I was interested to learn from the NRA’s Archiving the Arts blog that Sonia Friel recently spent a week as Artist in Residence for the Animation Archives at the University of the Creative Arts in Farnham, Surrey. Sonia, a PhD researcher at Norwich University of Arts studying the work of Jan Švankmajer and the Quay brothers, had already had previous experience of using archives in creative contexts.
The Animation Archives house a number of fascinating collections, including the works of Bob Godfrey, Britain's first Oscar winning animator. Between 22 and 26 September, Sonia led a series of daily workshops, talks and games based around the collections. These included Wunderkammer, in which a digital 'cabinet of curiosities’ was built from an electronic collection of texts and images in the archives, and Surrealist Games, where creative writing students played a series of games inspired by various combinatory systems like Raymond Queneau’s Cent Mille Milliards de Poèmes (1961) .
Sonia certainly seems to have enjoyed her time there. As she says in her blog: ‘I’ve had a wonderful time in the archives here this week’; ‘the material is always so much more vivid and tactile up close’.