Monday, 22 December 2014

Artes Mundi

YouTube video: The Visitors | Ragnar Kjartansson @HangarBicocca  

Artes Mundi is an internationally focused arts organisation that identifies, recognises and supports contemporary visual artists who engage with the human condition, social reality and lived experience.

Don't miss the chance to see contemporary art on the subject of 'the human condition'. There are artworks to view in three venues: the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, FfotoGallery at Turner House in Penarth and at Cardiff's Chapter Arts Centre. 

I spent a wonderful hour watching,  listening, sitting, wandering around  Ragnar Kjartansson's  The Visitors (2013). If as I do you enjoy  live music, art and people this is an overwhelming and emotionally affecting work, it  left me feeling rather positive about the human condition .

Other works are more difficult and deal in dark subjects, I am thinking particularly of Dutch artist Renzo Martens 'known for his satirical and disturbing video documentaries in which he travels to war-torn countries and places himself narcissistically at the centre of the action, demonstrating how Western spectators consume distant trauma. In 2012, Martens helped found the Institute for Human Activities and initiated its five-year Gentrification Program. By means of strategic inversion Martens comments on the ways in which Western media depict the non-Western world'.

A Conference will be held at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Straight from the Horse's Mouth, in partnership with Cardiff Metropolitan University School of Art and Design will be a series of talks and conversations offering a rare opportunity to hear the Artes Mundi 6 shortlisted artists speak about core themes and concerns that are central to their practice.

Cardiff Metropolitan University School of Art and Design, Llandaff
Wednesday 21 January 2pm - 6pm
Thursday 22 January 10am - 5pm
Tickets and more information here (conference followed by a social gathering at Chapter, Canton at 7pm).

Read about all the artists here

Artes Mundi employs a team of Live Guides as mediators who have met the shortlisted artists and have extensive knowledge of their work.If you would like to walk and talk with one of the Live Guides in the Museum in Cardiff  join a  tour.  Lasting 45-60 minute the friendly and informative tours are led by one of the  Live Guides and give an overview of the exhibition and its themes.
2pm daily at the Museum (book on arrival at the Information Desk)
For talks and tours at Ffotogallery and Chapter , check their websites for further details.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Images help us 'see': The Refugee Project: an interactive map

photo by Heaferl: Demo "Gleiche Rechte für alle" (Refugee-Solidaritätsdemo) am 16. Februar 2013 in Wien

'Every day, all over the world, ordinary people must flee their homes for fear of death or persecution. Many leave without notice, taking only what they can carry. Many will never return
They cross oceans and minefields, they risk their lives and their futures. When they cross international borders they are called refugees.
The Refugee Project is an interactive map of refugee migrations around the world in each year since 1975. UN data is complemented by original histories of the major refugee crises of the last four decades, situated in their individual contexts'.

The Refugee Project
(Best viewed in Chrome and Firefox)

Click the About tab (top right ) to read  how to navigate the map. 
You will discover where refugees come from, where they go and articles documenting their stories and the political contexts to their plight.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Family Photo archive, a new addition to the Library at the Bishopsgate Institute

Lucy feeding the pigeons in Trafalgar Square in 1981

There is to be a place in London where old family photos will be collected for researchers to view. News in from Spitalfields Life the wonderful daily blog by the Gentle Author (check it out!) tells us that Stefan Dickers, Archivist at the Bishopsgate Institute is offering a home to unwanted albums and family photographs, where they will be safely stored as an archive. It is to be called the London Family Photo Archive . He is happy to take receipt of  digital copies of photographs if you wish to keep the prints.
“We are looking for family and personal photos of everyday life, no matter if you have lived in London since birth or are a recent arrival to the city,” Stefan explained to me, “We are also looking for photos that depict Londoners on day trips and holidays outside of the city.”
If you might wish to contribute albums or pictures and would like to know more please contact

This sounds like a wonderful resource in the making....and look at what else they have!
Since opening in 1895, Bishopsgate Library has built up through its collecting policy a record of the development of photography in the capital, alongside it's ever growing collections of books, maps, directories and press cuttings. The emphasis is on the everyday life of London and the Library has specialised in collecting street photography and social and cultural images of London, rather than portraiture or people. The collections are also not limited to famous photographers.
Library Collections cover London History, Labour and Socialist History, Freethought and Humanism, Co-opertaion, Protest and Campaigning, Parliamentary profiles and they hold the Lesbian and Gay Newsmedia archive

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The Inspiration Business

The Do-Lectures are now on Pinterest
here are some titles...

What if we could build a database of dreams?

Be excited. People want to work with the excited person

Build the company that you wouldn't sell

Why you should create something everyday  

Short inspirational talks about lives lived well, businesses that work and ways to be fulfilled. Sound a bit 1960's? But these people run businesses and make good things happen for themselves and for others, that's good for any decade

Monday, 8 September 2014

Photogrammar: Archive of 170,000 Photographs Documenting the Great Depression

A migrant agricultural worker in Marysville migrant camp, trying to work out his year’s earnings. Taken in California in 1935 by Dorothea Lange.

