The physical and psychological distance between the Mawddach Estuary in Wales, and my London life, provided a unique space for all sorts of reading.
Here is a list of everything I read, or am reading, some of which is referenced in the work I have written, and the drawings I have made. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a proper, ‘annotated’ bibliography, but I have noted and commented where it felt appropriate.
> Antreasian, G., and Adams, C. (1972) The Tamarind Book of Lithography: Art and Techniques. New York, Harry N. Abrams Inc.
No surprises here, except that I came all the way to Wales to borrow a book I’ve long had at home! Thank you to Scarlett Rebecca for the lend, it has been useful for inserting immediate references into some of my drafts.
> Cornell, A. (1959) Rape of the Fair Country. London, Hodder & Stoughton Ltd.
In progress, for the train ride home. Recommended to me by a printmaking colleague. A story of life in 19th century Wales, following a family whose lives are intrinsically linked to the politics of coal and iron.
> Griffith, A. (1980) Prints and Printmaking: An introduction to the history and techniques. London, British Museum Press.
An extremely dense summary of the history of western printmaking, from its early woodcut origins in the 13th century to the development and incorporation of photomechanical and colour printing techniques of the first half of the 20th century. Maybe not the most obvious or compelling read, but what Griffith demonstrates in 127 pages is the breadth, ingenuity, creativity and resourcefulness of printmaking and printmakers over its history.
Not staid, nor tied to tradition, nor shackled to technique, printmakers embraced continuous change in their materials, processes, subject matter, audience, and reception.
> Hatton, K. (Ed.) (2015) Towards an Inclusive Arts Education. London, Institute of Education Press.
There are ten papers that make up this volume, spanning topics such as critical race theory, student diversity, the art and design curriculum, and academic attainment. Together, they provide a dense, academic introduction to the intersectionality of inclusive arts pedagogy; the main challenges faced by those attempting to make changes; and the opportunities for creativity that arise when change is embraced.
> Ilyin, N.(2019) Writing for the Design Mind. London, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.
In progress. A guide to writing well for designers and visual creatives, Ilyin sets up this book as a contract between the writer and reader: complete the exercises, use the whole time allotted for each exercise, become a better writer. I will admit, I have expedited the schedule somewhat, and am doing an exercise each day. I should leave the residency on Exercise 7, and aim to carry on in the studio.
> Kara, H. (2015) Creative Research Methods in the Social Sciences: a practical guide. Bristol, Policy Press.
A step-by-step flash tour of creative research methods, with a focus on the ‘creative’ aspect. Especially useful to read case studies of blended and mixed-methods research in practice, and how to approach analysing subsequent data. A considered section on ethics, with good examples of how decisions by distant committees can sometimes be to the detriment of research. Kara writes very clearly, and draws good distinctions between ‘creative’ and ‘innovative’ research.
> Kuang, R. F. (2018) The Poppy War. London, Harper Voyager.
> Kuang, R. F. (2019) The Dragon Republic. London, Harper Voyager.
> Kuang, R. F. (2020) The Burning God. London, Harper Voyager.
I started this trilogy the week before my journey up to Wales, and raced through it in my time here. Providing sharp contrast to the academic and non-fiction reading, this fast-paced trilogy quickly became my meal time and evening entertainment. They haven’t directly influenced my own writing, but I have enjoyed that the are written from the perspective of a young, Asian, female warrior and soldier.
> Webb, B. And Skipwith, P. (2015) Eric Ravilious: Design. Woodbridge, ACC Art Books Ltd.
I have long been a fan of Ravilious’s famous submariner series of lithographs: ten illustrations of an idyllic life on a WW2 boat, half sublime fantasy, half darkness underwater. This, however, was my first encounter of his work as a student, an engraver, a typographer, a designer. The range of his output is remarkable, his compositional style distinct.
