THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Inspired by... blog

33 posts categorized "Spring Festival"

06 August 2014

Hello Frances, Goodbye Kissley

Add comment Comments (0)

Hello Frances Taylor...

Wow, it doesn’t seem like a year since we wrote our last joint blog and I said goodbye to the Library for a while to go off and have my lovely daughter Holly. I'm going to be taking over our creative industries programme and, of course, this blog. The good news is that Kissley isn’t going to be leaving the Library: she will be promoting our exhibition and events programme: Gothic literature, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, anyone? The autumn events programme is shaping up fantastically – look out for a very creepy, spooky LATE.  Where better to get scared at night than in a huge library?

It’s been so lovely to come back and hear about all the great projects Kissley’s been working on.  Her highlights must include Spring Festival, YMC fashion show, creative writing workshops and her Artsthread x British Library competition on Comics Unmasked.  I’ll be picking up where she has left off – it’s great to be back!

Photo 2
Image: Fran (on left) and Kissley posing with our Comics Unmasked cut-out

Goodbye from Kissley Leonor…

Dear Readers,

It’s been a pleasure sharing with you all the cool stuff happening at the British Library. Here are my highlights. One million Flickr images of our collections made free for anyone to use, remix and repurpose.  Here are some of the gems I found:

Gems and Precious Stones
Image: Gems and Precious Stones of North America, KUNZ, George Frederick, shelfmark: "British Library HMNTS 7105.ee.14.", "British Library HMNTS 7106.i.12." Page 85

My Little Chinese Book

Image: My Little Chinese Book, POST, Mary Audubon, shelfmark: "British Library HMNTS 11645.e.57.", page 12

Hastings albums tapirImage: The tapir sent from Bengkulu to Calcutta in 1816.Shelfmark: Add.Or.4973

Songs of a Savoyard
Image: 1890 Songs of a Savoyard, Gilbert, W. S. (William Schwenck), shelfmark: "British Library HMNTS 11651.k.42.", page 102

Spring Festival. It was great to see so many new people working in film and fashion come to the Library and discover our collections. We welcomed some great speakers including screenwriter Tony Grisoni and fashion historian Amber Jane Butchart. And we danced. Dancing is always a good thing.    

Our Made with the British Library suite of videos highlighting how people have used the Library. From an illustrator to a record producer, author to entrepreneur – I love these inspiring stories. 

Over and out
x Kissley

01 May 2014

Spring Festival 2014 videos

Add comment Comments (0)

Enjoy these videos highlighting our Spring Festival celebration of fashion, film and design. 

For those who weren't able to join us for the popular Puttin' on the Glitz - Fashion and Film in the Jazz Age talk - you can watch the entire talk in three parts below!

Spring Festival highlights: Inspiring stories, vinyl & film

Using The British Newspaper Archive to tell stories on Twitter; exploring our vinyl record collection plus award-winning screenwriter Tony Grisoni and Bafta-nominated director Jamie Stone on film.  

 

Spring Festival highlights: Fashion, film and glitz

Fashion historian Amber Jane Butchart and editor of Clothes on Film Christopher Laverty on vintage fashion, film and Boardwalk Empire. Plus The Vintage Mafia take over the Library for a night of Jazz Age glamour with Alex Mendham & His Orchestra. 

 

Part 1 - Puttin on the Glitz - Fashion and Film in the Jazz Age - Fashion historian Amber Jane Butchart

Fashion extraordinaire Amber Jane Butchart transports us to the glitz and glamour of Jazz Age Hollywood and the costumes that took London by storm. She draws on the Library's collection of vintage magazines.

 

Part 2 - Puttin' on the Glitz - Fashion and Film in the Jazz Age - Clothes on Film creator Christopher Laverty

The ever dapper Christopher Laverty examines the flamboyantly dressed 'Dandy Gangster' as portrayed in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire.

 

Part 3 -  Puttin' on the Glitz - Fashion and Film in the Jazz Age - Q&A

 

 

 

14 April 2014

Spring Festival highlights - Inspired by... vinyl records

Add comment Comments (0)

When we hosted a show and tell of our vinyl record collection back in November the feedback was so positive I knew we had to run it again. I love spotlighting our massive vinyl collection (over 240,000!) because it always surprises people who think we're just a very serious library full of books (which is only partly true). So in the spirit of Spring Festival, creativity, discovery and inspiration our curator of pop music Andy Linehan dug deep into our archive and brought out some real gems to illustrate the history of the album to an audience of graphic designers, filmmakers and curious music lovers. 

