Encounters with Collections
Project Leaders: Sara Jamshidi, Richard Doust
Number of participants: 12
Duration: 5 days
This is a five-day project that explores innovative ways to create an organizational system for archives and special collections.
In this project we will focus on the teaching collection of GraphicsRCA Archive, which has recently moved to the White City site. This collection includes works made by RCA students and tutors of graphic design and illustration throughout history of RCA. The date of some of the material goes back to 1948 when the school of Graphic Design was established. The collection is growing to date with some of the most recent works by students in School of Communication.
Each participant can approach the collection from different perspectives including its creation, arrangement and preservation, and using it within various practices. A production budget is allocated for each project. Participants are encouraged to think of systems to frame the collection, which also reveal narratives that come out of the material itself. We aim to investigate new approaches in organising, interpreting, and using archives by dismantling the conventional systems.
Timetable: First day will be in South Kensington and the rest of the project will be in White City.
Day 1 – Introduction South Kensington
Introduction and presentation about the GraphicsRCA collection by Sara Jamshidi and Richard Doust.
We will also look at various examples of traditional and untraditional archives and special collections, with an eye to alternatives of physical archives in the digital age.
Site visit of the master collection at the RCA archive with introduction by Neil Parkinson. Group formation by the students and time for Q&A about the graphic design and illustration archive.
Day 2 – Concept Development and Crit White City
Ideation and developing concepts for individual or group projects
Presenting ideas for each project and a group critique with a presentation by Jeff Willis on organisational systems of archives.
Day 3 – Production White City (or working off-site during the day and crit and talk in White City at the end of the day)
Progress of work on projects
Development of project with individual assistance if needed. The day ends with a short presentation either by Rathna Ramanathan or Adrian Shaughnessy who discuss the politics of archives and focus on the public/private aspects of special collections.
Day 4 – Production White City (or working off-site during the day and crit and talk in White City at the end of the day)
Progress of work on projects.
Afternoon: development of project with individual assistance if needed. The day ends with a presentation by Debbie Cook on the narratives born out of collections and her experience through running Archive Hours at RCA. We will also expand on using the archives for research and discovery.
Day 5 – Final Crit White City
Morning: finalizing the projects with more individual assistance.
Afternoon: final presentations by groups or individuals about each project with guest critics from outside of RCA to give feedback.
We are planning public and student engagement activities around the collection throughout the year,
which can also be organized based on the outcomes of each project done through AcrossRCA. This allows for more exposure for the students involved in the projects.