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




Art Schools of Kent, Book Launch, 9th January 2014

Kent’s art school heritage captured in new book

The University for the Creative Arts (UCA) Rochester is to host the launch of a new book detailing Kent’s rich art school heritage.

Author David Haste, who was the Head of Fine Art at UCA’s founder institutions, the Canterbury College of Art and the Kent Institute of Art and Design in the 80s and 90s, will be available to sign copies of his new work, entitled The Art Schools of Kent.

The launch will take place in the library at UCA Rochester on Thursday 9 January from 12 noon and will include an introductory talk by David Haste about his archival and field researches and original discoveries.

David said: “I’m delighted to be launching my book at UCA Rochester – an institution that continues the long and rich heritage of delivering design education in this part of Kent.

“By 1900 Kent had over twenty-five government sponsored art schools, including the Rochester School of Art which became the Medway College of Design – the precursor to UCA Rochester. My book celebrates the entire life cycle of these art schools over two centuries, from inception to closure and in so doing defines the ‘English art school’, a unique institution upon which all nationally approved art schools were modelled.

“I have an innate belief in the endemic value of art education and its assured continuity, as has been realised across the centuries in successive incarnations whether as workshops, academies or art schools. I am confident that art education remains fully engaged and is poised for a successful future through new and different institutions.”

The launch of The Art Schools of Kent is free and open to the public. To reserve a place, contact: Caroline Bozier E: T: 01634 888649

1961 Fashion Exhibition

1961 Fashion Exhibition

West Surrey College of Art and Design Catalogue Online

Records from the West Surrey College of Art and Design can now be accessed online at

Records consist of Prospectuses, Student Societies, Departmental and School records, including Audio Visual Studies, Three Dimensional Design, Textiles. Fine Art. Design and Foundation Studies, Library minutes, Institutional reviews and reports for Council for National Academic Awards and Governors, Publications and newsletters,Henry Hammond, head of the department of Three Dimmensional Design, retirement photographs

West Surrey College of Art and Design consists of Farnham and Guildford Schools of Art. At the end of 1968 the first moves to merge the two art schools at Farnham and Guildford were underway. Guildford had undergone recent student unrest, and now in the first stages of merger, the fine art students were due to transfer from Guildford to Farnham, and the graphic design students from Farnham to Guildford. However the accommodation vacated by the graphic design students was unsuitable for fine art students, and alternative accommodation was suggested at Hatch Mill, formerly the Farnham Sanitary Laundry for 120 foundation students. However this plan was initially obstructed by the highways committee who considered the location over the other side of the bypass too dangerous for students to negotiate. There were other issues over council concerns over student attitudes (seemingly inflamed by the Guildford unrest).

Foundation students were currently housed in leased accommodation at Wrecclesham Hall. However this space was no longer available, and a second attempt was made under the leadership of Sir John Verney, one of the governors, and despite continuing opposition, a compromise was achieved, and the students were to be allowed the use of Hatch Mill for a period of nine years with a new footpath provided by the council.

In April 1969 200 students moved into the initial phase of the newly constructed building in The Hart. The building had cost £250,000 and was the work of county architect Raymond Ash.

In September 1969 Farnham School of Art formally merged with the Guildford School of Art to form the West Surrey College of Art and Design. The second phase of building commenced.

In the 1970s numbers 23 and 24 West Street were used for student accommodation, after the death of Jessie Goddard, the owner and widow of the local builder, John Goddard.

Ben Franklin was head of sculpture from 1970 to 1981. During that period he sculpted the bronze, entitled Matriarch, and this was erected in Borelli Yard.

James Hockey retired in 1971, having had an extension granted by Surrey County Council in order to ease the integration of the two schools. He had been a seminal figure for nearly 30 post war years and was succeeded by Thomas Arnold who remained as Principal until 1974.

In 1971/1972 a new course in animation was introduced. It was set up by the British Oscar-winning animator, Bob Godfrey (1921 -2013 ).

Leonard Stoppani was Principal from 1974 until 1984. He carefully steered the College into a new era, exercising initiative, restraint to allow the development of new patterns.

Design courses were still concentrated at Guildford, and foundation, fine art and craft courses at Farnham. However by 1976 the long-established courses in photography and graphic design, together with the more recently constructed film & television production, animation and television graphics were brought together under the Audio Visual Studies department under the leadership of Peter Sanger. The remaining courses finally moved from Guildford to Farnham and by 1977 all students and staff from Guildford had moved into the new building. Degree intakes started in 1980.

In 1978 the difficult decision was made to phase out all vocational design courses (Graphic Design, Product Design, Interior Design and Surface Design). They were considered more appropriate to the facilities of a polytechnic.

In 1978/1979 Harold Cheesman, Head of Fine Art retired, and was succeeded by the renowned “Polish Scottish colourist”, Leszek Muszynski, who had taught at Farnham since 1951.

During his time Art History was on the curriculum, and it was the difficulties in accessing the William Morris collection at Kelmscott Manor, that inspired Joseph Acheson, the Senior Lecturer in Art History, to mount an exhibition on William Morris that was held at Farnham in November 1981.

