P1. Curated memories: fake news, collecting and mind management
Can we trust the memories captured in collections? How do we know what has been kept and what has been omitted? This panel addresses the spectrum of ways by which memories might be ‘curated’, from the purposeful creation of fake news to the unconscious memory manipulation of our own minds, via the well-meaning but naturally selective archival collecting process.
Chaired by Geraldine Hunwick, Senior Archivist, Newcastle University
Challenging historical fake news and artificial memory: the example of domestic violence in Britain, 1914-1939
Rebecca Crites, University of Warwick
This paper explores the problem of historical fake news and the role of archives in challenging artificial memory, using the example of the history of violence. Archives – rightly – restrict access to sensitive records, like court documents, to protect privacy of perpetrators, victims and families. However, this encourages historians’ reliance on partial, misleading press reports of violent crime. This results in the reproduction and dissemination of contemporary enabling cultures and discourses to modern audiences. This paper uses the problematic portrayal of wife-murder cases in First World War Britain to explore the debate on the challenges of artificial memory and fake news in the archival setting.
Archivist or Author? Professional interpretation of the archive
Robin Sampson and Hannah Grout, Assistant Archivists, University of the Arts London
This paper will examine the construction of narratives within archival collections, and archivists as subjective interpreters of archives.
The University of the Arts London’s Institutional Archive was developed in a project to capture the story of the university’s formation and development. This paper will explore how these aims were pursued, whilst also asking critical questions: are we, as “creating” archivists, complicit in creating gaps in the record and neglecting viewpoints? Do we have a responsibility to document the experiences of a whole community and not just a “top-down” history? What opportunities does the archive offer to redress this imbalance?
Personal archives and memory management in the digital age
Nick Barratt, Director of Senate House Library, University of London
The latest neurological research explores why people living with dementia often struggle to remember recent events or family, but can recall childhood memories – particularly when prompted by personal archives such as photographs or letters (increasingly stored online via social media platforms). Reminiscence therapy has been used to help people living with dementia to reconnect with family members via a shared past.
This paper explores the intersection of memory, personal archives and digital content, and suggests that we can all benefit from proactive memory management as we head towards a later stage in life having spent more time in cyberspace.
** SPONSOR PRESENTATION **
Showcasing archival content: creating digital collections and exhibits
Martin Drewe – Head of Platform Services, Adam Matthew Digital
Ensuring that content is accessible to and discoverable by end users is one of the biggest challenges facing institutions and libraries. Here we discuss cases from two institutions keen to make digital content available to academics, researchers, students, and the general public.
The Newberry Library is exploring use of a single platform to both manage and display their digital assets. The University of Toronto, Mississauga is keen to make digital content both discoverable and searchable on a single site.
Martin Drewe will discuss how Adam Matthew has worked with these institutions to assess their requirements and publish their archival content through Quartex.
P2. Painful and problematic anniversaries
Not all anniversaries can be celebrated. The papers in this panel present how three different projects have tackled the commemoration of difficult, painful and controversial histories, and the wider responsibilities of cultural heritage organisations in this area.
Chaired by David Farrell-Banks, PhD Student, Newcastle University
Anniversaries of hate: The challenge of remembering the “Rivers of Blood” speech 50 years on
Heidi McIntosh, Senior Archivist, Wolverhampton City Archives
2018 marks 50 years since Enoch Powell’s infamous “Rivers of Blood” speech. Although undeniably controversial, this is an important historical event which has thrown a shadow over subsequent discussions about immigration, and its significance and relevance has not faded over time.
This paper will address the responsibility archives have in terms of marking anniversaries. For instance, do we shy away from difficult topics and censor historical events? Do we simply focus on positive and life-affirming anniversaries and significant international events? Or, do we have a duty to offer to the public the unvarnished, uncomfortable and unpalatable truths of our society?
Painful history in the public space: Steilneset Memorial, Norway
Liv Helene Willumsen, Department of History, University of Tromsø
This presentation deals with Steilneset Memorial in Finnmark, North Norway, opened in 2011. The Memorial commemorates the victims of the seventeenth-century Finnmark witchcraft trials, when 91 persons were burnt in fire at the stake for having performed witchcraft. The presentation will focus on the three components of Steilneset Memorial, art, architecture and history, and the way they interact to create a strong experience. In addition, the question will be raised how this painful historical event by its symbolic expression connects to parallel assaults in our own time.
