Storytelling, Gamification and the Archive

Working in a Creative Arts university, with creative arts archives, with courses that include  Media and Communications, and Creative Writing, looking at integrating archives with games, and interactive storytelling, seems a perfect fit. I am also really interested in looking at ways to bring to life visually our more text based material, which includes our exciting records of the Guildford School of Art protest in 1968, involving a student sit in. This includes records such as student statements, governors statements, and posters. This provides a fascinating insight into student protest, activity, but also the nature of art education itself – theoretical/vocational? However, purely text based material can sometimes be off-putting to visual thinkers – I wanted to find a way to bring our collections to life, and look at how you can be inspired to create creative writing.

future is now at stake

There are various examples of how heritage and games combine, including examples from this Heritage Jam, using different software. I was particularly interested in looking at TWINE, an open source storytelling software, which can run on windows as well as linux. TWINE allows you to create interactive non linear stories, and is intuitive to use, providing instructions. To make the TWINE live you can upload the HTML file to a free TWINE hosting site. TWINE games mean the player (you) takes on a personna, and chooses various options

I was asked to host volunteers for Creative Writing and Media Communications, who had created TWINE games before. Hayden Lee, decided to create an interactive story from the Guildford School of Art sit in protest. Inspired by the newspaper clippings, student posters urging people to boycott Guildford School of Art, and descriptions of students, he decided to create a TWINE game, where you take on the personna of an interviewer/journalist from a newspaper and see how you can get your story…

Take a look at Hayden’s story here

Rebekah Taylor, Archivist & Special Collections Officer




Fashion education – impact on Industry

by Lorna Harrington, MA fashion Kingston, UCA Volunteer


When commencing my final major project for my masters, it was natural for me, as a volunteer at UCA, to consider the archives as a starting point for my research.

As a fashion student, I have chosen to look at fashion education and how it has changed and how this is affecting industry.

This is a topic of particular interest, due to the recent cuts to both arts and education which have impacted on the study of fashion.  Some of these themes have been explored within the archive itself. For example, Jigsaw, a magazine published by second year communication design students in 1976, discusses grants for foundation students as well as cuts to teaching staff.

I am particularly interested in looking through past prospectuses, minute books and newspaper clippings within the archive.


Epsom Prospectuses

Prospectuses from Epsom

The images I find will not only be used for my written report but also to inspire my own designs for graphics and printed material relating to the topic of fashion and education. Some of my final major project outcomes will be in prospectuses, fashion show invites and branding for a new course.

To start with, I have been looking through material uploaded onto the UCA Archive Explored Flickr, to give me an idea of what material exists and what will be of use to me.

One of the many items of relevance to my project, is an interview with Audrey Cresswell, head of fashion featured in Jigsaw Magazine in 1976, which gives information about course content, number of students and the course’s links to industry.



As part of my research methodology, I will be interviewing key figures within the fields of fashion and education and so this particular piece will be helpful in forming my own questions for my interviewees. It will also give a sense of what has and hasn’t changed within fashion education.

I also hope to spend some of my final major project, becoming more involved in the archives through helping to curate online exhibitions as well as developing research guides.

Analysing and assessing film archives

Further on from our original post, on ‘Reeling in a reel of Film Archives’  on Film Production records from past students of UCA’s former art schools and institutions, including the West Surrey College of Art and Design.

Andrew Visser, from UCA’s Film Production department has been undertaking the first steps in assessing, and box listing, the over 200 film reels at UCA.


Andrew Visser moving archives


Below are his findings:


It turned out that the majority of the material was negative in some form or another, about 80% of the total material, with the rest being either print, reversal, or in one instance, an interpositive. The amount of neg isn’t that surprising considering much of the material has been sent to us from labs which have closed down over the years. Most of the negative is straight processed footage, but there are a number of cans which contain A/B Cut Negative, with corresponding instructions (and punch tape) for fades, cross dissolves, double exposure, etc. This material would serve as the final master for that specific film, and are often accompanied by optical sound negative – although this isn’t always the case – and corresponding cut neg and optical sound neg are not always located together.


Andrew Visser cataloguing


The labeling inconsistencies of the cans means that the overall picture is patchy. In particular there is an awful lot of labeling which does not contain any students names. Out of the 722 cans which are now in the archive (minus those degraded films which have been kept aside) there are about 170 cans which have a name attached to them. In most cases this is stated as, or assumed to be, the director’s name. Where there is the name of an editor, or cinematographer instead, I have noted this in parentheticals.

Dating much of this film has proved difficult as only roughly ⅓ of the labels have any date on them. Out of that third, the majority comes from the early to mid 1990’s, and a smaller quantity from the mid-late 1980s. There are also 10 films from the 1970s and 2 from the 1960s. I would guess that everything from roughly 2000 onwards was labeled, and this amounts to about 50 reels. Based on the labeling styles and conventions, and the overall look of the cans and film, I would suggest that the remaining 2/3rds of undated material would fall roughly into the same ratio of decade groupings.

