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.
A few months ago, God actually ages ago by now, I gave a talk to the International Association of Music Libraries (UK and Ireland branch) in Manchester.
I was asked to participate in their conference as the Royal Northern College of Music’s archivist, a fabulously fun job. The conference organisers fancied someone who could talk about outreach and engagement with collections, one of my priorities for the College’s collection. I said yes please and that was that. I was booked.
Last summer, I had the uplifting experience of working with the papers of Ananna.
Ananna is a community organisation based in Manchester. Some may refer to it by its other name, the Manchester Bangladeshi Women’s Organisation.
Earlier this year I was incredibly surprised to learn that I had been accepted onto The National Archive’s Fundraising Cohort. I’m not part of a big service at the Royal Northern College of Music Archives. In fact it’s just half of me there. That doesn’t stop me from having big plans for it, though, including fundraising.
At the start, the Cohort met once every four to six weeks and over the period of a few months we accumulated an arsenal of methods to support our services. The main thing I was delighted to discover was that it’s all about the plan. I love a good plan.
Resilience and wanting change
See, the Cohort is more than just learning how to fill in bids. It’s about resilience. The archive sector is generally pretty good at writing fundraising bids – we’ve been doing it for a long time. It’s things like corporate sponsorship, crowdfunding, working in tandem with higher-ups etc that we are, on a whole, a little less confident with.
Truly resilient things are not unchanging. They are adaptive.
We’ve recently done a little conservation and access work on our Institute of Race Relations (IRR) Newspaper Clippings collection. It really is one of the gems of our archive – a vast collection of race-related stories from provincial UK newspapers, covering the short but intense period of September 1977 to April 1984. The collection has […]
via Hidden Depths: The Institute of Race Relations Newspaper Clippings Collection — Reading Race, Collecting Cultures
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.
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’.
In March this year, the government released the first Culture White Paper in 50 years and this country’s only second one ever.
White Papers are policy documents. They’re designed and delivered with the purpose of setting out priorities for future legislation.
Legislation in the cultural sector covers all of the following:
- the Arts
- Historic environment including landscapes and buildings
- Cultural property and heritage
And it’s not just those which receive government funding. We all should be paying attention as the reach of this paper stretches out to us all.