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DCDC16 panel sessions

P1: Adventures in heritage science: exploring the impact of science and technology on collections

Heritage science is a relatively young discipline. It brings together the many and varied ways that science and technology contribute to our improved understanding of, access to, and preservation of cultural heritage. This panel provides an insight into how heritage science can explore the potential of collections in innovative ways with impact for researchers, for ways of working, for engagement and for our wider understanding of heritage.

Panel chair: Kostas Ntanos (The National Archives)

 

Smell of heritage: books, libraries and archives

Cecilia Bembibre (UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage)

Smells play an important role in our daily lives and influence how we engage with history, yet they are under-researched in heritage. Scientific research of historic smells recognizes the significant information they carry and the value they add to our cultural heritage. The smell of books, libraries and archives was selected as a case study for a heritage smell for its familiarity and its significance to users of those objects and spaces. Chemical analysis of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs), coupled with sensory evaluation of the smell were used to develop a framework to capture, analyse and archive historic smells.

Reframing Magna Carta

Paul Garside (The British Library)

The British Library’s project to reframe Magna Carta, for the 2015 exhibition marking 800 years of the charter, incorporated conservation science and analytical imaging from the outset.  This ensured that technical analysis was an integral aspect of the work, and informed decisions on reframing options, material choices, exhibition design and risk assessment.  In turn, this enabled the public to appreciate the rehoused charters at their best, enhanced scholarship by revealing previous unknown details, and safeguarded them for the future.  Close collaboration between conservators, conservation scientists and imaging scientists was vital to the success of the project and its wide-reaching outcomes.

Filling the Gaps: an exploration of the opportunities for scientific research to deliver impact

Caroline Peach (National Heritage Science Forum)

Ten years ago the UK heritage science community published the National Heritage Science Strategy. ‘Filling the Gaps’ is a project by the National Heritage Science Forum that highlights research since the strategy’s publication so that it can be widely used by heritage organisations for greater impact. The project also identifies the gaps that exist as opportunities to be addressed by future research projects and, as a work in progress, colleagues in libraries, archives and heritage organisations are invited to contribute so that the UK has a strong, shared, scientific base to inform the understanding and preservation of its heritage.

P2: Uncovering hidden histories through collaboration

[DWAN] Feminist archiving, digital curation and grassroots – [WATCH THE PRESENTATION]

Jenna Ashton (Digital Women’s Archive North)

Digital Women’s Archive North is an arts and heritage organisation, delivering a programme of community-based projects and research relating to gender (culture, heritage, spaces, equality, social participation, wellbeing). DWAN unlocks women’s histories in archives and collects cultural memories. We use feminist curatorial practices (material and digital) to support women’s services in Manchester (UK) – encouraging women’s active citizenship and self-empowerment. 

We’re in the early process of crafting a future Digital Women’s Archive, as we explore new models for creative online curation and digital archive experience. DWAN’s current research and development (supported by Arts Council England and the Ida Carroll Trust, UK) involves a series of hack events, bringing together artists, curators and archivists, digital technologists form MadLab, and women’s community groups and activists to explore new approaches for digitally curating collections and digital spaces for women’s cultural production. This is the first stage of creating an innovative online archive space built on a model of collaborative practice and Feminist Archiving.

‘Archives alive’: Connecting the University of Warwick’s Modern Records Centre with its local communities

Meleisa Ono-George (University of Warwick)

In this paper I will explore the challenges and the concrete efforts the Modern Records Centre at the University of Warwick has made to engage its local communities. Focusing on specific projects related to pre-16 students, local British Black and Ethnic Minority communities, and students at the University of Warwick, this talk will provide an outline of some of the projects we have undertaken recently. In addition, this talk also aims to foster discussion around how university-based departments can better engage community and how we can make archival collections ‘come alive’ to wider and more diverse audiences.