National and indigenous narratives: the colonial past and contemporary commemoration in the Mayflower400 anniversary exhibition in 2020
Kathryn N Gray, Associate Professor, University of Plymouth
Jo Loosemore, Mayflower Curator, The Box, Plymouth
Responding to the theme of commemorations and anniversaries, this paper will consider the conceptual choices and practical issues involved in the development of the Mayflower 400 national exhibition to be opened in Plymouth, UK, 2020.
** SPONSOR PRESENTATION **
Myth or Fact? Transforming erroneous popular memories of the British Home Front during World War II
Joseph Gilling, Development Editor, Taylor & Francis
Our popular memories of the British Home Front during WWII are often shaped by our own biased ideas of national identity and heritage. Using Routledge’s online digital source collection War, State and Society, which features documents drawn from The National Archives and the History of Advertising Trust, we can use primary sources to challenge and transform such prevalent myths as the ‘Blitz Spirit’ often promulgated in popular entertainment media. By engaging with government documents and state media we can often trace the origins of such erroneous popular memories to the government propaganda campaigns of the time.
P3. Institutional memories: collections, identity and engagement
This panel explores both the importance of curation and collecting policies in the creation of cohesive and representative institutional memories, and how these can be used to inform current engagement activities.
Chaired by Peter Phippen, Non-Executive Board Member, The National Archives
Martin Luther King and Freedom City 2017: Commemoration through Archives and Engagement at a Civic University
Geraldine Hunwick, Senior Archivist, Newcastle University
Andrea Henderson, Engagement Manager, Newcastle University
In November 1967 Newcastle University became the only UK university to award an honorary degree to Dr Martin Luther King in his lifetime. This was commemorated through Freedom City 2017 (FC2017), a major city-wide programme of cultural and artistic events. This paper examines how the university’s Engagement Manager used the university archives to inform and underpin the content of FC2017, and how, in curating this institutional memory, Special Collections went beyond its traditional remit of teaching and research support to address the university’s broader strategic aims, reflecting also on the benefits of collaborations between university repositories and engagement teams.
Rediscovering local health histories at NHS70 and the shape of things (not) to come for NHS100: lessons from Liverpool
Michael Lambert, Research Associate, Department of Public Health and Policy, University of Liverpool
This paper offers a critical reflection on the experiences of collating and constructing a guide to accessing NHS (National Health Service) archival records about Merseyside for NHS70, and what this might mean for future historians of NHS100. It considers the impact of changing record management governance, the ambiguous place of the NHS bodies in legislative archival requirements, and the consequences of perpetual reforms in the NHS, to examine the past, present and future state of regional health policy and service history records on Merseyside.
Hidden in plain sight: Building diverse collections
Frances Reed, Exhibitions co-ordinator, Royal College of Nursing
Nursing is a diverse workforce caring for an increasingly diverse population. This diversity was not well represented in the collections at the RCN Library and Archive. The team launched a collecting drive, exhibition and events programme to ensure that BAME, LGBTQ, D/deaf and disabled nurses are reflected in the collections. Using quotes, oral history clips and objects belonging to nurses, exhibitions co-ordinator Frances Reed will explain why it’s important that museum and archive staff actively participate in expanding collections to represent diversity.
** SPONSOR PRESENTATION **
Archiving Extremist Propaganda: Accessibility, Responsibility & Censorship
Rachel Holt, Editor, Gale, a Cengage Company
Should we digitise radical primary sources in the name of research? For over 60 years, Gale, a Cengage Company has partnered with libraries around the world to empower the discovery of knowledge. Gale Primary Sources digitises a variety of archival collections from across the globe to increase their accessibility for scholars but what if those collections contain extremist propaganda whose increased attainability could be irresponsible, especially in this era of ‘fake news’?
