Women's Art Library launches new app

Did you know that the Women's Art Library recently launched a new app to broaden awareness of the broad range of materials that they hold on the work of female artists? These include slides and photographs, artists' statements, newspaper cuttings, exhibition catalogues, CDs, video and audio tapes. As the initial app can only hold 60MB worth of content, they decided to focus initially on seven women artists linked broadly in one way or another to the theme of 'magical realism'. There's a temporary exhibition about how the app was made on at Goldsmiths' Library in London until 13 April 2017.

Taken together, the artworks featured represent the wide diversity in women's artistic journeys. The app's launch certainly reminds me of the need to make our own collections more widely available. Could it be a valuable resource for inspiring your own work? 

 

Birmingham's tradition of fine metalworking

Have you seen the latest exhibition of contemporary craft now on at Parkside? If so, have you ever wondered about the types of craft objects being made at Birmingham School of Art around 100 years ago?

Florence Camm, Design for jewellery, 1901.

Florence Camm, Design for jewellery, 1901.

For our latest showcase display in collaboration with Library and Learning Resources, we’ve put together a selection of designs for fine metalwork made at Birmingham School of Art around 1900. Among them are two examples by internationally-known stained glass designer Florence Camm, who studied at Margaret Street between 1892 and 1908: one for jewellery and the other for a casket in silver, enamel and jewels intended to contain a scroll granting the Freedom of the City of Birmingham to John Thackery Bunce, editor of the Birmingham Post, former chairman of the School of Art Management Committee and a founder member of the Museum and Art Gallery. There's also a brass bowl decorated in an Arts and Crafts style by Robert Catterson-Smith, who worked as a painter and illustrator as well as designing for jewellery and fine metalwork. Before becoming headmaster of Vittoria St (1901-1903) and then Birmingham School of Art (1903-1920), he'd worked as an engraver for William Morris's Kelmscott Press.

Robert Catterson-Smith, Detail of brass bowl (originally with silver gilt), c.1890s.

Robert Catterson-Smith, Detail of brass bowl (originally with silver gilt), c.1890s.

Alongside them is an illustrated catalogue published by Burlington Fine Arts Club to accompany an exhibition of a collection of European silversmiths’ work that took place in London in 1901. The book is open at a plate of an elaborate seventeenth-century German table ornament in the form of a ship. It's in marked contrast with the style of works being produced by Birmingham School of Art staff and students at the turn of the twentieth century. Why not take a look in order to see the differences for yourself?

Prejudice and Pride

Are you aware that this year marks 50 years since the partial decriminalization of homosexuality? To mark the occasion, the National Archives and the National Trust will collaborate in recreating the interior of 'The Caravan', a queer-friendly members' club in Soho that was once described as 'London's most bohemian rendezvous'. The club existed at a time when being openly gay frequently led to prosecution and imprisonment. In 1934, it was raided and closed down by police.

National Archives, Interior of the Caravan Club, Endell Street, London 1934

National Archives, Interior of the Caravan Club, Endell Street, London 1934

Photographs, court reports, police papers and witness statements will be used to re-create the striking bohemian interior of the underground club. Selected from The National Archives’ extensive collection, these documents provide an important insight into club culture and the everyday prejudices facing the homosexual community at the time. The recreation, entitled Queer City, will take place at the well-known Freud Café-Bar on almost the exact site of the original club. 

It'll form the focus of a series of LGBT+ heritage tours looking at queer culture in Covent Garden and Soho during March. There'll also be themed talks, debates and performances capturing the spirit of The Caravan and wider queer culture.

It's great to see this wonderfully creative response to marking such an important milestone in the development of personal freedom. Why not go and see it for yourself? 

Chance to hear about artists' creative use of mental health records

Would you like to learn more about using archives as part of your creative practice? If so, you may be interested in a free workshop to be held at the National Archives on Tuesday 4 April 2017. Following this, there'll be a Q & A session with artists who've recently produced work in response to the mental health records held there as part of the In Our Minds project run in collaboration with the University of the Creative Arts. There'll also be an opportunity to view the touring exhibition developed in partnership with the National Archives.