Material culture and established narratives: An experiment of collaboration between the Brotherton Library Special Collections and Leeds Gypsy and Traveller Exchange – [WATCH THE PRESENTATION]

Joanne Fitton (University of Leeds) :: Vanessa Cardui (Leeds GATE – Gypsy and Traveller Exchange)

The Brotherton Library and Leeds GATE are embarking on projects to connect Gypsy and Traveller communities with heritage collections, (one an established academic collection, the other an emerging collection owned and led by Travellers themselves). The collaboration aims to provide a better understanding of the needs of the community and scholars, and shape new narratives for the collections. We will explore the challenges of the collaboration and how a shared goal – to create a national strategy for Gypsy and Traveller heritage – is being redefined.

P3: Progressive Partnerships: creative collaboration between academic and cultural organisations

Current academic research leads to new and dynamic interpretations in exhibitions and engagement programmes that, in turn, create new audiences for, and engagement with, the research. This panel will give different perspectives on such collaborative working and both the discrete and mutual benefits that can result.

Partnership working in difficult times: delivering a new gallery in consultation with the local community

Sarah Price (Durham University)

Local authorities are under increasing budgetary pressure and this has resulted in many having to make tough decisions about cultural funding. In Durham this has led to the closure of the DLI Museum. In response, Durham University has entered into a partnership with Durham County Council and the Trustees of the Durham Light Infantry to ensure that there is continued access to the regimental collection. The initial focus of the partnership is to deliver a new DLI Gallery at Palace Green Library. This presentation will focus on how community co-curation is being utilised to deliver a successful outcome.

Universally Challenged: A Case for Working with Universities

Alice Purkiss (University of Oxford | National Trust)

This paper will consider the benefits of collaboration between universities and heritage organisations at a time of decreasing resources and increasing demands for both sectors through the case-study of Trusted Source, a new Oxford University and National Trust ‘Knowledge Transfer Partnership’. Part-funded by the AHRC, this project seeks to enhance visitor experience of properties through the creation of the Trusted Source knowledge-bank. This resource will contain articles written by Oxford academics which connect properties, places, people and collections, and will be made available online to teach, move and inspire both National Trust visitors and the wider public.

Art for Education’s sake: a partnership model for delivering higher education programs in Regional Art museums in Australia

Sue Gillett (La Trobe University, Australia)

In this presentation I will focus on an educational program that has been enabled by La Trobe University’s partnerships with two major regional art museums – Bendigo Art Gallery and Modern Art Museum of Albury (MAMA).  Exhibiting Culture is an accredited sequence of undergraduate elective subjects that are embedded into major exhibitions at these galleries. It is an award winning program that has been recognised by university and galleries alike as an innovative, flexible, interdisciplinary and collaborative curriculum model that succeeds in broadening and deepening student and public engagement with education and with the art collections.

P4: Collections and contemporary challenge

This panel will address how the heritage sector can engage with global contemporary political challenges through innovative projects and research.

Speaking up and speaking our about LGBTQ+ lives in archives – [WATCH THE PRESENTATION]

Tom Furber (London Metropolitan Archives)

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer+ (LGBTQ+) people have always been part of the fabric of London yet their histories have been marginalised. Speak Out London Diversity City, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s (HLF) Our Heritage funding stream, has started to directly address the marginalisation of this part of London’s history. Since 2014 Speak Out volunteers supported by London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) have created a community archive using oral histories and community records to complement and, where necessary, challenge more formal collections held at LMA.  This presentation will discuss the development, delivery and achievements of this project.

From Digitisation to Digital Repatriation: an Ethical Approach of Repatriation in the Context of China – [WATCH THE PRESENTATION]

Zhang Zheng (University of Leicester)

The issue of repatriation has been evoking enormous controversy for centuries, however, the development of digitisation has triggered a new concept: digital repatriation in China. With the case study of International Dunhuang Project, this paper focuses on the digitisation of Dunhuang culture heritage in China and the ethical engagement of digitisation in repatriation. It also attempts to explore how digitisation could help establish a reciprocal relationship by communication and cooperation between different participants, and thus how to help move the issue of repatriation forward as an ethical approach.

