Personal blog of Kate Green. My other blogs are available at www.justanotherartstudentsblog.tumblr.com (CoP) and www.meandviscom.tumblr.com (PPP)

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Yay, #autumn. #minniemutt #greyhound (at Middleton Park)

A PHOTO

Left over pizza noted the minute I walked in the door. #pizza #minniemutt #greyhound #dogsofinstagram

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I had the idea to make #teambradford out of the people who make up Team Bradford, ie University of Bradford staff and students. I thought it would make a great image for social media and really help engage the audience during Clearing, the biggest and busiest point in any university’s recruitment calendar.

I came up with the idea at the end of the day, had the next day to deliver it, and the day after to deliver to an online audience. I got the photographer and students organised before I went home and the location booked – we got all sorted to do it the next day.

Unfortunately it rained too much overnight and we couldn’t use the first location of the grassed amphitheatre. This was a large flat space with a third/fourth storey walk way above for the photographer. The second option was the gym where there was a first floor observation level for the photographer and plenty of lighting and space for the letters.

Unfortunately the height wasn’t high enough and we couldn’t gather enough staff and students so we ended up photographing one letter at time. When I looked at them later on the computer the gym floor lines plus the letters you had to think about was just too much so I used Photoshop to remove the lines.

The photographer I used was called Victor and he had previously taken shots like this. He said that he used a cherry picker and got much higher and more directly above the subject.

Team Bradford Team shadow small

The layout of the type was mainly driven my the best shape to use on social media. The image proved to be the most popular used throughout the Clearing campaign as both current and prospective students used it and it was embraced by the Students Union and its societies/clubs.

For more information on how I planned the letters and how I used Photoshop, see my sketch pad.

People letters I had the idea to make #teambradford out of the people who make up Team Bradford, ie University of Bradford staff and students.
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Love Arts Windows

Lord Whitney Shopkeepers Window 001LR

Notes from the first meeting with Marianne from uni and Tom from Love Arts to discuss the window display project.

Meeting update:

  • keep the mental health theme simple and accessible, eg isolation. Don’t go for the sensational, eg suicide, hallucinations.
  • Tom at love arts will do the first contact with nations and then let us know who to introduce ourselves to. They may be a bit duh but we…

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Got the OK

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We met with Marianne today to go through our ideas for the Nations window. She liked our plans and suggested we look into different materials and textures for what we project on to. She suggested Bill Viola as an artists to explore further.

We also need to look in to the ethics of filming people and getting permission slips for…

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Window of ideas

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Loren, Zoe, and I will be working on a window display for the Nations of Shopkeepers bar in Leeds city centre. The window will be part of the Love Arts Festival, which is concerned with mental health and creativity. This is an annual festival and lots of students from our course volunteer to help with the city-wide event. A few third years get the opportunity to do one of the three window…

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A TEXT POST

On the second day of the three day workshop we continued on from learning about the forming stage and moved into storming.

As you can imagine of a session entitled ‘storming’ it was challenging. I had to facilitate a group where someone had to role play having such low self-esteem and lack of confidence that they were actually disruptive for the group. It was very hard and exhausting, even for the short amount of time I did it. Overall I learnt to keep calm and try to see things from the persons point of view and the point of view of the other group members. Try to include people and help them feel more comfortable. If needs be speak to person separately to try to resolve things, or at worst ask them to leave the group.

As last time we had a number of activities and discussions that supported the work and gave us a chance to learn from each other.

For the session we each had to bring an ice-breaker activity and run a small session using it. I brought a frisbee and we had to pass it around the group and each have a go miming an alternative use for it. It was fun in the beginning but the group was too small and the activity went on to long that we all got a bit fed up (the group leaders controlled the length of time we did it for). Other ice breakers includes ‘I have  never’ and ‘I like’, both designed to find common ground between people, and ‘if I were an animal I would be a … because ….’

Group working: day 2 On the second day of the three day workshop we continued on from learning about the…
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This was day one of three for the Group Facilitation course run by Yorkshire Counselling Training. As a volunteer for Leeds Mind (Inkwell) I was offered the opportunity to attend this short course at a very discounted rate, so I signed up!

I was a little concerned that the course would be very counselling heavy because the Yorkshire Counselling Training group were running it, however I knew that a greater understanding of facilitating any group would be really useful for me. Group facilitation is a great transferable skill that can be used whether working on a project at university, in a team for an employer, or running creative workshops – all areas of work I’m involved in.

Each session will be a full day and will run through the different stages of a Group – Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Norming (Tuckman, 1965). This first session explored Forming.

The key bits of learning from the day was establishing a contract with the group that everyone agrees with will be the best way to work together. I also got to participate in facilitating a group and a number of other group activities, which were really good for reinforcing learning, getting to know others in the group, and helping to get us relaxed. We mainly talked about the positives and negatives of participating in a group and understanding everyones point of view and how everyone could come together to achieve something.