Spring Festival 2014 Inspired by vinyl 4507

Those tubes are wax cylinders - developed by Thomas Edison in the late 1880s. 

Spring Festival 2014 Inspired by vinyl 4530   Spring Festival 2014 Inspired by vinyl 4483

Left: Jeremy Deller’s English Magic EP, the musical soundtrack to a film made by Dellar for the British Pavilion at the 2013 Biennale di Venezia. Limited triple vinyl edition, ours is #78 of 300 hand-signed and numbered by Deller with sleeve artwork designed by Deller including a 10x10” photographic print hand tipped on the front cover.

Right: An LP by Man, a 1970s Welsh rock band, with a fold-out hand-drawn map of Wales with features and places important to the band. (Photographs by Luca Sage)

Andy also showed us these two weird and wonderful albums:

Atom Earth Mother Ancient Faith    Sounds of Silence

Left: Atom Earth Mother’s Ancient Faith, a double LP plus CD and insert housed in a hand-built, fire-branded wooden box. Limited edition of 250 copies. (Via boomkat)

Right: Sounds of Silence, a compilation of “silent” tracks from various artists including Crass, Andy Warhol, John Lennon and Orbital which puns on the title of a Simon & Garfunkel LP and rips off its cover. (Via dummymag)

Yes, you can listen to vinyl at the British Library - simply need to register for a Reader Pass. Find out more about our Listening and Viewing Services and our Sound Archive.

More good stuff:

Watch this video of radio presenter Tom Ravenscroft visiting our basements where we store our vinyl collection. 

 

07 April 2014

Spring Festival highlights - Telling stories on Twitter

Add comment Comments (0)

We ran an experimental storytelling workshop as part of Spring Festival called History Relived. We wanted to explore a new way of telling stories using digital platforms and archives so we used The British Newspaper Archive and Twitter. The result: eight stories ranging from a murder mystery, a divorce case and one that involves a horse ruining a dinner party. You can view them all here

Spring Festival History Relived_31 03 2014_CrossoverLabs_Chris Dymond_3992

Here's Chris Dymond from Crossover Labs explaining the day's activities. 

Spring Festival History Relived_31 03 2014_CrossoverLabs_Participants_4078

Exploring the British Newspaper Archive. Some groups also used the Library's Flickr photostream which includes over 1 million images that are free from copyright restrictions. 

Spring Festival History Relived_31 03 2014_CrossoverLabs_Bill Thompson_4071

BBC tech writer Bill Thompson joined us!

Spring Festival History Relived_31 03 2014_CrossoverLabs_Participants_4172

This group had a lot of fun - you could hear them laughing from anywhere in the Conference Centre. (Their story is the one with the horse in it.) Filmmakers, television producers, creative writing students and other creative practitioners took part. 

Spring Festival History Relived_31 03 2014_CrossoverLabs_Participants_4144

Creating new Twitter accounts. This is Heinrich Weichmann @HeiWei93 a cigar-loving German who moves to Kansas with his wife Birgit Weichmann @BirgWeich. A whirlwind affair unfolds involving #schnitzel, #RailroadCommencementGala and complications with a family inheritance. Inspired by a newspaper article from 1893.

Spring Festival History Relived_31 03 2014_CrossoverLabs_Participants_4309

In the end every group presented and we looked at their story's Twitter feed. Lots of laughter again.

Whether you're working in film, television, documentary, writing fiction or non-fiction, The British Newspaper Archive is a fantastic resource for exploring histories and getting inspiration for new work. I could see a lot of BNA articles translated into Downton Abbey episodes, e.g. or a period feature film like Sherlock Holmes. The archive is massive - over 240 titles and 7 million pages - so it can be overwhelming. I recommend checking out the BNA's blog to get  a flavour of what's available. Enjoy!

Many thanks to our partners Sheffield Doc/Fest and Crossover Labs and the British Newspaper Archive for giving us free access to the service. 

 All photos by Luca Sage

03 April 2014

Spring Festival highlights and all that jazz

Add comment Comments (0)

Spring Festival 2014 is officially finished and we had a fabulous time! Here are some photos from the most popular event Puttin' on the Glitz - Fashion and Film in the Jazz Age which began with a talk by the ever so stylish Amber Jane Butchart and Christopher Laverty and ended with roaring cocktail party. 

Amber Jane Butchart_Spring Festival Puttin on the Glitz 28 03 2014_Luca Sage Photographer_2976

Amber referring to the Library's vintage magazine collection. I don't know anyone who looks as good as her in a turban. 

