Following various museum and archive roles at The National Trust for Scotland, The University of Glasgow and The Glasgow School of Art, my current role as Collections Development Officer for GSA’s Archives and Collections recovery project is to oversee the cataloguing, documentation, digitisation, conservation and repackaging of GSA’s holdings following a major fire in the School’s Mackintosh Building in May 2014, which resulted in the loss of parts of the School’s built heritage, art and furniture holdings and damage to some of its archives, objects and textiles. This role also involves migrating to new collections and image management software. I also manage a team of volunteers, student work placements and internships who support associated activities.
I am on the committee for the Scottish Society for Art History and Archives Advisor for the Scottish Jewish Archives. I have given a number of papers on topics ranging from copyright and archives and Scottish carpet design and manufacture, to the role of art in the WWI.
Look Who’s Archiving Too: Diversifying the Archives and Collections workforce in the aftermath of the Mackintosh fire at The Glasgow School of Art
Does the archives sector have the skillset it needs to perform to the best of its ability? What can archivists learn from other sectors and from non-professionals? In times of upheaval or disaster especially, can archive staff cope without help from outside the sector?
The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) suffered a devastating fire in its celebrated Mackintosh Building in 2014 which affected both the building and the School’s Archives and Collections. A recovery project which seeks to stabilise and rebuild GSA’s holdings through conservation, documentation, digitisation and collections management has been underway since March 2015. Though professional archive skills rightly underpin every aspect of the recovery project, the Archives and Collections team are discovering that a workforce with a diverse range of skills is essential not only to ensure the success of the recovery project, but also to aid the general running of the service, and as such are drawing on non-traditional archive skills - and non-professional staff - to undertake many of the tasks related to this work.
This paper will examine how recent HLF-funded Skills for the Future traineeships and a work placement programme including collaborations between GSA and The University of Glasgow, The University of Edinburgh and the University of the West of Scotland have benefited GSA’s Archives and Collections service, as well as how non-professional archive staff and volunteers with unique and diverse skills have significantly aided the fire recovery project in areas such as IT, photography and image editing, conservation, repackaging, archaeology and project management.
SHARON KELLY (Presenting with Jan Merchant)
I graduated with an MA (Hons) History of Art from the University of St Andrews in 1999, and have just completed my diploma in Archives & Records Management with CAIS. After the conference I’ll be starting the dissertation leading to an M.Litt.
My first job was with the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, initially as Cataloguer then Project Supervisor. Following a relocation back to Dundee, I returned to St Andrews University, my Alma Mater, as Collections Support Officer before taking a career break to raise my family.
Returning to the workplace, I volunteered with University of Dundee Archive Services for a brief spell before embarking on a Skills for the Future traineeship in the Archive. My focus was on Outreach, Community Engagement and Digitisation, a remit which continues in my current post of Assistant Archivist at the University.
I am involved with all aspects of archival work, including cataloguing and outreach, helping promote the collections via exhibitions, social media and devising activities for school groups.
Archives are fun: providing creative learning experiences for school children
This workshop will explore how archival items can be ideal tools to engage primary school pupils in the curriculum requirements of listening with care, talking confidently, analysis and understanding, creativity and developing identity.
Archives are resources that provide significant and tangible experiences, unique to each activity created around them. Handling the records triggers wonder and appreciation, a recognition of the stories they contain. They are a springboard to creativity, active learning and self-reflection, tying the past to the present.
Using some original material the workshop will be an opportunity to do activities designed for younger children and explore how they can be developed for a wider audience including students and community groups.
After gaining a degree in Music and theatre arts from Exeter University I ran away with the circus- or several circuses to be exact. This nomadic and creative lifestyle was to inspire a life during which I have travelled extensively internationally as a performer, teacher and researcher of creative arts. I am a multi-instrumentalist and one of Scotland’s leading storytellers. I have held posts of Storyteller in residence for the National Museums of Scotland and also at Edinburgh castle for Historic Scotland. My passion for world cultures with a special love for music, stories and dance led me to direct a project called ‘Voices in Scotland’ which brought together artists from around the world who now reside and practice their art in Scotland. This culminated in the release of a double Cd and sell out shows at the Celtic Connections Festival, International Storytelling Festival and Commonwealth Day celebrations at City Halls in Glasgow. I am presently Vice Chair of the Storytelling Forum and an advisor for Qisetna-Talking Syria. I deeply hold the belief that the arts are powerful tools for cultural exchange and building stronger communities.
Community Archives: People’s archives kept by the people, for the people. A Community Archive and Heritage Group (CAHG) panel
Qisetna: Talking Syria
Qisetna: Talking Syria is a non- political platform for Syrians and the people who have a close connection with the country to share their stories.
It provides a reminder of the humanity of ordinary Syrians through their relationship with arts, culture, sports and places.
Marion will discuss the work of award winning Qisetna: Talking Syria and her involvement in a recent collaboration alongside them, New Arts Exchange Nottingham and some of the Syrian and British residents of the city of Nottingham. The residency which was bilingual, was led by Syrian artist and ‘Hakawati’ [Storyteller] Bassam Dawood and British musician and storyteller Marion Kenny. The residency focused on storytelling as a tool for cultural exchange and building stronger communities. It led to a performance of stories and music and Lakesides Arts Theatre in Nottingham.
WILLIAM KILBRIDE (also presenting with Sarah Higgins)
SPEAKER PROFILE COMING SOON
Let digits flourish: the skills that archivists need and how to get them
I am the Archivist for the Ballast Trust a charity that provides a rescue, sorting and cataloguing service for business archives. We celebrate 30 years of understanding technical records in 2018 and since I joined in 2009 I’ve been converted to the joys of shipbuilding and engineering plans and drawings.
I discovered archives when deciding what to do with my history degree from the University of Edinburgh and completed my MSc in information management and preservation at the University of Glasgow in 2007. I started my professional career in Records Management roles at the University of Edinburgh and then Stirling Council before moving to become Ballast Trust Archivist. My current role also involves working with the Scottish Business Archive at the University of Glasgow and I’m a social media enthusiast with responsibility for 4 heritage and archive related twitter accounts.
