archives records artefacts
1. Democratising or privileging: the future of access to archives
Our ‘Democratising or privileging: the future of access to archives’ conference was staged in Dundee on 25th and 26th April. The event saw delegates from across the world gather to listen to a range of excellent papers from archivists, historians and archival users, which prompted some fascinating discussions. We were delighted with the positive feedback we received from attendees and are looking forward to our next conference in 2014.
2. Peter Randall-Page sculpture
The university is to have its first major piece of public sculpture as part of the Art Fund RENEW project that curator Matthew Jarron is leading to build a collection of art inspired by D'Arcy Thompson. To supplement the Art Fund grant, Matthew has succeeded in securing L15,000 from the National Fund for Acquisitions to complete the purchase of 'In the Beginning' by internationally renowned sculptor Peter Randall-Page. The piece will be sited in the link entrance between the Carnelley Building and the Old Medical School and should be installed in the near future.
3. Grove Academy Visit
Jennifer and Keren recently went to Grove Academy School to look at their archive material and advise them on how best to store the items. They had several interesting items including daily registers dating back to 1889, photographs and magazines produced by the pupils from the 1970's onwards. They took some conservation items with them including acid free paper and envelopes to give them an idea on how to store the materials. It was a really productive visit and hopefully a good first approach with a view to extending our outreach programme.
4.Dundee Redevelopment Photographs
With the redevelopment of Dundee’s waterfront well under way, Kenneth has continued to take photographs of the various on-going works in the area. This project has been in progress since last January and so far has focused on the work to remove Tayside House. By doing this, we will ensure that we have a photographic collection which documents the major changes to this area of the city. This will complement existing photographic collections which document the massive changes to Dundee in the late nineteenth century and in the 1960s.
5. New accessions
Archive Services continues to receive new material. The last few weeks have seen accessions of material relating to traditional songs, new items for the Michael Bolik Collection and University of Dundee prospectuses and other promotional material for prospective students. We anticipate that all of these items will be of interest to a number of readers.
6. Tree of Liberty
The competition for Interior & Environmental Design students to design a garden area around the new Tree of Liberty outside DJCAD has now finished and the students presented their design proposals to the judging panel. Matthew was one of the judges and was very impressed by the range and quality of the submissions. Four entries have been shortlisted and are now being considered by Estates & Buildings for practicability and affordability before the winning design is chosen and implemented.
7. Digital Doctor Day
On Wednesday 8th May, Jennifer attended a ‘Digital Doctor Day’ held by the Archives and Records Association at the National Records of Scotland. The short seminar looked at archival digitisation projects. Rob Mildren and Robin Urquhart started off by talking about how the NRS started digitisation in 1998-99 with the Scottish Archive Network which was originally more of an online exhibition that soon highlighted the fact that users wanted to see whole volumes scanned and made available online. Ashley Beamer, Web Projects Manager at RCAHMS, then spoke about a couple of digitisation projects she has been involved in; Britain from Above and Scotland’s Places. Next Robin showed us a sample volume and got us to think about the issues around scanning it for publication on a website. Finally we were shown round the Digital Imaging Unit by Paul Riley, the Index and Imaging Team Leader. This busy unit has some pretty high tech equipment which, as their leaflet states, ‘Since obtaining them in October 2009, they have enabled us to triple out output’.
8. Social Media
A number of photographs from Archive Services collections have recently appeared on the University’s Facebook page as part of its ‘throw back Thursday’. We are delighted to see the very positive response that there has been to these images and the interest they have generated. Our Twitter accounts also continue to attract new followers, with the @CAIS_archives account attracting a lot of attention during and after our recent Conference ‘Democratising or privileging: the future of access to archives’. In a new venture we also used Storify account to chronicle the extensive online coverage of the conference.