Although many of the people attending the group were from counselling or mediation backgrounds, some people were like me and were offering craft and creative sessions to mental health clients and the community. There was something for everyone in the course and the counselling context meant that people were able to share some of the most challenging scenarios they have faced and we talked about how to deal with them – all situations that it will be unlikely for me to come across about leaning what to do made me more confident about other groups.

Group working: day 1 This was day one of three for the Group Facilitation course run by Yorkshire Counselling Training. As a volunteer for Leeds Mind (Inkwell) I was offered the opportunity to attend this short course at a very discounted rate, so I signed up!
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Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK

Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK

British Library

I was greeted at the door by some analogue graphics and menacing V masked mannequins – I knew already that I’d enjoy this exhibition of the British comic writers and artists.

The masked mannequins were a theme throughout the exhibition. They’re were very creepy and I kept checking that they were plastic and weren’t about to jump out at me. They wore the V mask, as I would later…

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Beacons: the movie

me filming

It was really cool to be able to get my first DSLR camera this summer, and one that could record in HD too! The only problem was that when it comes to film making I’m a complete novice. Knowing that I work better when I have a very specific purpose in mind I decided to develop my filming skills by recording the zining workshops I was helping Loosely Bound deliver at Beacons Festival.

About the film

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I’ve been a creative/craft volunteer at Inkwell since around Easter time. I was prompted to start as I wanted to gain skills in leading workshops and explore it as a possible career area as part of the Live Projects module. I had been working with Loren on this, but with her off home for the summer I decided to continue solo and support the mental health charity with a monthly creative drop-in session.

Alas all did not go smoothly. I called off the first session due to ill health, and Inkwell called off the third session due to a lack of customers throughout August and no promotion of the event. I did actually attend the middle workshop – a craft monsters session of willow sculpture – but me and two other volunteers were the only ones that did. Never-the-less we soldiered on and made a butterfly out of willow to show to people at the next such workshop. I had never worked with willow before so it was great to see what is was like to work with.

I’d gotten a new pinny for the summer workshops. I find a pinny really handy, not only for keeping you clean, but also for help people to identify you as a helper. For me there is also something psychological about putting one on, it definitely makes me feel ready to make something. This new waterproof pinny was an upgrade from my last, which was just cotton.

I have been invited back to Inkwell to deliver my planned zining workshop during the autumn, which will be fun. Unfortunately, due to my work commitments, I can’t offer a regular weekend, for example every second Saturday each month, which is what the team at Inkwell really want. Other crafty volunteers that offer that build an audience over time and that cuts back on the need for additional promotion. Between us we have come to the conclusion that it would be easier just to support workshops when I’m free rather than trying to organise sessions. It seems to be too much work for everyone involved and then fills a Saturday which makes it hard to get a regular session running. This is a shame, but supporting is just as much fun and I still learn loads.

Volunteering at Inkwell I’ve been a creative/craft volunteer at Inkwell since around Easter time. I was prompted to start as I wanted to gain skills in leading workshops and explore it as a possible career area as part of the…
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Bronze. Yay!

cca

I’m very excited to have won bronze in the illustration and animation category of the Creative Conscience Awards 2014. I received my certificate last night at a bit of an awards do at the Design Council HQ in London.

It’s funny to think that only a couple of months ago I was struggling to pin down a subject area and had never made an animation before. My animation skills certainly aren’t that…

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Just like last summer, I went to Beacons Festival as part of the Loosely Bound Zining Collective and offered zining workshops to festival goers each of the three days.

I took on the co-ordinator role this year, which meant I: submitted out application (which I counted towards my Live Projects module in second year); was the key contact for Beacons; got all the paperwork in place, eg risk assessments, public liability insurance, parking passes; made sure the volunteers from the Collective were up to speed on plans; ensured all the kit we needed to deliver the workshops was purchased and brought to the event; and handled the funding and budget.

I really enjoy project management and being organised, however it is different working with what is effectively a group of volunteers compared to a paid team. I was very thankful that the Loosely Bound bunch were very committed to delivering the workshops and didn’t have to deal with any MIA issues.

The only issue that I had was running up to the festival, I left it a bit tight to one deadline as Beacons were asking us for information we were not ready to supply, for example times of arrival etc. This was because all of us were working full time and were unsure of how we were planning our arrivals around our work commitments. I kept Beacons up to date with what was happening, why, and when we would know. This seemed to satisfy both them and us.