Rachel Holt, Editor for Political Extremism & Radicalism in the Twentieth Century will discuss the treatment of controversial materials and the balancing of accessibility, moral responsibility and censorship.
P4. Wellcome long table discussion – Whose Memories?
The ‘Long Table’ is an experimental open public forum that is a hybrid performance, installation, roundtable discussion and dinner party designed to facilitate dialogue by gathering together people with common interests. This Long Table will be hosted by Lois Weaver and explore the question ‘Whose Memories?’.
The Long Table is a dinner party structured by etiquette, where conversation is the only course. It is at once a stylised appropriation and an open-ended, non-hierarchical format for participation. Both of these elements – theatrical craft and political commitment – mutually support opportunities for wider access to public discourse in this widely and internationally toured work. The domestic realm here becomes a stage for public thought.
Lois Weaver is a lecturer, performance artist, writer, director and activist. She was co-founder of Spiderwoman Theatre, Split Britches Company and the WOW Theatre in New York and Artistic Director of Gay Sweatshop Theatre in London. She is Professor of Contemporary Performance at Queen Mary, University of London and is a Wellcome Public Engagement Fellow.
P5. Places for remembering?: Archives and dementia care
This panel will explore the services archives and collections can offer in the therapeutic treatment of individuals with dementia by stimulating reminiscence and memory, and how the impact of this role can be measured.
Chaired by Emma Jay, Academic Programmes Manager, The National Archives
Memory archive: Using archive materials for reminiscence with people living with dementia
Reina van der Wiel, Executive Assistant, and Penny Icke, Information Services Manager, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales
In November 2017 the Royal Commission, in partnership with Aberystwyth University School of Art, held ‘Explore Your Archive: Memory Archive’, an event exploring how archive materials can be used to create activities, walks, stories and artworks to help stimulate reminiscence and memory. Around fifty healthcare professionals and people working with, or caring for, people living with dementia came together to listen to speakers and take part in workshops run by MA students. This paper will give an account of the day and highlight collections in the National Monuments Record of Wales that are of particular interest for memory and reminiscence.
The role of commercial archives in dementia care
Sophie Clapp, Boots UK Archive
Victoria Tischler,Professor of Arts and Health, University of West London
This paper will present current research that utilises archival items from Boots UK to provide olfactory, visual and tactile stimulation for people living with dementia.
Boots UK is a trusted brand that focuses on pharmacy, health and wellbeing activity. The Boots archive in Nottinghamshire is a unique resource containing thousands of items, some predating the origins of the business in 1849 and continuing into the present day.
The paper discusses the potential therapeutic use of multisensory archival material in dementia care. The use of the archive to promote social value and the importance of collaboration will be presented.
Impact of reminiscence based services provided by archives for people with dementia
Medha Chotai, Student, UCL
Many archives provide reminiscence based services for people with dementia. Considering that there are currently 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, a figure which is expected to rise to over 1 million by 2020, makes these services significant because of the impact they can have on individuals with dementia. To assess the impact of the services, evaluation is necessary, something that is not currently carried out, partly due to the lack of an appropriate framework being in place. By developing and adapting the available frameworks from the wider arts and health literature an appropriate framework is suggested.
** SPONSOR PRESENTATION **
Engaging your Community with Active Digital Preservation & Access
David Portman, Marketing Programs Manager, Preservica
This session will explore how affordable digital preservation and access software has enabled institutions to not only protect their valuable digital collections for the long term but also encourage engagement from online communities and stay relevant by flexibly rearranging and enriching their digital archive overtime. Through a variety of case studies you will hear how archivists and collections managers have achieved more in their role by using tools that free up their time and energy to focus on curating and sharing digital content, creating lasting value at their institution.
P6. Memory institutions: uncomfortable pasts and legacies
Many cultural heritage institutions can boast proud histories, which can in some cases stretch back hundreds of years. But what happens when this longevity brings with it less palatable legacies? This panel addresses different ways in which organisations have addressed this difficult and complex subject, where there are often no easy answers.