30-minute makeover: Understanding and Using Technical Records
In 2018 the Ballast Trust celebrates 30 years of working with technical records of business. We define technical records as those plans, drawings and photographs typically found in business archive collections such as those for the construction, engineering, architectural, design and manufacturing industries. These records provide evidence of the creation and development of a product or structure and complement the administrative records for a full understanding of business operations. However technical records, particularly in the form of architectural plans, also appear in many different types of collections held by repositories across the archives sector.
This session will makeover your attitude to technical records! We understand that these types of collections are often voluminous, refer to technical subject matters and that therefore their appraisal and description can appear daunting to archivists. However, we aim to demonstrate that their reputation as difficult, shelf-hogging collections is ill-deserved.
We will explore the different uses of technical records and provide a practical overview of the methods developed by the Ballast Trust to select and appraise technical records with hands-on examples from industrial collections.
I joined The Shubert Archive as Processing Archivist in 2015, having worked previously at numerous archives and special collections, including the University of Washington, New York Public Library, King County Archives, and New York University. I earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Hunter College, City University of New York and an M.L.I.S. from the Palmer School of Library & Information Science, Long Island University. I have been a Certified Archivist since 2005.
Throughout my career, I have been active professionally and held several leadership roles. Among my favourites are: Dance Librarians Discussion Group convener and editor of the newsletter of the Performing Arts Roundtable of the Society of American Archivists. I also was involved with the American Theatre Archive Project, a national grassroots initiative dedicated to assisting active performing arts companies with the preservation of their legacy. In addition, I have significant experience as a freelance archival consultant.
The People Behind the Records: Launching the Early Employees Project
Established in 1976 as a project of the Shubert Foundation, more than forty years later the Shubert Archive remains committed to its mission “to preserve the business and artistic records of the Shubert Brothers and the Shubert Organization.” Something of a hybrid of a corporate archive and specialist research collection, the Archive faces an unusual set of challenges in trying to meet twenty-first century expectations regarding access by increasingly sophisticated and demanding users (both internal and external), while still maintaining sufficient control over intellectual property and other company assets. To this end, we have attempted to more broadly share the Archive’s rich and varied records through embarking upon strategic digitization projects and employing extensible processing methodologies. Reprocessing legacy collections also provides a valuable opportunity to help to create a more equitable archival record. Instead of focusing solely on the histories of company founders and leaders, we are seeking to underscore the contributions of traditionally underrepresented communities in our outreach initiatives and descriptive tools.
In addition to providing a very brief overview of the Shubert Organization and the Shubert Archive, my presentation will discuss the development of our nascent Early Employees Project, an effort to uncover information about those women and LGBTQ personnel who contributed to the enormous growth of the company in the first half of the twentieth century. I will share some stories about a few of the many individuals, who, in the words of queer theatre historian Kim Marra, formed a “network [that] was part of an emerging queer subculture that . . . was instrumental in the growth of Broadway” and American cultural history. Given the time constraints, I hope to concentrate on the careers of four diverse employees – Helen Arthur, Melville Ellis, Howard Jacott, and Anna Marble – whose tenure with the company overlapped during the pivotal years (between 1909-1915) when the company solidified its dominance of commercial theatre management in the United States.
ERICA KOTZE (Presenting with Jonathan Hines)
Erica Kotze ACR is the preventive conservator at the University of St Andrews Special Collections Division. Appointed in St Andrews in 2015, Erica’s previous posts include Head of Conservation at the University of Aberdeen’s Special Collections and paper conservator at the Book & Paper conservation studio at the University of Dundee. Erica was the Historic Scotland funded book and paper conservation intern in 2003 and was awarded the Pilgrim Trust student conservator of the year award in the same year.
Erica is an accredited member of the Institute of Conservation and has been a member of the Icon Scotland Group committee since 2005.
GINA LARRISEY (presenting with Darren Coyne and Victoria Hoyle)
I was in and out of the care system between 1972 and 1986, then permanently up until I was discharged in 1990. I was in several foster homes, assessment centres and hostels before moving to my own flat independently. I left school passing all my GCSE’s then studied catering, gaining first year qualifications.
I had my first child in 1991 then subsequently two more children. I struggled to fit jobs in around single parenthood and became a sales representative as this suited my life style. I quickly became one of the top reps in the country and have been for twenty years.
I am also the published author of two books, one of which is my autobiography.
When I heard about the MIRRA project I jumped at the chance to become involved as I am passionate about care leavers and helping them to access their files as I did.
Jack Latimer has been helping community archives catalogue their collections for the last twenty years. He has provided guidance and support, both through advice on the phone and through his work in drawing up the national Community Archive Cataloguing Guidelines. He also has supported them in practice through his company www.communitysites.co.uk, which provides open-source cataloguing software for community archives.
Community Archives: People’s archives kept by the people, for the people. Community Archive and Heritage Group (CAHG) panel
Helping community archives keep records: challenges and achievements
Jack will reflect on the many groups and projects he has worked with and draw out the practical lessons. What are the main pitfalls community archives face when cataloguing? What are the ingredients for success? How can groups best be helped and supported?
NICOLA LAURENT (Presenting with Michaela Hart)
I am the Project Archivist on the Find & Connect web resource, eScholarship Research Centre, University of Melbourne. My research interests are in advocating for sustainable access to online material through the preservation of links, promoting the issue of content drift and link rot, and discussing the impact of vicarious trauma on archivists. I have previously presented on topics including vicarious trauma, broken links, interactive timelines and engaging with community. I am currently the Co-convenor for the Australian Society of Archivists Victorian Branch and a Councillor for the Australian Society of Archivists.
Are they trying to hide something? I’ve been led astray!: Broken links and embedding trust
Broken links are all over the internet, creating barriers to access and frustration when browsing, but what few people realise is the powerful, negative and traumatising impact broken links can have on vulnerable people.
The Find & Connect web resource (www.findandconnect.gov.au) is an Australian government-funded initiative to provide information for people who grew up in out-of-home care in Australia in the twentieth century. The web resource contains thousands of internal and external links, many to archival and library sites, linking to material held about child welfare.
