The Art of War at The National Archives (2005)

Whilst The National Archives were looking for artist biography material, they came across my website, read about my PhD thesis, and decided they needed my expertise. I was contracted in as an editorial consultant.

Following any necessary extra research, I wrote the following content for the site:

  • About 95% of the captions, and the group descriptions, for the illustrations and propaganda sections
  • The information on INF 3 and the Ministry of Information
  • Much of the information on artists was taken from my website, plus I did further research, and wrote some of the entries.

The images and original records are free to view and are available on As well as downloading the artwork and the history behind it, online visitors could send selected images to their mobile phone or as e-cards. Visitors can also arrange to visit The National Archives to see the originals, others in the collection, and the finished posters.


Job Centre Experience

Things went from humbling to comic. Gill’s circumstances did not fit any of the boxes on the official’s computer screen. And if she defied classification she could not exist. “Tell me what your job was and I’ll do a job search for you,” said the official. “Operations director for a Footsie plc,” said Gill. “It’s not coming up with anything. What about ‘area manager’?” “Yes,” sighed my friend, by this time a broken woman, “area manager will do.” (The Times, 30 December 2008)

Gill, felt strongly enough about the process to write to Harriet Harman, but has not received a reply. “I amuse myself thinking, what if it had been her? If they did a job search for her – Cabinet minister or secretary of state – they’d probably come up with cabinet maker or office secretary.

It’s good to laugh in times of distress, and this article, which my mum has just sent me in the post, did that! Having taken voluntary redundancy in December 2006, I chose to go travelling, in the full expectation that (as always before), I would be able to get a job on my return, and preferably this time, it would be a more fulfilling job. On return from round-the-world travels, I was then offered the summer season to work with Oak Hall, which was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

On returning back to the UK, I found I’d walked right slap-back into the middle of the credit crunch and things were going to be be maybe a little different, so, in order to ensure the continuity of my National Insurance coverage (why was I worried about that, I’d not paid them for the previous 2 years), I “signed on”. Fully expecting, as my friends had, to be offered 13 weeks in which to find an appropriate professional job, utilising my academic experience and web skills, I was told that as I hadn’t been in that kind of field recently, I would have to go for ANYTHING, even though on my first job application I’d received an interview and had been the second choice for the role! The experience was one of the least favourite experiences of my life, but I decided that if I was going to have to apply for work simply to pay the bills, then I should at least look to do so in an area where I had friends – Winchester! 

Moving my sign-on process to Winchester was a much pleasanter experience, so they are not all like this! With another interview in the pipeline, and having done some freelance web work (see web-project) in the meantime, the parameters were changed, and 13 weeks were accordingly awarded! With further web-work offered this week, I’ve officially been signed-off for this week, with the expectation that I’ll need to go through the rapid reclaim process when this short-term project expires. With another web project agreed, and other possibilities in the pipe-line from the temping agencies, hopefully I won’t need to go through the process again, but I will as necessary, and it’s good life-experience to aid in the setting up of my business as a life-coach, for which I will be trained by March 2009.


Winchester Holistics

Winchester Holistics is a holistic myofascial release, craniosacral therapy, hotstone massage, stretching and reflexology service based in Winchester, Hampshire (UK), providing complementary therapies. The site was created under the banner of my business MyDesigna, we initially created a site for Reflexive Feet in early 2007, but decided that New Year 2009 was time for a fresh look. I discussed the needs of the site with Tina Hitchens, holistic therapy practitioner and owner of Winchester Holistics (which we decided to rebrand as Tina has developed a wider range of therapeutic skills than reflexology and hot stone massage, which was the initial business). I then redesigned the site, purchased the images from StockXPERT, researched and wrote up new content. There’s still a bit more to do, but this site is already SO much better than the previous one, we can polish it off as time goes on… and to be honest, is a website ever completely finished?!


Image Sources

Arranging a photo-shoot can be an expensive business, but websites look rather stark with no imagery (although I always believe the information must come first). Taking photos through e.g. Google’s image search generally means that you are using illegal images.

Microstock Photography
There are many different microstock photography sites, in which you can purchase Royalty-free (free from licence restrictions) images for as low as $0.20 per image if you sign up to a subscription plan. Pay as you go images are more expensive per image, and credits usually need to be used within a year, although the image is then yours to use. Check the small print as, for example, Shutterstock says that an image must be first-used within 6-months of download to prevent stockpiling.

Purchasing Credits
It is rare that you will find a site which will only let you buy a single image credit, so expect to buy several photos from each site if you sign up, usually with a credit card, sometimes with PayPal. All will let you sign up and add images to ‘lightboxes’ for free… in the hope that you will return and purchase them!

  • Bigstockphoto approx $20 for 10 images
  • Dreamstime approx. $20 for 22 images, but also provides free images
  • Fotolia from 57p – £3.99 for a single-image
  • iStockphoto starts at £9.00 for 10 credits, cost per credit decreases as more are purchased
  • Shutterstock £29 for 5 images, or by subscription
  • Snapvillage images from $1
  • Stock.xchng offers free images or refers you to Stock Expert where small web images are around $1 each. 
  • Photobucket mostly designed for the MySpace user, but has some gems tucked away through the search function

For historical (and very creative recent) images Getty Images comes highly recommended. To search for images created in a particular era search for e.g. “Image created 1940s”. Royalty free images start at £39 for web-use only.

You Tube
You Tube is of the course the ubiquitous video-posting site, so I’ve set up an account there and just uploaded one small video!

Just a thought on Social Networking
Finding the Tagged site slightly freaky in that people (well, blokes) vote ‘YES’, send messages and WINK at me (I guess it makes a change from pokes), especially in the 20 minutes after I’ve just checkeed the site!


Careers: Not for Profit Organisations

Working has never been about earning money for me (although obviously we live in a world where things need to be paid for, and I would like to be appropriately recognised for the effort I have put into training with an appropriate wage), but more about making a difference in the world. Therefore, I am signing up with some of the following agencies:

As a Christian, I am also checking out agencies specialising in (advertising) that particular line of work, including:

I posted a new version of my personal website today: Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to spend as long on it as I’d like, but it’s more focused than the previous version.