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Kingston University's new digital archive provides open access to historic collections

Posted Monday 14 July 2014

Len Lawley on a bicycle in front of Kingston Polytechnic signA new website showcases items from Kingston University's Archives and Special Collections. The archive is completely open source with visitors able to search, view and download the images.

The Collection currently features more than 500 historic images with many more to be uploaded in the future.The archivists have put out a call for more historic photos of the University and help with background information on items currently in the collection.

"In the coming months we will get many more of our historic photos online, to support research into the University's history as we head towards our 25th anniversary of becoming a university in 2017," says archivist Katie Giles. "The photographs will also be a welcome additional resource for other areas of research, including social history, women's studies, the history of education and history of fashion."

The first tranche of images relate to the history of Kingston University and its predecessor bodies, with an initial focus on Gipsy Hill Teacher Training College.

Items in the archive have been scanned in colour, but not retouched so as not to misrepresent the condition of the originals held. Images are scanned complete, or cropped to remove the rest of the page if the original was mounted in an album. Some are contact sheets - prints made from strips of negatives placed directly on to photographic paper - and, in time, it is hoped that the individual photos on these will be digitised separately to make them easier to search and view.

"Archives are precious but we want people to use them," says Katie Giles. "In some instances we don't know who the subjects of the photos are or where they were taken. We hope that visitors to the site will help us to identify them, by leaving a comment on the website or by contacting us directly. If anyone has historic images they could donate to the collections that would be very welcome too."

Gypsy Hill student Teachers students paddling in the sea

To visit the Kingston University Archives and Special Collections at Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames please contact the archive at least 24 hours in advance to make an appointment.

Kingston University's Stanley Picker Gallery given boost in Arts Council England funding shake-up

Posted Thursday 10 July 2014

The increased funding by Arts Council England will help projects, such as The Last Man held in 2013, to be given the chance to exhibit at the Stanley Picker GalleryKingston University's Stanley Picker Gallery will have its annual funding from Arts Council England increased by 55 per cent as part of a major shake-up of how its money is distributed across the country.

Gallery director David Falkner said the new investment of £240,000 over a three year period, starting in April 2015, was a major endorsement of the Stanley Picker Gallery's previous, current and future projects. The funds will be matched by the Stanley Picker Trust with the aim of increasing the reach of the Gallery while a new partnership with the Jerwood Charitable Foundation will support the development of an array of new digital commissions that may include social media, mobile phones and the Gallery's website.

The renewed backing from Arts Council England, which distributes public and Lottery funds to theatre, art, dance and other cultural ventures, comes as 670 other organisations were also told they would be supported next year. The figure was down from the current crop of 703 as The Arts Council continues to deal with a 36 per cent cut in government grants over the past four years.

The funding represented a huge vote of confidence in challenging times, Mr Falkner said. "We have worked hard for many years to support contemporary artists and designers, at crucial stages of their careers, to make ambitious new work that is first premiered here at the Gallery before going on to be seen by audiences far beyond Kingston," he said. "The increased funding will mark a major shift in our organisation and will allow us to be even more ambitious with our future programmes - especially with the Stanley Picker Trust also generously increasing their support for the work we do."

In the past year alone, Stanley Picker Fellowship commissions have been seen by audiences from across the globe with Turner Prize winner Elizabeth Price, designer Marloes ten Bhömer and artist Andy Holden having presented to audiences at London's Whitechapel Gallery and Victoria and Albert Museum as well as Spike Island in Bristol. Current fine art fellow Laura Oldfield Ford recently exhibited at Tate Britain in the highly acclaimed Ruin Lust while design fellow Fabien Cappello is currently showing in Useful and Beautiful at London's Geffrye Museum.

London area director for Arts Council England Joyce Wilson said the organisation was pleased to be able to continue its support of the gallery. "We look forward to seeing the Stanley Picker Gallery's ambitious new commissions come to fruition," she added.

The increased funding by Arts Council England will help projects, such as The Last Man held in 2013, to be given the chance to exhibit at the Stanley Picker Gallery

Kingston Students raise the curtain at the International Youth Arts Festival 2014

Posted Wednesday 9 July 2014

IYAF 2014 performers Bad ClownsThis summer, the streets and venues of Kingston upon Thames will come alive once again as the International Youth Arts Festival (IYAF) 2014 showcases the best in creative and visual arts. Kingston University's involvement is fuelled by students and alumni who have put together a variety of shows and performances.

