Press archive, books by and about working class artists, 1986-1996. Stefan, who is the co-founder of the working press, leads workshops along with lecturers ( Emmanuelle Waeckerle  , David Moore, Ellen Nolan), and the archivists (Rebekah Taylor, Carryl Church). Students interact with the Working Press archive, books by and about working class artists, discuss themes within the collections, and with tutorials from lecturers, produce artwork in inspiration to the collection. Work produced will be added to the archive, and made available on UCA’s Image Bank.

The first part of the Creative Residency was a study day, involving artists that have worked with archives, including Peter Kennard. Discussed by our Assistant Archivist, Carryl Church… (you can also find a review on bookRoom’s website)

A video introduction to the Working Press archive is available here

Last week I had the pleasure of filming the Creative Residency day “Building a Better World” and listening to some very inspiring talks from artists and archivists in relation to how archive material can inspire creativity.

Peter Kennard: Peter Kennard is a photomontage artist and Senior Research Reader in Photography, Art and the Public Domain at the Royal College of Art. He began his career as a painter but realised the medium of photomontage could be more effective in getting his art out into the world at street level. His most famous photo montage is Haywain with Cruise Missiles created in 1980 in response to the rising tensions around the cold war. He has created work for organisations such as Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and Amnesty International. His talk gave us a fascinating insight into his work as a means of political protest culminating in his current exhibition at the Imperial War Museum Peter Kennard: Unofficial War Artist.


Peter Kennard

Stefan Szczelkun: Stefan works on the MA in Visual Culture at the University of Westminster. Stefan’s interest in publishing led him to set up “Working Press, books by and about working class artists” a fascinating collection of books, pamphlets and zines published between 1986 and 1996 which we hold in the UCA archives. Stefan talked about his work both with the Working Press and his interest in multimedia, digital video and cinema. He also talked about a collaborative project called AgitDisco, a multimedia project which he devised and co-ordinated made up of CDs of playlists of protest music chosen by friends and associates. A book of the playlists was published in 2011. Stefan is the Artist in Residence for this creative residency and it is material from the Working Press Archive which will be used to inspire students to produce their own creative response.


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Rebekah Taylor: Our very own Archivist and Special Collections Officer took us through the definitions of an archive, gave us an insight and examples into the Working Press Archive and talked about how archives can play a central role in the inspiration and creation of artists work.

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David Moore: The Archive and autonomy: David Moore is a London based photographer and lecturer at UCA. His talk focused on his book published in 2013 “Pictures from the Real World” which was in relation to the work he produced for his degree show 25 years earlier. This approach to that archive has led on to other work. His interest is in an approach to the archive and how it can be effective in a variety of institutional ways and understood within a political context. An archive of work being resurrected and how the forces of politics and technology can alter ones reading of the original work. A reinterpreting of the archive.

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Ellen Nolan: Ellen is Lecturer in Photography at UCA. She talked about her experiences working with her Great Aunt Nita’s archive. Nita was signed to Paramount Pictures in 1933. Her archive brings together two interesting perspectives, photographs shot by her mother from early childhood through adulthood and film and publicity material from Paramount Pictures. The archive also includes personal correspondence and diaries. Ellen talked through material from the collection.

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Overall a fascinating insight into different perspectives of how archives can inspire and influence new works of art.

Carryl Church

Assistant Archivist


Re-thinking the body- new work inspired by UCA archive: the process

In September 2015, along with Senior Lecturer for Photography co-curated an exhibition,Senior Lecturer for Photography, on Sexual Identity and Photography in the Herbert Read Gallery, UCA Canterbury. This was a exhibition that took a year within the planning. During this time my experience on liaising with artists, marketing, budget managing, organising artists events, gave me the confidence to plan my first solo curated exhibition, albeit on a smaller scale.

This led to Re-thinking the Body: New works inspired by UCA Archive, Farnham, Elaine Thomas Library – for both Disability History Month in November and for Explore Archives

ExhibitionI was inspired to undertake this exhibition by attending Tower Hamlets ‘Out of the Box’ event. Out of the Box ‘invited disabled people and artists from East London to take the lead in bringing archives ‘out of the box’, exploring them and asserting their own personal local histories. Through a series of workshops, participants followed a personal research journey into the council’s heritage collections, engaging with sound and oral history, handwritten archives on parchment, newspapers, painting and photographs.’ The event they organised brought me into contacting with research that had been done of disability in museums and galleries. It may me think on how disability was reflected in our archives – and how we could bring this to life, which we have the potential to do in our creative community. I am also aware from alumni magazines we collect on many examples of artists working on the theme of disability. Dyslexia and creativity also often go together, and as someone with a specific learning disability (dyslexia and dyspraxia) this is a subject close to my heart.