Joining the dots: projects on conservation and research of Malian written cultural heritage – [PRESENTATION SLIDES]

Dmitry Bondarev and Maria Luisa Russo (University of Hamburg)

The University of Hamburg, with the financial support of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Gerda Henkel Foundation, runs two projects dealing with the written cultural heritage of Mali. The environment of interconnected social space created by this collaborative work helps maintain careful attitude to what constitutes cultural heritage. Through participation in different modules of the projects, the members of the complex multilingual and multicultural communities find connective space in the activities related to manuscript preservation, cataloguing, and research.

P5: Research Excellence Framework (REF) impact and the heritage sector

This panel will explore the central role archives, museums, and other cultural organisations in achieving high rated REF impact case studies through creative and innovative collaboration with the academic sector. 

From Warhorse to The Wombles: Seven Stories and Newcastle University – [WATCH THE PRESENTATION]

Rachel Smith (Newcastle University)

In REF2014, Newcastle University’s School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics’ work with Seven Stories: National Centre for Children’s Books resulted in a 4* impact case study and contributed to the School ranking first in the UK for research impact.

In this presentation, Rachel will explore the factors that lead to this transformational impact on both organisations and the long connection between Newcastle University and Seven Stories.

Today, Seven Stories’ archives continue to shape Newcastle University’s research and teaching. In turn, Seven Stories are working with departments across the University to raise awareness, increase usage of and develop their collection.

Spinning the wheel of knowledge, weaving the web of information: the role of the curatorial professions in the knowledge economy – [WATCH THE PRESENTATION]

Maria Economou (Curator, The Hunterian/Lecturer in Museum Studies, HATII), Moira Rankin (Senior Archivist), Valerie McCutcheon (Research Information Manager) and Lesley Richmond (Deputy Director, Library) – University of Glasgow

Where do the interests represented by the REF Impact agenda converge with those of University Museums & Libraries? These are the obvious outlets for sharing and communicating stories of great academic research but what does this mean in practice? This paper outlines ways in which the University of Glasgow collections are being used to generate or enhance the impact of current University research and draws on both academic and cultural heritage work in defining ways to articulate engagement impacts. Further it reflects on the Museum and Library infrastructure required to support and prioritise engagement with key audiences.

Public History, Impact and Research-Led Teaching: Working with Public, Commercial and Community Archives in Lincoln’ – [WATCH THE PRESENTATION]

Andrew Jackson (Bishop Grosseteste University)

Public history, impact and research-led teaching are becoming ever more prominent. This paper considers their intersection, making reference to a range of projects relating to the history of the city of Lincoln. This activity has made use of a series of public, commercial and community archive repositories, and involved student and public engagement. The projects relate to certain themes, issues or individuals having local, national and/or international historical significance: the scale of Lincoln’s council estates, the extent of the city’s engineering heritage, the strength of its cooperative movement, and the work of a First World War home-front dialect poet.

P5: Research Excellence Framework (REF) impact and the heritage sector

This panel will explore the central role archives, museums, and other cultural organisations in achieving high rated REF impact case studies through creative and innovative collaboration with the academic sector. 

From Warhorse to The Wombles: Seven Stories and Newcastle University – [WATCH THE PRESENTATION]

Rachel Smith (Newcastle University)

In REF2014, Newcastle University’s School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics’ work with Seven Stories: National Centre for Children’s Books resulted in a 4* impact case study and contributed to the School ranking first in the UK for research impact.

In this presentation, Rachel will explore the factors that lead to this transformational impact on both organisations and the long connection between Newcastle University and Seven Stories.

Today, Seven Stories’ archives continue to shape Newcastle University’s research and teaching. In turn, Seven Stories are working with departments across the University to raise awareness, increase usage of and develop their collection.

Spinning the wheel of knowledge, weaving the web of information: the role of the curatorial professions in the knowledge economy – [WATCH THE PRESENTATION]

Maria Economou (Curator, The Hunterian/Lecturer in Museum Studies, HATII), Moira Rankin (Senior Archivist), Valerie McCutcheon (Research Information Manager) and Lesley Richmond (Deputy Director, Library) – University of Glasgow

Where do the interests represented by the REF Impact agenda converge with those of University Museums & Libraries? These are the obvious outlets for sharing and communicating stories of great academic research but what does this mean in practice? This paper outlines ways in which the University of Glasgow collections are being used to generate or enhance the impact of current University research and draws on both academic and cultural heritage work in defining ways to articulate engagement impacts. Further it reflects on the Museum and Library infrastructure required to support and prioritise engagement with key audiences.

