David Birch, Landscape Artist, Donation

UCA has received a donation of work that was created by the Artist David Birch. Information on the collection can be found here http://community.ucreative.ac.uk/article/39941/David-Birch-illustration-and-oil-painting-work

David Birch (William Henry David Birch) (1895-1968) was the Principal of the Epsom School of Art and remained in post until 1961. David Birch was born in Epsom, and was also a student of the first Principal William Henry Osmond (1865 – 1943) in the years before The Great War. Birch was a renowned landscape painter and member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters following in the Constable tradition.

Material of David Birch’s will be of interest to Fine Art and Illustration, and is currently in the process of being catalogued

Material we have of David Birch includes:

-Two oil paintings of David Birch’s both showing landscapes, one untitled, one entitled ‘Slate Quarry’. Both paintings were exhibited at the Royal Institute of Oil Painters exhibition. Catalogues are held at the V and A in the National Art Library. Both paintings were exhibited at the V and A

– Book jacket designs, for a number of publishers, including Oxford University Press, satirical cartoon drawings, and proofs and cuttings of book illustrations

– 90 black and white photographs of oil paintings (scenic views, Norfolk, Wye Valley, Black Mountains etc) and 12 images colour-printed for a calendar

This work was created from 1918-1920s

This collection is located in Epsom


Working Press (Working Class Artists) Archive and Special Collection

Working Press 1994 conference posterThe Working Press Archive and Special Collection was recently donated and purchased from Stefan Szczelkun.

It consists of the self published books of the Working Press, the correspondence and financial material from the Working Press archive, and related Artist Books and pamphlets that inspired the Working Press

The Working Press self published book collection was initiated by Stefan Szczelkun, (an academic currently at Westminster University) and book artist.

His experience of being Polish in Brixton Artists Collective from 1983 – 1987 led him to think about his other identity – that of being working class. He met Graham Harwood at the Bonnington Square Festival for Peace in 1985, who as well as producing vibrant paintings had worked as a graphic artist.

They decided to form a group of working class artists who wanted to self-publish books under a collective imprint. They published their first self-funded titles in 1987 and having managed to get Central Books to be their distributor they achieved sales that were able to sustain further publications.

Stefan invited almost every working class artist he met to self-publish, whether in written or graphic form. He has stated that while ‘few artists have the energy, self-confidence and multiple skills to self-publish… the open invitation seemed a good way of networking and validating artists’ work. They had informal meetings and also one formal day conference.

In the ten years from 1987 they published eighteen original titles. These included high profile names like Conrad Atkinson and others who have become well-known like Alison Marchant, Shaheen Merali and Matthew Fuller.

The Arts Council gave a grant to research the British Artists’ Book scene which was somewhat fragmented at that time. Stefan used the research and a conference to make the book artists aware of each other and to raise the profile of books by artists in the UK. This work was continued by Tanya Peixoto (BookArtBookshop) with her three Artists’ Book Yearbooks, and by Marcus Campbell with his annual Artist Book Fair; and into present time with Sarah Bodman’s work at UWE Bristol. Stefan held out an open definition of ‘artists books’ which included such formats as Zines, ‘comix’ (sic) and polemical pamphlets circulating in England at the time.

The collection represents a unique project than interconnects many issues within alternative cultural and social activity at the time. .

Working Press publications include the early works of now well-known artists like Graham Harwood; leading academic writer Matt Fuller; illustrator Clifford Harper; theorist Howard Slater, with letters by them in the archive

Working Press acheived several historical firsts, including the first computer generated comic (Graham Harwood), the first book on football culture (Turner), the first book by and about Greenham Common Yellowgate women (Junor), and first book by Micheline Mason (disability /inclusion leader and artist).

Working Press gives an insight into self-funded publishing activity of the time.

Working Press represents the technology, communications and networking of the time which was the cusp of the digital era, for example photocopy art.

Working Press looks at perception of working class, women artists, disabled artists and black artists, and explores the notion of an artist as an oppressed group

Updates on cataloguing can be seen here http://community.ucreative.ac.uk/article/39898/Working-Press-Archive-and-Special-Collection

Monthly update on project progress


Farnham School of Art and West Surrey College of Design archive catalogues are available on Archives Hub. These consist of student work, staff magazines, bulletins, and student associations, with interest for Graphic Design and Fine Art

The Working Press Collection, is currently being catalogued. This is a collection relating to working class artists in the 1980s, which explores the idea of artists as an oppressed group, and the meaning of what it is to be working class. This consists of the in-house printed working press book collection, related pamphlets and artists books used for inspiration, and the correspondence and financial information.

