We had an astonishing donation recently that not only filled a desk but a whole drawer as well. Local artist Josie Flynn dropped off this exciting material down at theartmarket, and we still haven’t manage to look through everything yet! We will soon be buying more units to house this ever expanding collection.
Amongst the pile we found a limited edition book created by WPA Pinfold, a group of designers, marketeers and administartors who specialise in brand and communication design. With a handprinted front cover and glossy colour pages, the book explores themes of Faith, Hope and Charity through art. The book, made in 1995 is one in an edition of 500-come and have a look for yourselves!
A big thank you goes to James Hill from the Arts and Regeneration department at Leeds Town Hall. James kindly invited me to come and look at their archive of material relating to art and cultural events in the city of the past few years and to take away anything that might be interesting to include in Archive Leeds.
Archive Leeds made its debut amnesty for information at this years Situation Leeds Art Festival. The archive was situated in theartmarket in the Merrion Market, at the back of the Merrion Centre for the full two weeks of the festival allowing artists, students and passers-by to peruse as they wished. We had lots of positive feedback about the archive, the general feeling being that the archive is a great idea for sharing information.
The archive will now have a permanent presence in theartmarket and will be available to view during opening hours.
Many thanks to the Leeds based art group, the Black Dogs for their wonderful bundle of material including almanacs, flyers and a poster. This collection of information will be available to look through, during and after Situation Leeds, in the artmarket in the Merrion Market.
We have devised a colour coding system for the archive to distinguish between the different types of spaces documented. The blue labels refer to institutions, such as universities, colleges, council or public funded spaces. The red labels signify commercial spaces such as shops, restaurants, cafes bars and shop fronts. Yellow refers to artist-led initiatives including artists studios, and the green labels refer to alternative or public spaces.
Thursday 3rd May was the day that the Leeds Art Fair arrived at the Light complex on the Headrow. This annual festival is a platform for emerging and established artists to display their work in a high profile venue. For the first time this year, the Leeds Art Fair was introducing student and post-graduate work.
Congratulations to Andrew Lister, one of our tutors at the college who won the ‘Best Work in Show’ prize with his paintings of Simon Weston and Francis Bacon.
We wanted to buy this year’s catalogue for the archive and enquired about back catalogues and were lucky enough to talk to Andrew Wade, the Chairman this year. Who after hearing that we sere students wanting to create a public resource, he very kindly gave us the collection of past catalogues spanning back to 1984!
ResourceCITE is an archive project by Leeds based artists, Lucy Gibson, Yvonne Carmichael and Lisa Boudreau. It seemed a fitting starting point of research since their travelling archive has been going for two years and is established, having travelled to different cities in the UK. ResourceCITE is a national archive for site and context-responsive art works “to increase awareness, develop understanding and open up dialogue about visual art in the public realm” (www.emerged.net/resourcecite).
We were keen to have a meeting with Lucy to clarify for ourselves how our archive is different to any other archive based project. As artists we are keen to produce original projects that facilitate a real need within the city. There were concerns that we were ‘stepping-on-peoples’-toes’ by seeming to be encroaching on other peoples’ projects. We are keen to promote the ethos of sharing information in a way that is very open by creating a blog, documenting the processes that we go through.
Lucy was encouraging but forced us to be quite critical of ourselves. The process of explaining our project to Lucy enabled us to articulate and clarify our aims, which gave us confidence in the originality of our idea. The most constructive criticism was the urge for us to make our aims clear to the public through our promotional material. This could include the re-wording of the name ‘Archive: Leeds’ or the tagline. We have yet to finalise our manifesto, which again will give people a clearer indication of what the project is about.
Although there are similarities between our project and ResourceCITE, we are intending our archive to be unique in that
a) it will be accessible for at least a year in a fixed space in Leeds (and hopefully, funding permitting, for longer)
b) rather than dealing with artworks and specific artists, we are providing information on the art scene in Leeds and how to be involved. This makes our archive specific to Leeds.
Although the Leeds Visual Arts Forum (LVAF) is an important resource for artists in Leeds, it is by no means comprehensive as it deals mainly with established spaces and groups. As artists at the start of our career, we are keen to discover alternative spaces and document DIY activity in the city.