Public History, Impact and Research-Led Teaching: Working with Public, Commercial and Community Archives in Lincoln’ – [WATCH THE PRESENTATION]

Andrew Jackson (Bishop Grosseteste University)

Public history, impact and research-led teaching are becoming ever more prominent. This paper considers their intersection, making reference to a range of projects relating to the history of the city of Lincoln. This activity has made use of a series of public, commercial and community archive repositories, and involved student and public engagement. The projects relate to certain themes, issues or individuals having local, national and/or international historical significance: the scale of Lincoln’s council estates, the extent of the city’s engineering heritage, the strength of its cooperative movement, and the work of a First World War home-front dialect poet.

P6: Going with the crowd: exploring the impact of crowdsourced content 

This panel brings together three projects that using interactive digital platforms engage with the wider public in different ways to capture knowledge and cultural memories. 

Who are the experts? Crowdsourcing as a means of giving the public ownership of a national collection – [WATCH THE PRESENTATION]

Peigi MacKillop (Historic Environment Scotland)

Scotland’s Urban Past (SUP) is a five-year community engagement project about the history of Scotland’s towns and cities. Through the project, members of the public are invited to contribute images, survey drawings, sketches, information, stories and ephemera via the SUP website. These contributions can be viewed on both the SUP website and on Canmore, the public web catalogue of the National Record of the Historic Environment. This session will look at what people see as important to them, and how their contributions can greatly enrich the National Record.

Reaching the world through free licenses and crowdsourced platforms – [WATCH THE PRESENTATION]

Axel Petterson (Wikimedia Sverige) and Richard Nevell (Wikimedia UK)

The talk highlights the possibilities created when cooperating with the Wikimedia movement. Museums and archives can reach millions of people, utilize the power of the crowd and connect their own collections to other collections globally, and also to services downstream (that uses the freely licensed material on Wikimedia’s projects).

A major new initiative , Connected Open Heritage, focus on bringing data and media about cultural heritage at risk onto Wikimedia’s platforms. This is done in cooperation with UNESCO and a number of other organizations. Through an external grant museums with collections around cultural heritage can be supported without cost.

Views of Antique Land: Images of Egypt and Palestine in World War One – [WATCH THE PRESENTATION]

Steve Mills, Paul T. Nicholson and Hilary Rees (Cardiff University)

Views of an Antique Land is a HLF funded project which seeks to collect images of Egypt and Palestine taken during the First World War.  All of the images are collected ‘virtually’ by scanning or re-photographing them and are collected from donors at a series of interactive Roadshows held at Museums as well as by submission on-line.

The aim is to provide a web resource where descendants of those who served in the conflict can gain a better understanding of the visual landscape seen by their ancestors and to help them better understand the value of their family collections and those of others.

P7: Grand designs: the creative reuse of archive material

This panel explores the use and reuse of design archives through engagement with the public, professional, and commercial sectors, demonstrating the relevance of the archive to contemporary industry.

Of Architects and Archives: Connecting Professionals and the Public through the RIBA Collections

Colin Sterling (RIBA)

This paper explores the tensions that arise in situating an archive – in this case the RIBA Collections – as a mediator and space of communication between a profession and its publics. Using concrete examples from recent engagement programmes and outlining future public-facing initiatives, the varied categories of ‘impact’ possible under these circumstances will be examined and unpacked. Ultimately, this paper demonstrates how a working collection intimately bound to a specific community (architects) can serve and connect with a much broader audience without diluting its foundational premise and role.

From Museum to Mannequin – [WATCH THE PRESENTATION]

Gina Pierce (London Metropolitan University)

In an exhibition held last year at The Cass, London Metropolitan University, textile and fashion designers based in the city were invited to respond to the Spitalfield Silks archive in the Museum of London. The exhibited design outcomes supported workshops for Inner London students in Further Education, providing them with the opportunity to understand the connections between the historic, and the contemporary designs. Museums can attract new audiences through the interpretation of archive material by using textile and fashion design to provide a contemporary relevance.