Display panel from the In Our Minds touring exhibition developed in partnership with the National Archives, 2016.

Display panel from the In Our Minds touring exhibition developed in partnership with the National Archives, 2016.

Susan Merrick expressed an interest in using a language that wasn't readily understood - like Morse code or semaphore - to communicate what she'd learnt from the mental health records in the National Archives. Was she expressing the idea that those suffering with psychological problems often face difficulties in being understood? Why not take a look at her video and see what you think?

Statement in Semaphore, video by Susan Merrick, 2016.

Statement in Semaphore, video by Susan Merrick, 2016.

Craig Jordan-Baker chose to focus on the reports on suffragettes being held at Holloway and the links that were often made in them between campaigning for votes for women and hysteria or weak-mindedness. He produced an audio piece using extracts from documents held by the National Archives and UCA Archives that highlighted conflicts between the different views of those involved as a starting point for inspiration. 

Audio piece Hysteria by Craig Jordan-Baker on exhibition at UCA, Farnham Campus (2017). 

Audio piece Hysteria by Craig Jordan-Baker on exhibition at UCA, Farnham Campus (2017). 

Diana Williams was moved by the personal stories of sufferers from mental health, but particularly struck by the unexpectedness of some of the items that she found - like the images of patients detained in mental hospitals dressed neatly in what appeared to be their Sunday best  to pose for photographs. In her artwork, she chooses to contrast this with the way in which they were described in official reports as 'lunatic', 'fallen woman' or 'flighty woman'. 

Keepsakes, glasswork by Diana Williams, 2016. 

Keepsakes, glasswork by Diana Williams, 2016. 

Sparrow Davies chose to respond in a deliberately naive way, believing that this would help to encourage a child-like empathy for the patients whose personal stories were contained within official documents. Her colourful artwork recalls a game of Jenga in which the pieces are potentially unstable, with each of the individual pieces being inscribed with words that might precipitate mental distress. 

Crumbling…falling…down, sculpture by Sparrow Davies, 2016

Crumbling…falling…down, sculpture by Sparrow Davies, 2016

How would you respond to some of the documents described in the National Archives blog post?

Latest display at Parkside relates to Level 5 student project

We've just installed our latest joint display with Library & Learning Resources in the showcase at the bottom of the main stairs in Parkside. The idea for this exhibition developed from a visit to the Archives almost two months ago by a group of Level 5 students who'd been asked to design costumes for characters from one of Chaucer's late 14th-century Canterbury Tales, supposedly told by an ill-assorted bunch of pilgrims journeying from London to visit the shrine of St Thomas in Canterbury. While they were here, they looked for inspiration for their designs amongst the studies of historical dress and the cartoons for stained glass panels in the School of Art's archive.

Paul Lacroix, Le Cortege de la Jeune Mere, plate from Moeurs, usages et costumes au moyen âge et à l'époque de la renaissance, 1871, BCU Library Treasures. 

Paul Lacroix, Le Cortege de la Jeune Mere, plate from Moeurs, usages et costumes au moyen âge et à l'époque de la renaissance, 1871, BCU Library Treasures. 

As they continue work on their designs, we've put together a display that focuses on the strong revival of interest in the medieval period during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Cultural historians expressed an interest in accounts of medieval manners and customs; poets and novelists drew inspiration from tales of chivalry and the songs of the troubadours; and  the Pre-Raphaelites produced numerous paintings of medieval damsels and knights on quests. The illustration above is taken from a 19th-century history by Paul Lacroix, a French author who wrote Romantic historical novels as well as more serious works on social customs.

The influence of such medievalism on the work of Birmingham School of Art during this period can be seen in two stained glass cartoons by Florence Camm, each featuring one of the characters mentioned in the Canterbury Tales - a friar and a knight. We've also included an edition of The Prologue to Chaucer's work that was produced in Birmingham School of Printing in 1949.

