Could a robot do my job?

I’d like to think not.

What prompted me to ask this question is the Philosophy Cafe discussion at the Manchester Art Gallery which posed the query, “When machines do all human work, what will humans do?”

Typical to philosophers, we attacked the question first before we addressed it. So instead of jumping straight into the thought experiment, we asked whether this would ever be a possibility.

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I quacked when I should have clucked.

Recently, I gave a talk about one of my most favourite archive collections: Thomas Baron Pitfield.

Pitfield’s archival legacy is stunning. Not just in the material itself, although that is beautiful (and I mean that in the Kantian sense), but also as an example of an archive. I’d like to share some of thoughts about the collection here.

But first, and this is really important, you need to understand Pitfield. Or at least know a little about him and we can learn a lot about him from his autobiographies.

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Race Relations and Archives

For the past couple of months or so, I’ve been enjoying some consultancy work for the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre‘s archives. It’s been pretty amazing.

A part of Archives+ (a kind of heritage hub in Manchester’s Central Library that is a brilliant idea) they brought all their archives with them when they moved to Central Library. The archives they wanted a hand with were their institutional archives: that of the Centre and that of the Trust. I was thrilled to be brought on board. I adore the Centre and the Trust for the work they do and was more than happy to help.

If you haven’t been introduced to the Centre or Trust yet, here’s the basics.

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The inspirational Delia Derbyshire

It was really exciting and uplifting to attend the event “Archiving Women’s Performance Practice”, run by Delia Derbyshire Day and [DWAN] and hosted at HOME in Manchester.

The evening was a mix of talks, performance and discussion all revolving about creative women’s presence in and use of archives.  In the RNCM Archives, we have a few pretty amazing women represented but most of the collections are of men and I am really conscious about how many archives of women have been lost, dismissed or simply not created.

The evening did not disappoint. Chock full of amazing women with wonderful ideas and insights into archives.

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