Ref NoWPA
Acc No2013_F_ACC1
TitleWorking Press Archive and Special Collection
DescriptionThe Working Press is a collective publishing imprint which had the subtitle books by and about Working Class Artists, 1986-1996

This collection consists of material collected by Stefan Szczelkun, in the context of the Working Press, books by and about Working Class Artists, 1986-1996

This includes:

Correspondence relating to Working Press, including reviews of the books, discussion of the books, requests for books, and publishing and networking activity. As well as relating to working class artists and the hardships of working class artists, the books also relate to and are by disabled artists, black artists, and women artists

Draft contracts for Working Press contributors

Policy statements relating to the aims and the purpose of the Working Press

Conference administrative material of the Working Press, .

Publicity for the Working Press

Drafts and Manuscripts of the Working Press

Finance

Distribution records, including address lists

Please note this is an ongoing catalogue, for example signatures may still be being deciphered. If you can provide further contextual information, were an artist who were involved in the Working Press, then please contact the Archivist, at rtaylor8@ucreative.ac.uk
Date1986-1996
Related MaterialWorking Press publications, pamphlets and Artist Books. Catalogued on UCA's Library catalogue
AdminHistoryWorking Press self published book project or imprint was initiated by Stefan Szczelkun , (currently at Westminster University) and artist, and Graham Harwood.

His experience of being Polish in Brixton Artists Collective from 1983 - 1987 led him to think about his other identity - that of being working class. He met Graham Harwood at the Bonnington Square Festival for Peace in 1985, who as well as producing vibrant paintings had worked as a graphic artist.

They decided to form a group of working class artists who wanted to self-publish offset litho books under a collective imprint. They published their first self-funded titles in 1987 and having managed to get Central Books to be their distributor they achieved sales that were able to sustain further publications.

Stefan invited almost every working class artist he met to self-publish, whether in written or graphic form. He has stated that while 'few artists have the energy, self-confidence and multiple skills to self-publish... the open invitation seemed a good way of networking and validating artists' work. They had informal meetings and also one formal day conference.

In the ten years from 1987 they published eighteen original titles. These included high profile names like Conrad Atkinson and others who have become well-known like Alison Marchant, Shaheen Merali and Matthew Fuller.

The Arts Council gave Stefan a grant to research the British Artists' Book scene which was somewhat fragmented at that time. Stefan used the research and a conference to make the book artists aware of each other and to raise the profile of books by artists in the UK. This work was continued by Tanya Peixoto (BookArtBookshop) with her three Artists' Book Yearbooks, and by Marcus Campbell with his annual Artist Book Fair; and into present time with Sarah Bodman's work at UWE Bristol. Stefan held out an open definition of 'artists books' which included such formats as Zines, 'comix' (sic), mail art catalogues, and polemical pamphlets circulating in England at the time.


The collection represents a unique project that interconnects many issues within alternative cultural and social activity at the time .

Working Press publications include the early works of now well-known artists like Graham Harwood; leading academic writer Matt Fuller; illustrator Clifford Harper; theorist Howard Slater, with letters by them in the archive

Working Press achieved several historical firsts, including the first computer generated comic (Graham Harwood), the first book on football culture (Richard Turner), the first book by and about Greenham Common Yellowgate women (Beth Junor), and first artists' book by Micheline Mason (disability /inclusion leader and artist).

The Working Press collection gives an insight into artists self-publishing self-funded publishing activity of the time.

Working Press represents the technology, communications and networking of the time at the cusp of the digital era, for example photocopy art.

Working Press looks at perceptions of working class, women artists, disabled artists and black artists, and explores the notion of an artist as an oppressed group, which relates to the Working Press Artists' Liberation Pamphlet
Persons
CodePersonNameDates
DS/UK/17Spence; Jo (1934-1992); Photographer1934-1992
DS/UK/30Szczelkun; Stefan; Artist; Dr
DS/UK/59Turner; Richard; Author
DS/UK/89Harwood; Graham; Artist
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