To ensure the web resource met their needs, usability testing was undertaken with Care Leavers. An unforeseen finding of this process was the psychological impact that broken links could have on our audience. Several participants spoke of the emotions triggered by encountering broken links meaning Find & Connect’s validity and trustfulness is reliant upon these links working.
This paper will provide a case study to explore the scale and effect of broken links and reference rot and highlight the need to embed persistent access throughout all stages of web design. It will also discuss the implications for a public knowledge space providing persistent and resilient online information.
Failure to provide persistent links and supply simple access methods has the potential to re-traumatise people and means knowledge is more easily forgotten. This paper will also ask why we should care and need to act, highlighting how none of the decisions we make as archivists are neutral.
I am Head of Archive at the National Theatre where I have worked since 2012 and I am particularly interested in the documentation of creative process. I work across all departments at the NT liaising with production and administrative departments on records management, projects and outreach.
I graduated from Oxford in 2010 with an MA in Classics and won a scholarship to study for an MS in Library and Information Science at Syracuse, New York in 2011 where I worked in the University Archives alongside my degree. I focussed on cataloguing organisational collections as well as assisting with the Pan Am Flight 103/Lockerbie Air Disaster Archives. I am Chair of the Association of Performing Arts Collections, a subject specialist network for archives, museums and libraries containing performing arts content in the UK. I am also a Trustee of the National Jazz Archive and a member of the BAFTA Heritage Committee.
Who Should Save the Soap Bubbles of Performance?
I recently read an excerpt from a 2004 interview with Peter Hall where he claims that he was happy for his materials to disappear ‘like soap bubbles’ (The Homecoming: An Interview with Peter Hall held at the American Film Theatre Collection). One of the fundamentally difficult things about archiving theatre, aside from its ephemeral nature, is the approach that practitioners take to their work. Not only do we need to battle the format of live performance but we also need to convince many practitioners, not all I must add, that their work can and should remain in the Archive for use in the future.
In this lightening talk I propose an approach to expanding collaboration and communication for performing arts archives and look at several projects that the NT is undertaking to develop research and understanding into how a diverse range of people can affect what is kept in an archive and how it is used.
I am an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Midlands3Cities funded doctoral candidate at the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester, UK. My research explores influences on and approaches to archive exhibitions, examining how archivists can develop innovative displays which fully utilise our understanding of the historical and material significance of archives. More broadly it is concerned with how archives can and are transforming the physical visitor experience to offer dynamic and alternative forms of engagement. I received a Master’s degree in Archives and Records Management from the University of Liverpool in 2003, and my dissertation on online exhibitions was published in the Journal of the Society of Archivists in 2006. I worked at Nottinghamshire Archives until 2015, as Archivist (Public Services) and, later, as Principal Archivist with responsibility for learning and outreach services, records management, electronic services and collections management.
The Archive as Venue: Rethinking the Visitor Experience through Exhibition
Archivists are continuously aware of the need to encourage visitors and to seek new ways of enabling engagement with archival records. Community engagement and different outreach initiatives provide a variety of ways of sharing our archival collections; whilst archives are increasingly developing access in the digital environment. Within this vibrant landscape, there is the opportunity to consider how archivists can increase awareness of their records and reflect on how approachable we can make ourselves through a reshaping of the physical visitor experience. This places emphasis on the archive as a venue, looking at how the archive may be considered as something other than a research experience; how it can also be a destination, where archives can be explored within a creative, social space.
This paper will consider the idea of a refocused physical experience through a specific medium, the archive exhibition, examining how exhibitions can be used to present different and innovative forms of engagement as part of a process of increasing and diversifying audiences. Exhibitions can help us engage with stories, hold discussions and debate, afford emotional experiences and consider our own histories, all experienced within a spatial medium. Drawing on my PhD research into innovative forms of exhibition, the paper will use a selection of case studies to explore how engaging displays can play an important role in the wider experience of visiting an archive, and will present conclusions relating to how we might reconsider different and new approaches to exhibition which can develop and broaden our audiences.
JENNIFER LIGHTBODY (presenting with Eva Moya)
I am currently studying for an MSc in Information Management and Preservation at the University of Glasgow, with my dissertation addressing the promotion of shipbuilding records. My background is in ship design engineering, having spent 18 years in BAE Systems designing quiet ships, gaining both technical and project management skills and experience.
I was looking to change direction in my career and, stemming from a long-held interest in family history, moved into archiving. Last year I was fortunate to complete a Skills of the Future traineeship through the Scottish Council on Archives, based at Glasgow City Archives and the Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections. Both organisations gave a great insight into the day-to-day workings of an archive, how archival material is used, and outreach and engagement within an archive. This experience has provided me with a strong basis for the MSc course, and for moving into the sector.
The Clyde Built Glasgow and Glasgow Built the Clyde – a Wealth of Shipbuilding Archives in Scotland
People make Glasgow – People make Records – People in the Records
The Clyde has launched tens of thousands of ships, from aircraft carriers and naval destroyers to yachts and cruise liners, sailing waters the world over. Archives held across Scotland detail the huge workforce that designed and built these ships, in an industry that shaped the west of Scotland.
Photography became a feature of shipyard life at Clydebank from the mid-1880s onward as a means of recording construction activity in 'progress of construction' photographs. The photographers employed at Clydebank often transcended mere record photography producing poignant, beautifully composed images capturing the sheer scale of the industrial effort as well as the majesty of many of the most important ships ever to be built in the UK. The images they recorded offer a remarkable, detailed and irreplaceable insight into shipbuilding for which the River Clyde was rightly famous.
Ship plans show the design skills which went into these vessels, captured by skilled draughtsmen. Meeting minutes tell of dilution of labour and the impact of war on the yards; company newsletters tell of the workers in the yards and the social aspect of the shipyard communities.
The archives hold a wealth of information for social historians, model makers, enthusiasts and more, telling the stories of a once-prospering industry and the heyday of ship production supplying a world market. They hold great potential for understanding the workforce of this illustrious industry which ensured the Clyde was renowned worldwide, and deserve to be celebrated.
