Romancing the Gibbet (4) The Morrismen Murder

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‘Romancing the Gibbet’ is a collaboration between poet, Ralph Hoyte and historian, Steve Poole, exploring ‘dark tourism’ at sites of extraordinary public execution in Georgian Britain. Poole explains the historical background of a single public hanging. A case from 1772, when William Keeley was found guilty of murdering Joseph Dyer after spotting him flashing his money at the old Fish Inn on Broadway Hill. Evidence old and new was shown, and the site discussed. Amazingly despite the cost, Keeley was hung at the site of the murder and put on display. Having a hanging gibbet was both fascinating and appalling to folks at the time, and oddly the act of displaying the dead as a deterrent to crime has not proven to lower nor raise the area’s crime rate. The Oxford Journal at the time commented: “It seems that Keeley is a famous Morrice dancer, and on Sunday morning before the fact was committed, he was teaching a set of fellows to dance. Warner used to play on the tabor and pipe to the dancers. It is to be hoped the Justices will suppress such nurseries of idleness and drunkenness as morrice-dancings have generally proved!”, in other words, they considered Morris Dancing especially on a Sunday to be a waste of a good mans time. Hoyte then performs extracts from his poetic responses. Together Poole and Hoyte play some spoken-word imaginative responses too, Influenced by the works of the romantics Coldridge and Wordsworth; their study of nature and human nature combined and compared in verse. We listen to the Ballard and mixed voice performance with a sense of the subline. The project has four free audio trails. At this event, a sample audio-trail was relocated in and around Broadway Tower for us to try out. Adding the performance elements and music to the location even if you are listening through your phone was something extraordinary and very atmospheric. With the day we attended filled with cold mists and temperature in the low 2 degrees, it was easy to imagine being on a ghost trail of long ago folklore.

Remembering to download the app to your phone or GPS-enabled tablet beforehand would have helped me keep up. However, this event has inspired me much on my search for local history stories and folk tales to find and preserve for the next generation of creatives to use.

Hartlebury Castle (The Bishop’s Palace)

The land that Hartlebury Castle sits on was granted to the Bishop of Worcester by King Burghred in the late 9th century, although the foundations of the building that now stands here are believed to date back to the 13th century. 

Since the 12th century, it has been a centre of ecclesiastical and administrative power in Worcestershire with its resident bishops involved in some of the significant events of British history from political and military guardians of a frontier with Wales to active participants in political decision making in modern times.

The building is grade 1 listed and it contains the famous Hurd Library was built by Bishop Hurd in 1782. It still contains his extensive and unique collection of books including works from the libraries of Alexander Pope and William Warburton. The copy of the Iliad from which Pope’s translation was made is among them.

The grounds include a period cider mill, A Transport Gallery which has amazing Romney Gypsy wagons and The Worcestershire County Museum which houses the servants’ quarters of Hartlebury Castle. The house also has the period rooms which displays including a schoolroom, nursery and scullery, and Victorian, Georgian and Civil War rooms. The exhibits focus on local history and include toys, archaeology, costumes, crafts by the Bromsgrove Guild, local industry, and area geology and natural history. You are now able to walk along the old moat and enjoy local produce at the shop. 

We had a fantastic time, and hope you will take a trip to Hartlebury Castle too.

 

BRISTOL HARBOUR FESTIVAL 2018

For many people the Bristol Harbour festival is an opportunity to celebrate the heart of the beautiful city, and the harbour itself.

In 1802, famous architect William Jessop proposed installing a dam and lock at Hotwells to create the floating harbour and a £530,000 scheme was approved by Parliament. Construction began in May 1804 and today the Harbour still provides the city with a bustling centre filled with activity. 

The docks used to be a vital part of Bristol’s economy but in the second half of the 20th Century its prominence began to fade, its economic power waned and questions were asked about what to do with the waterway and the land alongside it. Sadly the Port of Bristol Authority decided to close the city centre docks in the 1960s.