Birmingham School of Printing, Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, 1949, BCU Art & Design Archives

Birmingham School of Printing, Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, 1949, BCU Art & Design Archives

Why not come along to see the exhibition? It might give you some ideas for your own work.

Artist to recreate Birmingham's first exhibition of photography

Have you heard about the Thresholds project? Using cutting-edge VR technology,  artist Mat Collishaw is leading a project to recreate one of the UK's first exhibitions of photography at King Edward's School in Birmingham's New Street in 1839. Although the building in which Henry Fox Talbot's photogenic drawings were originally shown no longer exists, the room in which they were displayed will be recreated in wood.  The installation will be a portal to the past: it will lead visitors wearing VR head sets to feel as if they are actually inside the 1839 exhibition. They'll not only be able to see the original artefacts and touch the display cases that house them, but also to hear the sound of Chartists protesting against being denied the vote and feel the heat of the fire crackling in the fireplace as they approach it. 

Mat Collishaw, Early rendering of the virtual room, 2016

Mat Collishaw, Early rendering of the virtual room, 2016

The idea for the project developed out of a conversation with photographic historian Pete James (formerly in charge of the Library of Birmingham's internationally known collection of photographs), and would not have been possible without the knowledge gleaned from the archives of a number of different museums and other organisations.

I wonder how our own collections might be used to recreate a version of the School of Art in the 1890s?

 

Experiments in Composition at the British Library Sound Archive

Will you be in London next week? If so, you might want to go along to an event being held at the British Library on Thursday 12 January. Two artists, Aleks Kolkowski and Larry Achiampong, will share their experiences as artists-in-residence at the British Library Sound Archive over the last twelve months. They are the first artists ever to have had such access to the archive, and it'll be fascinating to see what use they made of it. 

As well as listening to presentations and performances from both artists, there will be an opportunity to hear curators reflecting on the Sound Archive’s special collections and the artefacts that have inspired the artists – from some of the earliest wax cylinder recordings to field recordings of communities performing throughout West Africa.

Larry Achiampong uses sound, live performance and visual imagery to explore representations of identity in the digital age. Larry's research during the residency has drawn upon two of his previous projects and the British Library's recent exhibition West Africa: Word, Symbol and Song.  He's focused on audio and visual samples from West Africa (notably Ghana), using them as a source of inspiration to create a new vinyl LP that will be launched on the evening.

By contrast, Aleksander Kolkowski is a composer and violinist who uses historical sound recording and reproduction equipment and obsolete media to make contemporary music. His own work for the project has focused on the British Library's wide-ranging collections of early recordings on cylinders and the vast Bishop collection of sound effects from the 1930s and 1940s on acetate discs. He'll be performing a 25-minute set of his own and then will be cutting a record of Larry's performance using a 1950s recording lathe. 

For more information about the event, why not take a look at the short video clip on the Sound and Music website?

Fashion and Interiors students look to the Archives for inspiration

We've been very busy in the Archives this week, with visits from forty Level 5 students working on a brief to design costumes and installations inspired by Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. They've been looking at examples of stained glass designs, panels featuring medieval scenes, and sketches of people in theatrical or historical costumes - all by their predecessors from the 1890s and early 1900s. 

All set up for the workshop ....

All set up for the workshop ....

Many of the students were previously unaware that the Archives existed, and were keen to explore other items in the collections as well. They were very impressed by the standard of the work, particularly that by Florence Camm and the botanical illustrations by children as young as fourteen. 

Florence Camm, Study for stained glass panel of a death bed scene, 1902

Florence Camm, Study for stained glass panel of a death bed scene, 1902

This coming Thursday, the Interiors students will be putting on an exhibition of their installations in the Shell, so why not take a look at it?