I have a varied professional and educational background, with community heritage and grassroots sustainability action being my key focus points. I have worked and volunteered in archives (LMA, Oxford University Archives), with community heritage projects (Exiles: The Ugandan Asian Project, West Oxford's Environmental Heritage), and with sustainability action groups (OxGrow Community Garden, Oxford Food Surplus Cafe, Broken Spoke Bike Co-op, CAG Oxfordshire). I have recently completed my postgraduate degree in Archives and Records Management at UCL and one of my main interests is records creation and capture in small organisations and informal groups, especially as it relates to shaping institutional and social memory. I am currently working as Project Coordinator for CAG Oxfordshire and International Links Assistant at Oxford City Council, and running the Women’s History Oxford project on voluntary basis.
A mirror on a cloud: using cloud-based environment to capture 21st century records
In this lightening talk, I would like to share with colleagues the idea of using a cloud-based environment as a space for accessioning new records, particularly those of under resourced organisations with primarily digital presence (community organisations, start-ups, individual initiatives). Record creation in such organisations happens in a very dynamic, flexible and unstable setting. Capturing their records can therefore only happen if archival institutions use the 'continuum' approach and intervene early in the life of the records to capture the right representation of the organisation's activities. Given the limited resources within which archival institutions have to currently operate, going out to engage small organisations and acquire their records can seem an unattainable luxury; this, in turn, puts a large portion of records at risk of falling into obscurity. The solution may lie in available low-cost technologies which most of these record creators are familiar with. Many of them use easily available cloud storage (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc) for their day-to-day record keeping and replicating an environment familiar to them could make it easier for archives to carry out an early intervention and accession their records on a regular basis, at a relatively low cost (both financially and in terms of time) to the archive service. This could help us ensure our archives represent a broad spectrum of our society, its people and institutions, and that, in Gerald Ham's words, they truly 'hold up a mirror' for humankind.
I discovered the world of archive management while doing an undergraduate degree in History at the University of the West of England, when visits to Bristol Archives became the highlight of my research. A summer of work experience at the Suffolk Record Office (Ipswich) confirmed this was a career I wanted to pursue, leading to an Archive Traineeship post at the National Records of Scotland and the Archive Administration course at Aberystwyth University. Since then, I have had the fortune to work on a number of varied projects, involving the Rhodesian Army; Bristol Zoo Gardens; and a brief stint at The Art Fund. I have spent the last four years in the field of sound archives, working with the Essex Sound and Video Archive (at the Essex Record Office) on a Heritage Lottery Funded project to digitise, catalogue, and share our recordings.
‘At the Touch of a Button’: Facilitating User Engagement with Oral History through the Essex Sound and Video Archive’s You Are Hear Project
From August 2015 to July 2018, the Essex Sound and Video Archive at the Essex Record Office ran a Heritage Lottery Funded project, You Are Hear: sound and a sense of place. The project enabled us to digitise and catalogue a number of our sound recordings (vital for preservation and access), focussing particularly on oral history interviews.
Once sound recordings have been digitised, it is easy to encourage engagement: they can be shared online without preservation implications, and, as real ‘voices of the past’, they are more accessible than a document in secretary hand or stacks of minute books.
The funded You Are Hear project enabled greater engagement when we took the recordings out into the county: through an online audio map; touring audio-video kiosks loaded with clips; and especially our listening benches, park benches that play clips of recordings about the local area. By installing these devices in a range of places, we reached a range of people, beyond our typical audience.
Is this how to encourage engagement: providing easy access to bite-size clips? Or is this too superficial to qualify as ‘engagement’? What happens to the value of the recording when two minutes of an hour-long oral history interview are taken out of context? Usage tracking tells us that people did engage with the devices, but how do we find out how people engaged with them, and the impact of that engagement?
This presentation will offer You Are Hear as a case study of how sound recordings can be taken out of the archive, but will also raise questions about how to measure successful ‘engagement’.
GILLIAN MAPSTONE (presenting with Tim Gollins)
Currently the Senior Court Archivist at National Records of Scotland, I have the privileged responsibility of safeguarding the archival records of centuries of Scotland’s people.
Graduating with an MA in History from University of Edinburgh, I took up my first professional role as graduate trainee at John Rylands University Library of Manchester, followed by an MA in Archives and Records Management at the University of Liverpool.
I joined the National Records of Scotland (NRS) as an Inspecting Officer working on Government Records since then I have held a number of positions including working as NRS first corporate records manager and an extended secondment to Midlothian Council working on records and archives services.
What started as an interest in the past has been transformed over the 20 years of my career into my unapologetic and passionate advocacy of the central importance of records, archives and information for democratic accountability and people.
People are Records: Their Story Becomes Our History.
This paper argues the fundamental need for a shift from a statist to a person centred approach to archival selection to reflect the central value of particular instance records in documenting our modern society.
Traditional archival theory and practice demands the capture of the documents of the establishment; be that the state, the crown, the church, big business or the landed classes.
This approach placed no value on the much-maligned particular instance paper; the focus was not on the person. Sampling and in particular biased sampling was the norm.
Archives must embrace and reflect the new democratised information society heralded by the ubiquity of the internet; documenting and recording events is no longer a privileged activity.
We examine all these themes from two perspectives. The first perspective is the unique person centric collection of court records held by the National Records of Scotland, what they offer the historian, the challenges they bring for the archivist and their centrality in understanding Scotland and Scotland’s people. Our second perspective will be to examine how our developing approaches to Digital Archiving will empower and enable the archive to capture the documentation of the citizen and their interaction with the state in all its forms.
ANTHONY MCCOUBREY (Presenting with Suzanne Rose)
In my current position I am a project coordinator for the Beyond Boxes project at the Mass Observation Archive at the University of Sussex. I have been working in the archive sector since 2011, when I began volunteering at the University of Sussex Special Collections. My role as a project coordinator involves working in the local community to increase access and engagement to archives at the Keep in Brighton, where the Mass Observation Archive is held. Coming from a history background I am particularly interested in aspects of everyday life and how archives can actively engage with people to record their lives. I am a member of the ARA and am currently studying for an MLitt in Archives and Records Management at the University of Dundee.
Beyond Boxes: engaging people with archives and archives with people.
