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.

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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.

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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.

Students, University Archive

Radio Production students and Religious Broadcasting

Last week I was involved in a session with second year Radio Production students recording in our very own Chapel of St Mary and St Paul at FCH. As part of their module MD5401 Radio Genres and Cultures, the students read and recorded their own religious broadcasts in the chilly but beautiful Chapel.

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They listened to archive recordings of student choirs and events from the 1950s – 2000s over the Chapel PA system to get an idea of the types of recordings made over the years. These recordings are held in the University Archive. They also practiced reading the sermons of Reverend Francis Close, who in the 1840s helped establish the institution that went on to become the University of Gloucestershire.

Student and Frome FM DJ Alex Hawkins has made the recordings available here:

https://soundcloud.com/conveyancespace/francis-close-hall-recordings-gloucestershire-university

They are certainly atmospheric! It was an enjoyable session to be involved with.

Catalogue, Displays and Events, Dymock Poets

Celebrating the launch of the Special Collections and Archives online catalogue

Last night saw the successful launch of the new Special Collections and Archives online catalogue. Three of the University’s archive collections have already been catalogued – the University Archive Miscellaneous Donations collection; the Cyder Press Collection and the Dymock Poets Special Collection.

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Last night focused on the Dymock Poets collection – a unique gathering of material on famous poets such as Rupert Brooke, Robert Frost and Edward Thomas who lived in and visited the Gloucestershire village of Dymock during the summer of 1914. The collection not only documents this “brief idyll”, but covers the lives of the poets and the ensuing century of interest they have generated.

Archivist Louise Hughes says “We are so lucky as an institution to have such a fantastic archive dedicated to these world-renowned poets and their Gloucestershire connections. Not only do we have a wealth of published material by and criticism of the poets, we have original drafts of poetry, unpublished letters and private photographs – completely unique and held here at the University. Our new online catalogue has enabled this and other collections to be opened up to researchers both here and all over the world. It is a major milestone.”

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Staff and students read poetry by the Dymock Poets and were joined by members of the Edward Thomas Fellowship and Friends of the Dymock Poets. The great turnout, mulled wine and festive treats made it a fitting celebration.

Displays and Events, Dymock Poets

Stopping By Archives on a Snowy Evening

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To celebrate the launch of our new online catalogue the Special Collections and Archives are hosting an evening of poetry and seasonal refreshments, giving you the chance to discover our newly catalogued Dymock Poets Special Collection. Please come along and discover more about the poets, why they were in Dymock and what gems the special collection contains. See you there!