Making Light Work of the Design Archive: Embedding histories in action and putting theory into practice

Christine Atha (University of Leeds)

More and more these days we use the terms Vintage, Retro and Heritage and as a result the academic impact that archival materials have on design practice has never been so important and exciting. Tracing and identifying the path an idea, pattern or material has taken over a span of years through archival collections enables a deeper grasp of their significance bringing them to life in unique ways. Archives also enable us to research the culture of design, the design business and industries and their roles in history and in contemporary material culture in much greater detail.

P8: Manipulating metadata

Many cultural institutions have large amounts of metadata created by cataloging and the digitisation of their collections. This panel will explore how this data can be manipulated and exploited to make collections work harder, from new narratives in medieval manuscripts to the accessioning of born-digital records. 

Revealing stories: new insights into hidden treasures

Jane Gallagher and Josie Caplehorne (University of Kent) :: Michelle Lees (Rochester Cathedral Library)

The unique treasures of Rochester Cathedral Library are being revealed to the public for the first time as part of an HLF funded project, ‘Hidden Treasures, Fresh Expressions’, by cataloguing and engagement in partnership with the University of Kent.

Bringing together quality metadata and the enthusiasm of the academic community, this dynamic partnership has supported development of expertise amongst volunteers and fostered new insight from previously unengaged audiences. Retelling the forgotten stories of these unique objects is the first step in creating a long-term legacy which will engage and benefit communities and offer new, inspirational narratives.

Connections and dis-connections: trying to join communities with metadata – [WATCH THE PRESENTATION]

Neil Grindley (Jisc)

One of the recommendations of a recent Jisc report is that we should assert that all the bibliographic records that are aggregated as part of a proposed national-scale knowledge base should be openly reusable under a CC0 license. By asserting the data as open, the idea is that there would be more opportunity for reuse and adaptation and that this would improve linkages across collections and between communities. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the feasibility of this idea and to conduct a strategic rather than technical discussion around the management and exploitation of metadata.

Mining a manuscript catalogue – [WATCH THE PRESENTATION]

Ben Outhwaite (University of Cambridge)

The digitisation of the tens of thousands of medieval manuscript fragments from the Cairo Genizah Collection at Cambridge University Library have brought existing problems into focus. Even after 100 years, there is no complete catalogue — analogue or digital — of this immense archive, meaning that searching the digital images in a meaningful way is, for large areas of the collection, impossible. In order to rapidly produce useful metadata and allow for more effective navigation, a project was launched in 2012 to text mine the century of scholarship on the collection and automatically produce descriptive metadata for the manuscripts.

Supreme innovation: intelligent use of technology and the role of metadata in tackling the digital Dark Age

Lucie Jordan (The National Archives)

This paper will explore the work undertaken by The National Archives as it embraces the shift to handling born-digital records. It will touch on the role of metadata in the digital transfer process and also look beyond metadata when considering the potential of technology-assisted review on appraisal and selection and sensitivity review. It will explore the impact this work is having on the government, the public, the academic research community and the wider archive sector.

P9: Digital Engagement: how technology can be used to enhance the impact of heritage collections

Grand Theft Archives: lessons from the Great Steampunk Game Jam

Simon Demissie and Jo Pugh (The National Archives)

Modern videogames have a huge and diverse audience. The UK videogames market is worth over £2.4bn and there are 20 million gamers in the UK. The question isn’t ‘why would archives engage with this medium’ but ‘why wouldn’t they?’

In 2016, The National Archives teamed up with the University of York to make games inspired by Victorian and Edwardian material from their collections over the course of a hectic weekend re-imagining the Age of Steam.

We will share lessons from the Game Jam, some of the collaborative techniques used with game designers, and hopefully a few of the games created.

