Publication Launch by Sonal Mistry

The day has come, the day of the official launch!! On the 6th of October team New Focus officially launched our ‘No Mans Land’ publication!! It was such an incredible experience and a great summary to the journey we have been on for the past year and a half as a team!! From the early stages of creating our funding video where the idea of a publication came about, to then actually presenting this amazing piece of design and information to the public was a great achievement for all of us!! We are all very proud of the work and effort that has gone into this project, so being able to officially launch it was amazing for all of us!!


The launch event began with each New Focus member receiving a certificate for their achievement through this project which was presented by Alison Fell who is a professor at the University of Leeds of French cultural history, and the project leader of ‘legacies of war’. Then Anne McNeill the director of the Gallery officially launched our publication!! It was amazing and felt very emotional for us all as the publication includes a part of us all.

As a team we had decided to talk a bit about the project so 3 members of the group, Emily, Asiya and Ione all spoke about different elements and expanded on the journey we have been on together. It was really lovely for us to speak about our personal experiences through this project with New Focus member Ione commenting that “New focus has given her a ‘new focus’, and to her, new focus is a family”. This was quite nostalgic as it brought back memories for the team but also gave an idea of the different journeys we had undertaken to produce this contextual publication.

The launch was brilliant and the response we got from the audience was amazing!! We are all super proud and chuffed that our adventure of creating an unconventional and artistic twist to a history book has had such a big appeal and impact on people, especially our target demographic of 14 years and above. We are all really excited to share our publication with the public. We are going to do this through distributing it to libraries, to all high schools within Bradford and by doing workshops and activities with school children to spread the awareness of the publication but especially the information it contains. We loved how busy the event was, and it was super amazing that Hilary Roberts, who is the curator at the Imperial War Museum came all the way from London for the launch too!!

We are all super happy with how the publication has turned out, but this could have never been possible without the full team at the Impressions Gallery!! We would like to give them a huge thank you for their support and giving us such an amazing opportunity to express our voice and be part of this project. We would also like to thank the heritage lottery fund; as without them this project wouldn’t have excelled, the Peace Museum; who let us explore through their archive, the Liddle Collection which is part of the University of Leeds; the place where we discovered Mary Porter, or ‘fluffy’ as she liked to be called. We would also like to thank the Imperial War Museum, Andy Edwards the publication designer and lastly Evolution Print for doing such an amazing job with printing our publication!! This project wouldn’t have been as successful as it has if it wasn’t for these contributors!!

Sonal Mistry

This project is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Young Roots’ scheme

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Evolution Print visit by Sonal Mistry

On the 20th of September team New Focus had an amazing opportunity to go see our publication on press at Evolution Print in Sheffield. We were given the chance to see a couple of our pages being printed as well as, learn about the printing process of ‘offset lithography’ and experience the CMYK method first-hand within the warehouse. When we arrived at Evolution print we were shown round by some of their amazing staff!! We were shown how original artwork and material gets transferred to the metal plates and how the process used to be carried out when the technique was first developed.

Offset lithography is a process which was first considered in 1875 for printing on tin and in 1904 for printing on paper. This is a method used for mass-production printing where the artwork on the metal plates are transferred (offset) onto rubber blankets / rollers and then to the print media which usually is the paper stock. The main difference between this process in comparison to lithography is that the print media does not come into direct contact with the metal plates when transferring the artwork.

The technique takes use of the CMYK colour method, which was amazing to see being used with each individual plate representing each colour. The order in which the plates are used depends on the individual, however at Evolution print they use it as KCMY, therefore the ‘key’ or black is printed first to create the outline for the artwork.

This was such an amazing opportunity for me and will be helpful for me in the future as I am an illustration student, so to be able to get first-hand experience of how printers work and be able to see the CMYK process was wicked!! I have never seen or used the lithography technique before, so it was ace to experience this and learn about a method I could potentially work with in the future. One of the New Focus members Ben said “It was a fantastic opportunity to see the book going to print, and be able to see the final touches from the initial meeting to now the final book”.