"Students are involved across the board - as marketing trainees, part of our press team, project management trainees, photographers and film makers - not just performing in the shows," says IYAF artistic director Aniela Zaba.

Now in its sixth year, the festival promises three weeks of entertainment and culture from all over the world. After a week of workshops, the festival will officially open with its Raise the Roof gala night at the Rose Theatre on Friday 11 July, offering glimpses of what to expect throughout the month. This year's line-up includes theatre performances, musical concerts, dance shows and visual art displays.

Shows featuring a University cast include The Clowns of Oz, an improvisational comedy by drama group Bad Clowns. This will be staged at Ram Jam Club on Thursday 23 July. The show flips the classic Wizard of Oz tale on its head and the actors promise to "alter, exaggerate and even ruin a childhood favourite to hilarious effect" through suggestions from the audience. Bad Clowns was set up last year by Kingston University drama students John Bond, Christian Dart, Dan Maccan and Sam Walls.

The Fuhrer will now speak will be held at the ACT Studio, on Thursday 24, Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 July. This piece of verbatim theatre examines the root causes of genocide through the words of Holocaust survivors and the victims of subsequent genocides. The show was a sellout at the Rose Theatre in February and has been performed at venues across the country. "Everyone involved in this production - stage manager, choreographer and performers - is a Kingston University student from the first, second and third years," says writer and director, Josh Whatsize.

The stage set of IYAF 2014 play GAMEGAME, will also be staged at Ram Jam Club, on Sunday 13, Monday 14, Tuesday 15 and Thursday 17 July. GAME combines theatre with spoken poetry to narrate the story of two friends who become competitors and then enemies. The drama group, Andon Theatre, was formed in January last year, mid-way through Kingston alumnus Joshua Mathieson's second year at the University, along with his cousin Ray, a Chichester University graduate.

"Our group has been touring the show for schools and the general public, and we're performing at the Pleasance in Edinburgh this August, with previews in London," says Joshua.

Some of the other shows by Kingston University students and alumni include Shark tank, Pericles and the Sultan's Queen and As you like it. Tickets can be booked at the Rose Theatre box-office, online at the IYAF website and the Rose Theatre website, or over the phone on 08444 821 556.

  • Find out more about Dance and Drama at Kingston University.

The cast of the IYAF 2014 performance of The fuhrer will now speak

The taste of success for Kingston University student who turns stage impresario as play proves hit with theatregoers

Posted Tuesday 8 July 2014

The taste of success for Kingston University student who turns stage impresario as play proves hit with theatregoers

A Kingston University student has wasted no time putting his degree skills into practice by writing and directing his own play - and setting up a production company - while still only just completing the second year of his degree.

Music and dance student James Hall, 20, from Scunthorpe, created Off the Couch Productions to put on his play Coffee Cups, which ran at Hampton Hill Playhouse earlier his year. He is no stranger to a heavy extra-curricular workload, having launched a children's choir in the first year of his studies and regularly working as a rehearsal pianist and accompanist with local theatre groups. "I'm someone who can't just sit around - I have to have a project on the go," he explained. "In the past I've had pieces in festivals like the International Youth Arts Festival, but there, if you write something, you have to give up control of aspects such as the venue and promotion. I wanted to keep that in my own hands so I decided to do this all myself."...

Popstar Ellie Goulding rocks Glastonbury Festival in top designed by Kingston University fashion graduate Sadie Clayton

Posted Tuesday 8 July 2014

Singer Ellie Goulding wore a top made by Kingston University fashion graduate Sadie Clayton at Glastonbury Festival. Photo: Brian Rasic/REXChart-topping singer Ellie Goulding lit up the stage at this year's Glastonbury Festival thanks to a wireless copper top created by Kingston University BA(Hons) Fashion graduate Sadie Clayton.

The star, who was the most-watched Glastonbury act with 940,000 televison viewers, wore the 23 year old‘s cut-out top with black leather hotpants as she bounded around the Other Stage at the festival. Sadie designed the garment during her final year at Kingston as part of a womenswear collection, which included a shimmering dress made of 2,000 copper plumbing brackets that saw her named runner-up in Graduate Fashion Week's award for innovation last year.