Graduation photograph collections from the Kent Institute of Art and Design from 2000 (Maidstone, Rochester and Canterbury), which includes images of Zandra Rhodes in her own designed gown, are currently being catalogued. Photographs from Surrey, which includes graduation images from the 1970s, have been appraised and will be undergoing cataloguing

Textile books created by a individual in the Embroiders Guild have been catalogued online. To be shortly available online


Preservation workshops have taken place in Rochester and Canterbury
An access to the archives guide for students will shortly be written

Policies and procedures

Strategies for insurance, and a deposit agreement, and exhibition loan agreements, and appraisal guidelines have been written for internal use

Staff and student use

Fine Art students have photographed and represented images of Maidstone College of Art images in interesting ways. Images will shortly go on to UCA Archives website

External work

Conferences include the LGBT London Metropolitan conference in February, and UCA Archives will be presenting in an internal UCA staff conference with the Digitisation Unit in May

The Epsom Library Artist Book display will take place from the 8th April, with a talk from Graphic Designer and Artist Book creator Mike Nicholson on the 25th April in the evening

Work is ongoing for the Surrey History Centre display in August

Artists and Archives

This post explores some ways that UCA Fine Art students and staff have used archives within Fine Art projects

Five BA Hons Fine Art Artists from UCA are currently putting on their debut exhibition in UCA Maidstone Campus, which involves using images from the Maidstone College of Art archive. This project will also explore sound art in the form of oral history, of the Maidstone College of Art alumnis. The exhibition will provisionallyt take place on the 18th-22nd March 2013. For news of their progress follow their blog here http://fiveartfuse.wordpress.com/

Maidstone prospectus

Lucy Harrison, Fine Art lecturer at Canterbury UCA, has also undertaken work into archives and libraries. This includes a A partial and ongoing collection of east London clubs and societies, commissioned by the London Legacy Development Corporation to anticpate the opening of a new North Park community hub in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in the summer of 2013. This can be accessed here http://aclubcollection.tumblr.com/

This also includes the Library Archway project. This was a residency at Archway Library, London, between September 2012 and January 2013, part of Hostings / A Million Minutes. Two newspapers and an audio tour of the library, read by a member of library staff, were launched at the end of the project and are available in the library.

Louisa Love, a Fine Art third year student at UCA Canterbury, has also curated a display with digital prints from the Tessa Boffin archive

Examples from other institutions include the Kingston School of Art oral history project accessible http://www.kingston.ac.uk/alumni/news-and-events/alumni-stories/2012/august/23-ksa-project/

Canterbury’s Artists’ Books to be on display in the Beaney Museum

Andy Malone’s altered The Observer’s Book of Eggs

The act of cutting turns a series of two dimensional images into free standing entities that can be read as flip books or static objects and where the content of the book can be seen at one glance

With the opening of the Beaney Museum on the 5th September 2012, Canterbury will have a permanent space to display their Artists’ Books. The selection of Artists’ Books will be changed every few months.

Definitions of Artists’ Books include that ‘Artists’ books refer not to literature about artists nor to sculptures constructed from books, but to works by visual artists that assume book form’ (Artspeak: a guide to contemporary ideas, movements and buzzwords p.48)

Canterbury’s Artist Books are fine art or illustrative in concept, demonstrating different forms of narrative or graphic expression, and includes books by artists’ and members of teaching staff donated and purchased by the library.

If interested in viewing more examples of Canterbury’s Artists Books up close these books have been catalogued on UCA’s Library Catalogue, and are available to use for reference in the library.

To access the website please see http://community.ucreative.ac.uk/article/25391/University-Library

See http://community.ucreative.ac.uk/index.cfm?articleid=37836 to access the Artist Books Catalogue

Canterbury also has a collection of rare book material, and their institutional archives. Further information can be seen http://community.ucreative.ac.uk/archives

For more information on Artists’ Books contact Canterbury at librarycant@ucreative.ac.uk