Tuesday, 31 August 2010

The is the archive of 2010 ARLIS: the next generation

We hope you enjoyed the Edinburgh conference.  See you next year in Leeds!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Session 5: Preserving the Future

Hil Williamson - Leaping off the edge

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland, the home of several international festivals and the base of four universities, including Edinburgh University, one of the oldest in the UK. Edinburgh’s Central Public Library is at a critical moment in its history, on the cusp of radical change. The complete story is not yet ready for full disclosure, but if the project progresses it will be the most major change for a public library in the UK. The transformation for all will be significant.

A short history of the building will set the scene. This will describe the accumulation of property, the ensuing hoops that had to be leapt through, how not doing anything can sometimes be a blessing, the architect who looked down and not up and thus set a ball rolling and the city librarian who has vision, enthusiasm and huge powers of persuasion.

The project must fit with City of Edinburgh Council priorities. It is also required to widen public library its appeal and increase the customer base.

What this new creation will offer and the integration of the Fine Art Library has still to be completely defined, however there are several strands already cultivated. An art presence in the new development is mandatory.

Amy Miller - “Revealing the hidden collections”: improving the digital accessibility of Scottish University Museum Collections

Revealing the Hidden Collections is a collaborative digitisation project across the nine members of University Museums in Scotland (UMIS). The project’s aim is to drastically improve the public’s accessibility to the diverse holdings of the universities of Dundee, St Andrews, Stirling, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Heriot-Watt, Robert Gordon, and the Glasgow School of Art. These partners are improving electronic access to their collections through the creation of three types of finding aids: collection-level descriptions, item-level records and digital images of select objects.
These finding aids are then to be made available online directly from collection databases by using the Open Archive Initiative - Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). The collections data can then be gathered by aggregation mechanisms such as the Culture Grid, a key service being developed by the Collections Trust. The Culture Grid pulls together information from museum, archive and library websites and databases throughout the UK and makes it available to media partners such as Google and the BBC, as well as Europeana, the European Cultural portal.
This presentation will discuss the rewards and challenges encountered during this ambitious multi-faceted project. Special attention will be given to the planning required for this type of digitisation project, the advantages and problems surrounding the use of OAI-PMH as a means of making collections accessible, and issues of copyright and metadata rights management.

Session 4: Digitising the Future

John Hargreaves - Copyright considerations when sourcing, using and reusing digital media

John's presentation will cover the main areas to consider when sourcing, using and re-using digital still images. He will cover the main points of law as it applies to the use of digital still images as well as discussing a number of strategies that might be used to minimise the risk of falling foul of the legislation. John's presentation will also contain advice on where to legitimately obtain digital images including a review of a number of websites that make copyright free images available.

Annette Ward & Stephen J McKenna - The FABRIC View: Illuminating Digital Works of Art

Fashion and Apparel Browsing for Inspirational Content (FABRIC) is a UK Technology Strategy Board funded project that has been developing innovative technologies to browse image collections. Novel visualization software enables automated positioning of individual images within a large digital collection based on their visual attributes such as colour, texture, and shape. These new displays allow the user to efficiently view image relationships throughout the collection while making optimal use of the available space on the computer screen. This technology is being evaluated with the Victoria & Albert Museum for cultural heritage applications and by Liberty Art Fabrics for design inspiration for the commercial sector. This highly visual presentation will illuminate these and other applications using a series of displays that are works of art in their own right.

Request from the ARLIS News-Sheet editors

Dear delegates,

May we (Cathy and myself) kindly ask you to write a short paragraph on the visit you went on yesterday, 15th July, for the next issue of the ARLIS News-Sheet?

We would still need someone to write about the Scottish Poetry Library and the Edinburgh University Library Special Collection.

Don´t be shy or scared... it is just a little paragraph on where the visit was and what you´ve seen and how you liked it. Really not much.

Please get in touch with either me or Cathy by emailing us (raika.wokoeck[at]bl.uk and cathy.johns[at]rca.ac.uk).