In the 1930's The Farm Security Administration—Office of War Information (FSA-OWI) hired photographers to travel across America to document the poverty generated by the Great Depression, hoping to build support for New Deal programs being championed by President Roosevelt. Marvellous photographers like Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, and Arthur Rothstein were among the photographers who took part. In all 170,000 photographs were taken and lodged with  The Library of Congress. A link to these LC webpages for FSA is to be found in Cardiff Met Electronic Library>Databases A-Z>Farm Security Administration (Cardiff Met password required).

Now Yale University has launched Photogrammar, a   platform for organizing, searching, and viewing these  historic photographs.
The Photogrammar platform gives you the ability to search through the images by photographer and alsoprovides an interactive map twith  geographical information about 90,000 photographs in the collection.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Calling all performers!!! Scratch Platform - Sunday, August 31st 2014 - Four Bars, Cardiff - From 7pm

Scratch Platform is a brand new event in Cardiff and the showing of work on Sunday August 31st is the first of what will be a regular event happening every other month. The idea is to give Live Artists, Sound Artists, Cabaret Performers, Poets and other artists who perform an opportunity to show their work (whether it is ‘finished’, ‘polished', in development or otherwise) to an interested and supportive audience. The showing will start at 7pm and the venue will be open until pub closing time!

Any work that is designed to be performed to an audience needs at some point to be performed!

It will be free to take part in and free to watch. There are no ‘rules’ as such other than that any piece shouldn’t last longer than ten minutes - in order to give everyone a fair chance. There will be no competitive element and we want to encourage a very open, pressure free and supportive environment.

It’s a lovely intimate venue and we are able to provide some technical assistance- we have a PA, lighting rig and access to a projector and screen. Will will also be filming the event to offer the performers a copy of the documentation (this will be free, basically bring a memory stick or external drive and we will copy the footage to it).

At the end of each event we will have a performance from an invited artist. On August 31st this will be Foxy and Husk

We hope to draw artists and an audience from the artist communities in Cardiff and further afield. There will be an opportunity for the performers to display business cards, CV’s and other information that they might wish to share. We will also offer feedback forms that members of the audience can fill in.

If you would like to show your work then please can you send me your technical requirements (will you need music playback for example or a microphone(s)?) and give me a very brief breakdown of what your 10 minute piece will be.

bring your friends!

any questions? 

Rowan Talbot

Friday, 11 July 2014

Lights Out on August 4th

“The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime” Sir Edward Grey, British Foreign Secretary, August 1914

National Library of Wales Cymru 1914 archive

Everyone in the UK is invited to take part in LIGHTS OUT by turning off their lights from 10pm to 11pm on 4 August, leaving on a single light or candle to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War .
Millions of people are expected to participate and hundreds of local authorities, iconic buildings, national organisations including the BBC and the Royal British Legion, parish councils and places of worship have already pledged their support. Iconic landmarks such Blackpool Illuminations, the Houses of Parliament, Eden Project, Imperial War Museums and Tower Bridge will turn off their lights; the Royal British Legion has launched a campaign for at least one million candles to be lit across the UK and theatre productions including those of the National Theatre’s War Horse, both nationally and internationally, will invite their audiences to take part in LIGHTS OUT after their curtain calls.
 Leading international artists have been commissioned by 14-18 NOW to create special public artworks, for one night only in the form of a light source.
Bedwyr Williams’ work Traw will be a large-scale video and sound installation  at the site of the North Wales Memorial Arch, Bangor. The memorial takes centre stage in front of images projected onto the enormous facing wall of Bangor University’s new Pontio Arts and Innovation Centre.
Taking photographs found in the Cymru 1914 archive, Williams has created a sequence of images of local soldiers and civilians   affected by WW1. Excluding all uniform and references to rank, the close up faces reveal something of the individual’s personality and personal sacrifice in a war where death was measured in millions.
Bedwyr Williams is one of Wales’ leading visual artists. In 2013 he represented Wales at the Venice Biennale.

Commenting on the project Bedwyr Williams said: “As a young art student I walked past the memorial arch in Bangor many times and I have to admit that I never gave it a huge amount of thought. Working on this project I’ll never be able to walk past this place again without thinking of the lives lost fighting in the First World War.”

