Monday, July 29, 2013

'Bathing Belles' Exhibition

With summer in full-swing, why not dive into the Bathing Belles exhibition open now, at Scotland Street School Museum. This is an unique opportunity for textile enthusiasts to become immersed in swimwear fashions over 200 years from the early woollen garments modeled by Edwardian bathers to the super-lightweight and highly-advanced materials favoured by today's Olympian athletes.

The exhibition explores swimwear's variable roles and takes particular interest in the issue of etiquette involved in both covering-up, and exposing the human body. Themes of modesty, religion and perceptions of the body are presented through the array of costumes on display, while a selection of trophies, postcards and swimming souvenirs taken from the archives of Glasgow Museums provide the historical backdrop.

This is another Glasgow Life event intended to whet our appetite for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games next year. Glasgow's swimming legacy (until now, something I'd never even considered!) is over-egged with the recent reopening of the state-of-the-art swimming pool at Tollcross triumphantly advertised. But where there's treasures from Glasgow Museums' archives and textile inspiration to be gathered, we're more than happy to dip a toe in!

The exhibition runs at Scotland Street until 5th January 2014.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Enlightening Science: Windows on Genius

The holdings of two digital collections have been published to develop a new resource looking at the life and work of scientist, Sir Issac Newton. The original papers date from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and are supplied from the archives at University of Cambridge and University of Sussex. Look at the digital facsimiles of Newton's work via the Cambridge Digital Library and read the transcriptions of the scientist's writings which have been incorporated into Sussex University's Newton Project.

Issac Newton lived between 1642 and 1727. In the seventeenth century, he tipped the scales of science through his theories of light, motion and most famously, gravity. (Think of the popular story that the idea of gravity came to Newton as he sat under an apple tree). Nonetheless, for all Newton's clarity of scientific vision, his papers, particularly the unpublished ones, have historically been difficult to read and access. This aptly titled 'Windows of Genius' project goes some way to redressing the issue associated with access by making extensive digital content freely available to any site-visitor. 

This will be a useful resource for any student of the Enlightenment and those interested in the development of science. Descriptions of the papers and the ability to reproduce the high-resolution images in the Cambridge Digital Library using Creative Commons licensing, also make this a great image-bank for details of Newton's once illegible scrawl. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Touring Art - Virtual Tour of Kelvingrove Art Gallery

As the countdown to the Commonwealth Games continues, Glasgow Life (the public organisation encouraging engagement with culture and sport in the city), is throwing everything, including the kitchen sink at innovative ways of attracting visitors to its most popular attractions.

So follows a virtual tour of Kelvingrove Art Gallery which teases visitors with numerous selected images from the gallery's collection and the outside of the building. Scottish company 360 Virtual Image who are behind the tour's creation, have come up with an online gallery, showcasing works by the Glasgow Boys and Scottish Colourists. A tantalising peek at Salvador Dali's 'Christ of St John of the Cross' acts as the gallery's piece de resistance with visitors able to recreate the experience of nearing the painting along a corridor. The digital design company have tried to make the experience as close to a real-life visit as possible with site visitors able to choose their route around each of the locations. We're pleased to discover that Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style is one such location allowing visitors to preview what Glasgow Museums have on show in their collection which complement items from GSA's Archives.

The Kelvingrove tour is the first of others currently being developed. Other Glasgow Life venues soon to be viewed in digital format include the Burrell Collection, Old Fruitmarket and St Mungo's Museum. While the primary aim is evidently to bump up tourism by raising awareness among global audiences of Glasgow's attractions, we're happy to freeload on the digital collection of art being amassed. And for the purist: an inexpensive tour guide app for iphone and Android, provides you with information while you tour the museum for real!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wonderful New Webspace - Visual Arts Glasgow

Social media coverage of the visual arts in Glasgow is available in one new webspace thanks to a Culture Sparks-led project. Visual Arts Glasgow is a new mobile-responsive site that enables visitors to engage directly with news and events on the move.

Rather than mere listings of the city's cultural happenings, the site is distinctive for drawing together exhibitions, commentary and other stories from across Glasgow’s visual arts scene to provide an image-led portal. Image-based social media posts from museums, galleries, heritage and craft venues make it far easier to get the latest news directly from the people either creating artwork, curating artists' work, or collaborating on various projects around the city.

Culture Sparks is an organisation that seeks to enhance innovation in the cultural sector. Visual Arts Glasgow is part of the WhiteNOISE project, a collaborative project with some of the movers and shakers on Glasgow scene, aiming to provide a picture of art audiences across different disciplines. The aim is to improve public engagement in areas of the arts where the research highlights the need for improved participation.

This is a fantastic resource! Share, browse, follow, like, favourite and visit the sites of various venues including The Lighthouse, Tramway and Glasgow Sculpture Studios! The site's own blog is also worth a visit. GSA City Walking Tour focusing on the Glasgow Miracle was mentioned in a blog-post last week and we love the 'They Draw and Travel' website, name-checked yesterday.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

SEAS Seaside Photography Archive

If like us, you do like to be beside the seaside, then the South East Archive of Seaside (SEAS) Photography archive should have you reaching for a bucket and spade! Thanks to a wad of Heritage Lottery Funding, the initiative was established in 2012 at Canterbury Christ University in coastal Kent. An archivist immediately went to work sifting through the many images of the area around the South East, organising these images into two collections and digitising much of what he discovered for the SEAS website. The archive is still growing with new images gradually being added every month.

The first collection is The Sunbeam Collection which contains the glass and film negatives of what was Sunbeam, the largest photography firm of its time in the region. The second, Walkies Collection, comprises casual photographs taken on sunny, seaside strolls by Sunbeam photographers which were not regarded as worthy of archiving by the company but which are fascinating for the insight they provide into local heritage. 

All of the images in The Sunbeam Collection are in copyright meaning permission would be required for reproduction. No such disclaimer is evident for the Walkies Collection, making images such as this one of a boy on Muffin the Mule at Margate, available to cite in project-work. Browse here for inspiration.

We adore the cheerful mood in these pictures of local people and families going about domestic life. The sun shines in many of the snaps which must have put some joy into the everyday job of the archivist whose duty it is to sort out hundreds of negatives.

Oh to be by the seaside...!

Monday, July 01, 2013

'Design in a Nutshell' - Video Resources from the OU

These introductory YouTube videos from The Open University (OU) are our new favourite resource! Take the test on 'Design in a Nutshell' to discover your design alter-ego as six nattily-designed animations talk you through the most historically important design-movements. The videos cover key aspects of design history: Gothic Revival, Arts & Crafts, Bauhaus, Modernism, American Industrial Design and Postmodernism. Basically, a lot of useful history crammed into two minute instalments!

 The resource helps promote the OU course 'Design thinking: creativity for the 21st century,' a self-directed, distance-learning course looking at the impact of design thinking on the world today. We're intrigued by the concept of an 'online virtual design studio' to which practical coursework submissions are made and then debated with others on the course. There's also a free study unit on 'Design Thinking' which provides an overview of the subject and some online resources for further reading.

As more and more universities make their course content available online, this is an interesting addition on the arts and design front. While digital design courses arguably lend themselves very well to online course format, we're interested to know what the future holds for practice-based art and design courses. We'll hold that thought as meanwhile we try to figure out the answer to far more pressing matters such as 'what is our design personality?!'

Click here to try it out.