Chaired by Victoria Hoyle, Research Associate, University College London
Ngā Taonga Mokemoke: Indigenous communities and their lonely treasures
Samantha Callaghan, Metadata Analyst (Georgian Papers Programme), King’s Digital Lab, King’s College London
Memory institutions in the UK and Europe frequently hold objects and knowledge sourced from indigenous communities across the world. Many of these communities are disconnected from these lonely treasures: physically, intellectually, and spiritually.
This presentation will: outline the context of these taonga; discuss approaches to developing relationships with source communities, challenges when doing so, and the potential rewards; and also describe some examples of successful, and not so successful, relationships between institutions and indigenous communities (predominantly Māori) in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, such as the Georgian Papers Programme and Te Maru o Hinemihi.
No Records Survive: Re-discovering the lost voices of enslaved people through archival records
Helen Bates, Lecturer in Public History & Heritage, University of Derby
Lisa Robinson, Director, Bright Ideas Nottingham
The HLF-funded Slave Trade Legacies project focussed on visitor attractions which had links to the transatlantic slave trade and could be classed as legacies of slavery. This legacy is often excluded from historical interpretation on sites. The project’s volunteers (who were of African-Caribbean heritage) discovered that sites were repeatedly justifying their failure to recognise their links through the escape clause of ‘No Records Survive’. Without archival sources to aid understanding, sites appeared to prefer to keep silent on the matter. The project demonstrated ways to re-think minimal survival of archival material in interpretation of a site’s links to slavery.
Moving towards protocols for describing racially offensive archives in the UK
Simon Demissie, Team Leader Collections Information, Wellcome Collection
Alicia Chilcott, Digitisation Co-ordinator, Conway Hall
Since 1995, the Australian and North American archival communities have developed protocols for culturally sensitive management of archives about indigenous peoples. While there is no comparable indigenous population in the UK, the impact of colonialism, the slave trade and migration have resulted in archives reflecting a diverse population and a history of oppression of certain racial groups. In her research, Alicia Chilcott has explored the use of racially offensive descriptions in UK archives and proposed solutions which will be shared along with the outcomes from a recent discussion involving archive professionals and users held at Liverpool University Centre for Archive Studies.
** SPONSOR PRESENTATION **
Digitizing Society Archives Shortens the Research Timeline
Ed Yarnell, Wiley Digital Archives Program Specialist
How do archives from decades ago affect today’s research and publications? Ed Yarnell, Wiley’s Archive Specialist, shares Johanna Parker’s (PhD candidate at the Australian National University) experiences while accessing the new Wiley Digital Archives.
Her case study sheds light on the ways that our digitized archives helped her resolve her research problem, how the on-line, accessible nature of the archives saved valuable research time, and how other researchers might also uncover lesser-known historical characters and their stories using digital archives.
P7. Too much of a good thing? Critical reflections on anniversaries
From academic research projects to community engagement, anniversaries have dominated the cultural heritage and funding landscape for many years. With the commemorations surrounding the centenary of the First World War drawing to an end, the papers in this panel take a critical and reflective approach to anniversaries and commemoration activities.
Chaired by Jessamy Carlson, Partnerships & Programme Manager, The National Archives
The right kind of commemoration: golden opportunity or audience killer?
Julie Biddlecombe-Brown, Exhibition Curator, Culture Durham, Durham University
The last few years have witnessed a plethora of commemorations from Magna Carta 800 to the very many anniversaries connected to the First World War, from the founding of Parliament to the centenary of (some) women being given the vote. In the right circumstances, these can provide a golden opportunity for institutions to engage with new and existing audiences but there is a very real danger that in our well-meaning attempts to link to these commemorations we alienate the very people we want to attract. This presentation will address this thorny issue using our exhibition programme as a case study.
Collaborative Approaches to Heritage: The Legacy of the WW1 Engagement Centres
Ian Grosvenor, Director of Voices of War & Peace WW1 Engagement Centre, University of Birmingham
Nicola Gauld, Coordinator of Voices of War & Peace WW1 Engagement Centre, University of Birmingham
As we approach the end of the First World War commemorations, this presentation will consider the impact of collaborative working on both community organisations and the academy, drawn from the evaluative work carried out on 15 co-designed and co-produced projects that the Voices WW1 Engagement Centre funded in 2015-17. While much new knowledge about the War has surfaced through the work of community organisations supported by the Engagement Centres, this presentation will focus on the process and practice of collaboration and ask, is the real legacy of the centenary programme the trusting collaborative relationship between the community and the university?