Many thanks

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Breakout Sessions: Perfecting the Future

1. Artists books: an interactive workshop Anna King, Practising book artist

2. InfosmART: Developing online modules in information skills for art and design students Duncan Chappell, Glasgow School of Art

3. Securing the funding Leigh Garrett, VADS

4. Taking preservation action: putting preservation policies into practice Caroline Peach – British Library Preservation Advisory Centre

5. New Ways of Working: Public Service Trends in Art Libraries in the US.Holly Hatheway, Yale University


1.Scottish Parliament Building /Library

2. Scottish Poetry Library

3. Edinburgh University Library Special Collections

4. Royal College of Surgeons tour of building including Pathological and Historical Museums.

5. National Museum of Scotland – Scottish Life Archive

6. National Library of Scotland – Rare Book/Conservation Department

7. Edinburgh Central Library – Fine Art Library

Session 3: Curating the Future

‘Order from Chaos: the Dispersal and Arrangement of Eduardo Paolozzi’s Archives’
Kirstie Meehan, Archive and Library Assistant, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

Eduardo Paolozzi donated or sold a number of collections of archive material to various institutions over the course of his life, including St Andrew’s University, the Victoria & Albert Museum, Tate and the National Library of Scotland. The National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) accepted a donation of boxes from Paolozzi in 1995, containing letters, books, catalogues, news cuttings, tearsheets and ephemera, as part of a larger gift including sculptures, prints and drawings. Only recently has the NGS begun the process of appraising and arranging their holdings in an effort to make the contents of this archive accessible to researchers.
This paper will consider Paolozzi’s dispersal of archive material as an act of legacy-building, and the effect such dispersal has had upon the accessibility of the material for researchers. It will also examine the ‘Krazy Kat Arkive’ - sold by Paolozzi to the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1985 - and question whether it should be considered an archive or a special collection. Additionally, the paper will illustrate the process by which the National Galleries of Scotland have appraised and arranged their holdings, and the efficacy of the project in making the collection available to researchers.

Glen Onwin

From the early nineteen seventies, Onwin has followed a highly individual course as an artist. Early in his career he became fascinated by ecology. To this end he began to observe and study a salt marsh near Dunbar in Scotland. The salt marsh was studied as a phenomenon to be examined with a near scientific approach. He is interested in the structures behind appearances, and the slow changes of material over time.
In the 1970s and 80s, he held exhibitions in a number of venues, including the Scottish Arts council Gallery, Edinburgh. The Serpentine , London. Arnolfini, Bristol. Institute of Contemporary Arts, London and the Third Eye in Glasgow. Major exhibitions of this period include ”Saltmarsh”, “The Recovery of Dissolved Substances”, “The Chymical Garden”. And “Revenges of Nature” at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh in 1988.

In 1992 he used an abandoned chapel in Halifax for a site specific installation , “As Above so Below” organised by the Henry Moore Sculpture Trust. “Flammable Solid Flammable Liquid” an installation exhibited in Tramway, Glasgow,1994. In 1997 he participated in the “Quality of Light” project in association with the Tate, St Ives, his work “Blood of the Pelican” at Geevor Mine explored the processes of extracting tin, relating this to it's meaning and symbolism. In 2003 he completed a collaborative sculpture / architecture project ”An Turas” on the Isle of Tiree in The Inner Hebrides which was short listed for the RIBA Stirling Prize and won Best Building in Scotland 2003. In 2003 he was commissioned to make a permanently sited work for the Scottish Parliament. For ten years Onwin worked on a collaborative land reclamation project in Aberdeenshire “Place Of Origin” which designed and developed a twenty acre site, “Place of Origin “ opened in October 2006. Glen Onwin Lives and works in Edinburgh.

'Water, Earth, Air and Water.
The purpose and use of the artist book in my practice.'

I will discuss three bodies of my work, all made in the last century, which have a related artist book.

“Saltmarsh” 1974 was my first major exhibited work, a small salt marsh on the east coast of Scotland was the source and starting point of this extensive exhibition which examined the nature and materials of this ever changing environment.