Beyond Boxes, a Heritage Lottery funded project at the Mass Observation Archive has been working with community organisations to encourage people to use archives and in turn contribute their lived experiences to the collection. This reciprocal approach has enabled Mass Observation (MO) to break down a number of barriers, which may have historically prevented people from diverse and more marginalised communities to engage with archives. MO is actively working with prisoners at HMP Lewes, people who are street homeless in Brighton and members of Blind Veterans UK to deliver Beyond Boxes, a unique access and engagement programme based at The Keep.
The first part of the presentation will look at Beyond Boxes more broadly, highlighting how archival projects within the community benefit the archive in diversifying audiences and making archives more inclusive and representative. The latter part of the presentation, through the use of a case study of outreach at HMP Lewes, will explore the role outreach has in promoting the use of records remotely. In particular, it will draw attention to the experiences and rewards people have when using records and how they can inspire them to record their own lives and history.
Beyond Boxes has shown that people truly do make records and with the right support, such programmes can revolutionise people’s access to and engagement with archives and this in turn can enrich and transform the records therein.
JAN MERCHANT (Presenting with Sharon Kelly)
I graduated MA (Hons) Modern History from the University of Dundee and stayed on to complete my PhD, during which I began my archival career with the University Archive, first as Archive Assistant, then Project Archivist for 'The Drawn Evidence'.
Moving to a local authority environment, I spent several years as Assistant Archivist with Perth and Kinross Council Archive where I further developed my professional skills, qualifying as an Archivist in 2004. I have extensive tutoring experience, including the Modern Scottish History Distance Learning Course and with CAIS, where I currently supervise students doing their Masters dissertations.
As Senior Archivist, my main responsibilities include managing the collections, teaching, supervising volunteers and trainees and developing the Archive's outreach and education programme.
I attended the University of Edinburgh as a mature student (2000-2006) where I was awarded an MA degree and MscR in Ethnology. Since then I have worked with the School of Scottish Studies Archives at the university. My job here is varied and includes working with students who are doing fieldwork as part of their undergraduate or PG courses and creating finding aids for our archive resources (which includes sound, film and manuscript). I also work with the EERC, a research project based at the University of Edinburgh and here I help to train volunteer fieldworkers and contribute to the EERC publications schedule. My most recent publication with the EERC, ‘Stranraer and District Lives: Voices in Trust’ brought together material from 42 oral history recordings collected by the Stranraer and District Local History Trust between 1999 and 2016.
Voicing Culture: Some Observations on the Influence of Changing Practice on Oral History Fieldwork Collecting and Archives.
When the School of Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh, was set up in 1951 one of the guiding principles was to facilitate the democratisation of the historical record by making fieldwork recordings with individuals and groups from across society in order to create a more coherent and meaningful record of the lived life. People have always been at the heart of that process. Not just those being interviewed but also the fieldworkers and those who then create the finding aids which facilitate access to the recordings.
This talk will look at changes in collecting practices over time: what factors have influenced change? And to what effect? It is also important to consider not just what is in the collection, but what isn’t there and, specifically, who isn’t being represented? To what extent can we say a collection reflects the community at any given moment in time?
In the context of constant change: in technology, academic thinking and the role of the individual players, we are now seeing a further democratisation of the fieldwork process. Increasingly, collecting is being done outwith established institutions with the traditional roles of collector and contributor often being overturned completely. What are the implications of this change and how does this influence perceptions of authenticity? What might we gain, or lose in consequence? What will be the role of the traditional sound archive in the future? Can we safeguard the empirical knowledge gained over many decades, within which ethics play a central role, and make it available to support this new phase of collecting?
By considering a number of different contemporary models, this talk will explore the development of fieldwork practice and offer some thoughts for the future of our discipline and the archives we are creating.
As a professional archivist and artist. For the past several years, I have been cataloguing a diverse range of archives held at the University of Glasgow Archives & Special Collections. These include theatre / performance artists, University professors, historic Scottish beverage and publishing businesses. I invite you to join me at the Artist Archivist Archive installation on Thursday where you can interact with my artwork I have created about these experiences.
The Artist Archivist Archive
Artists’ create visual records that document their experience or thoughts. The art records have no fixity and remain permanently active since an audience will always have a unique experience of the record; engage with multiple definitions and layers of context. Their experience of the art is wholly subjective, which in some ways leads to tensions with archivists’ who are driven by accurate description and fixity. This thought might be over-complicating the relationship between an artist, archivist and audience. Yet it persuaded me it was worth making a lot of artwork about the archive profession.
I am inviting you to experience the Artist Archivist Archive. This is an active art installation space. Your contribution / engagement as an audience is just as critical as the art records. You are encouraged and welcome to join The Artist Archivist in the search room. Order records from the catalogue. Ask critical questions about the art, about how you as an individual or institution can engage with creative practitioners. This is a safe objective space to question the value of engaging the arts within our communities.
The archive holds the art records created by The Artist Archivist. The past three years, my practice has centred upon exploring the relationship between the artist and archivist. Each artwork in someway documents the tension / contrast in professional approach and behaviour. The art records include collages, sketches and paintings. As well as a wider array of research papers & notebooks. The Artist Archivist is performing the role of storyteller, the more you engage with the individual & records, the more you will experience.
The artwork is all about experiencing the moment. There will be drawing materials on hand if you wish to document your experience of the art or wider conference themes. I encourage you to put away your iPads, phones, technologies’ for a weeeee while and come and join The Artist Archivist for some creative experiences. Remember, Archivists’ make records to.
EVA MOYA (presenting with Jennifer Lightbody)
I am a Collections Conservator working at the National Records of Scotland. I graduated from the University of Granada with a degree in Conservation and a MA in Preventive conservation from Northumbria University. Since graduating, I have worked in both the private and the public sectors, moving from paintings to paper and photography conservation.
I developed an interest in Industrial photography and conservation of photographic materials since I started working on the Upper Clyde Shipbuilding glass plate preservation project at NRS, soon after I moved to Scotland from my native Spain in 2003. Ever since, I have cleaned, documented, repaired, rehoused, imaged and admired thousands of glass plate negatives from this extensive collection. I have also had the opportunity to meet, collaborate and learn from naval historians, enthusiasts and specialists in the field, assisting their research and helping to promote public access to the collection.