Race, memory and posthumous justice during the First World War centenary commemorations
Richard Smith, Senior Lecturer, Goldsmiths, University of London
This paper discusses the campaign to award a retrospective Military Cross to Walter Tull, generally assumed to be the first officer of African descent to serve in the First World War. By posthumously recognising Walter Tull’s bravery on the battlefield, the campaign aims to address past discrimination and promote cohesion and pride among communities affected by racial disadvantage in contemporary Britain. However, these objectives need to be carefully weighed against other aspects of history, memory and public emotion to ensure that the complexities and extent of what is understood as the multi-cultural First World War are fully recognised.
** SPONSOR PRESENTATION **
The Indigenous Digital Archive: opening up archival collections using IIIF, crowd-sourcing, and natural language processing
Matthew McGrattan, Head of Digital Library Solutions, Digirati
Archival collections without rich descriptions in metadata and finding aids are often difficult for end users to navigate and discover resources. On the other hand, creating rich metadata that can be used to provide powerful search and browse experiences on archival content is labour-intensive, and expensive. For the Indigenous Digital Archive project, Digirati used the Digital Library Cloud Service, IIIF APIs, natural language processing, and crowd-sourcing, to quickly develop a generous interface which could expose inaccessible archives to the Native American community and other users. We will describe what we did, how, and why.
P8. Digital memories: preservation, interpretation and re-use
This panel explores the ways in which digital technologies can be used to preserve and analyse physical collections and trace the impact of the re-use of digitised documents over the internet on long-term cultural memory.
Chaired by Neil Stewart, Digital Library Manager, London School of Economics
The tactical value of digitisation for the protection of Middle Eastern cultural heritage in conflict
Sarah Gambell, PhD Candidate Information Studies, University of Glasgow
Given the current geo-political climate of the Middle East, there is an immediate need for museums to digitise inventories and collections and to install pre-emptive measures against the destruction of collections. Widespread digitisation of inventories and artefacts reduces the future risk of theft of movable heritage as well as provide a means for continued public access to the works in cases where the item is displaced or destroyed. This paper explores the tactical value of digitisation of art, artefacts and heritage sites, and how museums in conflict zones can use this technology for preservation, reconstruction and continued public access to collections.
Futureproofing hidden collections
Caroline Walter, Project Archivist (Ronald Duncan Collection)
Emma Sherriff, Digital Humanities Technical Manager, University of Exeter
The University of Exeter’s Special Collections team and Digital Humanities Lab are working collaboratively to make available a hidden collection, composed of material in varied and interesting formats, using digital methods. Writer Ronald Duncan (1914-1982), whose personal collection was gifted to Exeter in 2012, was embedded in the literary and artistic society of his age, working with notable figures such as Benjamin Britten. This presentation will explore the project’s challenges and detail how the two teams collaborate to rigorously shape the digital elements; from metadata, data visualisation and management, to creating digital content.
Digital collections in cultural memory: tracking how users remember and reuse collection images in the digital sphere
Katherine Howells, PhD Student, King’s College London
Simon Tanner, Professor of Digital Cultural Heritage, King’s College London
Images held in museum and archive collections, and circulated in print and digital media, can have profound impacts on the development of cultural memory. This paper presents a method by which cultural and academic institutions can track how internet users reuse and engage with digitised collection images. Focusing on British wartime propaganda posters, I show how digital tracking processes can help to highlight the long-term impacts of collection images on British cultural memory of the Second World War. Understanding how users engage with collections online can inform better institutional decision making around the publication and promotion of these collections.
** SPONSOR PRESENTATION **
Neil Grindley, Head of Resource Discovery, Jisc
Jisc sponsors and attends DCDC because it is an event where people who are excited about the value of content and collections come together to discuss how best to make that value clearer to the wider community. But we are also present as a digital services provider who can help with the sort of transformations that are thematically important to this year’s DCDC conference. This presentation will briefly talk about some of the ways that Jisc’s products and services help to drive scholarship and empower archives, libraries, galleries and museums to get the maximum benefit from using digital techniques and tools.