Local groups took up the fight to save the docks, and the first Harbour Festival in 1971 was a massive part of the plan. The festival is free for all and brings over 250,000 people together each summer to celebrate Bristol’s rich maritime history and enjoy some of the city’s best music and entertainment. 

“CIRCUS SKILLS. STREET DANCE ACTS. BOLLYWOOD MOVES. FIREBRAND STREET POETS. ALL THESE AND MORE WILL FEATURE THROUGHOUT THE WEEKEND.CATERING FOR ALL AGES, A PACKED PROGRAMME OF ENTERTAINMENT HAS BEEN PUT TOGETHER TO ENSURE THERE’S SOMETHING FUN AROUND EVERY CORNER.”

[https://www.bristolharbourfestival.co.uk/]

Bristol two weeks circus

2018 is the 250th anniversary of modern circus in Britain and there are celebrations taking place throughout the year all over the country. Here Bristol is the UK’s leading City of Circus, with the largest concentration of circus professionals living and working in the city.

Cirque Bijou are Bristol-based show-makers who push the boundaries of contemporary
circus, street theatre and spectacle to make work that is unexpected, unforgettable and
celebratory.

Circomedia (founded in 1993 by Bim Mason and Helen Crocker,) is a school for contemporary circus and physical theatre based in BristolEngland.The school offers a variety of training courses and workshops that teach circus skills in the context of physical theatre, performance and creativity.

 

Listening to Alexis Deacon

Listening to Alexis Deacon

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born in New York this award-winning illustrator and writer loves storytelling

“I always knew I was going to be in illustrator because sharing and trying to communicate was so important to me. understanding of the stories help us to do that”

Alexis’s number one tip for writers: “start as close to the end as possible”

Alexis read some of his stories to us and took us on a very cleaver memory trail which turn out to be completely made up. Why? To teach us in his own words… “imagination and forgotten memories, like my best friend being a chocolate rabbit are boundless sources of stories and images.” Alexis encourages us to live our imagination out and play with our own imaginary friends in our heads

We transport imagination through line drawing and image making.  “make it as real to you as you can and thoughts can be shared. draw and draw all your life children do this without being told as we get older we stop drawing and stop imagining but true illustrators don’t, so keep going nothing you do is a waste.”

Alexis went to art college at Brighton he found it hard to make drawings for other people thus he tells us his first book – monster zoo- was a big learning curve.

Watching a couple of Slow Norris’s one day gave him great pleasure and started his imagination going. “the two were just wondering towards each other down the same rope. They met in the middle had a staring contest, they both made a face and went the other way. This one moment inspired my first published book – Slow Norris” Alexis advise us to take moment like these and let your imagination go wild if you find it entertaining the chances are it will engage your reader too.

What is illustration? He asked us then answered “It is universal communication. The face is universal and universally understood. looking at the face we filter out other things and we see just the expression we only need simple values to tell this story. we are hardwired to understand expression from an early age. You need to keep that in your mind when you produce your character’s form on to the page.  just like the face gestures transporter and give us information too. Learn to love gestures as the context is strong. this gives you a good story and an expansive narrative from these simple ingredients of image.”

Alexis closing advise to us who are studying illustration this year – “By illustrating you give your story to someone else so you need to leave enough space for the reader to imagine too”

  
 

Travel journal

An Oxford education

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A captured and stolen history can be found in Oxford. Its museums, galleries and universities; pool, collate, and collect culture. Its own British Empire heritage and that of its once discovered or conquered limits. All boxed and viewed in glass. It holds it up showing it off and in its own way Oxford holds itself up in high regard.

Is it always beauty and class?

I hold education in high regard. I am in awe of well cultured and educated people. I want to be educated too. Even if I am only from a council estate in middle England.

We took the opportunity to be on a coach trip to Oxford and see the free wealth of culture. I enjoyed being part of the art class again, only this time not as their art technician but as a student instead.

