Monday, 25 January 2010

First Group Interview - Aberystwyth Arts Festival 1968

We held our first group interview last weekend with five former Aberystywyth University students who had been on the organising committee or attended Aberystwyth Arts Festival in 1968.  The '68 festival brought Fluxus to Aberystwyth with a three-day happening organised by Brian Lane, Rainbow Day and the First Dream Machine.  It included a concert of experimental electronic music, poetry events and a Fluxclinic, where particpants had their body-parts weighed, measured the capacity of their mouth and were tested for x-ray vision.

The amount of material on the festival that the group has kept was wonderful, including original leaflets from Brian Lane's 'Leaflet Concert', responses to requests to be patron of the festival (including Cecil Day Lewis, Raymond Williams and Jennie Lee), letters from Brian Lane and lots of posters. Topics covered in our conversation, apart from the Arts Festival itself, included art and politics, the 1960s underground scene, the student revolt of 1968 and links between the anarchist movement and Welsh-language activism at the time.

We are now adding all this material to the database and working on a transcript summary of the interview, all of which we hope to make available soon.

Thanks to Bob, Ian, John, Jonathan and Steve for returning to Aberystwyth and for sharing your memories, and for organising it all back in 1968. 

Friday, 15 January 2010

Finishing theme one and moving on...

The first theme of the project, performance and pedagogy, is nearly complete (well, the collection part at least).  Beck is putting the final touches to the database having processed the huge amount of material we collected from John Gingell's archive - over 1800 images!  Hopefully, we'll update the online database this month, and this material will be available on the website.  It includes many performances that we didn't know about before, along with photos and information about all manner of work carried out by John Gingell with his students and the ZOO group during the late 1960s and early 1970s.  We're indebted to John's family for giving us access to the archive, and for their help in piecing things together.  Thank you!

And on to theme two...  We're now going to be looking at networks, internationalism and student politics, and are beginning by holding a small reunion in Aberystwyth next Saturday.  We have invited a few former students who were involved in the Arts Festival in 1968 and are looking forward to hearing their memories of the events.

If anyone else has any information about, or attended, the festival, please get in touch with Beck and Heike at