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

 

 

 

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Roobarb Family Fun at Surrey History Centre

Roobarb and Custard are featuring in a  family history display at the Surrey History Centre from August 4th, complete with family activities such as create your own masks.

Roobarb was originally created in 1974 by Grange Calveley, based on his own dog, produced by Bob Godfrey Films. Roobarb also featured in ‘I Love 1974’. I Love 1974 was an episode from the BBC produced series ‘I Love the Seventies’, which was broadcast in 2000. The series took a nostalgic trip back to the decade of the seventies, exploring the main cultural and commercial products of the time.

A new series consisting of 39 episodes was written and broadcast on Channel Five in 2005, also written by Grange Calveley and narrated by Richard Briers. However, this series was produced by Adam Sharp and Bernadette O’Riordan for A&Btv, and directed by Jason Tammemagi.

For further information on records see our catalogue

You can also see some of our educational packs for schools based on Roobarb here

Roobarb and Custard poster

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

“What a terrible mess. Kevin, what have you been doing?”

Cataloguing Kevin Saves the World

We are continuously working behind the scenes and making additions to the UCA Archives and Special Collections catalogue. The catalogue was recently updated online to include the newly catalogued series Kevin Saves the World, a children’s animated series based on a book of the same name by author Daniel Postgate. One of the larger series of the Bob Godfrey Archive, Kevin Saves the World comprises some 38 boxes of animation material, including correspondence, pencil drawings, acetate cels, dope sheets, sound recordings, scripts, and storyboards to name a few!

Material from Kevin and the Genie

Material from Kevin and the Genie

An initial delve into the boxes suggested that there were five animated shorts that formed the series: Kevin Saves the World, Kevin and the Computer Game, Kevin and the Big Lizard, Kevin and the Genie, and Kevin and the Bogeyman. There was pre-production and production material for these episodes. The scripts and storyboards provided information on the content of each episode, and some title scenes revealed the credits of the animations. Interestingly, the titles were in both English and Norwegian. These revealed that the series was produced by Bob Godfrey Films and Kine Aune and supported by the Norwegian Film Institute and the Nordisk Film & T.V. Fund.

Progress was being made. The key individuals and organisations behind the series and the synopsis of each episode were now known. However, there was still little contextual information about the series. When the last couple of boxes of material were sorted through, things got a little more complicated. There was evidence of other episodes previously unknown about – Kevin’s Christmas Treat, Kevin and the Recipe Book, and Kevin and the Ghosts. Not long after this discovery, an entire box full of correspondence and scripts was discovered. Sifting through this material created a more complete picture of the production of the series.

Just a small selection from the Kevin Saves the World scripts

Just a small selection from the Kevin Saves the World scripts

In total 14 episodes were found to have pre-production material (scripts and storyboards). There was partial production material for 2 of the episodes, and full production material for 5 of the episodes. The correspondence records revealed that a longer series of around 12-13 episodes was originally planned. However, it proved difficult to find broadcasters who were willing to broadcast animated shorts of only 5 minutes. The series also faced funding difficulties, which explains the halt in production and the presence of only pre-production material for a majority of the episodes. The first five episodes were broadcast in Norway, where some of the available funding had been sourced.

Using the information gathered, the series catalogue structure fell into place. A ‘series’ record was created for Kevin Saves the World. Each individual episode was then arranged underneath this with its own ‘sub-series’ record. Under these records, the material was arranged into pre-production and production material, where it existed. Correspondence had its own ‘sub-series’ record, as the material covered the contents of multiple episodes and was relevant to the series as a whole. Correspondence was then arranged into different ‘files’ according to their original order. Find out more about the structure of the catalogue by viewing this presentation.

Kevin Saves the World Catalogue Screenshot

Kevin Saves the World Catalogue Screenshot

After arranging a structure, further contextual information is added to the records in the form of authority files. Relevant names of people and organisations involved with the series are created in the authorities database and linked to the records, so that names may be cross-searched by users. Subject terms are also applied to identify key themes and subjects within the material.

