General, Projects

New Home for Special Collections and Archives

The Special Collections and Archives service has moved from Francis Close Hall to Delta Place, where all of our collections are now located.

Over the summer we’ve transformed an open-plan office into a repository for the University Archive and several special collections. We also have two new collections; the ITN News Archive and an Artists’ Books Collection.

Before
Before – A blank canvas

 

Nine lorry-loads of shelving and boxes were gradually delivered and the space began to take shape.

During
During – Controlled chaos!

 

Delta Place is now home to thirteen diverse and engaging collections that encompass literary giants such as the Dymock Poets; vast resources on local and national history in the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society Library; archives of artists and sculptors in our Whittington Press and Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail collections; documentary photographs charting national and international news during the later twentieth century in the ITN News Archive; and of course the rich history of the University of Gloucestershire covering the past 170 years.

After
After – Ready to welcome back our researchers

 

The service is open to staff, students and members of the public. Archivist Louise Hughes is on hand to help with your research, whatever topic big or small. Academic staff are also encouraged to contact the Special Collections and Archives for module-specific archive sessions using our wealth of material.

Our online archive catalogue continues to grow as our collections are catalogued and made available to search online. All collections are also accessible in-person by making an appointment.

Open Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 10am – 6pm:

Special Collections and Archives

University of Gloucestershire

Delta Place

27 Bath Road

Cheltenham

Gloucestershire

GL53 7TH

archives@glos.ac.uk

01242 714851

Delta Place location map

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Displays and Events, University History

Heritage Open Days 2017

We’re excited to announce that this year the University of Gloucestershire will again take part in Heritage Open Days, a national initiative that sees places of historic interest open their doors to the public for free.

On Sunday 10th September 2017 we’ll be hosting tours of Francis Close Hall (from The Chapel) at 10am and 11am, and Park Campus (from Elwes Reception) at 1pm and 2pm.

Francis Close Hall opened in 1850 to accommodate the male students of Cheltenham Training College. Designed by Samuel Daukes, it is one of Cheltenham’s best examples of a Victorian-Gothic building. The tour will take in the grounds and buildings, recounting the history of both and the students who have studied here.

The Park Campus was originally planned as a zoological garden by Thomas Billings. Despite opening on Queen Victoria’s coronation day, 28 June 1838, the enterprise failed and Billings sold the site to Samuel Daukes, who operated it as a pleasure garden and built the villas that still border the campus today. The tour of the grounds will uncover the history of the site and how we came to own it.

Tickets for both tours are free and can be booked via Cheltenham Tourist Information Centre, based at The Wilson Art Gallery, in person or be calling 01242 237431.

More information on other Heritage Open Day events in Cheltenham and beyond can be found on the national website https://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/.

Catalogue

Exciting collaboration with AtoM users

sca-front-page

The University of Gloucestershire Special Collections and Archives are currently involved in a project with other AtoM catalogue software users to make our descriptions available on the Archives Hub. Archives Hub brings together catalogues from hundreds of higher education and specialist archives in the UK, making all their descriptions searchable in one place. Having a presence on Archives Hub will increase the audiences for our collections both in the UK and via Archives Portal Europe.

Jen Mitcham of the Borthwick Institute at the University of York is co-ordinating the project, working with Artefactual, the developers of our online AtoM catalogue. AtoM (Access to Memory) is open source archive cataloguing software, meaning it is free to download and set up. We’ve been working hard to make our collections available online since setting up AtoM in summer 2015. So far three of our collections are catalogued and searchable, encompassing almost 5,000 descriptions.

Jen has written a blog explaining more about the project here.

Our project partners are:

 

I look forward to sharing an update when our descriptions are live on the Archives Hub.

Dymock Poets, Students, U A Fanthorpe

Creative Writing students in the archives

Today I had a visit from 2nd year Creative Writing students and their tutor Lania. We looked at material from our Dymock Poets Special Collection and U A Fanthorpe Archive, even listening to an audio recording of Robert Frost reading his own poetry. It was lovely to listen in on how the students used the material to inspire their creative processes.

creative-writing-session-13-02-2017

Displays and Events

Beyond the Lecture Theatre Conference

Last month I attended the Beyond the Lecture Theatre conference at the University of Aberdeen. It was both the furthest north I’ve travelled and my first time in the city, and after braving the winds off the North Sea I really enjoyed visiting such a vibrant place. The conference brought together staff and students from the archive and museum sector in higher education to discuss cross-disciplinary working and innovations. It was hosted in the beautiful Sir Duncan Rice Library located in Old Aberdeen, with views out over the coast from the 7th floor. The conference was run in collaboration with University Museums in Scotland and the Scottish Universities Special Collections and Archives Group.

aberdeen-10
The Sir Duncan Rice Library at night

 

I was treated to speakers from across the UK and Europe talking about their experiences of cross-sector and discipline working with the aim of increasing the reach and potential of museum and archival collections to students and other audiences. This is an area I’m particularly interested in and am always looking to introduce new ways of working with students and collections here at the University of Gloucestershire.

aberdeen-12
View from the 7th floor

 

Each speaker brought a new dimension to the discussion and it was fascinating to hear of all the innovative outreach work taking place in university archives and museums. Anna McNally from the University of Westminster described her experience of co-teaching on a dedicated MA Art and Visual Culture module which used collections from their in-house archive. Students took part in various archival orientation activities such as cataloguing, description and background reading on archive theory whilst also conducting their own research to produce tailored exhibitions. Other embedded approaches included Middlesex University’s collaboration between academics and the university museum’s design collection to engage students with magazine collections, whilst Maastricht University’s On Exhibition course saw two students travelling to China to re-trace the footsteps of Jesuit scholars found in travelogues in the Special Collections.

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Inside the Sir Duncan Rice Library

 

The essential links between using collections to aid teaching and digitisation of material were evident. Giovanna Vitelli from the Ashmolean Museum discussed integrating text and object teaching at Oxford University with their new Cabinet software. This tool allows items from museum collections to be digitised, made available online and become part of teaching by allowing staff and students to annotate and manipulate the digital image. Staff can add new objects to discuss in an online forum each week.

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Delegates at the conference

 

There were also inspiring talks on using student placements from the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Glasgow and University of Stirling. All were examples of stimulating and relevant internships which were mutually beneficial to both students and organisations. A lively ‘PechaKucha’ session saw PhD students from the University of Glasgow discussing their experiences of using museum and archive collections in their research. It was a really enjoyable two days and which left me feeling inspired to try new ideas here.