Reading Scholars 2018, Final Event

The fourth and final event with the Reading Scholars was a three day residential, where the students were able to stay in university halls and enjoy several other aspects of their time here that they may not have been able to experience without the residential element. Within the Art and Design strand, students were able to choose whether they wanted to partake in the Art or Typography activities.
Those who chose art were then split into two groups, where they completed an activity one day, and then swapped over for the second day, which gave the opportunity for more contact with the lecturers and mentors, and a larger chance to get hands on.
On the first day, we introduced them to instructional art, and produced several artworks that we very free, but still following instructions. There were a wide range of materials used throughout the day including clay, wire, small pieces of laser cut plastic and cardboard. Each of these were simple materials, however the instructions followed allowed for some interesting creations. I helped several student with possible ideas for the clay element, opening up new doors within their thought and design process. I also assisted some of the students to find other materials that were more challenging to work with. Lastly, as it was a particularly hot day, I ensured that they all had a sufficient amount of water at all times.


The second day was equally as interesting – the students were able to use our wet dark room to create their own photograms on light sensitive paper. They had bought some of their own transparent items, and used a whole table worth, to create unique and interesting designs. I was on hand if anyone had questions about the process or designs, as I have previous photogram experience. I was amazed at how many photograms were made, the detail within each, and the effect of the aperture and timing upon each of them.
There was a second part to day two, as the student were able to carry on with photograms in the dark room, experimenting with different light sources, movement and also photographs onto the photograms. The students weee also able to learn a new technique of cyanotypes. These are effectively outside photograms and use UV light. This is a unique opportunity to work with the special chemical that are prized and painted onto the paper. The process was very interesting and I helped each of the students to hold their print down while it was in the sun both while developing and drying. I was also able to stop the development of many of their pieces by washing them off, allowing the students to create more while they were drying. Again, as it was a hot day, I ensured the students had enough water, and were drinking regularly.

The final day of the residential was some information about applying to university, and taster sessions for other subjects that the students picked. This allowed them to see more of what the university has to offer.
Overrall, the residential element of Reading Scholars 2017/2018 was very enjoyable. I successfully aided students both from art and other strands with queries and situations. I found that some elements were difficult to deal with, namely because of the number of students that are on the residential. Although there were these difficulties, I believe that the residential and activities were a success.

Reading Scholars Event 2 Video

As part of the Tate Exchange, I was recording and documenting one of the days for the Reading Scholars Programme 2018, which gave over 20 Year 12’s the opportunity to experience a workshop at the Tate. The programme overall, gives a slice of university life and experience to those in several subjects, aiding them with decisions about higher education.
I was able to film many aspects of the day, including a manic clay workshop and iPad green-screen workshop, capturing the thoughts and ideas that came into life throughout the day – from wrapping people in pink shrink wrap, to using phones as strobe lights and creating clay monuments together while blindfolded. It was a full-packed day, with a final free entry into the Ilya and Emilia Kabakov exhibition.
Editing the video was interesting as I had no requests, only that it shows what we did on the day, with a bit of travel of the mentors to the Tate. I bought all of the clips together, merging them to create a seamless video highlighting the core aspects of Reading Scholars Art and Design strand participating in the Tate Exchange in Tate Modern, London.

Advanced RED Award

The Advanced RED Award is an extension of the University of Reading’s RED (Reading Employability and Development) Award, which I completed last year. The advanced scheme is more personalised, where you have to build your own goals around one of the available areas of development; Commercial Awareness, Communication and Presentations, Community Engagement, Digital and IT, Leadership and Networking.
At the beginning of the scheme, we were given a tick list of things you can do in each area, and I found that I had already completed many of these things, for example three different mentoring schemes, course representative, student voice member, as well as being employed by the university and getting involved in volunteering schemes. The area I lacked in the most was Digital and IT, which is a little surprising considering how much I use my phone and computer. But, I used them for personal use.
Through this scheme, I have tailored my LinkedIn profile, heading it in a more art-based direction, as well as altering the URL so it reads ‘charlotteabrahamartist’. I also had several meetings with careers mentors within the Universities’ Careers Department. These helped me to narrow what I wanted to do in the future a little more, and also allowed me to get advice on my LinkedIn profile.
The last part of my Advanced RED Award was to utilise Adobe more. When searching for graduate roles, or summer placements, a lot of companies and businesses wanted someone with experience in Photoshop, Ilustrator and InDesign, but there wasn’t a particular market for Premiere Pro. I then decided to create my own project around InDesign and Photoshop with videos and how-to’s, free courses and advice from the art department at university. I designed a complex and unique background for a laptop, and presented the design process on an InDesign interactive PDF, which also showcased my Premiere Pro experience.

