The value of journals past and present to your learning, practice, and research

An interview with 3rd year, Fine Art student, Ian Green by Beth Delwiche, Librarian, Learning, Teaching, and Research Services


BD: So Ian, I understand you have an interest in collecting things from the past? Is this right?

IA: Yes definitely, although I don’t really see things ‘from the past’ –

I see them as having different contexts and perspectives. It’s really interesting to see opinions from the time about what are now iconic artworks, it shows the impact they made (or lack thereof) and how different the attitudes in the art world were then.


BD: What sort of information would you use from them in your major project research and/ your practice?

IA:  As I say it’s amazing to understand how different opinions were decades ago and I think it’s really important to understand how attitudes change towards what we may consider important now. It allows us to see a trajectory from the past and an ability to understand where we are now and where we could be heading in the future. It gives us an insight into attitudes of the time and why certain things happened in that way. It’s astonishing how re-contextualisation can change things – it’s almost like re-writing history.


BD: Do you have a favourite journal or book?

IA: I really enjoy Art International – especially the earlier ones (1962 – 73) as it’s fascinating to discover just why certain artworks and concepts made such an impact at the time. The early  issues of Art In America is also curious as there was so much happening and so many concepts, I can see many are recycled now under the guise of cutting edge movement, but the initial impetus is there. It’s easy to miss important info in the ‘reference only’ books because you don’t have the time to sit down and leaf through them.


BD: Do you have any words of wisdom to offer (as a 3rd year) to offer other students about using the library service?

IA: I don’t know about words of wisdom ! …but I do spend a lot of time digging into the books and trying to find artists and movements I’ve never heard of. There are a lot of very rare and important books in the library that have had an huge impact on me and I you won’t find them anywhere else – believe me ! Spend some time checking out artists you’ve never heard of and obscure concepts and theories, often they can help you make a breakthrough in your work you’ve been looking for.

All images (c) Beth Delwiche.

^Posted on behalf of Beth Delwiche.