P9. Material narratives: physical memory in the archives
This panel explores the importance of understanding the materiality of collections, and how physical interaction with objects can unlock hidden narratives and memories.
Chaired by George Hay, Principal Records Specialist, The National Archives
Ephemeral Histories? The collecting of black-led archives
Hannah Ishmael, PhD Candidate, UCL
At the heart of Hannah’s research on the development of three black-led archives in London, rests the twin concepts of recovery and transformation; the desire to recover lost historical memories and to use them to transform historical narratives in Britain. However, in order to recover narratives these archives have turned to record formats such as oral histories and ephemera as alternative forms of evidence to remake the past and transform the future.
Sarah Noble, Conservation Manager, The National Archives
The National Archives has a collection that has yet to be discovered. They call it The Prize Papers and it consists of approximately 100,000 largely unused and unsorted personal and business correspondence, personal effects and trade goods that stem from captures which were part of the naval powers war strategy during the early modern period. This collection represents the only surviving collection of its kind in Europe.
The National Archives has joined together with the University of Oldenburg in Germany on this 20 year funded collaborative project to systematically catalogue, conserve and digitise the content of the Prize Papers and its extraordinary materiality.
The Powerful Whispers Project: A box of family photographs as archival site of post-memory and the ‘trace’
Rob Burton, Head of Department (Design), Teesside University
The Powerful Whispers Project documents the archive of artefacts, artistic responses, critical analysis, examined and generated, as responses to a personal archive: a box of family photographs documenting the Wilson family from the Victorian era to the 1980s. The artworks arising from the studied archive have been exhibited internationally under the collective name of ‘The Powerful Whispers Project’, an ongoing fibre-based series of works integrating digital and haptic technologies. The works explore the trace of memory, post-memory and the representation of post-memory using photographic archival materials and family narrative and memory.
** SPONSOR PRESENTATION **
Art Sales Catalogues Online
Linda Empringham, Sales Director EMEA & South Asia, Brill
The earliest art sales catalogues, or auction catalogues, appeared in the early 17th century, as simple leaflets. Over time, the catalogues grew into extensive, richly-illustrated publications. The catalogues are intriguing not only from the point of view of Art History, but also provide glimpses into the economic and sociological climate of the time. Brill’s fully searchable Art Sales Catalogues Online provides access to complete historical art sales catalogues from the period 1600 to 1900, with the Lugt’s Répertoire Online acting as a gateway to the catalogues themselves.
P10. It’s not all about the numbers: memory, transformation and making an impact with Special Collections
Citing specific examples this panel will describe and discuss research outputs, new models of practice and the highs and lows of bringing collections out from the shadows on the journey from ‘potential’ to ‘measurable’ impact.
Chaired by Simon Chaplin, Director of Culture & Society, Wellcome Trust
Towards Dolly: Impact through the Roslin Institute Archives
Joseph Marshall, Head of Special Collections and Centre for Research Collections, University of Edinburgh
This presentation looks at the impact on research, partnerships and funding for the University of Edinburgh’s special collections following the accession of the papers of the Roslin Institute, most famous for cloning Dolly the Sheep in 1997. Driven by scientists and funders rather than by existing collections, a series of projects has transformed activity around the records of animal genetics at Edinburgh. These have included traditional cataloguing and conservation projects but also digitisation of photographic and film material, an oral history project with leading geneticists, new creative art work, exhibitions and research publications. The paper will outline the story and also show how a critical mass of activity with demonstrable impact can attract new collections and more resource.
War Child: A practice-led model for collaborative collections-based research
Teresa Murjas, Associate Professor in Theatre and Performance, University of Reading
Kate Arnold-Foster, Head of University Museums and Special Collections, University of Reading
This jointly delivered paper will highlight examples of innovative collections-based research practice, fostered through initiatives designed to develop increased academic engagement with the University’s Special Collections. The collaboration between researcher and collections’ professionals helped to identify and exploit strategies for enabling a wider audience to engage more effectively with archives, resulting in two mixed-media projects, The First World War in Biscuits and War Child. The latter web-based resource is a digital ‘mixed-media book’ incorporating audio-material, video-footage, photography, and inter-layered textual narrative.