I have been involved in archives for the past 18 years, initially as a voracious user of records for my own research, and then, after deciding that I wanted to work ‘on the other side of the curtain’ as an archivist. I have worked in various roles, but my current position at the National Records of Scotland is as Crown Office and Sheriff Court Archivist. This puts me in contact with all sorts of records about all sorts of people! I am currently battling with the issues of trying to promote access when the records that I work with are full of sensitive personal information, and this is primarily what has motivated my choice of paper topic.
Privacy v Access: the challenges for the archivist when managing people-centred collections
The new archival dichotomy centres around the individual's right to be forgotten versus society's right to remember. This paper will look at some of the challenges and difficulties that archivists face when working with people-centred archival collections.
The archivist, who now often increasingly intervenes at an earlier stage of the record lifecycle to ensure the preservation of historically significant information, can sometimes find themselves charged with the management of conflicting information rights and responsibilities. This is coupled with an ever increasing demand from users looking to access what can be extremely sensitive information relating to individuals and their lives.
This paper is designed to encourage discussion around some of the central issues involved in the conflict between individual privacy rights and ever increasing demands for wider and more wholesale access to information for research. It will also seek to briefly examine some of the practical difficulties that archivists can face when trying to adhere to legislation and policies like Freedom of Information, Data Protection, Access to Health Records, and the Right to be Forgotten.
The aim of the paper is to encourage awareness of the challenges faced when trying to protect the people whose lives are documented in the records, whilst still allowing and promoting meaningful access to those same records.
Having graduated in Archive Conservation from Camberwell College of Art, University of the Arts London in 1976, I have been Senior Conservator with the Staffordshire Archive and Heritage Service for twenty seven years. I was a Conservator at London Metropolitan Archives for nine years and at Hertfordshire and Derbyshire Record offices before that.
Since 1994 I have been an instructor in the conservation of books, paper and parchment on the ARA training scheme for conservators, and have served as Secretary and Chairman of the Preservation & Conservation Group.
In addition to ARA, I am a member of The Institute of Conservation and the Society of Bookbinders. I regularly give training on aspects of conservation to conferences and seminars and at Camberwell College of Art, London, and West Dean College, Sussex.
Since 2006 I have been a member of the Icon Accreditation committee, assessing applications from archive and book conservators.
Conservation Mounting and Framing.
People love to have things in frames, whether it is fine art to fire the imagination, a school photograph to record a moment in time, a family portrait or a certificate to celebrate an achievement.
As collectors of archives we often receive framed items that are part of archive collections, and often it is because these items have been framed that they are in very poor condition. Usually we remove the frames and put items into preservation packaging so that they can be integrated into regular storage with the rest of the collection. However, there are times when we are required to mount and frame material, possibly for exhibition or maybe for a private client. When mounting and framing it is important that we avoid the mistakes of the past.
In this session we will explore mount cutting, hinge and float mounting, framing with a window mount, framing with a fillet and how to seal the frame to make it resistant to humidity and UV. Also there will be information on materials and equipment, mount boards and frames. I will demonstrate methods and techniques and you will be able to try your hand at mount cutting.
Excellent results can be achieved in the conservation studio within the average conservation budget. With our knowledge and with modern materials, mounting and framing can create a safe environment for people’s treasures, records, achievements and heritage.
I have been working as an Archivist for charity Leonard Cheshire for 6 years. Before this I worked in records management, university archives and in medical records at the NHS. My work interests are making archives accessible for disabled people, the use of technology in the heritage sector and the marketing of archive services.
Pop up archives: providing access to archives for disabled people and care home residents
From 2014-2018 the Leonard Cheshire Archive worked on a HLF South East funded project to both make their archives accessible through digitization and hold engagement sessions with disabled people living in care homes.
This talk will be about what the project did to achieve this, including workshop participation, website design and lessons learned.
Having spent a former life as an Environmental Health Officer, a short course in Bookbinding at Morely College in 1998 quickly convinced me this was what I really wanted to do with my life. In 2005 being accepted onto the Conservation of Books and Library Materials Diploma course at West Dean College provided me with the opportunity to proceed with this. After graduation, I worked for a short time preparing the 1911 census records for digitiation as the National Archives, before becoming project Conservator at Berkshire Record Office working on the records of Broadmoor Hospital. In 2012 I moved to the newly built Hive in Worcester – thankfully after all the moving had been done.
A Network of Helping Hands Holding us Together -The Role of Volunteers at the Hive:
Under the theme of 'People looking after Records', I will consider the role of volunteers within the Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service, based at the Hive in Worcester.
The Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service combine the provision and care of archival and archaeological services for the county of Worcestershire. The service was established with a move to the Hive, a purpose-built facility which opened in central Worcester in July 2012.
Volunteers have a long history of contributing to the work of the Worcestershire Record Office and this continues throughout the joint service with projects running in archaeological finds, user services, cataloguing and conservation. Consideration is given to the total number of volunteer hours and hence financial 'savings' made across the service, although emphasis is placed on my own experience of co-ordinating volunteers within the conservation department, .
Discussion is made of the diverse range of backgrounds and what it is that motives people to give up their time for free. Volunteers can bring benefits to the service beyond those that can be calculated in purely financial terms, such as advocacy and support which are increasingly important as budgets continue to be squeezed.
Consideration is given to the challenges involved in co-ordinating volunteers and the organisational commitment needed to achieve the best results for the service and volunteers. Various approaches to recruiting and retaining volunteers are discussed, identifying the importance of publicising work undertaken as a means of attracting additional volunteers and valuing the work that has been done.
The modifications and improvements in my own working practices such as reconsidering the way I carry out a task as a result of working with volunteers are also discussed.
In summary, there's no getting away from the fact that the role of volunteers is to allow us to form relationships with people generally interested in what we do. Volunteers contribute greatly to the service and although this can be calculated in financial terms, additional benefits that are not so easy to put a price on can be of even greater benefit to the service. They can cost us time and money; they can be challenging but as with any relationship, the more you put into it, the more you can get out of it.