Architecture in historical abundance is the result of a stone built medieval town in England; small enough to explore on foot. History and education side-by-side in my favourite place, Radcliffe Square. After coffee and delicious homemade cakes in the Vaults & Garden, in the crypt of the University Church we had recovered from the long coach trip. We were now sketching people busy in the open market along the street.

The distance travelled in traffic jams I dislike a great deal. Oxford was built long before the combustion engine was invented. So motor vehicle access is restricted and parking expensive. Walk or cycle instead is the preferred mode of transportation for most.

My academic and creative brain went wild in an atmosphere cram packed with stories and mysteries from the ages gone by. I was so tired when I got back to the coach.

The light of the Ashmolean museum full to the brim with world Art. It made my eyes water they could not physically stare any longer over the patterns and shaped culture and beauty. The natural history museum’s open hall and stone-flagged floors contradicted to the dark and depths of Pitt Rivers snug atmosphere comparable to a Cotswold farmhouse. This one building brought me to the floor in stunned admiration. I had wondered around learning about evolution, and why animals have developed the way they have according to their environments (I felt like a boffin in the making) when I walked haphazardly through a carved archway. This was like having been drinking crisp bitter tea, then shoving a tray of dark chocolate sweets into one’s mouth. Pitt Rivers museum is a part of the natural history building yet is very different. A deep dark jungle of discovery that had belonged to one very enthusiastic collector. Many items are displayed together at once. There is no sorting except for the helpful staff “pots and pans there, boats over here, jewellery, swords, shields, are on the next floor and the Gods are to the left of the big totem pole Madame”- my case in point.

So I don’t know which kind class you may be. However, I’m sure in Oxford you will find beauty.

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Exhibit 

had a very successful opening week. I was honoured to be part of an excellent group of artists. Some fantastic portraits by Anna, Natarlia and Daysie. I was truly in awe of their hard work and dedication.

Well done to all who took part the standards were so high.

 

Me by my own images for selection.

  

  

  

Safe exhibition space.

EXHIBITIONS AND INSTALLATION ADVICE FOR STAFF AND STUDENTS(Sources MMU.ac.uk)

  
RESPONSIBILITIES

All persons who use the facilities and resources have a duty to take reasonable care to ensure that they do not endanger themselves or anyone else who may be affected by their acts or omissions. They must co-operate with the University or College on health and safety and not interfere or misuse anything provided for their health, safety and welfare.

The health and safety of students and their exhibitions is primarily the responsibility of the member of academic staff timetabled to be responsible for their teaching and learning or project work. To this end the member of academic staff should ensure in conjunction with the student owner of the exhibition that it meets the minimum standards and is inspected and tested in accordance with the requirements in the health and safety documents.

Full details of duties and responsibilities are normally in the University or College Health and Safety Policy. This should be available on request from student services or outlined in your college enrolling booklet.

Basic things to consider are:
GENERAL HAZARDS

Exhibits and displays must be secure in order to prevent them falling and injuring persons or falling and obstructing escape routes if stumbled into.

Where loads are suspended or involve the use of lifting equipment an inspection and test by Estate Planning Services is required as part of the commissioning of the exhibit. Where a structure is created and its integrity is by means of welds or other joints the failure of which could cause injury these must be inspected prior to commissioning by a suitably qualified person.

Cool and hot surfaces and sharp objects should be guarded (possibly by erection of a barrier) this is especially important to protect visually impaired persons and children.

Where stroboscopic lights are in use a sign to this effect must be prominently displayed at the entrance door.

Where lasers are in use HSE guidance ‘The Use of Lasers for Display Purposes’ must be followed.

Estate Planning Services must inspect exhibitions with moving parts such as robots or machines before commissioning. Contact your tutor to arrange this. When designing such exhibits you must prevent access to dangerous parts. Use the following hierarchy of preferred guarding methods in your design: fixed guard, fixed distance guard such as a barrier of sufficient height, interlocking guard, automatic guard, trip device, adjustable guard, self adjusting guard, two handed control device.