During the experience we also got the opportunity to view the concept of ‘halftoning’ which is used with CMYK printing. This is a concept which cannot be seen by the naked eye as we perceive the colour as a block, but when seen through a special magnifying glass you can see the way the colour block is made up of tiny dots representing each colour; Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key in the method.

This was a once in a lifetime experience for us and we are very grateful for Evolution Print to have let us come see their warehouse and how they print material. A very special thank you to Evolution Print for printing our publication and supporting us to communicate such an unconventional subject!! We are all very excited to see the final publication!!

Sonal Mistry

This project is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Young Roots’ scheme

Publication planning meeting – by Sonal Mistry

Following our initial publication planning meeting in May, team New Focus had the opportunity to view a rough flat plan of the publication on the 20th of July. This meeting was focussed on our initial thoughts of the design, with how the pages worked next to each other and how the photographers were placed within the draft. One element that we focussed on, was the look of the front cover, which we had several designs to compare and articulate from.

We had many designs which included layering of text for the title, as well as a simpler yet bold design which we all decided upon. Whilst going through the designs, as a group we preferred the bold pink lettering with a khaki background. Everyone liked how the hot pink stood out against the khaki green as well as the way the colour pink creates a relationship with the Impressions Gallery. We have chosen to use hot pink foil for the lettering which was suggested by Andy our designer, as this will help create more contrast between the colours and in one of the members Megan’s terms will help make the lettering “POP, POP, POP”.

We then went through the flat plan, deciding which layouts we liked and whether the colours worked well. There was a suggestion to use different colours to separate the book; this could be by using different colours for each woman photographer, or keeping to a limit of 3 colours which flowed throughout the publication. Within the draft everyone liked the way orange, green and blue worked well together. These colours had an impact against the black and white photography, and created a bold background which we all liked. We could also use the colour scheme to create a key for the timeline of the photographers we want to include in the publication. For this timeline, everyone liked the idea of having a concertina fold within the book, which you could pull out for teachers to use or it would just fold out of the book.

Next up we looked at the choice of typeface that we wanted to use. Andy used ‘Grotesque No.9’ a typeface which dates back to 1906 which was popular during WW1 and links well with our unconventional subject of women photographers in WW1.


We all really liked the typeface and thought it worked really well for the headings and alongside the imagery. Then we moved onto the feel and overall look of the book. We want the publication to have an old and handmade quality. Some of the members mentioned the photo albums we saw at the archives and how they had torn edges and the texture of the paper was quite rough. This could be something we could try to create with our publication and there was a suggestion of using off white paper stock at 170gsm, which could help create the aged look.

When looking at the draft we realised there wasn’t a big link back to New Focus throughout it. We decided that we need to include the logo on the front cover and that we want to include pictures of the members within the publication. We came up with the idea of having a New Focus timeline as well as the photographers but that might be a bit confusing. Then there was a suggestion of having a separate book which was about the New Focus journey, which involved the process of designing the publication, you could call it a ‘behind the scenes’ styled book.

The last point we discussed is how we want to create an interactive element when we send the publications to schools. There were lots of ideas but some that everyone liked included trying to get schools to take a photo with the publication and use the hashtag to document the photo, and for the feedback, use the question of ‘who is your female idol?’ to get the audience to interact. Everyone liked the idea of using social media because it engages and is used a lot by our target demographic.

We would like to say a special thank you to Andy Edwards our designer for helping us bring this project to life.

By Sonal Mistry

This project is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Young Roots’ scheme

 

Publication planning meeting by Ione Collins

Following our visit to London’s Imperial War Museum in mid-May, where we were able to visit both the museum and the photography archive, our meeting on the 18th of May was focussed on choosing which of our female photographers we wanted our publication to revolve around, and which of their photos we found most suitable. We also aimed to begin designing a layout for the pages, using Olive Edis as our template.