RACHEL NORDSTROM (presenting with Stephen Rigden and Ruth Washbrook)
I am the Photographic Collections Manager at the University of St Andrews Library, Special Collections Division. Our collections encompass the entire history of photography dating back to some of the first photographs taken in Scotland, right up to contemporary born-digital material. My training is in both collections care and museum studies and as such I work towards a balanced approach to access and preservation. Prior to my work at the University I worked at the Fox Talbot Museum both cataloguing collections and managing their historic process workshops. Additionally I have worked in Kosovo rejuvenating cultural heritage properties, museums, and traditional skills. I also part of Photography Scotland, work closely with the Scottish Society for the History of Photography and organise the St Andrews Photo Festival every October.
(How) are we acquiring digital film, sound and photography?
For some years now collecting institutions have been making reasonable progress in digitising traditional media, including analogue audio-visual. However, more recently the consideration of born-digital records has entered the mix, with concerns of assessment, trustworthiness and long-term management foremost. Born-digital acquisition, therefore, requires archival practitioners to develop skill sets and approaches additional to those applying to traditional media. In evidence of this our speakers will provide an overview of the considerations that apply to born-digital sound, moving image and photographic collections.
Rachel Nordstrom will discuss work at the University of St Andrews to collect, preserve, and provide access to digital photography representing Scottish content and/or relevant works by Scottish photographers, building upon a collection of around one million physical photographs and negatives.
Ruth Washbrook will discuss the measures taken by the Moving Image Archive to acquire born-digital material including digital file transfer technology, handling new and complex digital formats, such as Digital Cinema Packages and encouraging acquisition through public engagement activity.
Stephen Rigden will illustrate the why and the how of born-digital audio collections in the Archives and Manuscripts collections of the National Library of Scotland.
Our discussion will aim to consider: Are we comfortable with born-digital acquisition? Are we limited to what and how much we can acquire? Can we wait to be offered collections? Are our collecting policies different for analogue and digital collections? Should they be?
After qualifying as a Book and Archive Conservator in 1990, I spent the following 9 years working as a conservator at the then ‘Public Record Office’, now known as the National Archive, repairing all manner of archive materials.
A move to Australia in 1999 saw me dabble with the world of IT in Brisbane before making a welcome return to conservation and the busy schedule of exhibition conservation at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra. After a couple of years in Melbourne at the National Archive of Australia I returned to Brisbane as a freelance conservator working with local archives, art galleries, and private collectors.
I am currently based at the Norfolk Record Office working on the Richard Bright papers - A Wellcome Trust funded project to conserve 1300 paper items in preparation for digitisation.
‘Intensive Care for Poorly Papers - Conserving the Letters and Notebooks of Dr. Richard Bright’
The collection of Richard Bright’s papers held at the Norfolk Record Office contains around 1300 items consisting of notebooks, sketchbooks and letters written, drawn and received by Richard Bright. Together they chart the early years of Bright’s career as a doctor and author.
However, due to the very fragile condition of the paper, the information contained within the collection is at risk of being lost entirely. Generously aided by a grant from the Wellcome Trust, a project to conserve these items is currently being undertaken at the NRO with the aim to render this rich resource accessible through digitisation.
This presentation will endeavour highlight some of the challenges faced when conserving an extensive collection of very fragile folded paper items. Through hands-on experience using established and new techniques and materials, some innovative approaches have been formulated to allow ease of handling and treatment. The presentation will outline some of these techniques with the aim to evoke discussion and expand on the ideas suggested.
Dr Adele Patrick has been involved in research and academic and community learning and teaching on gender for over 25 years. Adele co-founded Glasgow Women’s Library (GWL) in 1991 and is currently GWL’s Creative Development Manager. She has had a key leadership role in GWL which has grown from a grassroots project to a Recognised Collection of National Significance and is the sole accredited museum dedicated to women’s history in the UK. She has been active in a wide range of feminist and women’s projects, has written for academic and cultural publications (editing the book of the award-winning, 21 Revolutions project and contributing to the recently published Feminism and Museums, pub. Museums, etc.) and regularly speaks at national and international conferences. Adele was Evening Times’ Scotswoman of the Year in 2016 and in 2017 received an Honorary DLitt from Glasgow School of Art/University of Glasgow and from University of Strathclyde.
Where does feminism fit in the archive?: Exploring the role of ‘activist archiving’ at Glasgow Women’s Library.
Glasgow Women’s Library (GWL) is a unique resource, the sole Accredited Museum of Women’s History in the UK it is a Recognised Collection of National Significance within which its archive collections are a major component. This is a values led institution with radical approaches to access, governance, programming and engagement rooted in an equalities agenda. In recent years the field of gender, representation, inclusion, archiving and activism and linked interest in radical records has become catalysed, typified by the publication of Kate Eichhorn’s The Archival Turn in Feminism: Outrage in Order (2013). Using examples of innovative work taking place at the Library’s in particular the programme of work surrounding the Library’s own 25th anniversary, GWL co-founder and Creative Development Manager Adele Patrick will provide examples of ‘activist archiving’ at GWL to address wider questions for the sector; What does a feminist archivist and archive look like? How might an organisation driven by feminism develop its work with communities and how can these methods be used in the mainstream? How might a radical approach to community engagement be critical to work with archival records?
SPEAKER PROFILE COMING SOON
Using digital preservation and access to build a sustainable future for your archive
Having gained a Master’s degree in Ethnomusicology from Goldsmiths, University of London, I have worked for the British Library sound archive since 1999, where I am currently Training & Dissemination Manager on the HLF-funded Unlocking Our Sound Heritage project. Within the International Association of Sound & Audiovisual Archives (IASA) I am the Vice Chair of the Training & Education Committee, and a member of the Technical Committee, for whom I recently co-edited the recently republished IASA-TC 03: The Safeguarding of the Audiovisual Heritage: Ethics, Principles & Preservation Strategy (2017). I was the founding convenor of British & Irish Sound Archives (BISA), sitting on its Committee from 2006 – 2018, and am a Trustee of the EMI Archive Trust.
Looking After Our Sound Heritage
Looking after sound recordings in an archival context has often been seen as a specialist activity, and it’s certainly the case that without specialised, legacy replay equipment, the content of older sound recordings remains inaccessible. There is a growing crisis in audio and audiovisual preservation, around degradation of carriers and obsolescence of technology, requiring all archives to confront the need to digitise their audio while it is still realistically possible to do so. How can this be achieved when the equipment, skills and resources seem out of reach to so many of us?