Pretty Shambolic

Will you be in Liverpool later this week? If so, you might like to go along to an event organised by staff in LJM University's Special Collections and Archives as part of the Being Human Festival of the Humanities in the city. 

On Friday evening, they're putting on a fashion show exploring punk subculture and its evolution over the past forty years. British punk fashion evolved in the 1970s as a reaction to the pretensions and materialism of mainstream culture. Purposely-ripped clothes were held together with safety pins; black bin liners were worn as dresses; and many female punks rebelled against the stereotypical image of a woman by combining clothes that were delicate or pretty with those considered masculine, e.g. a ballet tutu with big, clunky boots. Iconic designs were created by Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, but there was also a strong DIY ethos with most fans putting together their own looks.

In subsequent decades, punk style has been re-appropriated by many different designers, and those who buy punk-inspired clothes may not be aware of the origins of this rebellious and colourful form of self-identification. However, students from Knowsley Community College hope to change this. They have been inspired to create their own punk-inspired designs after a period spent researching the England’s Dreaming: Jon Savage Archive of Punk held at LJMU. The show will explore the connections they made between the 1970s and today in terms of young people's hopes and fears in both eras. 

Exhibition at the Lowry celebrates creative response to Rambert's archive

Next Monday there's an exciting study day being held for those working with performing arts collections at the Lowry in Salford. Participants will hear about the ways in which working with partners has enabled different organizations to open up their archives in new and sometimes unexpected ways, thereby broadening their appeal to new audiences. 

Among the highlights of the programme will be a curator-led tour of Perpetual Movement, an exhibition of contemporary art and dance inspired by Rambert's archive and by Marie Rambert’s call for “perpetual movement”, i.e. ceaseless change in the search for new art and ideas. As part of Rambert's 90th anniversary celebrations, four international artists working in a variety of mediums are showcasing their work alongside a carefully-curated selection of objects, footage and costumes from the archive.

Archive display about Rambert's international touring history

Archive display about Rambert's international touring history

Among those exhibiting is Sheffield-based digital artist Leila Johnston, who has used heat mapping filming techniques to great effect to explore the themes of movement, physicality and performance demonstrated by Rambert's dancers on screen. She has created an immersive LED installation of spectacle and movement – both in the dancers she filmed and the lively way in which the audience is encouraged to experience the work.

Leila Johnston, digital installation for Perpetual Movement at the Lowry, 2016

Leila Johnston, digital installation for Perpetual Movement at the Lowry, 2016

If you have the chance, why not go and see the exhibition? It's on until 26 February 2017. 

 

Katagami in Practice

Are you a textile designer? If so, you may be interested to know about a new project that's just begun at the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture. Among their holdings are the records of the Silver Studio, a commercial studio that produced designs for wallpapers and textiles between 1880 and 1960. This collection includes around 400 Japanese katagami, traditional resist-printing stencils for textiles that were used by the designers as a source of inspiration. Among the most popular objects in the collection, they hold a fascination for creative practitioners because of the intricacy of their cutting and the stylisation of the motifs depicted. 

Japanese katagami stencil depicting two sparrows, c.1870, MoDA, KI.4. 

Japanese katagami stencil depicting two sparrows, c.1870, MoDA, KI.4. 

As part of the Katagami in Practice project, four researchers have been appointed to look into how the stencils have been used in art and design teaching, both historically and in a contemporary setting. They'll be working both individually and collaboratively to produce a range of outcomes over the next six months. For example, Caroline Collinge is a designer maker who comes from a costume and performance background. She's intending to create garments informed by close analysis of the katagami in MoDA's collection, and then to develop these into costumes to be worn for a dance performance.

Meanwhile, Sarah Desmarais wants to explore how these Japanese stencils can engage students' creative practice today in a deeper way than simply encouraging them to reach for the laser cutter. As a textile designer, she's become particularly interested in the meditative and repetitive nature of making things by hand and the deep engagement with the material world that this entails.  Her plan is to engage in the process of making katagami herself, and to observe and reflect on that process. She intends to devise workshops that will encourage students to consider katagami as ‘ambassadors’ of human-material interweavings across time and space.   