We discussed our thoughts on Olive Edis, Florence Farmborough, Christina Broom, Mairi Chisholm, and Elsie Knocker, starting with Edis. One photo that seemed to arouse interest in the group was a photograph showing three different roles in wartime healthcare –patient, nurse, and doctor- which we found empowering because of the rarity of the sight of a female doctor at that time. We found that many of Edis’ compositions were inspired by the great 17th century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, and certainly this one in particular which seemed to resemble something in-between ‘The Milkmaid’, ‘Christ in the House of Martha and Mary’ and ‘Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid’. A digitisation of the photo can be found on the IWM website by searching for ‘Q8059’.

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Next on the list was Farmborough, whose self portraits we took a particular liking to. We agreed that it was a pleasant change to see the face of the lady we were researching; we were able to feel connected to her and identify with her to a greater extent (see Q107169, Q107166). Many of us wondered why she would have taken self portraits, and one New Focus member Megan said ‘’Well we take selfies!’’. Jen added that perhaps she did it to ‘’hold a memory’’ or ‘’show her pride’’!

We then turned to Chisholm and Knocker, as well as Broom. A mixture of melancholy, heavy, social, exciting, and captivating photographs were chosen, one of particular interest being Chisholm and Knocker’s ‘see-saw photo’, whereby a game of roulette against incoming bullets over the top would be played!

Because of our adoration of these female photographers and their work, we all found it difficult to choose just five photos for each woman; compromises and swaps were made, and Pippa reminded us that ‘’Sometimes you just have to lose your favourite picture’’. Over plentiful tea and biscuits we all came to unanimity and moved on to the designing of the page layout. We considered text contents, text layouts, essays, notes, pullouts, image sizes, positioning, quotes, opinions, stories, and colours and collated all of our ideas to hand over to designer Andy who would help us with the composition drafts.

With the photo content and composition ideas in flow, we are all excited to get cracking on with making this New Focus project the most empowering and inspirational one yet! We’re all incredibly grateful for the HLF’s help and cannot wait until the next meeting!

By Ione Collins

This project is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Young Roots’ scheme

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Visit to the Imperial War Museum by Sarah Bartey

On Sunday 14 May Team New Focus ventured to the Imperial War Museum in London. We had all been looking forward to the trip since we started the project back in autumn last year and for me it has been one of the major highlights of the project so far. For lots of us it was our first time visiting the Imperial War Museum and for some members it was their first-time visiting London! Weary eyed but full of excitement, we caught an early train from Bradford at 9:00am.

We stayed at the Days Hotel, Waterloo, just a 5-minute walk from the Imperial War Museum. Once we had checked in at the hotel and dropped off our bags. We had lunch in the gardens of the museum. This gave us all afternoon to look around, starting with the WWI gallery. The gallery was very impressive and covered all aspects of the First World War, including the roles of women. Once we had finished looking around the WWI gallery we had some time to look around the rest of the museum. I wish we had more time to see everything, but it would probably take a whole two days to look around the entire museum.

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The next day, we visited the Imperial War Museum Archive, where we met with world-famous curator of photography Hilary Roberts, who provided us with an inspiring and insightful talk on the history of the museum and women in war photography. She spoke of how ‘training and profession are not everything’ and for many conflict photographers ‘access is key’. This is certainly true for many of the female photographers we have been learning about.

During our research session at the archive we looked at albums relating to Olive Edis, Florence Farmborough, and a professional photographer who we hadn’t come across before, Christina Broom, who was commissioned to photograph guard’s regiments and household cavalry and became an official photographer for the Royal family. We split up into three groups each focusing on a different photographer, and we picked two of our favourite images to write about. We then swapped around and looked at the other albums. It was difficult to pick just two photographs to focus on as there were so many thought-provoking images. The whole experience was very special and completely different to viewing the photographs online. I felt we could connect with the physical photographs and the stories they told on a much deeper level than we were able to from viewing them online.