The HLF-funded, five year Unlocking Our Sound Heritage project has several ambitious goals. By creating ten digitisation centres within partner institutions around the UK, it aims to transform archival access to knowledge about caring for audio, and increase the public understanding of the value and vulnerability of sound heritage. The project will also digitally preserve half a million sound recordings from the British Library and collections around the UK.
This paper will summarise the work done so far, discussing planning, workflow methodologies and training strategies.
A beginner’s guide to looking after your audio collections (30 mins)
Audio collections come in many different forms, and addressing their conservation needs can seem intimidating. Many formats are vulnerable to degradation, while the technological obsolescence of others may render them unplayable in a few short years, but where and how to start? The primary goal of this presentation is to encourage and assist you in actively looking after your audio collections: how to plan their care effectively, and prioritise when resources are limited.
This session aims to demystify essential concepts in caring for sound collections. As such it is aimed at any archivist with responsibility for caring for audio. We will look at the audio formats most commonly found in an archive, and have an opportunity to handle and examine them.
I’m a qualified archivist, currently working for Skills Development Scotland as part of their records management team. After completing an MSc in Information Management and Preservation from The University of Glasgow, I worked as the archivist for The Lady Ryder of Warsaw Memorial Trust. I have also volunteered in the archives of Glasgow Women’s Library, the Glasgow School of Art and the University of Leicester. I’m also a writer and recently had an essay published on accessing LGBTQ+ histories (particularly the history of the bisexual community using archival resources) in Monstrous Regiment’s The Bi-ble anthology.
Records Are Not Neutral; on the histories of marginalised peoples, how we maintain them, and facilitate access
This talk is based on my Information Management and Preservation MSc dissertation. My research looked at how archives manage maintain, promote, and add to the histories of marginalised peoples as well as the experiences of archive users from marginalised communities (including LGBTQ+ people, BAME people and people with disabilities).
As the saying goes, history is written by the winners – it is those with privilege that define the narrative. We need to understand how to create space for the records of those whose histories may not exist as ‘records’ in the traditional sense.
This talk will discuss the following questions; how can archive professionals improve access to the histories of marginalised peoples? How can we use new technologies to improve access to these histories? How can we ensure that we are creating space for the histories of those that may not exist in typical or expected record formats? How can we work with an awareness of the impact our personal experiences and privilege have on our work? What are the limitations on improving access to these vital records?
There are no quick answers, but discussing how to be aware of these issues in our work as archive professionals, how to encourage archive services to consider them, and looking at examples of services which do more to represent the histories of marginalised peoples and to encourage users from marginalised communities to engage with their services, we can ensure a more balanced and ultimately accurate record of our society and communities.
STEPHEN RIGDEN (Presenting with Rachel Nordstrom and Ruth Washbrook)
SPEAKER PROFILE COMING SOON
Heather is a professional archivist at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. She also operates HerArchivist, a freelance business through which she works with other organisations to help manage archival assets, mainly in Greater Manchester. She is co-chair of the ARA North West Committee starting August 2018.
Widening the circle - a panel discussion about independence and support
Members: Heather Roberts, a consultant archivist working with charities and organisations outside of professional repositories and ARA membership; David Smith, a public engagement officer working within a professional repository supporting independent records keepers and creators; Gail Heath, a representative from an independent organisation/charity who manage their own records for their own uses.
Conference theme: People looking after records
Panel focus: The panel will focus on how independent archive collections (such as the Pankhurst's) can contribute to and be a great support to the archive sector as a whole by looking after their own heritage. The panel will look at motivations, methods, challenges and opportunities that these projects and organisations face. The focus will be on the keepers of the records working outside of ARA membership and circles. In what ways they are contributing and in what ways we, as professional archivists, should/could contribute to them.
Panel aim: To raise awareness, understanding and recognition amongst archivists in attendance of the amazing work these independent record keepers do. To start the conversation of how archivists can get in touch with these records creators and keepers and how the ARA could possibly support these non-members. Should they? How is this beneficial to archivists? Hoping to spark a lively debate about responsibility and opportunity.
I work as a consultant archivist with collections usually held outside of archival repositories, e.g. arts organisations, charities, social movements, etc. I have worked with many different collections but all seem to have similar problems. Problems that are very similar to those of us who work in established repositories: space, money, advocacy. The main thing they lack, however, is a network of professionals to support them, like we do. Many archive services already do so much for their local records keepers and creators, we often go above and beyond, so is there a way that we can make this easier for ourselves? Pool resources to help reach more people, more collections at risk and support organisations who do not wish to deposit with our repositories? Are there opportunities for the ARA regional bodies to have a role here? Or perhaps the National Archives? This talk will attempt to approach these questions using some case studies from my freelance work, with a primary purpose to sparking a conversation on if we should, and how we can, work together to help care for collections that are not in our basements, and what we may need to do that.
SUZANNE ROSE (Presenting with Anthony McCoubrey)
I am the Education & Outreach Officer for the Mass Observation Archive. I confess that I am not an archivist, or a librarian and came to this role via a career encompassing the arts, disability and education, mainly in the third sector. I am passionate about creating access to archives and to working with people to encourage participation, engagement and representation. I enjoy working with community groups, teaching school children and students and most of all creating projects, which provide opportunities for all to experience and discover archives.
After completing my archive diploma at Aberystwyth and postgraduate research in France and Italy, I joined the Scottish Record Office (now the National Records of Scotland) in 1986. My career has involved a range of rewarding outreach activities including creating exhibitions and publications and working with the media. Since 2001 I have been Registrar of the National Register of Archives for Scotland advising private owners on issues relating to the care and preservation of their archives.
The National Register of Archives for Scotland and HM Revenue and Customs
Owners of archives can apply to the HMRC for conditional exemption. This scheme allows owners to retain their archives and to defer paying inheritance tax or capital gains tax conditional on their archive being accessible to the public. The poster looks at how the National Register of Archives for Scotland works in partnership with the HMRC and how the scheme benefits both the archives and the public. The poster also includes a case study on the archives at Inverary Castle.