Explore Your Archive: The National Archives Campaign

Explore Your Archive caption from  toolkit byThe National Archives

Explore Your Archive caption from toolkit byThe National Archives

Explore your Archive is a campaign to encourage exploration of different organisations’ archives by local communities

‘The aim… is to take audiences on a journey of discovery. We want them to explore their interests and at the same time discover their (local) archive to find out more about the fascinating stories that lie within’.

Every fortnight on this blog as part of this campaign UCA will be exploring the history of the academic classes at each of the six Art Colleges through mergers to the West Surrey College of Art and Design, Surrey Institute of Design, University College for the Creative Arts, and finally the University for the Creative Arts.

Stories will be collated until the 16 November 2013 where there will be a week of displays and events

Classes to explore will include Architecture, Fine Art, Time Based Media, Animation (created by Bob Godfrey), Graphic Design and Photography. It will chart the development of the course, the student experience, and trace the lives of ordinary students.

Also included will be case studies and ideas for how the material can be used for inspiration and artistic purposes

Material related to this campaign will all be made available as one story, on UCA’s Storify Account http://storify.com/LibraryUCA/explore-your-archive-at-uca

Guildford School of Art Art Class, undated [1970s] Guildford School of Art Art Class, undated [1970s]


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

Monthly update on project progression

Artist Book,  Common Senses, by Mike Nicholson

Artist Book, Common Senses, by Mike Nicholson


New catalogues available are

The Kent Institute of Art and Design Publications Collection, consisting on annual reports, research projects and general prospectuses. Available on Archives Hub

The Kent Institute of Art and Design Student Union Archive, consisting of 1990s Student Council minutes. Please note that they may be susceptible to data protection. Available on Archives Hub

Medway College of Design Archive is available on Archives Hub

Bulletins, newsletters and staff minutes are currently being catalogued to the Farnham School of Art and West Surrey College of Art and Design.

Further detailed cataloguing is commencing on Medway College of Design student sketchbooks, and Canterbury College of Art and School of Architecture, Architectural magazine, CASA and the Epsom and Ewell School of Art and Technical Institute


Material has been boxed in acid free boxes, with melinex sleeves, brass paper clips.

Preservation workshops for staff will be taking place at all campuses through February – March

Listing and accessioning training

Listing and accessioning training have taken place for library staff. Newspaper indexes have been set up.

Policies and procedures

Guidelines for identification of special collections and rare books approved. A draft Preservation Policy to be available by April

Staff and student outreach

Talks ongoing with Fine Art and MA Curation, Canterbury

Collections Gems Seminar being arranged to tie in with National Library Week – to showcase rare books, Ed Ruscha American Artist and Photographer rare book collection, and items from Canterbury’s institutional archive

Internal exhibitions

Exhibitions and displays being set up around all five campuses of the Tessa Boffin Archive for LGBT Month February (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender)

External work

A proposal of a display of the history of Surrey Art Schools (Epsom, Guildford, and Farnham) accepted at Surrey History Centre. To take place August – September

Work ongoing with Epsom Public Library to display Artist Books April, with a lecturer from UCA giving a talk

Proposal to be submitted to the Kent History Library Centre for LGBT Month, February 2014

Work ongoing with heritage institutes in Canterbury

New Deposits

A collection of textile books from the 1980s, from the estate of Lynne Dennis, a previous member of the Embroiders Society

An archive and special collection relating to Working Class Artists in the 1980s-1990s, and women artists

Archives LGBT Conference, Guildhall and Guildhall Art Gallery


Sailor and the Showgirl Project (cross dressing and safe sex)

Sailor and the Showgirl Project (cross dressing and safe sex)

UCA Archives and UCA Photography graduate, Rebecca Andrews, will feature in the 10th Archives LGBT conference, held at Guildhall Library on the 16th February.

UCA Archives will showcase the Tessa Boffin Archive in a display. The archive is currently held at Maidstone campus.

Tessa Boffin was a lesbian photographer, writer, curator and performance artist. She studied photography in the 1980s at Polytechnic of Central London, and her work involved sex and sexual fantasy, where she explored issues such as transvestism, homosexuality and lesbianism. She was the first British lesbian doing political work around AIDS as early as the 1980s. She co-edited the 1990 Ecstatic Anti-bodies with Sunil Gupta, and edited Stolen Glances: Lesbians Take Photographs with Jean Fraser. Although her life was cut short at the age of 32, she built up an impressive body of work

Tessa Boffin’s archive is visually attractive and suitable to make an engaging display. It contains her student photographic work of The Slings of Arrows and Outrageous fortune AIDS: the body politic, her project work, including concept photographs of her cross dressing and safe sex project work ‘The Sailor and the Showgirl’ and her photographic project books.

Andrews’ work compliments the archive of Tessa Boffin. She explored transvestism, photographing couples, and explored issues of sexuality and gender identity, including interviews with, and photography work on female body builders. Her work for female body building looked at the concept of ‘wearing’ the body and how we choose to wear our bodies in a society that generally corresponds to fixing boundaries of gender, which the female bodybuilder departs from.

Alongside the display a talk from Rebecca Andrews will take place regarding the work done, inspirations, and what she found regarding her transvestite work, also using the Tessa Boffin work and archive to suggesting whether there are similar attitudes now, as there was to cross dressing and transvestism in the 1980s.