Kevin Saves the World Authority Names Screenshot

Kevin Saves the World Authority Names Screenshot

The Kevin Saves the World series is now available to view on 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

Santa Who? Representations of Santa in the Archives

Santa Who? Christmas Pop-Up Event

In the spirit of Christmas, we decided to host our latest Explore your Archives pop-up event around the theme of the man in the red suit. Items displayed in the Christmas Pop-Up Event included material from animations such as The Christmas Dinner and The Mystery of the Missing Santa (both from the Henry’s Cat series) and Kevin’s Christmas Treat (from the Kevin Saves the World Series). The items demonstrate individual takes on the representation of Santa. The pop-up event explored questions such as “where does his reputation stem from?” and “how has his representation in popular culture developed over time?”

Christmas Pop-Up Display

Christmas Pop-Up Display

There are different suggestions for the origins of this holiday figure. Records date back to describe figures such as the Norse God Odin, Father Christmas and Saint Nicholas, with each displaying different characteristics now attributed to the modern day character – generosity, benevolence, kindness and good cheer.

As well as the name, the physical representations of Santa have developed over the years. In modern day the character is recognisable as a slightly plump older gentleman with a white beard, red suit and black boots. A common misconception is that this image derives from Coca-Cola. Instead, from the 1920s the company popularised a character design that was already imbedded in popular culture. The man in the red suit was a representation of Saint Nicholas by Thomas Nast, a respected painter who drew 33 Christmas drawings for Harper’s Weekly between 1863 and 1886.

Thomas Nast came to find inspiration from the poem by Clement Clarke Moore’s A Visit from Saint Nicholas, commonly known as The Night before Christmas, and depicted a jolly Santa in a red suit who gave gifts to children. In 1931 Coca-Cola commissioned illustrator Haddon Sundblom to develop a new Santa image for their advertisements. He produced new images every year through to 1964.

Sketch of Santa, Kevin’s Christmas Treat

The animation material held at UCA develops upon this traditional image, with artists demonstrating their individual takes on Santa. Although commonly depicted with the red suit and black boots, we see varying representations of Santa:

Henry’s Cat, The Christmas Dinner: Henry’s cat and his friends end up getting stuck together. Santa arrives in his sleigh, hears their dilemma and rescues them by coming down the chimney. Here we have a kind Santa who is willing to help those in need. He maintains traditional representations by arriving on a sleigh and travelling down the chimney.

Henry’s Cat, The Mystery of the Missing Santa: It is up to Henry’s cat and his friends to rescue the kidnapped Santa. This time Santa is vulnerable and needs help. The kidnapper threatens to cut the bobble off of Santa’s hat, a key icon of modern day Santa’s image.

Kevin’s Christmas Treat: Initial sketches demonstrate Santa as an unattractive character – he is shown shouting into a megaphone with large pointy teeth. In the storyboards we are presented with a mechanical Santa, the episode demonstrating the modern day commercialised side of Christmas.

Sketch of Santa, Kevin's Christmas Treat

Sketch of Santa, Kevin’s Christmas Treat

As well as archival material, we also made use of material found on the library shelves. An old-fashioned Christmas in illustration and decoration, C. Hornung, (New York: Dover Publications; London: Constable, 1970) contains black and white images portraying Christmas scenes.  Christmas: Vintage Holiday Graphics, ed. Jim Heinmann (Koln;London: Taschen, c.2005) pays homage to St Nick via vintage graphic and print media. The pages are full of colourful Christmas images, with one showing a Hawaiian scene with Santa and his reindeer sipping on cocktails! These sources complemented our theme on the representation of Santa.

Volunteer Altaira with the Christmas Pop-Up Display

Volunteer Altaira with the Christmas Pop-Up Display

Look out for the Kevin saves the World series, soon to be included in the UCA Archives and Special Collections online catalogue. An entry for Henry’s Cat can be found here: Henry’s Cat

Kevin’s Christmas Treat Images copyright Bob Godfrey and Daniel Postgate. All images are for educational purposes only.

Hannah Ratford, Archive Cataloguer

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

18:00-20:30

Archive developmentSurrealist games

Film screening

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

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

 

 

 

Videos on Understanding and Researching Archives Released

Videos and transcripts on understanding and researching archives have been released, as part of a series for researchers to understand how to approach archives and special collections. Issues with approaching archives, include that the word archive has many different definitions  to different people, and the structure of an archive catalogue, as opposed to a library catalogue may be hard to understand and search.

The webpage can be found here

The videos so far look at ‘What is an Archive’ and an archive catalogue structure – why can’t an archive be catalogued on a library catalogue?