 In most cases it hasn’t been possible to identify what is live action material, and what is animation. In the few instances where the label has specifically stated that it’s animation, this has been noted in the spreadsheet. In the instances where I did inspect part of the negative or print I didn’t find a single frame of animation, and so I would think that most of what is here is actually live action material, and probably therefore, from the film course.

 Almost all of the film is 16mm, although there are a handful of 35mm negatives and prints.

 Some film titles appear multiple times (scattered around), sometimes numbered, other times with just the title – so it shouldn’t surprise you to see identical entries in the spreadsheet. Almost always this will be different camera rolls/negative for the same film.

Overall I would say that the information gleaned from the labels can only be partially trusted. I found at least one instance of a film being labelled as Black & White, which turned, out on closer inspection, to be colour. I also think that it’s quite possible for some of the institutional name changes to have taken a while to filter through to the labs. So I would not be surprised to find material labelled as WSCAD [West Surrey College of Art and Design], actually being from the SIAD [Surrey Institute of Art and Design] era, especially around the time of transition (around 1995?). The majority of the material that is here is from WSCAD era, with much smaller amounts from the SIAD and UCA eras. Much of the undated material is from WSCAD, and would support my theory that much of this is dates back to the late 1980s to early-mid 1990s. I found only one instance of a film labelled as GSA [Guildford School of Art], although one would assume that the two films from the 1960’s would have been GSA work too.

 There are some films which have badly deteriorated over time, and are suffering the effects of extreme rust, mould, and/or nitrate/acetate base degradation. e better news is that approximately 75% of the actual films are in an okay or good condition. Some of the cans which have external rust are perfectly fine on the inside, and even the cans which are exhibiting signs of internal rust contain film which is more than likely fine.

Rust damaged film

You can find more images of Film and damaged archives on our flickr account

If you are a student or staff member you can access images on Image Bank and create your own learning collection with our images



Reeling in Reels of Film

The Archives at Farnham are currently looking after over 400 reels of Film Reels produced by students by Film Production. These films date from the 1960s to the present day and consist of work from the University for the Creative Arts previous institutes prior to  including Guildford School of Art, Farnham School of Art, West Surrey College of Art and Design and Surrey Institute of Art and Design (for further information about our institution’s history see here )

Key issues here include determining the format (e.g whether it is the final print), the condition (films need to be kept in cold storage otherwise degradation occurs), whether we can view it. Stay tuned to the blog to keep an eye on our progress…

Film reels from the Animation Archive film reels 2 Lisa Moore, Digital Images Officer, with Film Reels of student work dating from the 1960s 4 Lisa Moore, Digital Imaging Officer, with film reels Lisa Moore, Digital Imaging  Officer, with film reels Lisa Moore, Digital Imaging Officer, with film reels

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?



Cross Dressing Talks and Exhibition, Kent History Centre, LGBT Month February 2014

Through LGBT month, February 2014, a series of talks on the history of cross dressing will be held at the Kent History Centre, including on Lady Hester Stanhope (6th February), the photographer Tessa Boffin (13th February) ( and Cross dressing in Shakespeare’s England (20th February)

Cross dressing talks poster, KHLC

All talks are free but booking is advised. Contact Elizabeth Taylor on

This is to compliment a collaborative cross dressing through the ages exhibition by Kent History and Library Centre and the University for the Creative Arts. UCA will be exhibiting the 1980s-1990s LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) photographic work of Tessa Boffin, who undertook work around AIDS, and cross dressing.

Tessa boffin

Above, Tessa Boffin photography on herself cross dressing, posing as different figures, man women, or all together genderless. Tessa Boffin archive is held at UCA Maidstone.

Bob Godfrey Talk, Farnham Public Library, 28th January 2014

Farnham library on Tuesday 28 January at 7.30pm

General information

A talk by James Walker, Lecturer of visual theory at UCA, on the Bob Godfrey archive held at the University of the Creative Arts.

The Bob Godfrey archive includes his animations from Henry’s Cat and Roobarb and Custard which will be familiar to everyone who grew up on the 1970’s and 80’s.  

It also holds some collaborative work with Steve Bell, political cartoonist on the series Margaret Thatcher – Where I am now, 1999

Bob Godfrey taught animation at West Sur­rey School of Art and Design.


Tickets are £5  including tea or coffee.

Book online using debit or credit cards.

Telephone debit/credit card bookings on 01483 543599. A small handling charge may apply.

Tickets can also be bought in person from any Surrey library. 

Explore your archive logo

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

Animating Archives


A selection of materials from the Bob Godfrey collection were brought from their usual home at in the Animation Archive at Farnham to the CG Arts and Animation department at UCA Rochester.  First year CG Arts and Animation students were given the opportunity to see for themselves a collection of works and ephemera from one of Britain’s animation greats. Godfrey (1921 – 2013) founded the animation course at Farnham as well as being the first British Oscar-winning animator for his 1975 short animated film “Great”.