If you'd like to know more about the project, why not take a look at their blog?




 

Graphic War at Kew

What are your thoughts on how one branch of art and design can influence another? There's a new exhibition of seven World War I themed sculptures on at the National Archives at Kew that provides food for thought about this.

Ian Kirkpatrick, Kingdom of Dreams, 2015

Ian Kirkpatrick, Kingdom of Dreams, 2015

It developed from artist Ian Kirkpatrick's residency with Leeds Museums and Galleries in 2015. Not only are the works heavily influenced by First World War packaging design, but they are made from cardboard and can be installed from an initial 'flat pack' state, allowing them to be collapsed and reassembled elsewhere. The works came to the attention of Archives staff when some of them were exhibited at an event held at the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester. However, they were initially exhibited across Leeds in November 2015 as part of a city-wide sculptural trail curated by Lucy Moore of Leeds Museums and Galleries.

Earlier that year, Ian had secured Leverhulme Trust funding for an artists' residency with them. During his time in Leeds, he immersed himself in their collection of graphic designs produced between 1914 and 1918. Ian focused on design as an emotional tool, examining its influence on life both at home and on the battlefield. For example, how was graphic design intended for consumption by soldiers different in tone, tactic or quality from that made for the home front, and did it become more nationalistic as the war progressed? 

Despite being contemporary in appearance, Ian's work has a strong base in archival and object-based research. If you'd like to see it, the exhibition's on until 14 January 2017. Perhaps it might inspire your own work... 

Re-imaging Donald Rodney

Have you ever considered that an archive can be a starting point for an exploration of personal, social and cultural identity? This Thursday, Vivid Projects will launch an exhibition and a series of events designed to illustrate the the potential of Donald Rodney's digital archive to do just this. 

Born in Birmingham to Jamaican parents in 1961, Rodney worked in a range of media including painting, installations, audio, robotics and film. His work focused on the issues surrounding the stereotyping of black men and the racial tensions to which he was exposed as he grew up. In his later years, he chose increasingly to incorporate his medical condition - that of sickle cell anaemia - into his artistic practice. He made considerable use of imagery such as blood samples, x-ray photographs and cell cultures not only to draw attention to the illness that was slowly destroying his body, but more importantly as a metaphor to signify the 'disease' that lay at the core of society. 

By the late 1990s, Rodney's disabling and life-limiting illness meant that he had to delegate key roles in the organisation and implementation of his artwork to others. Sadly, he died in 1998, shortly after initiating the AUTOICON project, a dynamic internet work that simulates Rodney's physical presence and creative aspects of his personality. It was developed by a group of his close friends and will be shown alongside a new work created directly in response to it. 

Doublethink (2015) is a bespoke online site designed and developed during workshops as part of a one-year research process involving members of Wolverhampton Sickle Cell Care and Activity Centre. There'll be a talk on 24 October at which Ian Sergeant and Antonio Roberts will explore the development of the 'beta' website, looking at some of the challenges of responding to another artist's digital legacy in a way that does justice to their work while at the same time developing their own creative angle on it. Why not go along to hear it?

  

Curators of West Yorkshire textile collections create new online resource

Are you a budding textile designer looking for new sources of inspiration? If so, you may be interested to know that a new online resource featuring 2000 images of textiles in West Yorkshire's museums has been available via VADS. The West Yorkshire Textile Heritage Project is a partnership between Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield museums.

Kirklees curator Katina Bill said:

"The online database will be a superb resource for students and researchers, whilst the trail [also launched last week] will help local people find out more about our amazing local heritage.  We also hope to bring new 'textile tourists' to West Yorkshire, who perhaps didn't realise just how much there is so to see and do here."

The region's famous wool and worsted products are well represented, but the database also shows examples of silk, cotton and synthetic textiles for clothing fabrics, carpets, blankets, etc.