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After lunch, we discussed as a team the images we had chosen, what we thought they depicted and why we had chosen them. Before heading home, we were also given a mini tour behind the scenes of the archive and a final chance to look around the museum.

We are all extremely grateful the staff at the Imperial War Museum Archive for allowing us to visit and we would also like to offer special thanks to Hilary Roberts for her time and help.

This project is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Young Roots’ scheme

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‘Reprinting the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom printing blocks’ by Sarah Bartey

On Thursday 11 May, Team New Focus took a visit to Leeds Beckett University, with Collections and Outreach Officer Charlotte Hall from The Peace Museum, Bradford. The purpose of the visit was to try and reprint images relating to the 1919 Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) conference in Zurich using printing blocks made from copper and wood found in The Peace Museum collection. Each copper plate had a negative image made up of dots, a process called half-tone. This is a mechanical process used at the beginning of the 20th century to reproduce images in newspapers.

Upon our arrival at the University, we met with Andy Edwards, lecturer at Leeds Beckett and designer of our publication No Man’s Land. Andy showed us the printing facilities and introduced us to other staff members who helped us with the printing process. There was a huge range of many different printing machines. Our first attempt at reprinting was made using one of the oldest looking machines in the room, an Albion Press. The process of using this machine involved hand rolling ink onto the copper side of the printing block, placing it on the press, lowering paper onto the block, rolling it under the press, and pulling a lever to press the paper onto the block.

At first, we were uncertain as to how the images would turn out, and whether the process would even work, as the blocks are so old. But we were soon amazed. The images came out so well. New Focus member Ben commented on how the images were ‘brought to life’ through the printing process. It was brilliant to see the images how they would have been seen at the time, and not just from the blocks.

We were also given the opportunity to use the press ourselves, which was a fun experience. Every print was completely unique and some came out better than others, depending on how much ink was placed on the plate. We even experimented with some fun colours like bright pink!

 

© Peace Museum, Bradford

 

© Peace Museum, Bradford

We hope to use the reprints from the WILPF block in our final publication. So watch this space!
Review by Sarah Bartey

This project is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Young Roots’ scheme


Planning the publication blog by Abigail Brook-Petty

Following our visits to the Peace Museum and the Liddle collection, on Thursday 20th April we began to plan how our publication will look and discussed what it will contain. The session started with a chat about the images we thought were most relevant and should be included in the publication. This was done by using stickers to mark our favourite images and photographers we had previously learned about. We were then introduced to Andy the designer of our publication and we discussed potentially how the images would look as well as initial ideas for front covers etc.

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Following this discussion Andy showed us a collection of publications he has designed which included interactive books and newspaper like publications. Seeing the wide range of possibilities got us thinking about what we want the publication to achieve as it will be distributed to every secondary school in Bradford. We spent some time discussing ideas taken from publications we had looked at.

After deciding some initial ideas we moved into the meeting room in the library and carried on looking at publications. After a long break and tea and cake we had a discussion session about exactly how we want the publication to look and we wrote down ideas we were interested in on large pieces of paper.

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We discussed that we wanted to keep the publication in keeping with the albums we had seen at the Liddle collection by putting one of the images on the front cover. We also decided that another interactive section could include letters and prints created by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom printing blocks we found in the peace museum archive. There may also be a mini guide which will be created by New Focus members which explains how to use an archive. Other elements we have decided to put in the, publication include a timeline showing womens journeys through the war. We may also include a map as some of the albums in the archives had images from areas mainly in Europe where nurses we had researched were sent to work. We have also decided that the publication should be bright and colourful to help make the publication interesting and appealing with colours that are relevant for example the colours of nurses uniforms.

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At the end of the meeting we came up with 5 buzzwords about how we want the publication to feel. The words we decided on were welcoming, informative, eye catching, interactive and hand-made. We would like to make the publication feel unique and not mass produced and these words will help us to write the publication brief after we have visited the Imperial War museum archive in May.

Review by Abigail Brook-Petty

This project is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Young Roots’ scheme

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