Locative Narrative: Creating Contexts for Supposition in Spatially Distributed Museums

Emma Whittaker (University of the West of England) and James Brocklehurst (Plymouth University)

Locative narratives are participatory site-specific story experiences that are heard on headphones. The medium offers alternative modes of interaction with archives as visitors becomes participants in a drama, engaging audiences ‘outside of heritage’. The locative narrative smartphone app ‘The Lost Index: NATMUS’ (Whittaker & Brocklehurst 2015) takes place across Copenhagen and inside The National Museum of Denmark and the Dieselhouse museum. This paper discusses the enfolding of two collections within a fictional story world created in position-responsive spatial sound. ‘Creating contexts for supposition’ is put forward as an approach to developing guided imaginary experiences and the creative reinterpretation of archives.

The Bristol Old Vic Heritage project and the Theatre Collection – [WATCH THE PRESENTATION]

Jo Elsworth (University of Bristol) :: Emma Stenning (Bristol Old Vic)

Bristol Old Vic’s 250-year history is being brought to life through innovative academic and archival partnerships.  The HLF project utilises archives at Theatre Collection and Record Office, alongside the theatre’s historic architecture, to showcase the history to new audiences.  The archives are used as a factual source enabling deeper understanding of the theatre’s history but, more than that, they form the raw material and inspiration from which creative technologists and digital innovators create new ways of heritage ‘storytelling’ from augmented reality to haze projection.  Can this multidisciplinary approach inform a new business model for the theatre and create sustainable partnerships for all?

P10: Collections as agents of health and wellbeing

This panel will explore how archive and museum collections can be used to increase health and wellbeing through engagement with community projects and innovative use of technology. 

The ‘Connected Catalogue’ project – or – the ‘practice of community’ – [WATCH THE PRESENTATION]

Gillian Fewings,  University of St Mark and St John

The ‘Connected Catalogue’ Project. Connecting people with knowledge, heritage, creativity, employability, wellbeing – and each other”.

A collaborative,  volunteer-led project, exploring the role of archives to enhance employability  and social skills – the results, the unexpected benefits, and what the archive gained in return.

Robots and wellbeing; connecting the collection to hospital patients

Jennifer Ross (Imperial War Museum) ::  Denis Roche (Roschprojects)

Imperial War Museums (IWM) wanted to explore how a telepresence robotic technology could enable us to reach audiences who were physically unable to visit our branches. IWM worked with Denis Roche, to connect patients in hospital to IWM London via a telepresence robot.

We wanted to provide an experience that goes beyond the novelty of the technology, and deliver an experience that enables patients to connect with the museums stories. In this presentation we share, the outcomes, lessons learned and practical advice for those considering similar endeavours.

Feeling Brighter – Using museum collections for Health and Wellbeing – [WATCH THE PRESENTATION]

Jo Kemp (Nottingham Museums)

For the first time in global history, by 2020 adults aged 65 and over will outnumber children under 5. Those proportions will continue to grow in opposite directions and by 2050 there will be twice as many older people as children. With an ageing population the health and wellbeing of our communities is a high priority for government and local authorities, and museums are well placed to deliver to this agenda. This presentation will address the ways in which Nottingham Museums & Galleries’ engagement work has health and wellbeing at its heart, and how our collections are connecting with communities.

P11: Joining the dots: linked open data

This panel brings together three innovative projects that utilise linked open data to create new connections between existing collections, opening new avenues of research and engagement with archival material. 

Open data is better than Open Sesame – [WATCH THE PRESENTATION]

Richard Leemings (BBC)

There are a myriad of treasures held in our nation’s cultural archives.

They may not actually be locked in a cave, but when they’re published on different websites to different standards and with unclear licences they might as well be.

The Research and Education Space (RES) project is building a platform using linked open data that will unlock access to these collections.

RES will enable assets held in cultural collections to be shared efficiently and easily, viewed by people where and when they want, therefore widening the social and cultural impact of these collections and eroding perceived barriers of accessibility.

Traces through Time: Connecting people across historical big data

Sonia Ranade (The National Archives)

The ability to trace the lives of real people, through time and across the documentary evidence that survives them, can bring culture and heritage collections to life. The Traces through Time project has developed practical analytical tools that allow researchers to trace and link individuals, with confidence, across ‘big data’ spanning over 500 years of British history.