About three weeks before the festival we all met to organise ourselves. We identified items we had from last year that we could take, what we needed to replace or upgrade from last year and what new items we needed to follow the additional print theme this year, and what other resources we needed. We allocated people with different tasks and because I would be invoicing Beacons I was to purchase the majority of the new items. Because of my interest in handmade graphics I also said I would create some posters to hang in the tent to advertise the activity. We also discussed how we would deliver the zining experience and how to deliver on our chosen theme and workshop title Paper+Print+Peaks.

Posters

To help get inspiration for the posters and other decorations we had talked about, I started a Pinterest board that followed our theme of peaks, ie the triangle from the Beacons logo.

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In doing that I found this picture….“Important” by Fred One Litch

important

This gave me the idea to use rows of triangles and type. I thought about how to make the poster and the materials laid down the restrictions:

  • You paper I had available to me was wallpaper lining so I could only go 900mm wide and the length couldn’t be more than 1500mm because of the height of the tent and the ways of fixing it so it doesn’t hit the ground
  • It had to be hand made, so no printing
  • Festival goers would have old magazines to cut up so my triangles should come from them
  • Type needs to stand out against the collage so black was the most obvious in chunky style, sans serif for ease of cutting and extra weight

I did some thinking of the keys messages and some counting of letters and some measuring of resources and concluded that I could lay out rows downward pointing triangles and use the negative space to fit in the title of the workshop. I didn’t sketch out the design other than enough to do the sums – I just got on and started cutting and sticking.

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I should really have sketched it out more, as although the poster isn’t bad, it would have looked better a little something different between the big ‘zine’ and the start of the triangles – maybe a row of smaller triangles, or the diamonds like the poster ends with.

I very carefully measured my paper so I would start on a straight line, but that straight line didn’t last long; with every row the triangles moved right a little. Again better forward planning and giving myself a little more time to do the whole project would have helped.

Likewise for the type – more forward planning would have helped as they are very irregular. I would say if it was for anything but a very handmade kitchen-table type activity the posters wouldn’t have worked, but for a zining workshop, for festival goers who may never have zined before, or my not want to be super focussed or neat with an activity, they gave the right impression.

I made the posters at home, hand drawing and cutting all the shapes.

The final poster looked really good in the tent and provided a great backdrop for photos and filming as it looked modern and creative and gave context.

whateverI thought the tent would need a second poster, one with a call to action. Thinking about the triangles in the first poster, and the collaborative bunting zine we were making, I decided to do a triangle poster. I love the bright colours in this images that I had collected on Pinterest and thought it would be great to do an exciting, colourful and inviting poster to help tell people what to do in the workshop if someone from the Collective wasn’t able to speak to them and help them.

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I hand cut out all the letters from coloured card. I had designed it using a computer and printed the letters out, cut them out, then stuck them to the coloured paper and cut them out again. I added some line features made from Washi tape to finish the poster off. I carefully thought about what I wanted to say on the poster, then tried to break it down into decreasing lines, and then measured it all out carefully. I started running out of time and patience so I stopped cutting out the centres of the letters.

The positing of this poster in the tent was really good. It was at the back as you come in and pointed straight down to where a row of people sat on the ground on cushions zining. I wish the poster had been bigger but it was within the constraints of the resources and if I’d add two sheets together it would have caused too much curl.

As it was I really struggled with the curl of the backing paper. I glued a couple of layers of mounting card at the bottom and top of each poster as well as using pegs to weigh it down, but there was still a lot of curl. I even store the posters overnight in the reverse roll but the desire for the paper to curl was very strong.

Workshop

In terms of the actual workshop, we prepared for people to make a mini tepee that they could decorate, a piece of reversed bunting that they hung up in the tent with everyone else’s to make a collaborative bunting zine which we would later publish as a proper zine, or they could make a more traditional z-fold zine.

The bunting worked really well and people even brought their friends and family in later or the next day to see their’s and the new ones that had been hung up.

Last year we offered much longer workshops, but this year we only did 11 to 2. We had to throw people out and grab arts equipment off them so we could tidy up in time for the 2/2.30 performance that was happening in the tent. I think longer workshops would have went down really well.

Film

I got my first ever DSLR camera not long before Beacons so decided to take it along to the festival to test it’s filming ability and develop my own growing interest in filming making. I shall write a separate blog post about this.

Beacons 2014 Just like last summer, I went to Beacons Festival as part of the Loosely Bound Zining Collective and offered zining workshops to festival goers each of the three days.
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Car booting in Bingley

Bingley Carboot Sept 2014

Yesterday was my first photo session on the collaborative carboot project I’m doing with Sam, a photographer studying at Leeds City College.

We chose Bingley because it is a regular carboot which means a good turnout, it has inside and outside pitches, so whatever the weather we could achieve something, and because it was in a good location for both of us to get too and then go to Saltaire…

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A PHOTO

Happy bank holiday all. Yay for 3-day weekends. #leeds #rainbow