Sadie, from Mirfield in West Yorkshire who graduated from Kingston University in 2013, watched the 27 year old's performance on the last day of the festival on TV and admitted it was a surreal experience to see the singer-songwriter, who has sold millions of albums worldwide, wear something she had designed. "It was incredible to think how many fans would have seen the top," she said. "Ellie Goulding looked great on stage and absolutely rocked the look she was going for."

Sadie Clayton, here wearing one of her designs, created the top worn by Ellie Goulding at Glastonbury Festival during her final year at Kingston University. Photo: Wayne TippettsSadie said a stylist earmarked the top for the BRIT award winner to wear on stage at the festival, which attracted more than 175,000 people, after discovering her collection. "We weren't sure whether it was going to fit her but, a few days later, I received a text saying that Ellie was wearing it," she explained.

Course director for BA(Hons) Fashion Elinor Renfrew said Sadie had displayed a strong design talent throughout her time at Kingston University. "This is the second time our fashion students have caught the eye of an international pop star - two years ago Lady Gaga wore an outfit created by Kingston graduate Lydia Stedman," Mrs Renfrewadded. "It goes to show top stylists are definitely keeping tabs on the work our students create."

Clayton, who set up her own label Sadie Clayton Limited, is now gearing up to showcase her spring/summer 15 collection at London Fashion Week 2014 on September 12 in the opulent surroundings of St Giles in the Fields Church in West London.

  • Find out more about studying fashion at Kingston University.

Product and furniture design student fuses chopsticks with knives and forks to create East meets West cutlery range

Posted Friday 4 July 2014

Product and furniture design student fuses chopsticks with knives and forks to create East meets West cutlery range

When it comes to cultural differences between the Far East and Western world, cutlery and dining rituals would probably come high on the list for many people. A Kingston University student, however, has attempted to bridge the gap by fusing cutlery from both cultures to create a series of hybrid eating utensils....

Young entrepreneurs to benefit as Telecoms company Lebara donates £30,000 to Kingston University

Posted Thursday 3 July 2014

Ratheesan Yoganathan graduated from Kingston University in 1999.Young entrepreneurs at Kingston University are to benefit from funding from a global telecommunications company. The Lebara Group will provide £30,000 over the next three years to enable some of the University's most promising entrepreneurs to spread their wings by pitching for bigger investment opportunities.

Ratheesan Yoganathan, a Kingston University graduate and one of Lebara's three founding members said "Investing in young people and their future is hugely important to me, we need to support entrepreneurs, as it is only through them that the economy can continue to recover and grow into the future."

"We have a responsibility to nurture and help young people as they begin their working life and encourage them to realise their full potential in whatever they dream and aspire to do. I am honoured to be able to help give back to the talented entrepreneurs and students at Kingston University."

Kingston University and Lebara have already been working together to nurture entrepreneurship and enterprise in the UK. During the past three years, the Lebara Seed Fund has provided small grants to more than 50 talented Kingston entrepreneurs, enabling web and app developers to achieve their MVP (minimum viable product), filmmakers and freelancers to buy vital tools and equipment, product designers and inventors to work up prototypes, and service developers to run small-scale trials.

Lebara's latest donation is a great vote of confidence in Kingston University and Martha Mador, associate professor Enterprise, said she was delighted the company would be refunding the University's entrepreneurship programme. "This will help even more students start their own businesses. We have a great synergy with Lebara, as an enterprising company and an enterprising university," she said.

Student entrepreneurs

Aspiring Kingston University film-maker zooms in on declining New York subway dance sub-culture

Posted Tuesday 1 July 2014

Aspiring Kingston University film-maker zooms in on declining New York subway dance sub-culture

The first half of 2014 has been a bit of a whirlwind for budding film-maker Scott Carthy. "I've barely had time to think," the 22 year old, who is originally from Drogheda, Ireland, admitted. On top of completing the final year of his graphic design degree at Kingston University London, Scott has found the time to shoot and edit the seven-minute film 1050.6(c) which tells the story of the dying art of subway dancing in New York City.

The movie takes its name from section 1050.6(c) of the New York City Transit Rules of Conduct, which prohibits performers from dancing within the subway cars. This local law has been largely ignored till now but will shortly be more stringently enforced. The film has therefore come at a pivotal moment for the dancers, documenting as it does the end of something that will change part of the character of one of the world's most famous cities....

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