> Coe, J. (ed.) (2017) Pressing Matters, Issue 01, 1-88
> Coe, J. (ed.) (2017) Pressing Matters, Issue 02, 1-88
> Coe, J. (ed.) (2017) Pressing Matters, Issue 04, 1-88
> Coe, J. (ed.) (2018) Pressing Matters, Issue 05, 1-88
> Coe, J. (ed.) (2018) Pressing Matters, Issue 06, 1-88
I must admit, and it seems rather unbelievable, but I have never read a whole issue of John Coe’s Pressing Matters. It is often around, on the shelves of studios, the desks of colleagues and peers, sometimes the most recent version makes an appearance in the workshop kitchen.
I am lucky the first issues are among the books and journals available at the residency, and I can take time to catch up. These journals are a time travel device to a not-very-distant past, a welcome revisiting of friends, workshops, exhibitions, materials research. They are also an introduction to new idea, new spaces, new printmakers. Highlights from Issue 06 – Educate and Empower: an introduction to the US-based collective Black Women in Print (p23, Issue 06); Making Paper: St. Cuthbert’s Mill in Somerset (p52, Issue 06).
Reading these volumes back to back provided insight into the styles, formats, voices and writing strategies used by printmakers, for printmakers.
If anyone has Issue 3 and wouldn’t mind lending it to me, please get in touch!
> Brook, O., O’Brien, D., and Taylor, M. (2018) Panic! It’s an arts emergency. Available at: https://createlondon.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Panic-Social-Class-Taste-and-Inequalities- in-the-Creative-Industries1.pdf [Accessed 3 May 2023]
Part of Panic! It’s an arts emergency project, and funded by AHRC, this report was referenced in the a-n inquiry below. Written before the COVID-19 pandemic, it illustrates the already prevalent fallacy of meritocracy in the arts, and the widespread culture of unpaid labour. While taking gender and ethnicity into consideration, the focus of this report is on social class, social mobility, and the complex picture of representation in the arts over the last thirty years.
> Giles, H. J. (2020) I woke up and the arts was gone. Available at: https://harryjosephine.com/2020/03/20/i-woke-up-and-the-arts-was-gone/ [Accessed 2 May 2023]
Referred to in the a-n inquiry below, this blog entry is a vivid account of the first COVID lockdown as experienced by artists, which exposed and exacerbated the precariousness and vulnerability of the arts sector in the UK. Giles draws a useful distinction between the rise in our consumption of artistic media at the time, and of artists being paid or finding ways to be paid for their continued output.
> Lazard, C. (2019) Accessibility in the Arts: a Promise and a Practice. Available at: https://promiseandpractice.art/ [accessed 01 May 2023]
A compact guide on accessibility and practical accommodations for a range of arts-based scenarios. Based on the social model, distilled into specific steps that can be adapted by small-to-medium arts organisations, it is quite an overwhelming read when taken in one sitting. Lazard moves swiftly through everything from air quality to lighting to sliding scales and economic justice, when any one of these topics might have taken up the whole 36 pages of this downloadable PDF. While most guidance is sensible and useful, I wonder how practicable or effective a ‘fragrance-free’ policy is, for example. Evidence-based risk assessments that demonstrated the requirement and effectiveness such specific control measures would be useful.
> Warne Thomas, C. (ed.) Structurally F-cked: an inquiry into artists’ pay and conditions in the public sector in response to the Artist Leaks data. Available at: https://static.a-n.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Structurally-F%E2%80%93cked.pdf [accessed 01 May 2023]
Commissioned by a-n The Artists Newsletter Company, this is a sobering but sadly unsurprising summary of the precarious working conditions in which artists find themselves. This inquiry digs deeply into institutional abuses of artists as free and unacknowledged labour, especially where artwork is uncoupled from labour. Even acknowledging the self-selecting bias of data sets gathered through voluntary and anonymous surveys, that any artists should find themselves working to low- or no-pay terms and that this experience is so widespread are both a warning to those considering a career in the arts, and a call to action by those already in it.