The conference costs between £25 and £35 pounds and booking is essential

The Tessa Boffin Archive catalogue can be accessed here http://community.ucreative.ac.uk/article/37974/Tessa-Boffin

To contact UCAArchives please email archives@ucreative.ac.uk, or contact Rebekah Taylor, Archivist, on rtaylor8@ucreative.ac.uk

Archive of the Month, December 2012 – Christmas Cards

Christmas cards designed by past students, 1991 – present

December’s Archive of the Month is a collection of Christmas cards created by our students.  These examples of modern design officially promoted The Kent Institute of Art & Design and later the University of Creative Arts, following a tradition for official Christmas cards started by Queen Victoria in the 1840s.  They gave students the opportunity to promote their talents and gain first-hand experience of fulfilling a commercial brief.

The collection includes two official Christmas cards for the Kent Institute of Art and Design.  The first is illustrated by Gary Jones, BA (Hons) Communication Media (July 1991) and was designed by David Hart BA (Hons).  This vibrant image, ‘Black Birds Whistle,’ uses a vast array of colours inspired by South America.


The second KIAD design, from 2004, boldly uses the barcode as its central theme.  The card cleverly combines a festive message while also making a sly comment on the season’s commerciality.  It was designed by Maxime Herr, BA (Hons) Graphic Design.

herr 4

Three designs within the collection were official UCA Christmas cards.  The first by Ruth Taylor, Foundation Studies in Art & Design at Rochester, layers images of fruit and the natural world in a rich colourful scheme.


The second UCA Christmas card by Heather Wheal, BTEC ND at Rochester, is a fun reworking of a familiar Kent seaside image.  The unexpected addition of a bright pink tree brilliantly contrasts with the black and white photograph.


The third UCA Christmas card was created by Lawrence Simpson, BA (Hons) Digital Screen Arts (2008), and designed by Melanie Ray, BA (Hons) Graphic Communication.  This glossy digital image alludes to the themes of light, the Star and the festive colour red.


These Christmas cards can be accessed at the library archives, Rochester Campus.  Other collections of Christmas cards include Queen Mary’s Collection at the British Museum, and the Word & Image department of the V&A which holds the first Christmas card by J. C. Horsley from 1843.

 This year, our Vice-Chancellor Dr Simon Ofield-Kerr lent his expertise to help judge a Christmas card competition for primary schools.  To read more, click here: http://ucreative.ac.uk/news/2012/november/chris-grayling

 These cards are accessible in Rochester

Reviewed by Lynsey Blandford, Library Advisor at Rochester

Student Protest and Student Activity Exhibition

The University for the Creative Arts Library and Archives has undertaken an online and physical (at Rochester and Canterbury campuses) exhibition of student protest and student activity through the decades (approximately 1950s to the present day) for the Student Union’s 40th anniversary, and in celebration of student activism.

The online exhibition is available here http://community.ucreative.ac.uk/article/38361/Student-Union-and-Student-Protest-Exhibition

The exhibition is on-going and will be regularly added to throughout the year. We would welcome any donations or loans from students and staff or ex-staff at any period in the University for the Creative Arts history

The online exhibition showcases student protest, including the minutes of the Guildford School of Art sit in protest both from the students, who were protesting against the quality of art teaching, and the lack of student control, and minutes from the governors,

A young Jack Straw was also involved  

In his autobiography Last Man Standing: Memoirs of a Political Survivor (Chapter 3, Respected but Not Respectable  Macmillan, 2012)he mentions the following about his time at the NUS (p.74) :

 My first six months at the NUS were uncomfortable. I was an intruder. I had stood up against the successful candidate, Trevor Fisk, and was now his deputy. I was given marginal responsibilities, like art colleges, in the hope I’d get bored and go away, but suddenly the art schools erupted. There were long occupations at colleges like Hornsey and Guildford colleges of art. I had something useful to do, and also developed firm friendships with some of those involved, like Kim Howells, later MP for Pontypridd and a fellow Foreign Office minister, and Kate Hoey, later MP for Vauxhall and minister for sport.

The following links are useful for information regarding the Guildford School of Art





For those interested in student protest UCA also has books regarding the Hornsey Art Protest alongside the same dates as Guildford School of Art

THE HORNSEY AFFAIR, by students and staff of Hornsey College of Art. Penguin, 1969. 707.11 HOR Canterbury Library

Tickner, Lisa. Hornsey 1968 : the art school revolution. Frances Lincoln, 2008. 700.1142188 TIC Farnham Library 700.71142 TIC Maidstone Library

Piper, David Warren. After Hornsey. Davis-Poynter, 1973. 707 PIP Farnham Library

 The online exhibition also showcases photographs of a drawing protest held in Trafalgar Square against the forming of the Kent Institute of Art and Design in the 1980s, loaned by retired lecturer Robin Sewell, showung members of our staff, then students.

Protest against the forming of the Kent Institute for Art and Design, 1980s

The exhibition also includes student union statements from prospectuses throughout the ages, which highlights how they perceived themselves, and how they were perceived by various bodies

Rochester Campus Cafe currently hosts newspaper images regarding student protest throughout the decades, and images will shortly be up within the library

Canterbury Campus will have images of student activity and protest from the 1950s within the reception area around November 23rd, 2012