Christopher Laverty_Spring Festival Puttin on the Glitz_28 03 2014_Luca Sage Photographer_3019

Chris is obsessed with the costumes in HBO series Boardwalk Empire. Here he's detailing the show's exquisite suit tailoring - see how the pattern on Nucky Thompson/Steve Buscemi's jacket is perfectly lined up? Nice. I think Chris himself looks like a character from the show! 

The Vintage Mafia_Spring Festival Puttin on the Glitz 28 03 2014_Luca Sage Photographer_3577

'Always well-dressed, not always well-behaved' - our fabulous cocktail party hosts - The Vintage Mafia.  

The Vintage Mafia2_Spring Festival Puttin on the Glitz 28 03 2014_Luca Sage Photographer_3294

Alex Mendham & His Orchestra_Spring Festival Puttin on the Glitz 28 03 2014_Luca Sage Photographer_3344

Alex Mendham & His Orchestra provided the jazzy tunes. They were wearing authentic suits from the 1920s. 

Dancing_Spring Festival Puttin on the Glitz_28 03 2014_Luca Sage Photographer_3533

Dancing_Spring Festival Puttin on the Glitz_28 03 2014_Luca Sage Photographer_3629

Dancing_Spring Festival Puttin on the Glitz_28 03 2014_Luca Sage Photographer_3795

Darling, of course we danced The Charleston! 

Pretty Me Vintage_Spring Festival Puttin on the Glitz_28 03 2014_Luca Sage Photographer_3608

Ladies getting their hair and make-up done by Pretty Me Vintage.

Pretty Me Vintage2_Spring Festival Puttin on the Glitz 28 03 2014_Luca Sage Photographer_3215

Hanson Leatherby’s Travelling Portrait Studio_Spring Festival Puttin on the Glitz_28 03 2014_Luca Sage Photographer_3888

A lovely couple in Hanson Leatherby's studio. 

Hairpieces_Spring Festival Puttin on the Glitz_28 03 2014_Luca Sage Photographer_3431  Hairpieces_Spring Festival Puttin on the Glitz_28 03 2014_Luca Sage Photographer_3282
Hairpieces_Spring Festival Puttin on the Glitz_28 03 2014_Luca Sage Photographer_3381  Hairpieces_Spring Festival Puttin on the Glitz_28 03 2014_Luca Sage Photographer_3592

Lots of ladies in pretty hairpieces.

Shoes_Spring Festival Puttin on the Glitz_28 03 2014_Luca Sage Photographer_3520  Shoes_Spring Festival Puttin on the Glitz_28 03 2014_Luca Sage Photographer_3390
Shoes_Spring Festival Puttin on the Glitz_28 03 2014_Luca Sage Photographer_3514
  Shoes_Spring Festival Puttin on the Glitz_28 03 2014_Luca Sage Photographer_3671

Dancing shoes! That's me in ASOS gold brogues and my colleague Pam in Vivienne Westwood getting silly in The Mighty Booth. 

Guests_Spring Festival Puttin on the Glitz_28 03 2014_Luca Sage Photographer_3383

A handsome couple. I think men should always wear a flower in their jackets...

Hairpieces_Spring Festival Puttin on the Glitz_28 03 2014_Luca Sage Photographer_3731

... and women should always wear flowers in their hair. Isn't she gorgeous?  

The Vintage News_Spring Festival Puttin on the Glitz_28 03 2014_Luca Sage Photographer_3236  The Vintage News_Spring Festival Puttin on the Glitz_28 03 2014_Luca Sage Photographer_3413

The Vintage News interviewing Amber. They use cameras from the 1920s/30s that really work!

Vintage Car_Spring Festival Puttin on the Glitz_28 03 2014_Luca Sage Photographer_3181

And why not put a vintage car on the piazza?

Guest_Spring Festival Puttin on the Glitz_28 03 2014_Luca Sage Photographer_3257

Ain't this guy cool? 

Cocktails_Spring Festival Puttin on the Glitz_28 03 2014_Luca Sage Photographer_3185

What we drank: French 75, Mary Pickford, Manhattan

Short film coming soon - follow me at @BL_Creative.

All photos by Luca Sage

28 March 2014

Spring Festival: History Relived - Storytelling workshop

Add comment Comments (0)

As part of Spring Festival we are hosting History Relived a storytelling workshop with our friends at Sheffield Doc/Fest and Crossover Labs. 

Throughout the day participants will be tweeting their stories from the point of view of fictional characters they create inspired by the British Newspaper Archive. 