The project, funded by the AHRC and The National Archives, is the result of a successful collaboration between computer scientists, historians and archivists to reveal the links hidden within millions of archival records from across the UK, transforming archival data into the stories of people’s lives.

Reviving epistolary conversations: Linked Data and dialogic approaches to letter collections – [WATCH THE PRESENTATION]

Helen Angear, Graham Fereday and Hannah Petrie (University of Exeter)

This paper examines the benefits of taking a dialogic approach to connect single author archives. Letters are traditionally stored and published separately, yet greater understanding comes from reading letters in overlapping pairs. Correspondence is a developing area within the TEI (Text Encoding Initiative), and by combining text markup with a Linked Data approach, we can document and describe entities (such as people, places, and events) found within a single author’s letters to connect our data with those of other organisations, both within and outside academia. This creates new research pathways enabling users to explore collections in more serendipitous ways.

P12: Putting communities on the map: Space, place, and mapping

Poetic Places: An exercise in Apps, GPS, and Open Collection – [WATCH THE PRESENTATION]

Sarah Cole (TIME/IMAGE)

Poetic Places is a free app for iOS and Android, the outcome of a Creative Residency at the British Library.

Utilising geofencing it allows users to serendipitously encounter literature in apposite locations and discover relevant audiovisual materials drawn from various open archive collections.

Made in six months without any coding and utilising open cultural collections, Poetic Places is an experimental yet replicable project aiming to inspire both the public and arts organisations.

Sarah will give an overview of Poetic Places, exploring the ideas behind the project, the technology driving it, and the content it shares.

Forced Walks: artists and archives, re-patriating memory, resonances – [WATCH THE PRESENTATION]

Richard White and Lorna Brunstein, Bath Spa University

A case study in re-purposing archive material, using mobile media technology to geo-locate and network witness testimony and user generated content. The context is a participatory walking project transposing the route of a Nazi Death March to England (2015) and returning it to Germany (2016). This artist-led walk-in–witness sought to generate and explore contemporary resonances from the testimony of a Bundist survivor of the Holocaust. The paper offers a report from, and an early review of, this experiment using social media and walking as part of a socially engaged approach to intangible cultural heritage

Joining the dots & colouring in: mapping community heritage is more than just painting-by-numbers with Know Your Place West of England

Felicia Davies and Anne Lovejoy (Know Your Place West of England)

Know Your Place West of England is an innovative digital mapping project, linking archive, library and museum collections with historical mapping and HER data. This paper will examine how the project has encouraged engagement with varied collections, through volunteering, online contributions and sharing of community project data. We will discuss how this interaction has been measured and whether conclusions can be drawn regarding the project’s social and cultural impact. We will outline future plans for engagement and its evaluation.

P13: Making collections work harder: social impact and cohesion through heritage

Inspired by manuscript bindings: A community project developing creativity, confidence and careers – [WATCH THE PRESENTATION]

Josefine Frank (University of Birmingham) :: Yasmin Akhtar (GOAL)

How can universities open up their cultural treasures for non-academic audiences and achieve wider well-being and social impact goals? Thanks to the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund, the Cadbury Research Library is currently testing new strategies to engage the city’s diverse communities with its important collection of over 3,000 Middle Eastern manuscripts.

One of the projects was aimed at immigrant women from Pakistan and Bangladesh. The two-month project was inspired by the manuscripts’ illuminations and bindings. It gave participants opportunities to explore traditional paper craft and book binding techniques, express themselves through creativity and develop self-confidence as well as vocational skills.

Turning Access into Learning – from the View of the Archives – [WATCH THE PRESENTATION]

Bente Jensen (Aalborg City Archives) :: Maria Press (National Archives of Sweden)

This paper will discuss the general presumption that digitisation automatically means better and more democratised access to the holdings based on empirical studies of the digital access to the archives in the Nordic/Baltic countries. The presentation has its background in the Nordic/Baltic project: Turning Access into Learning (2015-2017), which attempts to create a framework for reflecting on and assessing learning through digitally accessible archival resources. The aim is to deepen the understanding on the challenges and potentials of learning that lies in the use of digital archival resources. Focus is on adult and life-long learning.

