Bending the Rules: Cataloguing the Manchester BME archive

A more detailed case study of ‘A Side-Door into ISAD(G)‘ has recently been posted by the wonderful Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Research Centre’s blog. Check the extended blog below as I take you through an example of rule bending and manipulating catalogues.

Our freelance archivist Heather Roberts has been working her magic on our large, and until now slightly unwieldy, Manchester Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Communities collection. Here she reflects on the process and reveals some of the thinking behind her work: Arranging the Manchester BME Communities collection was an interesting adventure in flexing the rules. […]

via Bending the Rules: Archiving the Manchester BME Communities collection — Reading Race, Collecting Cultures

Hidden Histories, Hidden Historians: history starts to take shape

If you’re curious about the exhibitions myself and Manchester Histories Festival are helping our 5 amazing community groups to deliver, have a look at my blog.

Community groups have been getting creative with their heritage and working towards delivering their own tailored exhibitions.

These are great examples of how digital exhibition spaces at the brilliant Archives+ offer opportunities for creativity to Manchester’s diverse communities.

Any questions, just drop us a line. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Hidden Histories, Hidden Historians: Why it matters (according to the archivist)

Hidden Histories, Hidden Historians is a really valuable project. Working with 5 community groups, myself and Manchester Histories Festival are helping them tell the histories that they want to share via Archives+ amazing digital exhibition spaces.

The wonderful groups include Manchester People First, Inspire Centre, FC United Sporting Memories, Oldham Youth Council and M13 Youth Project.

Read about why I think these kinds of projects are so important and useful in my blog post on the Manchester Histories Festival site.


Send me to the basement and don’t come looking.

Ever been to Contact Theatre on Oxford Road? It’s the kind of building that people call “iconic” and “landmark”. I  call it “mad fantasy”.

It is shaped like a post-apocalyptic castle; all sheet metal and lights with four large cooling towers in the shape of medieval turrets. Inside is a wash of purple and orange and no straight edges in sight. I adore the thing.

I also hadn’t been in, ever, until I was asked to create their archive for them.

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A side-door into ISAD(G)

Cataloguing is basically problem solving. You have  a jumble of stuff and you want to get it into an order that helps people understand what’s in it and how it all relates to each other.

To do this, it’s not just a case of referencing our international standard ISAD(G). Sometimes, the basic elements of ISAD(G) that you must include for every catalogue aren’t enough. However, nor are the other twenty-odd elements. I’ve recently found that it can make more sense to put your efforts into a sort of side-on approach in order to make it work.

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Did I drop off the face of the earth? Quite the opposite.

Seriously, I have been so damned busy and it’s been amazing.

I’m going to tell you all about everything in good time but for now here’s a taster:

A couple of other things I can’t share with you yet but will do when I am able because I am SO EXCITED!

So, all these updates are coming up over the next few weeks. Things are moving so quickly and I’m thoroughly enjoying running with it all.

Ever feel damned privellaged to be able to do the work you do? That’s me right now.

Anyway, keep an eye out for updates and as always, feel free to get in touch with questions/comments/just say ‘hi’.


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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