9. Records Management Unit Update
In the last E-ARMMS it was mentioned that Mhairi had received a very large request from Research Finance who were being audited by Cancer Research UK. Several more documents and various closed project files were subsequently asked for and the whole job has only just been completed (with all the records safely back in their appropriate boxes in three different locations) at the very end of April. More recently Mhairi had another request which was slightly out of the ordinary. Normally when a department needs to get hold of finance records it is processed through a section of Finance Office and Records Management does not deal directly with the University department. On this occasion, however, Records Management was asked directly by Estates & Buildings for copies of twelve invoices. This was managed speedily and the whole job completed within a day of the original request.
10. New Records Management Consignments
The Records Management Unit has received 27 boxes from a new customer, Population Health Sciences in the MRI. These have still to be fully processed but are accompanied by a full list with retention dates. There are seven boxes of student files from Humanities/Environmental Science and ten boxes from Disability Services. Mhairi is also currently boxing up files from both Accounts Payable and the Cash Office.
11. CAIS News
CAIS staff have been reading and editing a number of new and revised modules in preparation for the start of the May semester. These include Public History, authored and tutored by Caroline Shenton, Business Archives and Cataloguing in the Digital Age. CAIS has enrolled 39 new students for their postgraduate modules and Beyond the Internet short courses beginning on May 13th.
12. 125 years of the Alliance Trust
This year marks the 125th anniversary of the formation of the Alliance Trust, a Dundee based investment and financial services company, whose records are held by Archive Services. We are pleased that several of the key foundation documents have been used in events to mark the anniversary. The Alliance Trust itself was founded in 1888 but can trace its origins to the Oregon and Washington Trust Investment Co Ltd which was set up in Dundee to lend to pioneer farmers in the Pacific North West of the United States. The collection is fascinating as the history of the American West can be traced through the investments and financial deals recorded. In 1895, for example L75,000 was loaned against the 500,000 Acres Goodnight ranch, owned by Charles Goodnight, who is credited as having been the inspiration for the film ‘The Searchers’, starring John Wayne. The Trust’s history is full of pioneers, cowboys, ranches and oil and the Trust continues to hold mineral rights on land in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas & Saskatchewan in Canada. The collection is currently being fully listed but basic lists are available and researchers are welcome to use the records.
13. Great War Anniversary
Matthew and Caroline have been involved with plans to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War and have been working on a collaborative bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant to take the project forward. Part of the plans include the publication of a book of poetry by Joseph Lee. Combining the best of Lee’s war poems, the volume will celebrate the life of this remarkable Dundonian. Lee is well known for his journalism, often with a strongly political edge, and at the start of the twentieth century he edited a number of periodicals and newspapers. He enlisted in the Black Watch and his experiences as a soldier in France were depicted in the poems that he wrote from the trenches which were internationally acclaimed. Lee was captured in 1917 and became a prisoner of war and spent much of his time sketching and recording life in the camp. Archive and Museum Services hold his papers and sketches, including original manuscripts of poems, correspondence, and his war diaries.
14. Basic Design Course
Currently showing at Tate Britain is an exhibition about the Basic Design Course which was introduced by Richard Hamilton and Victor Pasmore in Newcastle in the 1950s and was subsequently adopted by numerous art schools around Britain. Many of the exercises on the course were based on D'Arcy Thompson's On Growth and Form, and Matthew recently met with the exhibition curators to discuss the D'Arcy connection and the proposed restaging of Richard Hamilton's Growth and Form exhibition at Tate next year.
15. Fulbright Scotland Summer Institute 2013
Pat has been busy organising the first Fulbright Scotland Summer Institute which the University of Dundee is hosting, in partnership with the University of Strathclyde. A full programme of lectures from a range of disciplines and cultural visits, including Glamis Castle, Culloden and Glencoe will culminate in a reception in Bute House, hosted by the First Minister, Alex Salmond. Nine undergraduates from the US will arrive on July 6 in Dundee for two and a half weeks, followed by the same time in Glasgow. They will act as ambassadors for the universities and for Scotland.
16. Finnish Society-funded project: Archives as Sites of Memory
Pat and Caroline recently attended a seminar in Helsinki where Pat gave a keynote presentation on ‘Community Memory and the Record: Remembering and Forgetting’ at The Society of Swedish Literature, Helsinki.
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