CSI Leiden: using crime to create critical citizens – [WATCH THE PRESENTATION]

Susan Suer (Heritage Leiden and Region)

Crime series and detectives have long been popular, but the last few years this popularity has been ever increasing. At Leiden Heritage we have linked up with this trend by starting to use the judicial records for educational and entertainment purposes. Especially the 18th century documents are easy to read and offer an interesting peek into everyday life of the lower rungs of the social ladder. How, however, can we use these records crammed with narrative potency to make students think with history and not just about history using both digital and non-digital methods?

P14: Academics Curating/Curating Academics: the individual and mutual benefits of collaborative curation

Panel chair: Sarah Price (Durham University)

With increasing pressures on time and budget from all directions, intrinsic value is no longer sufficient justification for much of what anyone does, and impact is increasingly becoming a driving force. For many cultural organisations, this means not just the potential economic impact but also the social impact. Projects are shaped to have a measurable and demonstrable positive effect on health, wellbeing, crime, social inclusion, social capital, and education. For academics and Higher Education Institutions, the Research Excellence Framework has been extended to cover not only the quality of research output but its “effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia” (Assessment framework and guidance on submissions for REF 2014).

At Durham University, this changing emphasis on impact/Impact has engendered a collaborative mode of working that has not only created ways in which these requirements are met, but has had additional benefits for all involved: academics, curators, educators, contractors, and visitors. In this emerging model, temporary exhibitions are developed as the core of a wider engagement project (including formal and informal learning, associated programming, and community work), with the content and interpretative angle based on the research work of academics within the institution.

This panel will give three different perspectives – curator, academic, and external partner – on the individual and mutual benefits of collaborative curation. Papers will focus on outputs (what the results are), process (how you get there), and practice (how this changes what you do afterwards), with particular reference to the exhibition project Magna Carta and the Changing Face of Revolt, which was held at Durham in 2015. Together, the panel will also explore the benefits of collaboration as a partnership of equals, which recognises individual strengths and specialisms to produce the best results.

P15: Who do we think we’re for? Working with new audiences

2015 and 2016 witnessed a period of high media exposure for collections with two major anniversaries: the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta and 400th year since the death of William Shakespeare. This panel brings together three projects that have established new narratives and audiences for this for many impenetrable material, through collaboration, digitisation, and heritage science.  

Around the world with Magna Carta: Hereford Cathedral and its collaboration with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Charlotte Berry (Hereford Cathedral)

Hereford Cathedral participated in the national anniversary Magna Carta 800 during 2015, which culminated unexpectedly in a three month tour overseas as part of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s ‘Heritage is Great’ campaign. This presentation will explore how participation in a national anniversary, 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, has encouraged a small specialist repository to take advantage of unexpected partnerships and to think really big for the first time in bringing its collection to new audiences.

Rethinking the Tudors: new routes to understanding the daily life of the Tudor court through digital tools

Sean Cunningham (The National Archives)

The Leverhulme Trust is supporting Winchester University, Sheffield’s Humanities Research Institute and The National  Archives to develop a digital research platform that will transform use of some of the key understudied sources from the Tudor period; the account books of the king’s private chamber during the reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII. This presentation will explain how the freely-available resource will collate information on everything from  clothing and gifts, to war finance and taxation. The project offers an exciting opportunity to link collections and deepen knowledge of the individuals interacting with the crown on the eve of the Reformation.

Shakespeare & co: working collaboratively for the 400th anniversary

Juergen Vervoorst (The National Archives)

Archives inspire curiosity, and connecting people with the past through archive collections can change their perception of history. Holding one of the world’s largest and most significant collections of Shakespeare documents and anticipating the high profile of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, The National Archives had a unique opportunity to take a fresh look at this important collection and to experiment with ways of exhibiting our material. Uniting documentary, academic, heritage science, conservation, cultural and creative expertise, this collaborative project has reached new audiences and developed a more up to date, vibrant and engaging interpretation of an archival collection.