Tate Britain Course

Poetry from the Archive: Text, Image, Zine led by poet James Wilkes

Margaret Mellis, ‘Sobranie Collage’ 1942
Margaret Mellis, Sobranie Collage 1942. Tate. © The estate of Margaret Mellis

Ever fancied delving into the Tate Library and Archive?

This two-day workshop gives you the opportunity to uncover and handle rarely seen illustrated letters, books and ephemera by artists such as Pauline Smith, George Brecht, Donald Rodney and John Craxton who combine text, image and materials in interesting ways. Inspired by examples of mail art, Fluxus scores, sketchbooks and personal letters, workshop participants will experiment with new ways to produce poetic texts and visual poems.

The workshop culminates in a collaborative zine-making session.

No prior experience is necessary, though participants will be encouraged to work independently and bring their own ideas and interests to the workshops. Some materials will be provided but please bring your own paper based materials to Day 2.

Day 1, 7 June

The workshop starts with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Tate Library and Archive and the chance to view and handle a selection of letters, sketchbooks, collages and ephemera from the archive.

Participants will then respond creatively to these materials through guided discussions and exercises, using them as prompts for new experiments in writing and making. Some of the questions we will think about include: how does the technology we use change the process of writing? How do we respond to ‘private’ material like sketchbook experiments or personal letters?

Day 2, 14 June

Building on their work from the previous week, participants will bring their own ideas and materials to the table using pen and pencil, found text, stencils, photocopiers and stamps, to produce new visual poems, texts or letters. Following an introduction to zine-making with examples from the library’s collection, participants will collate the work they have made to produce a photocopied zine which they can take away with them.

About James Wilkes

James Wilkes is a poet and teacher specialising in modern and contemporary art and literature. He has collaborated with scientists, artists, composers and other poets, and performed at venues including the Arnolfini, Liverpool Biennial and Ledbury Poetry Festival.

Tate Britain

London SW1P 4RG
Plan your visit


Every Saturday at 14.00–18.00 and 14.00–18.00

7–14 June 2014