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Audio Arts sound art magazine, aural archive of artists’ voices and sound art

Audio Arts: Volume 5 No 3 & 4 audio cassette Live to Air comprises a compilation of artists' soundworks, includes contributions from: Bruce McLean, Harvey Mangolds

As I tidy and throw away redundant materials from the Slide Library here at Cardiff Metropolitan University prior to a move to another campus it really helps when I know that what is going into the bin is not therefore lost to history. the old audio arts cassette has been binned but every volume from that magazine of sounds and sound art is available still! On the Tate website here.
Explore and listen to this innovative audio cassette-magazine featuring exclusive contributions from more than 900 individual artists including Joseph Beuys, Ian Breakwell, Tracey Emin and Andy WarholAudio Arts was  established by Bill Furlong in 1972 and includes soundworks, interviews and  coverage of exhibitions. You will find all 24 volumes from Audio Arts published between 1973 and 2006
including  the Audio Arts supplements which focus on particular themes and individuals, from the state of British art in the late 1970s to a feature on Damien Hirst in 2003.
Read more here

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

CC Search (Copyright free images)

from CC Search 
keyword =business meeting

I am often asked to recommend a website to go to for Copyright free images. The Electronic Library at Cardiff Met offers many links to image databases  that we recommend, some (marked with a black or a green copyright symbol)  like Bridgeman Education and Visual Arts Data Service offer copyright free images for educational use.

 I can also recommend a single page to which you can navigate on the internet which will allow you to search a whole selection of different image databases ...not just images of art and design... made available under a  Creative Commons licence.

Creative Common licences all offer, as minimum, permission to copy so long as the image is marked clearly with details of who first created it (attribution). To learn more about Creative Commons licences (which are voluntarily  applied by creators to their works and can apply to text, images , music and all copyrighted materials) you should go here.
To search for all those Creative Commons licensed images  go here. Enter a keyword and select a source to search from the range offered ( various interesting websites ) results will bring back Creative Commons licenced images, moving images and sound.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Pathe News on Youtube

Pathe News Inc.
In 1895 Charles Pathé began his quest to document the historical events of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. By 1914, Pathé produced the first weekly newsreel.
British Pathé, the U.K. newsreel archive company, has uploaded its entire 100-year collection of 85,000 historic films in high resolution to YouTube.

The collection, which spans 1896 to 1976, comprises some 3,500 hours of historical footage of major events, notable figures, fashion, travel, sports and culture. It includes extensive film from both World War I and World War II.
The Home page displays a choice of popular uploads, days that shook the world, disasters, inventions, animals, daredevils, celebrities and  compilations.  'Weirdest newsreels' includes a newsreel about a progressive school , a tall man marrying a short lady and  an obese three year old . In contrast you can also find footage from the Battle of the Somme , the SAS storming the Iranian Embassy in London and a documentary on the assassination of the American President John F Kennedy claiming the CIA killed him.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Behind the Scenes of the Museum: Artists in Collections

10am – 4.30pm, Wednesday 14 May, 2014
National Museum Wales
Reardon Smith Lecture Theatre, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NP

If you are interested in the ways artists have interacted with Museum collections then this is the event for you.
The event will include:
·         James Putnam, curator and writer, discussing shifts in the way that artists are working with museum collections and their role in activating engagement.
·         Andrew Renton, Head of Applied Art at the National Museum of Wales, in conversation with artist Sarah Younan about their collaboration and what artists can bring to the interpretation of collections.
·         Jon Monaghan, artist and animator, leading a workshop on 3d printing as a tool for creating user-generated content.
·         Artist Helen Snell, talking about collaboration and what it's like to work in the 'institution' of a museum.

·         Emma Price, independent art consultant, offering practical advice on developing projects that utilise museum collections.
This event is free to attend but places are limited so booking is essential

For more information contact Alicia Miller, Axisweb Associate in Wales:

Friday, 21 March 2014

Illustrating Heart of Darkness

                                                                Alison Bryant, UK

The  25 longlisted entries for this year’s Book Illustration Competition run by The House of Illustration have been published as a Gallery on their website here 
They illustrate Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. 
The winner and five runners up will be announced in September. The winner will be asked to provide a total of 9 illustrations for the final Folio Society book, as well as a binding design, and must agree to complete the commission within the given deadline

There is a  a gallery of past winners of the Book Illustration Competition here

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Copyright and images-advice sheet from the Intellectual Property Office

Apollo and Allegory of Painting, from the Loves of the Gods
Giulio Bonasone (Italian, active Rome and Bologna, 1531–after 1576) 

from the  Metropolitan Museum of Art 

With Flickr, Facebook and Instagram all becoming such a big part of everyday lives, people can often forget their legal responsibilities when using images and photos online. 

In order to ensure consumers have a better understanding of copyright law the government has launched a ‘copyright notices service’. 

The first notice published today, provides guidance about things to be aware of when uploading and using images on the internet. This includes advice for situations where you want to use photos taken by a professional photographer or what you need to consider before uploading images  to social media sites .

