Thursday, January 31, 2013

Francis Bacon Interviews on BBC Archives

A series of BBC interviews with Francis Bacon can be heard on the BBC Archives pages. The collection charts various stages in the artist's career spanning from the early 1960s until shortly before his death in 1992 at the age of 82. In some clips, the artist's discussion of his work is supplemented by the opinions of art critics, historians and other artists.

In the final clip 'Kaleidoscope', Bacon talks candidly about his influences, his artistic works and his lifelong desire to paint. The interview's purpose to reveal the inner thought processes and influences on one of the most important British painters of the twentieth century comes second to its emotional power as an old man's account of his wonderful life.

Best listened to before bedtime with a blanket and a cup of cocoa!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Virtual Einstein - Online 'Science and Machines' Exhibition

Handwritten correspondence with Albert Einstein and videos of 1930s operating theatres; these, and hundreds of other images of notable scientific personalities and achievements since 1800 are displayed online in the virtual exhibition 'Science and Machines', a new featured collection from The European Library.

Early x-ray images taken by physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, portraits of pioneering researchers Marie and Pierre Curie and photographs of the 1913 Ghent World Fair can also be found among hundreds of notable maps, letters, journals, videos and photographs selected for the showcase.

The material was assembled by 21 national, university and research libraries from 17 European countries. It ties together themes such as new methods in medicine, the knowledge extension in the fields of natural history and the acknowledgement of this by the newly created Noble prize in 1895.

Each object is accompanied by curatorial information in English and the main language of the contributing institution. Many objects can also be downloaded and, if you use GSA's recommended reference management software Mendeley, citations can easily be exported for use in project-work and for FoCI.
Visit the exhibition here:
For more on how to install Mendeley for free, visit

Thursday, January 24, 2013

New Libraries Added to SUNCAT

SUNCAT, the online catalogue for helping to locate journals, has added new libraries to its search platform. Significantly for GSA Library users, the new additions include the libraries at Strathclyde University, the specialist arts library at Courtauld Institute of Arts and the Scottish National Gallery and Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

SUNCAT is the brainchild of the national academic data centre EDINA, based at University of Edinburgh. EDINA strive to support the activities of higher education and research institutes across the UK and in line with that vision, are currently redeveloping the SUNCAT search platform. The system's face-lift should mean improvements to the site's current search engine with one key feature being the retrieval of more flexible results, which take location and library into consideration. It is hoped the changes will be ready by this Spring.
Try searching or browsing for journals on SUNCAT's current site below:

Monday, January 21, 2013

Open-Learning Photography Lessons

#phonar (photography and narrative) at Coventry University is a free and open-learning photography class designed and run by professional freelance photographers Jonathan Worth and Matt Johnston. The content is pitched at BA Hons 3rd year undergraduate students, however learning is available to all who wish to join, mainly thanks to the creators' insistence on the use of Creative Commons (CC) licensing which grants a range of permissions for use of the materials they create.
While those nearby Coventry may choose to attend classes in person, the majority of students learn via live blogs and on Twitter (hashtag #phonar). The accessible nature of these platforms is appealing and the list of contributors on the website, impressive. What's more you can book one-on-ones with guest tutors who have, in the past, included names such as photographer Chris Floyd, artist Robbie Cooper and author Timothy O'Grady.

Anyone who throws themselves in will be well-rewarded as the interactive side of the class is key. The tutors can see comments from students both in the room and online via Twitter or Facebook in real time, as well as allowing others to drop in, or suggest links to relevant material. It's a fluid learning experience, well suited to those who will be working in an industry that, like many others, is undergoing radical change.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Atlas-t! Online Cartograms Made Easy

'Cartogrammar' is a website service for creating cartograms - maps which distort the scale of a regular map to reflect one or more important statistical facts about the areas depicted. Funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has helped in the creation of an online tool for making statistical mapping accessible and easy to use. Some interesting results can also be yielded from the site in the creation of interesting and colourful images which bear some semblance to countries on the world atlas. 

The new Cartogrammar website is capable of uploading data supplied by users to present a version of a map in accordance with that data. A gallery of cartograms which have been contributed by others for public use, are available to view or download for free. Those interested, will be pleased to note that free user registration is all that is required to make full use of the website's functions including the ability to create your own bespoke cartograms. A user guide and some sample data files are available on the website to help you get started.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

'It's Nice That' Blog

'It's Nice That' is an online blog capturing snapshots of cultural interest. Its creators explain that the blog exists to champion creativity across multiple disciplines with both established names and talented newcomers from the arts world featuring every day of the week.

We recommend checking the steady stream of content regularly given how frequent posts are written (it's common to see a dozen postings in one day!) and to save a folder for storing the images which inspire you the most.

Amongst the wealth of art and design news, commentary available to browse, we're particularly keen on today's post, looking at Jonathan Calugi's patterns and photographer Jim Naughten's photographs of Namibia's Herero tribe. The regular features are also worth dipping into with 'Bookshelf' providing an insight into members' of the creative industries favourite books with an accompanying photograph. There are also sections on art school graduates and introductions to up and coming names. Both are stunningly illustrated, providing an abundance of quality images and ideas.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Oral History of British Science

The charitable trust National Life Stories based at the British Library, is creating a major archive for the study and understanding of contemporary science in Britain through a new oral history fieldwork programme involving 200 in-depth interviews with British scientists. The project will chart the rise of scientific advancements through the testimonies of scientists whose discoveries have affected life in Britain but whose names and life-stories remain largely hidden to those outside the realm of scientific research. These recordings are due to be archived as part of the national collection.

National Life Stories' varied, contemporary recordings of life in Britain today, complement the British Library's audio recordings which stretch back to the beginning of the 20th century. Their collections could be considered a useful resource by anyone interested in the archiving of personal histories as well as serving as an educational resource for students and researchers.

All interviews from An Oral History of British Science are catalogued on the British Library's Sound and Moving Image Catalogue; search using the project's collection reference number, C1379 to be taken straight to the archive.;%20charset=UTF-8

Monday, January 07, 2013

Mitchell Library Puppeteers' Print Catalogue

Glasgow's marvellous puppet museum 'The World Through Wooden Eyes,' at the Mitchell Library has in recent months, been working to catalogue and photograph the beautiful selection of prints held in its collection. There are now over 400 items available to browse on their website, including 150 Punch-related items and nearly 80 Japanese woodblock prints. The John M. Blundall collection is named after the man who manages it, a puppet master, director, designer, craftsman and creator of numerous puppet theatre productions. He and Stephen Foster, studio craftsman, designer and creator of puppets and masks can usually be seen tinkering away, most afternoons on any given visit to the Mitchell.

The museum's vibrant website certainly packs its punches with plenty marionette images, and a section dedicated to the craftmanship of puppet carving and the set design or 'scenography' of the puppet theatre. Special visits to view the museum's collection can be arranged by personally contacting the curators at the email address below. This truly is like stepping inside Gipetto's workshop - where craft and design converge with history and education to form a unique resource for researchers and epicures alike.