Building a Better World – Day 4, 5, 6

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

The last three days of the residency involved further research, in terms of which part of the archive students were responding to. It also involved, where relevant, the digitisation of the item. Students were introduced to the UCA Digitisation Unit, and scanning equipment  for archival material.

Stefan also undertook a short talk, highlighting the relevancy of class today, and drawing attention to different articles, such as the BBC article ‘Construction workers win payouts for “blacklisting”‘ and articles relating to boarding schools and leaders. Relevant music related to class can be heard here

Students also undertook a GIF workshop with one of the participants, looking at how to bring the archive and their work to life
This included an animated GIF by Fine Art student Susan Merrick of Stefan’s book
Susan GIF

 

Students have now produced work, and/or and are on the way to producing work

Two of the students videos about the creative residency are available here

Tom screenshot

Results of the project mean:

  • Students now have explored ways of using art within the archives, and have work to showcase for their CV
  • Learned about different ways to present work GIFs
  • As a result of the project the archives have 2 volunteers, one of which is interested in becoming an archivist
  • Students have learned more about aspects of class and activism, and explored how understanding of the past can contribute to the present

Next steps include:

  • Creating a pamphlet, including quotes from the students
  • Developing an exhibition of the work

 

Rebekah Taylor, Archivist & Special Collections Officer

Building a Better World – Day 2 and 3

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?

An introduction to the Working Press archive is available here

 

The two days involved artists Stefan, and David Moore. It included finding  about the participants, and any previous experience with archives they may have had. It included introducing participants to the Working Press, including showcasing the Working Press publications, which is on the library catalogue, which also included an annotated book, The Conspiracy of Good Taste. The unpublished material, such as letters, conference material, posters, can be accessed on the archive catalogue

Items that I drew to participants attention included records from the Culture, Class and Identity conference, and correspondence, and mail art,  from the collection. I also highlighted a selection of zines and pamphlets donated by Stefan collected at the same time as the Working Press.

Ideas included developing projects based on the idea of class and identity, and what being working class actually means – is it a question of financial means? Questions also included what does being a working class artist mean? Other ideas included directly adapting posters relating to a political message, and also developing the idea of mail art. One student, Susan Merrick, from Fine Art has started a blog, looking at charity shopping and class

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We are looking forward to see what the students produce!

Creative residency

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Rebekah Taylor, Archivist & Special Collections Officer

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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.

Stefan

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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

Student Archive Workshop: Subjective and Objective Responses

I recently undertook a workshop with International Pathways students to work with them on their project ‘Archive Fever’.

This involved analysing archives or artefacts through a subjective and objective response. As part of their brief they had to answer the following questions

A subjective or more emotional response to an art stimulus that has affected you enough on a personal level for you to want to write about it. (1000 words)

A critical response to an artwork, artefact or archive that you would like to evaluate (1500 words). This will constitute the more objective ‘academic essay’

The workshop started off with asking students what they felt ‘subjective’ or ’emotional’ meant to them. We then looked at series of examples both from UCA archives, such as the Rethinking the body project and other archives and artists, such as the archives and artists website produced by Birmingham university.

Students were then asked to choose an item from the archives, namely the Bob Godfrey animation archive, and examples from our institutional archives, and look at the answering the following questions:

  • What does the image make you feel? (e.g.Happy/sad/confused/surprised/angry)
  • What part of the image stands out for you? What would you want to write about?
  • Draw (if you wish) part of the image that interests you and you’d want to talk about

For the latter part students focused in on a particular shape or colour of the item they used, looking, for example, at how they could utilise that image in their own work.

For example Ifueko used an image from the Bob Godfrey archive – drawings of buildings from an animation – Shakespeare Music Hall, and focused on in a particular shape that could be used in Interior Design

Ifueko Omoniyi

Myra looked at the textures and layers of strokes on an image of a tree

Myra

Other images included a remake from a student yearbook marking the end of Fine Art in Maidstone in the 80s. The image reminded the student of a dream

Student picture sent by Joanne

Other images by another student looked at tourists that were in Shakespeare Music Hall and scene structure. This is the interpretation.

 

For the objective essay part I asked the students ‘What is an objective response?’ and ‘What is a critical response?’. We looked at analysing how you might provide an objective response through looking at our archives. I asked them to look at an image, and write down what they would need to know to analyse that image. For example, who took the photo? What were the art movements at the time – did any inspire that image?

We finished up with looking at how you might access archives, and how you might access contextual information

Rebekah Taylor, Archivist & Special Collections Officer

 

 

 

Inspiration for Animation: Artists and the Archive

On the 16th November Farnham Public Library is hosting a workshop, Inspiration for Animation: Artists and the Archive. Through the Bob Godfrey Archive, Britain’s first winning animator, located at UCA Farnham, this will explore how artists can use archival material in their own practice.

http://www.surreycc.gov.uk/events/waverley/inspiration-for-animation-workshop-artists-and-the-archive-at-farnham-libraryImage

 For more information about Bob Godfrey please see here http://community.ucreative.ac.uk/article/40801/Bob-Godfrey-Archive

 Tickets are £10 and must be booked in advance either online through the Surrey Libraries events page www.surreycc.gov.uk/libraries, at any Surrey Library or by telephoning 01483 543599