Copyright notice #1 can be found here:

Friday, 28 February 2014

Data Visualisation: Beautiful Science

Exhibition at The British Library
20 February - 26 May 2014
The Folio Society Gallery; admission free
Turning numbers into pictures that tell important stories and reveal the meaning held within is an essential part of what it means to be a scientist. Beautiful Science explores how our understanding of ourselves and our planet has evolved alongside our ability to represent, graph and map the mass data of the time.
The associated events for the exhibition are listed here
Unfortunately  this event….
Andy Kirk, founder of Visualising Data will be holding his renowned Introduction to Data Visualisation course at the British Library to coincide with Beautiful Science: Picturing Data, Inspiring Insight.
…is sold out but fear not you can get to see what Andy is about by looking at his website

Students who came to my Visual Literacy workshop last term will already know about the King of Data visualisation  Hans Rosling Professor of Global Health, Karolinska Institutet. Edutainer & co-founder of Gapminder Foundation, Stockholm, Sweden ·

Meanwhile as with everything and especially anything that is immensely visually attractive -beware of being misled!! Here is a warning article about taking care to question the veracity of infographics from John Burn-Murdoch of the Guardian

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Reel to Real

'Reel to Real' is a sound curating project, funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund, designed to catalogue, digitise and  make available online, in gallery spaces and beyond, the Pitt Rivers Museum's unique archival field recordings. The content of the recordings ranges from spirits singing in the rainforests of the Central African Republic to children's songs and games in playgrounds throughout Europe.

The project website includes information about and playlists from all of the Museum's original ethnographic recordings, video and interview resources, ethnomusicology seminars, their SoundCloud account and much more. 

Reel to Real Project Website here.

Visualiser combining Bayaka sound waves and images

The related  SoundCloud account can be found here, and customised playlists and sets can be found here.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

How we view Civil Rights, the images, the meanings and the roles of photography

Human Rights Human Wrongs 5.45pm 5 March 2014 at the National Museum Cardiff in the Reardon Smith lecture theatre

Bob Fitch, Martin L. King (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.),
Birmingham, Alabama, United States of America,
December 1965.
Reproduction from the Black Star Collection,
Ryerson University. Courtesy of the Ryerson Image Centre.

Using the 1948 Universal Declaration of human rights as a point of departure, Mark Sealy, MBE, RPS Hood Medal, Director Autograph ABP and Founding CEO of Rivington Place London, examines whether images of political struggle, suffering, and of victims of violence work for or against humanitarian objectives, especially when considering questions of race, representation, ethical responsibility and the cultural position of the photographer.
The talk will reflect on the imagery that has informed perceptions of civil rights, ranging from historic events such as the Selma to Montgomery March and Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech, to the independence movements in many African countries as well as more recent examples of injustice within wider global conflicts. Here the historical and contemporary roles of photography to validate and question the case for civil and human rights will be examined from different perspectives.

The event is FREE but booking is essential as places are limited.
This lecture forms part of a series accompanying a project by  National Museum Wales to work on its rich and diverse historic photographic collections
To reserve your place,  email:

with your name and contact telephone number.

Monday, 27 January 2014

The City

Danny Easterbrook’s studio. photo copyright Spitalfields Life

Our Level 4 students are all exploring ways of making art from the concept of 'The City' this term. I have recommended the wonderful daily blog 'Spitalfields Life to them as an inspirational treasure chest of what a City can be when you look at it through its people. Posts have been categorised and can be searched by sections including  Night Life, Criminal Life, Past Life, Plant, Animal and Literary Lives to name just some. Today's blog is particularly magical. Read here about a musician and artist exploring the paintings of Giorgione by re-creating them in authentic materials in a beautiful studio in the middle of an abandoned tramshed in Clapton, London.

Friday, 24 January 2014

High Resolution Wellcome Images free to download and use

Credit: Wellcome Library, London
Three Navajo men proceeding as war gods.
Silver gelatine print 1904 By: Edward S. Curtis
Published:   1904. 

Cardiff Met Electronic Library>Databases A-Z contains a link to the Wellcome Images  database. Wellcome Images is also available on the internet here.

Wellcome has just announced over 100,000 high resolution images including manuscripts, paintings, etchings, early photography and advertisements are now freely available to be used for commercial or personal purposes under a Creative Commons licence  if accompanied by an acknowledgement of the original source (Wellcome Library, London). The images can be downloaded in high-resolution directly from the Wellcome Images website to be freely copied, distributed, edited, manipulated and built upon for personal or commercial use. The images range from ancient medical manuscripts to etchings by artists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Francisco Goya. Simon Chaplin, Head of the Wellcome Library, says “Together the collection amounts to a dizzying visual record of centuries of human culture, and our attempts to understand our bodies, minds and health through art and observation. Using the advanced search you can search the collection by a huge range of different techniques including etching, ultrasound, silver gelatin print and my all-time favourites;  the exquisitely lovely 300+ transmission electron micrographs.