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Then & Now: Arts at Warwick

The Then & Now project was born in early January 2020. It is a student-led research project that aims to promote a greater sense of learning community amongst the Faculty. As a response to the construction of the new Faculty of Arts building (due in 2021), the project compares what it was like to be an Arts student at Warwick in the past (“then”) and today (“now”), exploring both the history and evolution of the Faculty of Arts and the University of Warwick.

Undergraduate and postgraduate students from across the Arts have worked collaboratively to conduct archival research at the Modern Records Centre and Students’ Union Archive, as well as interviews with current and former staff and students. Originally conceived as a joint physical and digital exhibit, the Covid-19 pandemic pushed us to move all the research to the digital space, which incidentally gave us the opportunity to include far more material than the physical space would have supported.

It is divided into 6 different themes that combine archival findings with testimonials, to build the narrative of how Arts students have experienced their time at Warwick:
  • Art & Architecture explores the origins of the Faculty of Arts, the importance of having these sorts of courses in a primarily industrial area, and the growth of the art collection distributed around campus.
  • The Degree Timeline is a reflection on the courses the Faculty has offered through the years, and how their inclusion – or exclusion – reflects the students’ demands.
  • The Interactive Campus Map is a testimony of the memories created by students in the different spaces in Warwick.
  • Student & Alumni Experiences explores different themes like Academic Experience and Student Politics. It contrasts contemporary experiences with issues found in prospectuses, student handbooks, student publications, etc., from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.
  • The Isolation Diaries is a project that was born during the Covid-19 crisis. It is a testimony of how much our lives as students (and academics) have changed, as well as a reflection on what is to come in the future.
  • Behind the Scenes shows all the work that has been put into this project, and the challenges it has undergone. Plus, you get to know each of our personal experiences with this experience.
  • Finally, in the Interview Repository you can find all the interview materials that were used throughout the different themes to bring this project to life. This will hopefully be a useful resource for future researchers!

With over 50 years of history and many thousands of students having passed through the Faculty, the number of stories to tell is limitless. We hope the material on this website will give you a taste of these – and maybe even inspire you to take a look at the Faculty’s history yourself!

The website is not the end of the project, which will continue to grow in the months and years to come. As part of the project, we have created the official Then & Now Instagram account, where you can find out more about the project, contribute and interact through the stories. The current project contributors will have the opportunity to publish in a special issue of Exchanges, due for publication during the 2020-21 academic year. The physical exhibit will hopefully still take place in the future, whilst off-shoots from this project are envisaged with new cohorts of student researchers in years to come.

The project has been kindly funded by the Institute of Advanced Teaching and Learning (IATL). The contributors would like to thank Dr. Kathryn Woods (former Director of Student Experience) who founded the project, and Liz Woods (archivist) and Melissa Downing (Widening Participation Officer) from the Library/MRC for all their support this year.

For more information email Pierre Botcherby: p.botcherby@warwick.ac.uk

You can find additional resources in the following links:

MRC website: https://warwick.ac.uk/services/library/mrc/

MRC blog: https://warwickmrc.wordpress.com/

Warwick Digital Collections: https://wdc.contentdm.oclc.org/

Art Space 53: http://lsa-artists.org/Artspace/Masters/Issue53.pdf

IALT Blog: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/iatl/sharing-practice/blog/2020-08-03

The Exchanges Podcast, Art Students Then & Now: https://anchor.fm/exchangesias/episodes/Art-Students-Then--Now-eg62eq/a-a2jnm1i 

The Boar, interview with Pierre Botcherby and Elena Ruikyte: https://theboar.org/2020/06/interview-with-then-and-now-arts-at-warwick/

The Boar, Eilidh McKell experience: https://theboar.org/2020/07/thenandnowarts/

Watch the Online Exhibition Launch we had on June 11th, 2020:

Browse through our themes and our instagram page by clicking on the boxes below!
Art and architecture Degree timeline
Interactive campus map Student Experiences
Isolation diaries Behind the scenes
Interview repository Instagram
Let us know your comments, thoughts and suggestions in the comment section below!