By 1982 there were nearly 640 full-time students attending the college. The Foundation course accepted 120 students a year, and remained in the old grammar school in West Street. The degree courses were organised into four departments: Fine Art (Painting with 20 students, Sculpture with 12 students and Printmaking with 12 students); Audio-Visual Studies (Photography with 25 students, Film & Video with 12 students and Animation with 12 students); Three Dimensional Design (Ceramics, Glass & Metals introduced in September 1981) and Textiles (Woven Textiles, Printed Textiles). Art History and Complementary Studies were an integral part of all the courses.

Michael Fairclough, lecturer, executed an abstract mural reflecting the town’s geographical location. It covers a blank wall of the newly opened Post Office at 107 West Street.

The second stage of the college development was completed in 1977, although the foundation course continued there into the 1990s when it too transferred to Falkner Road.

John Morris became Principal in 1984, remaining until 1986. Gary Crossley became Acting Director, until the arrival of Norman Taylor in 1986.

In 1995 the West Surrey College of Art and Design merged with the Epsom & Ewell School of Art to form the Surrey Institute of Art and Design.

Guildford Prospectus 1956-7

Archive of the Month – January 2013, Art School Classes, 19th century

Epsom prospectuses from 1925

Epsom prospectuses from 1925

Archive of the Month – January 2013, Art School Classes, 19th century

Minute note on class recommendations, Reference EPEW/2/4/1/6

January’s Archive of the Month looks at more ‘unusual’ classes taught at Art Schools during the late 19th century.

In the Epsom Technical Institute and School of Art Archive a scrawled handwritten minute note on 1st May 1895 relating to class recommendations makes a quick throwaway note to a ‘Bee Van’ and ‘Dairy Van’, which would not be a usual class today…

Although, not known exactly, a ‘Bee Van’ was thought to be a mobile van, which travelled around and taught bee keeping.

The following relating to the Dairy Van, and education in Art Schools is written for Archive of the Month by Stephen Knott. Stephen Knott, Founder Postdoctoral Fellow in Modern Craft at the Crafts Study Centre, University of Creative Arts, Farnham, is conducting research on the late nineteenth and early twentieth century history of craft and technical education. Research he has undertaken has also been at the Surrey History Centre.

In the years after the Technical Education Acts of 1889 and 1891 (which allowed Local Authorities to use duties collected from alcohol tax for technical education) the town and borough councils of Surrey set up a variety of technical evening class courses for both school leavers and tradesmen looking to complement their existing skills: from Woodwork, to French, to book-keeping, all funded by the Surrey County Council. Among the subjects taught in Surrey there were a large number of agricultural instruction courses on offer, reflecting demand within the country for farming skills to be preserved in the light of rural depopulation. This is reflected in both the correspondence between the Council and the representative of the Department of Science and Art in South Kensington about including things like thatching, ditching, hedging, and dairy farming on the list of approved subjects that the Technical Education funds could be spent on, as well as cross-County plans in the 1890s to set up a horticultural college for Kent, Surrey and Sussex at Wye (Wye Horticultural College).

Part of the agricultural provision from 1892 was to fund a diary van that would provide instruction to the villages and towns of Surrey for those who would not be able to leave work to attend other intensive agricultural courses the council was offering elsewhere. The Cumberland County Council had already deployed a similar vehicle and provided Surrey County Council with practical advice and information about costs.

This description is direct from the 6th Report of the Surrey County Council Technical Education Committee on 10th May 1892 –

‘[…] the van is furnished with separator, churn, butter worker, boiler, cistern, furnace and other appliances suitable for a six-cow Dairy, and can be drawn from place to place by one horse. When at rest and taken off its wheels it opens out on to a covered shed with a boarded floor (12 ft by 10 ft). The travelling staff consists of a Lecturer, Dairymaid and assistant’.

The plan was to take the diary van to 25 villages, the course lasting for a week in each village. The van was to be run by Miss E Hope Johnstone (with the help of assistant Miss Fleming) who was was from the Irish Glasnevin and Leinster Dairy School.

After a slow start (in Farnham of course, where else!) the Dairy van was a remarkable success. The majority of students’ were farmers’ wives and daughters, or labourers’ wives and daughters. Each week-long course in each village culminated in a Butter-churning competition and both the Van and the students’ work was displayed at the agricultural shows across the County. The Surrey County Council agreed to supply extra funding, and in the next year Kent County Council also employed Johnstone.

Johnstone reports to the Surrey County Council at the end of her first run of course in February 1893 that:

‘At nearly every place the hope was expressed that the Van would return in 1893’.

The van did indeed continue to run, and a later report of the Surrey County Council Technical Education Committee that year stated that the van planned to go to the 1893 Epsom Agricultural Show in Autumn.

I presume that it was both the notoriety of the Van across technical education circles at this time, and the agricultural show that prompted the Chairman or Secretary of the Epsom Technical Education Committee to write “Dairy Van” as one of the subjects they wanted to teach at the Epsom Technical Institute on that paper seen from 1895.

All other Archive Treasures can be seen here