The Other Project: Chapter Two

The Other Project, co-ordinated by Third Year Fine Art student Mia Ferullo, is a collaboration between Leeds Central Library and York St John University’s second year students. The students were divided into four groups, each being given an issue of the Leeds Other Paper. With a combination of Fine Art, Photography and Illustration students, this project displays a range of works that explore the topics and content of the Leeds Other Paper during the 1970s and 80s. This second blog includes responses to issue 104 which was released 11th May 1979, the year in which Margaret Thatcher became Britain’s first female Prime Minister.

Katie Johnson

“Cheers Driver”

This project was really fun and interesting to be a part of. I really enjoyed it, and am quite grateful to have been introduced to a newspaper that aimed to support groups that were struggling to live their lives freely, and ultimately played an important role in radical politics of their time. It was so interesting to see what has changed and what hasn’t, which is the approach I took when creating my piece for this project.

I was immediately drawn to an article in the paper about an increase in violence against bus drivers. This subject is very personal to me as my Dad is a bus driver and so I am close to these first hand experiences. There is an illustration within this article that humorously depicts a grumpy, old bus driver giving the Vs. I really wanted to recreate this image in photographic form to present that to this day violence against bus drivers is still a massive issue. Using my Dad as the subject was quite emotional as I was responding to the abuse he regularly receives from strangers, but this personal connection helped make this project much more emotive and empowering. 

My image, although at first is humorous and lighthearted, directly addresses the violent battle that dehumanizes and isolates bus drivers in their day-to-day lives. I hope it draws people’s attention to this ongoing issue and shows them that there is a person, a Dad, a husband, a brother, a friend behind that glass.

Katie Johnson – “Cheers Driver”

Brooke Higton-Shirt

My name is Brooke, and I am a second year photography student. I did this photo shoot in reaction to the paper that was published the year Margaret Thatcher was elected. The first thing that caught my eye when I looked at this paper from 1979, is the funny little drawing of a bus. At first, I didn’t really know what it was and wasn’t entirely intrigued to the article.

After reading the article I knew that I wanted to echo the fear that the bus driver felt, I found myself emotional after reading the article and knew this is what I needed to do. I decided to do a street shoot for this project, something that I don’t do a lot of. I wanted to show how I imagined Bob Husker’s experience of the street that night. I wanted to capture the loneliness he must have felt through black and white images. I wanted to capture his story, a story that reflects many other people, stories about violence that still happen today.

Brooke Higton-Shirt

Lucy Clay

“Playtime”

This portrait of a child depicts the purity that they have when young, unknown to harsh truths and the crisis that affected local Leeds playgroups in the 70s and early 80s, due to lack of funding. I was inspired by this particular segment due to the current effects of the pandemic, which has dramatically affected our schools and learning systems, meaning children aren’t getting the cognitive learning and help they need and deserve.

Using torn up pieces of the article, I was able to create a juxtaposition effect, comparing the cheerful, colourful but uninformed child with the melancholy writing of the struggle adults have keeping these children creative.

Lucy Clay – “Playtime”
Lucy Clay – “Playtime”
Lucy Clay – “Playtime”

Matilde Tomat

“Innocence”

An image of a child – unsmiling – accompanied by the words “Play Time” and an unrelated article with “Violence” in the title. This is the front page of issue 104. Hence, I have decided to focus on the play and innocence of those children, at the end of the 1970s. I have painted an imaginary world, assisted by a summery, warm, and joyful Mittleuropean music, with ethnic beats and joyful vibes. I cut and rearranged parts of the pieces to delineate and frame those recollections of sun, fields, open spaces, nature and stories, as the memories of those “children” who are now in their fifties.

If you would like to read more about Matilde’s piece, you can head to her blog page: www.matildetomat.com/latest

Matilde Tomat – “Innocence”
Matilde Tomat – “Innocence”
Matilde Tomat – “Innocence”

Thomas Rowsell

My inspiration for this piece of work, came from an ad for a play called “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour” which is about a Russian dissident in a mental institution. Due to the historical context of the USSR, the dissident in question would most likely have been a monarchist or opposed to the Communist system. This led me to create a vanitas style of painting representing the brutal execution of the Tsar and Tsarina and their teenage children at the hands of the Bolshevik government and Lennon. My piece shows the synth and hammer on stage, lights turned off, symbolising how the government wished to cover up their Haynes act. Similar to the events of 1917, the British government looked on and decided to do nothing, much like the audiences of “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour” would watch in dismay about how awful it must have been, but then go about their day.

Thomas Rowsell

Robbyn Walker

“The Watchers”

I had to look through this copy of The Other Paper a few times before I found something that peaked my interest, and finally settled on the Reviews pages.

I specifically chose this section to respond to, as I found it reminiscent of my work, with the reviews being for books, theatre and music, and my work being heavily influenced by movies and music. Another aspect of the reviews that also drew me in, were the eyes featured in the banner, and how they were compared to the rest of the section.

The final piece is made up layered lino prints – from black, through grey to white – and cut-out letters over grounds of newspaper and black card.

Robbyn Walker – “The Watchers”
Robbyn Walker – “The Watchers”
Robbyn Walker – “The Watchers”

If you would like to read the entire Leeds Other Paper after the 1979 election victory for Margaret Thatcher then click on this link here. Keep a look out for York St John’s Fine Art students next Secret Library Heritage Blog next Wednesday.

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