Exhibitions from which people may fall to the ground or into a tank (of water for example) must be guarded to prevent falls. Handrails are required on stairs and on platforms. On platforms and stairs with open sides they should consist of two robust guard rails, the top one being at least 1100mm above the surface from which it is possible to fall.

Exhibitions which involve entry into confined spaces such as a tank or into a space where there may be a lack of oxygen are prohibited unless designed after consultation with the Health and Safety Unit.

No modifications or interference with the fabric structure or finishes of any part of the building or its fittings shall be carried out by staff, students or contractors without first obtaining permission from Estate Planning Services.

Access to first aid must be such that if a person becomes ill or injured they can be given first aid within a reasonable time. A green and white first aid poster should be displayed to assist in locating the nearest available first aider.

ELECTRICAL SAFETY

Faulty wiring or appliances are dangerous and potentially lethal.

Wiring supplying socket outlets and the socket outlets themselves are only to be worked upon by staff or contractors who have the permission of Estate Planning Services. 

This does not of course prevent persons from plugging/unplugging or switching appliances on or off at the socket.

Electrical supplies to exhibitions must be capable of being switched off or unplugged during periods when a building is unattended.

Electrical appliances used in exhibitions, whether proprietary or self constructed must be tested for electrical safety and labelled accordingly before use.

Always fully unwind an extension cable when using it to supply appliances rated at 1000w or more, this is to avoid overheating.

FIRE SAFETY

In the UK buildings are compartmentalised to prevent the spread of fire and smoke. There are maximum travel distances to protected areas and the fabric of buildings is resistant to or protected from combustion.

The creation of a display comprising large amounts of paper, textiles or flimsy material particularly in circulation areas such as lobbies and corridors can cause fire to spread rapidly and negate the advantages of suitable wall and ceiling linings.

In exhibition spaces where there are no rooms opening onto the space or where all rooms opening onto the space have an alternative means of escape and do not need to pass through the exhibition space to escape the risk is lower. It is acceptable to display high risk items in such a space.

Where rooms open onto exhibition spaces, vision panels in the doors or an automatic fire detection and alarm system in the display area is required.

Risks are increased if the display or exhibition will be attended by a large number of people (>120), if alcohol is available or if a large number of people need to escape through the exhibition area. In such cases these guidelines may not reduce risk sufficiently. Please consult the Health and Safety Unit in such cases.

5.3 Escape from Exhibition Areas Where more than 60 persons will attend at any one time there must be more than one exit door. Exit doors must have a sign which is either self illuminated or illuminated by a nearby light. Exit signs or route signs must be visible from all points in the room. Where exhibition areas are large or form part of an escape route they may need emergency lighting to illuminate exit doors or routes. Corridors through exhibition areas should not normally be less than 800mm wide and where possible should not be convoluted.” (MMU.ac.org)

If in any doubt contact you University or College health and safety advocate. Better to be safe than sorry.

  

Pushing the Envelope @ Hereford College

The first ever postage stamp, The Penny Black, was issued on 6th May 1840. To celebrate this landmark, Hereford College of Arts joined forces with House of Illustration and Hay Festival to host a programme of exhibitions, workshops and a symposium of talks from acclaimed commissioners, archivists and practitioners.

A showcase of work commissioned exclusively from a selected and invited international group of professional illustrators. Each practitioner has been asked to personally respond to this landmark anniversary by decorating and embellishing an envelope. This unique collection of new work will celebrate the art of postal communication and can be seen at Hereford College of Arts College Road Campus, until the 1st of May

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Amanda

Amanda Blake: our tutor meeting her hero; DAVID GENTLEMAN

Speakers at the symposium included DAVID GENTLEMAN:  illustrator, author, designer, lithographer and wood engraver. Designer of many of the UK’s most enduring stamp designs and BRIAN WEBB: Co-founder of award winning design group Trickett & Webb. Brian is also a Designer of postage stamps and biographer of David Gentleman.

We were so luck to be able to speak to both at the end in the viewing of the exhibition.