You can follow along and help tell the story! The official Twitter account is @History_Relived and we're using the hashtag #HistoryRelived 

The stories will be curated on Storify

More info about the workshop:

Twitter in the 1890s – what would it look like? What events would people tweet about?

We are surrounded by digital platforms that we use every day, to check what's new, to share pictures and films, to comment and recommend. But what happens when you use them to tell stories? We will challenge participants to use items from the Library's British Newspaper Archive (BNA) as a starting point for entertainment that they will create using twitter accounts to re-enact historical events.

This is a highly entertaining activity that often forms part of a Crossover Lab, the day will be fun and competitive - but it also has a point: we will be examining the nature of interactive media, lifting the lid on where creativity comes from and exploring techniques for telling stories across multiple platforms whilst opening up the archives to give the participants, and people following along, a glimpse of its treasures.

Here's an example of what may come out of the workshop using an aritcle from the Illustrated Police News dated Saturday 15th October 1892

History Relived_sample image_BNA

About the British Newspaper Archive (BNA)
The British Newspaper Archive provides online access to local and regional newspapers from Britain and Ireland, dating back to the 1700s. The newspapers are fully searchable and can reveal fascinating forgotten stories from the past. The website is a partnership project between the British Library and DC Thomson Family History.

The BNA have kindly given workshop particpiants free access to the archives for the day. All images used are published courtesy of the BNA. Hat tip to the BNA! 

In partnership with Sheffield Doc/Fest, Crossover Labs
Supported by The British Newspaper Archive 

 

25 March 2014

Live webcast: Puttin' on the Glitz - Fashion and Film in the Jazz Age

Add comment Comments (0)

Our Spring Festival Puttin' on the Glitz - Fashion and Film in the Jazz Age talk is sold out but the good news is you can tune in via live webcast! Just click here to sign up and watch the talk for free (from the comfort of your glamorous pad - like the mademoiselle below!) on Friday, 28 March from 18.30 - 20.00 London time. 

If you're on Twitter, send us your questions with the hashtag #BLSpring and follow me @BL_Creative.

Minuit_Images Online D40039 14
Paris in the 1920s via Images Online

There are still tickets available for the cocktail party afterwards here. The 'always well-dress, not always well-behaved' Vintage Mafia are hosting. 

Step into our boudoir and get your hair done in Jazz Age style by Pretty Me Vintage before getting snapped in Hanson Leatherby’s Travelling Portrait Studio. The Vintage News will be interviewing the glitziest guests and Alex Mendham & His Orchestra - the UK’s foremost deco era dance band – will make you Charleston the night away!

Alex-Mendham-Orchestra
Alex Mendham & His Orchestra 

24 March 2014

Winner of The Sound Edit short film competition: Honeycomb (Plodge)

Add comment Comments (0)

Back in October we launched our second short film competition The Sound Edit: British Accents and Dialects at the London Film Festival with IdeasTap. In January we short listed ten entrants who were given £500 to make a film inspired by our sound archive and today I'm very happy to announce the winning entry. Drumroll please....

James Spinney for his film Honeycomb (Plodge). 

Plodge_Sound clip from British Library Evolving English WordBank

James's boldly experimental short wordlessly captures the dialect term ‘plodge’ both visually and sonically. We were captivated by his  quietly innovative and meditative visual method and we wanted to watch it again and again. 

'Plodge', to the anonymous member of the public who recorded the word at our Evolving English exhibition, means to to wade through water.  

Many congratulations James! 

We are screening Honeycomb on Monday, 31 March at our Spring Festival Inspiring Filmmakers event with four award-winning short films including Beat starring Ben Whishaw. You can also hear stories and mingle with acclaimed filmmakers Tony Grisoni (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), Celia Barnett (all eight Harry Potter films!), Tony Noble (Moon) and up and coming director Jamie Stone (Orbit Ever After). This event is in partnership with the good people at Cinema Jam and Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival.  For more information and to book tickets click here

Honeycomb_Plodge_James Spinney_image 1 woman at counter

Honeycomb_Plodge_James Spinney_image 2
Stills from 'Honeycomb (Plodge)' directed by James Spinney 

About James Spinney

James studied English Literature to MA level and now works as a freelance editor.  With directing partner Peter Middleton, his short film Rainfall was nominated for the ICA Experimental Film Award and won the Best Short Award at Hot Docs 2013.  The follow up - Notes on Blindness - was commissioned by the New York Times Op-Docs and selected for Sundance and SXSW 2014.  James and Peter are currently developing Notes on Blindness into a feature film.