From this I developed a proposal, alongside deadlines- put a call out for new artworks to be produced by students, inspired by our collections. I aimed for 8 students. This could be on any theme on the body, including mental health. This call out was open to both disabled and non-disabled students. I was also interested in looking at participants experiences with working with disabled communities – for example one of our participants worked with the deaf community as an interpreter – both inside and outside at the same time. As this would be voluntary for students – extra-curricular – I also spoke to lecturers to ensure that they were able to send the details out – to gage interest. The galleries refined the statement for me and sent the call out around to all students.

I had selected material in advance – including material from the Tessa Boffin archive, looking at photography and sexuality, particularly the LGBT community, and the Working Press, books by and about working class artists 1986-1996, looking at getting marginalised groups published. I also selected haunting photographs from our institutional archives. As participants from other campuses were invited to join in (we are on a 4 campus university) I also put digital images online.

I was happy with the immediate interest I had – as soon as the call out was out, I had 5 responses within a week. Students came from a different levels – BA and MA, and courses were Fine Art, Illustration, and Ceramics. We spoke to the students about their interest and was able to gage types of material to showcase. I did have interest from other campuses, but did not have worked produced from other campuses – I feel that although they had access to digital images, the human touch was particularly important.

Some students chose to use actual images from the archive looking at ways to interpret – including Joslyn Hobbis’, Fine Art, work ‘Different-not less’, looking at invisible disabilities, which used an image from our institutional collections. Setting up exhibition 31Or Allison Inwards, Illustration, ‘Origins’, which explored the female body image, linking to areas such as suffragettes. Allison used the Tessa Boffin archive, and the Working Press archive

Setting up exhibition 32Other students looked at motifs in the archive, such as the themes of ‘labels’ or labelling’, Ceramics

Kim Cruickshank-Inns work 'Welcome'

Kim Cruickshank-Inns work ‘Welcome’

Students such as Daire Lawlor, Illustration, used material from the Tessa Boffin archive as a ‘launchpad’ for inspiration, to explore medical history, depression. Tessa Boffin directly related due to her work around AIDS as early as the 1980s


Susan Merrick, Fine Art, used themes such as fear, and ideas of power to inspire her work, which can be found in the Working Press archive. This inspired her to look at themes of people within power through history

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Madeline Sparrow, Fine Art, looked at the ideas of communication with her braille piece

Setting up exhibition 24

We had 6 student submissions and the exhibition was set up with brilliant Gallery assistants – we were able to discuss in which order the pieces should be hung (for example which images matched in themes, how did they complement colour wise) how the pieces should be hung (magnets – non obtrusive!) the placing of the vinyl. The labels saying words such as ‘kindness’, were attached to the tables with museum resin. I also got technical help with the television screens.

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Take a look at our flickr album of the exhibition here

I have arranged an artist’s event to happen on the 24th where the artists will have the opportunity to talk about their work.

The display has also been highlighted to the Equality and Diversity Group at UCA.

I’m very pleased with how everything looks, and the comments that i’ve captured about the exhibition. The enthusisatic response I have got from students is incredibly encouraging especially as it is extra-curricular! I’m particularly interested in opening up responses for both disabled and non disabled people who work in various communities. Something definitely I will be developing further…

Rebekah Taylor

Archivist & Special Collections Officer

Learning and Teaching in the archives: Case studies

Case studies of using archives & special collections in higher education and further education at the University for the Creative Arts have been released and are accessible here

For further information and lesson plans please email

Long Live the Art School display

These include:

First Year BA CG Arts and Animation UCA Rochester (click here to access the case study) : A hands on workshop with the Archivist and Librarian, using the Bob Godfrey animation archive, discussing primary and secondary resources, and using archives for inspiration resulting in an exhibition

Second Year Photography (BA), Narrative Module, Rochester and Farnham (click here to access the case study/lesson plan and feedback): A workshop fitting the brief of the narrative module, comprising of presentations, group discussion and feedback and a hands-on workshop to follow the narrative brief, which included archival cataloguing and appraisal theory. Access the power point from the day by clicking here. Access the handout here

Further Education

FE Diploma in Art and Design, Canterbury, UNESCO-RLCCE’s / UNESCO-HK’s International “Arts for Peace” Festival (click here to access the case study)

Print screen from website