I found the experience of the Advanced RED Award and my personal project to be challenging, however I enjoyed it because it stretched me to learn something that I thought I would never make time for. I also find the fact that I completed the scheme very positive, as I was only one of twenty five students in the entire university that has completed it so far. I am now using the skills that I learned in this experience to help some local businesses with flyer, business card and website designs. I also hope to complete another area of the Advanced RED Award in the up-and-coming years to boost my professional development.

Tate Exchange

The Tate Exchange is a current workshop experience that is being run on the 5th floor at the Tate Modern, London. Working with ArtLab @ Tate Exchange, we ran workshops over two days with primary and secondary school children. By working as a co-researcher in the Artlab team, we were able to explore artists materials ‘from the clay that the dinosaurs walked on to building new experiences with 3D printers and green screen’.
Throughout the day, the students were taken through different ways of making, producing and thinking about artworks. Clay was used to create faces, and then hands using blindfolds and description. Creating a long piece of artwork that spanned the table was the most difficult challenge a many of the students had ideas that they wanted to execute, but found there was not enough time to do this in.
We also had the challenge of wrapping plastic, dyed in pink to raise awareness for breast cancer, around various objecting including balls, people, chairs, pillars and even on the windows. This allowed an extra level of creativity and thought in order to physically manifest the ideas in real life. A group of girls wrapped an exercise ball, and then themselves in a group attached to the ball. This did make it difficult for them to move, however they seemed very comfortable!
The last activity of these days was looking at green screen on iPad’s. Using a green screen app, we were able to make different colours the green screen e.g. yellow, to be able to see the image in the background. These images and videos were captured by the group, and layered using this app. Thirty second videos were created by over six groups and previewed by the group at the end of the session. Throughout this experience, I was able to assist the groups with their ideas, and creating their videos. I even participated in one, being a basketball hoop for a group who looked at ball games and participation.

Ladybird Archiving

The Ladybird Archive is part of the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL), University of Reading. The artworks and books are on loan to the university, so long as they are kept archived behind the scenes. MERL do not own these artworks, Ladybird Books Co. still own them – we are simply keeping them. There are over 700 boxes of artwork that have to be checked, counted and re-boxed. The re-boxing process also includes writing what is in each box, and joining boxes together if there is space, or if the boxes are broken. This was to be done with clean and dry hands, in a clean environment. If there were any artworks that were stuck, my supervisor at MERL took them apart, to ensure that no damage was done to the artworks. Each week, for anywhere between two and five hours, this is my role.
The first week I was very excited to be able to handle the artworks. I sorted the boxes that held the original artworks for The Enormous Turnip, through to Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Magic Porridge Pot and The Story of Marco Polo, along with many others.
The second week I was able to view the archive where the boxes are being held. This was a wonderful experience as I had never been in an archive before, especially not one that I was working on. In the three weeks that volunteers have been working on the archive, two shelves were cleared as boxes were condensed.
All artworks in the photographs are credited to Ladybird Books.

We even included the packing process on Twitter for the Explore Archives week:

 

Grand Opening of The Museum of English Rural Life (MERL)

A grand re-opening of the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL), Reading, was held today, to showcase the refurbishments and never displayed artefacts held in the museum walls.

During the re-opening MERL, I gave a helping hand in the print room. This is where families and friends who were visiting for the day could print, and take home, a unique piece of artwork. The original drawing was completed by Martin Andrews, a previous lecturer and student from the University of Reading. My role throughout the day was to ensure that each piece had a name, and was hung up to dry in order to be collected at a later time. Each person who created a print had a sense of awe, as they worked the 100+ year old printing press to create their piece. Over 70 prints were made throughout the day, and more paper had to be sourced before we ran out.

I ensured that Martin had enough ink throughout the day and help him with tasks such as setting up the print in the press and ensuring ink did not go anywhere other than the intended surface. I also had a role to protect the ink from prying hands as this would have permanently stained clothes.

This role has helped broaden my perspective of art within charities and the impact that it can have. I also now understand the processes behind the drawing, creating the ‘stamp’ for the press and the process of handling the printing press with the public, including adults and young children.


Source: my print, a failed prints, of the day