Through collaboration between the Archivist, Learning and Teaching Librarian and Course Leader, Phil Gomm, the day was organised to allow students to learn more about the archive collections at UCA, understand them in terms of the wider context of their own research and study, whilst accessing the animation collection first hand.  The day focused around one of Godfrey’s best known works “Henry’s Cat”, a children’s series screened in the 1980s and 1990s.  Students were able to look through the original materials from the programme and explore and discuss the cel drawn animation method. In addition, running orders from the shows were available to see exactly how an episode was put together, with frame by frame annotation, direction and narration. Included in the collection were a selection of Godfrey’s own books which he used to source ideas and annotated and illustrated with his own comments and observations. Students will be producing art work in response to their encounter with the Bob Godfrey archive



The day formed part of a longer term initiative put together by Rebekah Taylor, Archivist and Adele Martin-Bowtell, Learning and Teaching Librarian to raise awareness among students and staff of the opportunities to utilise archives in their subject specific creative arts learning and education. The project recognises the importance of allowing students steer and interact creatively with archive use in a library context.

Find out more about the Bob Godfrey Archive at

Adele Martin-Bowtell

Learning & Teaching Librarian, UCA Rochester

Taking a look into Christmas Cards of the Past

December’s Archive of the Month looks at three individual Christmas cards and also R.B. Fishenden (1880 – 1956), the eminent print consultant and editor of the Penrose Annual, the London based review of the graphic arts, for whom they were designed.

The Christmas cards are included in the Guildford School of Art Archive and have an unknown provenance, but perhaps can be attributed to contacts between Fishenden and the noted Surrey School of Printing, formed through the collaboration of the Department of Printing at the Guildford School of Art and the corresponding department at the Reigate and Redhill School of Art.

RB Fishenden Christmas Cards

Richard Bertie Fishenden was born on 6 August 1880 in Kensington, London and was the son of Richard and Louisa Fishenden (née Freestone). His father was an oil and colourman working in London, so he was already familiar with the technical aspects of colour mixing from basic pigments to manufacture coloured paint.

He was apprenticed at the age of 14 to Gee and Watson Ltd, and at 20 became the Works Manager of this firm of process engravers in London. In 1902 he became a Lecturer in the Printing Department of the Manchester College of Technology, becoming Head of Printing and during his time there conducted formative experiments in the new technique of rotogravure, a type of intaglio printing process. He effectively reinvented the process and devised all his own equipment in order to achieve it. The processes were fully revealed in a paper he delivered on 16 March 1915 before the Royal Photographic Society. His findings were widely reprinted in the Society’s journal and the British Journal of Photography.

In the same year he married Margaret White, later to become the eminent industrial researcher, Margaret Fishenden (1889 – 1977). They had one son, Richard Martin Fishenden, in 1917, and he later went on to be a noted physicist at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell. The family moved to London in 1921 and he re-entered the commercial branch of the industry. During these years his interests broadened, becoming an authority on the often ignored subjects of ink and paper. At one end of the process of printed reproduction he was skilled in all applications of photography; at the other, he was expert in the arts of typography.

However the conflicts of a career and marriage and motherhood were too much for that era and Richard and Margaret divorced in 1932. R.B. Fishenden married Marjorie Hodder (1902 – 1988) shortly afterwards in 1933, and she became his personal assistant throughout the remainder of his career.

In 1935 he was appointed editor of the Penrose Annual, and he remained active in this capacity until his death. Under his vigorous direction the annual was divided into two parts, the first devoted to the arts, the second to techniques. In 1942 he joined the Penguin staff as technical editor of the “King Penguin” books. For this series he devised the finest possible colour printing, and secured it at a cost that to the trade seemed impossibly low. After 1943 he was adviser to Messrs. Spicers, the papermakers. His continued interest in new processes and new material, his willingness to encourage research were invaluable in the establishment of the Printing and Allied Trades Research Association at Leatherhead in 1930.

R.B. Fishenden’s life and career synchronized with one of the most momentous periods of change and development which had ever been known in the history of graphic arts. By the time of his death on 7 October 1956 the graphic arts had evolved into today’s specialist practices.

These simple Christmas cards give us a window into the early 20th-century and remind us of a pioneer in the graphic arts.


Fishenden, Richard Bertie, Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920 – 2008; online edition, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007.

Mertle, Joseph S. (1957). Evolution of Rotogravure. Ohio: J.S. Mertle.

Mr. R.B. Fishenden. (1956). The Times [London, England], 9 October 1956, p.13. The Times Digital Archive [, accesses 1 March 2013]

Stevenson, Julie. (2004). Fishenden , Margaret (1889-1977). In: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 4 April 2013]

The National Archives, RG11/25/22 page 38. Extract from the 1881 Census for High Row, Kensington, London.

Warde, Beatrice. (1957). In Memoriam Richard Bertram Fishenden. In: The Penrose Annual: A Review of the Graphic Arts. Vol. 51, 1957. London: Lund Humphries.

Reviewed by Frances Teasdale, Head of Collections and Discovery