Evidencing Impact and Value: Stories from the RLUK Special Collections Programme (SCP)
Christina Kamposiori, Programme Officer, RLUK
This paper presents the outcome of a recent RLUK project that aimed to explore and understand the approaches employed by RLUK members and close partners for capturing and measuring the impact of activities based on special collections and archives.
For the purposes of this project, we analysed a set of case-based evidence collected as part of the RLUK Special Collections Programme (SCP) and obtained further survey data with the aim of learning more about the pathways to impact followed by special collection and archive professional as well as the characteristics of successful impact cases and the entailed challenges.
** SPONSOR PRESENTATION **
What can Star Wars teach us about Digital Preservation?
Paula Keogh, VP and Sector Lead for Higher Education, Archives, Libraries & Heritage, Arkivum
In this 5-minute lighting talk, Paula Keogh, VP and Sector Lead for Higher Education, Archives, Libraries & Heritage at Arkivum, will discuss with the group how Star Wars can help us navigate the do’s and don’ts of creating a Digital Preservation strategy for your organization. She will cover ideas around parsimony, managed service models and the arguments between back-up vs. archiving and digitization vs. digital preservation. Spoiler alert: Star Wars got it wrong!
P11. Mental health and wellbeing: working with communities
This panel will address how museums and heritage organisations can play a role in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of three different types of community groups, using innovative methodologies to address challenging questions.
Chaired by Chris Mumby, Head of Business Development, The National Archives
Open air museums as spaces to promote wellbeing amongst people living with memory problems and dementia: A European research project
Michelle Kindleysides, Health and Wellbeing Coordinator, Beamish Museum
Bruce Davenport, Research Associate, Media, Culture & Heritage, Newcastle University
Beamish Museum (County Durham), and Newcastle University were partners in an Erasmus+ funded project with four other European Open Air Museums and two Universities: ‘Active Ageing and Heritage in Adult Learning (AHA)’ in 2014-2017. The project evaluated the impact of attending reminiscence sessions upon the wellbeing of participants with memory problems or a diagnosis of dementia and their accompanying carers. This presentation will outline the methodologies used, discuss the findings of the project and consider the implication of those findings for the role that engagement with cultural heritage can have in supporting wellbeing of older people, especially those affected by dementia.
Mapping the ways in which UK museums and arts organisations can promote the integration of minority migrant communities
Linda JM Thomson, Senior Research Project Manager, University College London
UCL researchers and partners (museums, arts and refugee organisations) are mapping ways in which UK museum and arts sectors promote integration of minority migrant communities. In participating in creative and cultural activities, refugees are reminded of previous national, ethnic and religious identities, and introduced to new arts activities and occupations, improving experiences of integration and employability through language and social skills. Minority groups are encouraged to share life-stories and representations (objects and artwork) while participating in museums- and arts-in-health sessions within a supportive environment. Translation of research into evidence will impact upon practice-based, integration frameworks for professionals and policy makers.
Whose memory is this anyway?
Suzanne Prak-Sandilands, Assistant Outreach Officer, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
Lizzy Baker, Archives Manager, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums
This paper will examine the tensions and power relationships when meaningful collaborations between community organisations, archives and museums come together to explore historic mental health records. Communities of people with lived experience of mental health conditions are challenging and questioning archival records, believing they impact on current thinking, representation and lead to prejudice and discrimination.
We can’t change mental health records but can create new interpretation using authentic voices of people with lived experience. We will delve into the practical considerations and challenges we faced and share this insight with delegates to further this type of work in more equitable ways.
P12. Future memories: collecting contemporary events
This panel explores three different projects which have focused on archiving of current events and preserving memories as they are being created, from individual events to ongoing lived experiences.