“The Recovery of Dissolved Substances” 1978 a work exhibited in five related parts which explored the substance salt from its formation and manufacture through to the psychological impact the substance salt has upon the human mind.

“Flammable Solid Flammable Liquid” a site specific installation made for tramway in Glasgow in 1994. The boxed publication with the same title was assembled over a period of several years after the original work was dismantled.

The artist's books in my practice I see as a means of holding bodies of work together, they act as a tool for preserving the integrity and unity of the works , allowing tangential meanings to emerge long after the original physical work has been dispersed or destroyed.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Session 2: Communicating the Future

"Just What Is It that Makes Today's Wired Lives So Different, So Appealing?" – Nicola Osborne, Social Media Officer, Edina

Creativity, production and reflection has never been so embedded into our everyday lives as it is now. Innovative and connected use of digital materials, social media sites, mobile devices and real life makes all sorts of exciting new connections and experimentation possible.

In this presentation built around my own attempt to update Richard Hamilton's iconic 1956 image (from which this title is adapted) I will explore my own experience of living, working and studying online in a wholly interconnected and rewarding personal collage. I will reflect on new technologies, fads, the challenge of blurring identities, and the ways in which modern wired lives enable new possibilities for information discovery, sharing and delivery.

'The creative use of social networking sites to increase public engagement and participation in the professional arts'

Dr Sophy Smith/Institute of Creative Technologies/De Montfort University, Leicester.

The success of online social media has been unprecedented, allowing millions of members to upload photos, share links and videos as well as personal information about themselves and their lifestyle preferences. These new technologies have resulted in new social behaviours, which are being reflected in artistic practice. The important question is no longer whether the use of these tools will spread and reshape arts practice, but how they will do so.

To date, the creative uses of online social media have been split mostly down amateur/professional lines. Whilst informal amateur groups form online groups to share and develop work, professional artists and organisations use online social media in a more formal manner, to share information about their work. However, online social tools offer more than merely providing alternative ways for artists and arts organisations to promote their work with a larger audience. The collaborative tools provided by online social networking sites offer new ways for artists to build creative relationships with their audience, by enabling the public to access, engage with and participate in professional arts practice, by becoming actively involved in the creative process.

I crowd-sourced the name of this talk through three different social tools that fielded over 30 titles from people I know, and people I don't. Wikipedia let me remind myself of the image that inspired the title. Free online tools are letting me built and adapt and construct my presentation entirely visually. It will let me share the presentation with everyone in the world. And when I begin my talk I will be able to create a mapped, illustrated mini podcast in less than 5 minutes.

This is tomorrow.

Welcome and Session 1

After a welcome from Pat Christie, ARLIS chair, Roger Wilson will be giving the keynote speech:

Standing in the shadows - the artist and the academy within living memory.

In the forty years since the first graduates of Art and Design emerged from art schools those of us remaining in ‘the system’ have been party to a professional transformation requiring the development of new competencies and personal attributes. Over the 50 years since the first Coldstream report launched the acceptance of our subjects as fully equivalent to any other academic discipline we have sought to reconcile public and academic responsibility with a profound sense of loyalty to our history and pedagogy. This history reveals an attachment to the notion that the practice of art, beyond the walls of the academy, is a highly desirable influence. That influence, though, is manifest not so much in terms of professional standards as in the case of, say, architecture or medicine, but as a pull on the collective consciousness and our behavioural traits. We attend as much to the work of art as to the works of art.
I will survey the artistic, cultural and political themes that are woven into the last 50 years of art education and that happens to cover the period from the moment that I first entered art school until the present day.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Conference weather

It looks like an umbrella is a good idea for anyone packing for Edinburgh...

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Conference blog now live

Welcome to the blog of the ARLIS UK & Ireland Conference 2010, being held at the University of Edinburgh 14-16th July.

Please check back for updates and reports from speakers, delegates and organisers throughout the conference.