These three examples show a blanket made from various types and colours of woollen cloth by Joseph Field of Skelmanthorpe in the 1860s; a 62 Vertical Bobbin Winder and a poster advertisement for Double Two ladies fashions, 1990.

Check out http://www.vads.ac.uk/collections/WYTH if you'd like to see more. 

 

Games developers draw on archives for inspiration

Are you a computer games designer? If so, have you ever considered that archives could inspire your design of new immersive environments?

Last summer, games developers were invited to the Great Steampunk Games Jam hosted by staff from the National Archives and the University of York. They had a little over 24 hours to design and build games inspired by historical collections of visual material from the Victorian and Edwardian periods, with prizes being awarded for the best entries. 

To assist the participants, the hosts presented three different themes: Invention, Spectacle, and Unrest. They provided historical context; wrote stories to act as initial discussion points; and created a selection of documents and images from their collections available for possible use in the games. Fuelled with snacks and pizza, the teams worked late into the night and throughout Sunday to complete their creations.

Three judges assessed the entries on the basis of the playability of their games and their interpretation of the archival material. The top award went to The Great Airship Rescue, which pulled together two themes: an aircraft created to locate Sir John Franklin’s lost Arctic expedition had been sabotaged by protesters, with the player being tasked with fixing various ailing machinery to keep it aloft. The winning team worked together well over the weekend and were almost certainly helped by a fantastic presentation, led by a character in full Steampunk gear of long leather jacket and an impressively tall top hat. 

Perhaps there's something in our own archival collections that might inspire you. Why not come along and see?

BBC feature on Margaret Rope draws on School of Art's archives

Have you ever watched Who Do You Think You Are? Last July, a team from the BBC were here in the archives, donning white gloves to view the entry in the School of Art register for 1897-1906 relating to one of our former students, the stained glass designer Margaret Agnes Rope. Watching them filming the look of surprise on the presenter's face when shown her name appearing among the list of students enrolled in 1900 reminded me of similar scenes in that show. 

At the age of eighteen, Margaret won a scholarship to attend the School, travelling daily from her home in Shrewsbury. She was clearly a talented student, winning several prizes in the course of her training under Henry Payne. The BBC were keen to gain an impression of the life of the School of Art while Margaret was a student in the opening decade of the twentieth century, filming several close-ups of images from our lantern slide collection. These reveal that Edwardian women students were not only working in more traditionally feminine media such as embroidery and needlework, but also in casting and metal-working. ‘Marga’, as she was called, was an instinctive rebel – known for smoking cheroot cigars, riding a motorbike and wearing her hair short. Without backing from a patron, rich family or husband, she made her own way in her career, one of a new generation of professional women artists as much at home in a workshop as in a drawing-room. 

Margaret Agnes Rope, detail from  window in Shrewsbury's Roman Catholic Cathedral, 1910-11

Margaret Agnes Rope, detail from  window in Shrewsbury's Roman Catholic Cathedral, 1910-11

Margaret was a deeply religious person, entering an enclosed order of Carmelite nuns barely a decade after her initial success. Even shut away from the world, she continued her work in a small studio set aside by the convent at Woodbridge, Suffolk. Although she was one of the leading stained-glass artists of the early twentieth century with works on three continents, Margaret Rope's achievements have largely been overlooked - possibly because she was an intensely private person who left few records behind her. We hope that the BBC programme will help to bring her greater recognition. It's being broadcast on BBC Midlands at 7.30pm on Monday 26 September as part of their Inside Out series. Alternatively, you'll be able to watch it online for thirty days afterwards. 

If you'd like to know more, why not go along and see the exhibition on Margaret's life and work opening at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery on Monday 12 September? 