Chaired by Laura Shanahan, Head of Research Collections, Trinity College Dublin
Archiving the spontaneous memorials of the Manchester Arena bombing
Kostas Arvanitis, Senior Lecturer in Museology, University of Manchester
Amanda Wallace, Deputy Director, Manchester Art Gallery
Drawing on the case of the spontaneous memorials that appeared in Manchester after the Manchester Arena bombing (22nd May 2017), this paper will present conceptual, practical and ethical challenges of managing, documenting and archiving more than 10,000 items recovered from the memorials (including written messages, photographs, posters, t-shirts, soft toys, candles etc.). It will also discuss how people have reacted to and participated in the formation of the “Manchester Arena Archive” and reflect on initial policy and practice lessons related to rapid-response documentation and long-term archiving and use of spontaneous memorials.
Hull 2017 City of Culture Archive: Capturing cultural transformation as it happens
Laura Giles, City of Culture Digital Archivist, University of Hull
As the official academic partner of the Hull 2017 City of Culture, the University of Hull took the opportunity to work collaboratively with the Culture Company, artists and participants to create a vast, largely digital, archive. This, we hope, will be useful both to academics studying cultural transformation and as a memory bank for the residents of Hull who lived and breathed the culture as it happened. This paper will chronicle the steps we have been taking to build the archive from close work with depositors through to the technical challenges and opportunities of building a digital archive.
The Travelling Heritage Bureau: Addressing displacement and memory
Jenna C. Ashton, Creative Director, Digital Women’s Archive North [DWAN]
This paper explores the complexities of memory, and its cultural representation and manifestation within the context of women’s global displacement and spatial movement, through the case study of HLF supported The Travelling Heritage Bureau.
The Travelling Heritage Bureau is a co-research project and supportive network with and for women artists including refugees, exiles, asylum seekers and other migrant women with direct experience of displacement. The project explores ways in which the practice, cultural heritage and lived experience of international women visual artists is identified, collected and shared.
This work has specific relevance for the future of arts archives, and how arts practices are understood as modes of documentation and living memory.
P13. Public reminiscence and collective memory: community, identity and politics
The projects presented in this panel explore how current political and social tensions can impact on the collective memories and identities of communities, and how digital and non-digital methodologies can be utilised to research and address these issues.
Chaired by Claire Feehily, Non-Executive Board Member, The National Archives
Nela Milic, Senior Lecturer and Contextual and Theoretical Studies Coordinator, University of the Arts London
The Serbian uprising in ‘96/’97 was an attempt to overthrow dictatorship of president Milosevic after he annulled elections because of the victory of the opposition party. Ashamed by the unsuccessful outcome of their protest, the people of Belgrade, have never produced an archive of artefacts which emerged during the demonstrations. This project is that archive – the website of images, leaflets, badges, flags, vouchers, cartoons, crochets, poems etc, a digital repository of the elucidated protest available to the participants, scholars and the public. It is a pedagogical tool problematising any storage as a platform to capture the past.
Making Meaning with Magna Carta: Online collective memory and the role of the museum
David Farrell-Banks, PhD student, Department of Media, Culture, Heritage, Newcastle University
The use of Magna Carta within political discourse was a recurrent feature of the United Kingdom’s 2016 EU Referendum. This political mobilisation of Magna Carta, built upon an assumed role of this moment in the collective memory of Britain, has also become a frequent feature of political discourse on Twitter. This paper uses the analysis of a sample of tweets to question the role of digital political discourse in the revision and formation of collective memories. This is used to provoke a discussion around the changing role of the museum in communicating knowledge of the past and shaping collective memory.
Connecting Faith Collections with Faith Communities – a pilot
Alan Benstock, MA Student at the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science, University of Leeds
This paper is based on learning from an ongoing funded project that examines the challenge of educating and encouraging faith and ethnic communities in Leeds to collect and preserve cultural material from their communities. Through a partnership between Leeds Museum and Galleries, the University of Leeds and the United Hebrew Congregation Synagogue in Leeds, the research sought to link a selection of individual pieces of Judaica in the museum’s collection with the records held by the synagogue and the community more generally to see whether the quality of provenance, historical and social information could be improved. The project also has a component to increase the knowledge of local faith actors and communities of how to collect community memories (whether documentary or artefacts).