 

Conference to focus on creative responses to archives in the South West

This Thursday, there's an interesting conference on at the University of Plymouth. Organised by the Community Archives and Heritage Group, it's  going to look at creative responses to archives in Devon and Cornwall. Among the speakers will be playwright Natalie McGrath, who'll be talking about a creative partnership between a group of artists calling themselves We'll Meet in Moscow and Plymouth's award-winning LGBT archive.

In late February this year, the group presented six brand new 10-minute plays at Plymouth's Barbican Theatre as part of LGBT History Month. These were all by LGBT writers responding to stories in the archive, and met with a very positive reception. In the words of the artists involved:

We were overwhelmed by the generous responses from the audience in the post-reading conversation.  They were immediately curious about what archives can achieve and resonate, with suggestions of thinking about how to use this model as an example for other LGBT archives in the region.

If you've ever thought of using archives as a source of inspiration for writing your own plays or stories, why not visit us here at the Art and Design Archives?

 

Birmingham printmaker draws on Nettlefold diaries for inspiration

There's an event on at Winterbourne House this coming Thursday that I'll be very sorry to miss - I could kick myself for not booking earlier! Their current artist in residence Sarah Moss will be giving a talk on her work exploring their archive of photographs, letters and diaries belonging to the Edwardian owners of the house, Margaret and John Nettlefold.  These give wonderful insights into their relationships, work and family life. Over the last year, Sarah has been working on bringing the stories of the family's time at Winterbourne House to life by using traditional print making techniques to create a series of large scale lino cuts in the style of the Kelmscott Chaucer designed and printed by William Morris and illustrated by Edward Burne-Jones. 

Sarah Moss, Working on the first lino cut, 2016

Sarah Moss, Working on the first lino cut, 2016

The first lino cut she completed shows Margaret Chamberlain (as she was then) on her first day at Birmingham School of Art in 1890. In her diary, she wrote about the classes she attended at the Margaret Street building, which would only have been open for fifteen years at that time. Sarah has based the design of the illuminated border on lilies because these feature so heavily in the decoration of the School of Art's facade. She also felt the lilies were appropriate to Margaret's unmarried status at this time.

Sarah Moss, Margaret Chamberlain arrives on her first day at Birmingham School of Art, 2016

Sarah Moss, Margaret Chamberlain arrives on her first day at Birmingham School of Art, 2016

She is currently working on the second lino cut, which will show Margaret's return from her trip to the West Indies in 1907. Sarah's plan is to show her husband John standing on the dock at Southampton waiting for Margaret's ship to arrive. The border will feature tropical plants from the Gilbert Orchid House in the grounds at Winterbourne,

I look forward to seeing the rest of the series, and plan to make my own visit to Winterbourne to find out more about Margaret's time at the School of Art. It'll provide interesting context for our collection of lantern slides taken of classes at the School around this time. 

 

 

Stuart Hall Library to host artist's residency in 2017

How would you respond creatively to  a library collection focused on contemporary art from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the work of British artists from diverse cultural backgrounds?

You may have the chance to find out. INIVA (the Institute of International Visual Arts) and the Stuart Hall Foundation have just advertised a new three-month collaborative artist's residency starting in January 2017. Based in the Stuart Hall Library, it will give an artist the opportunity to pursue their own research in the library as well as to produce a creative outcome linked to one or more of its key themes - culture, politics and identity; the diaspora; archives and archiving. 

A selection of black art magazines from the Stuart Hall Library.

A selection of black art magazines from the Stuart Hall Library.

INIVA partnered with Autograph ABP (the Association of Black Photographers) to build Rivington Place, a 15,000 square foot, five-floor visual arts centre in Shoreditch, East London. Since it opened in 2007, its programme of exhibitions and events has explored the politics of race and global identities through the visual arts. Their aims are to diversify the mainstream and to challenge the status quo in the art world by working across media with artists, curators, creative producers and writers. Stuart Hall, after whom their library is named, played an important role in the project to build this culturally-diverse visual arts centre. 

If you're interested, why not take a look at their website to get a better idea of the projects they're involved in?