Kettle’s Yard Archive

Archives Hub feature for September 2014

Image of Kettle's Yard House

Kettle’s Yard House, University of Cambridge

Kettle’s Yard – A Way of Life

Kettle’s Yard is a unique and special place.  It is so much more than a house, a museum or a gallery, and it invariably leaves a lasting impression with those who visit.

Between 1958 and 1973, Kettle’s Yard was the home of Jim and Helen Ede. In the 1920s and 30s, Jim had been a curator at the Tate Gallery in London. It was during this time that he formed friendships with artists and other like-minded people, which allowed him to gather a remarkable collection of works by artists such as Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Alfred Wallis, Christopher Wood, David Jones and Joan Miro, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Constantin Brancusi, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.  Ede also shared with many of his artist friends a fascination for beautiful natural objects such as pebbles, weathered wood, shells or feathers, which he also collected.

Jim carefully positioned artworks alongside furniture, glass, ceramics and natural objects, with the aim of creating a perfectly balanced whole. His vision was of a place that should not be

“an art gallery or museum, nor … simply a collection of works of art reflecting my taste or the taste of a given period. It is, rather, a continuing way of life from these last fifty years, in which stray objects, stones, glass, pictures, sculpture, in light and in space, have been used to make manifest the underlying stability.”

Image of Jim Ede's bedroom table

Jim Ede’s bedroom table – Kettle’s Yard, 
University of Cambridge. Photo: Paul Allitt.

Jim originally envisaged making a home for his collection in quite a grand house, but unable to find a suitable property, he opted instead to remodel four derelict 19th century cottages and convert them into a single house.

Kettle’s Yard was conceived with students in mind, as ‘a living place where works of art could be enjoyed . . . where young people could be at home unhampered by the greater austerity of the museum or public art gallery.’  Jim Ede kept ‘open house’ every afternoon of term, personally guiding his visitors around his home. This experience is still faithfully recreated as visitors ring the bell at the front door, and are welcomed into the house.

Image of Jim Ede

Jim Ede at Kettle’s Yard – Kettle’s Yard, 
University of Cambridge

In 1966 Jim gave the house and its contents to the University of Cambridge, though he continued to occupy and run it until 1973. In 1970, the house was extended, and an exhibition gallery added to ensure that there would always be a dynamic element to Kettle’s Yard, with space for contemporary exhibitions, music recitals and other public events.

The archive

If Kettle’s Yard is the ultimate expression of a way of life developed over 50 years and more, the archive adds an extra dimension by documenting the rich story of how that philosophy evolved.  At its core are Jim Ede’s personal papers, which chart a wide range of influences throughout his life, from his experience of World War I, through the ‘open house’ the Ede’s kept in Hampstead through the late 1920s and early 1930s and the vibrant set who attended their parties; the weekend retreats for servicemen on leave from Gibraltar at the Ede’s house in Tangier at the end of World War II; the ‘lecturer in search of an audience’ who travelled to the US in the early 1940s; the prolific correspondence not just with artist friends, but figures such as T E Lawrence; and the development of Kettle’s Yard and its collections.

Thanks to the support of the Newton Trust, we are now half way through a 2-year project to improve access to the archive and support research by producing a digital catalogue of the collections, putting in place proper preservation strategies, and establishing procedures for public access. This work builds on the foundations laid by the dedicated archive volunteers, who continue to work with us.

We have started out by publishing a high-level description of the Ede papers on the Archives Hub [http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1759-ky/ede?page=1#id1308050], to which we will add more detail over the coming year.  The catalogue already includes detailed descriptions of c.120 letters Jim Ede received from the artist and writer David Jones between 1927 and 1971, and c. 200 from the collector and patron Helen Sutherland, from 1926 to 1964.   We will soon be adding correspondence with the artists Ian Hamilton Finlay and Richard Pousette-Dart, and the museum director Perry Rathbone; papers relating to Jim Ede’s lifelong mission to promote the work of Henri Gaudier Brzeska, and the establishment and running of Kettle’s Yard; and other small collections such as Helen Sutherland’s letters to the poet Kathleen Raine.

In another exciting development, Kettle’s Yard has now received backing from the Arts Council England Capital Investment Programme Fund to create a new Education Wing and carry out major improvements to the exhibition galleries.  The plans [http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk/development/index.php] include a purpose-built archive store and dedicated space for consulting and exhibiting archive material.

One recent addition to the archive is a letter that Jim Ede wrote in 1964, in response to a thank you note from an undergraduate who had visited Kettle’s Yard.  In typical style, Jim expresses concern about whether he really is providing pleasure to others through his endeavours at Kettle’s Yard, and draws strength from the expression of gratitude.  He ends the letter ‘Do come in as often as you like – the place is only alive when used’.

Image of letter from Jim Ede

“the place is only alive when used” – Kettle’s Yard Archive, University of Cambridge

This is very true of the house, but equally true of the archive – and hopefully everything we are doing to improve physical and intellectual access to the archives, and integrate it into all aspects of the Kettle’s Yard programme, will ensure that it is well used.

Frieda Midgley, Archivist
Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge

All images copyright Ketttle’s Yard, University of Cambridge, and reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright holder.

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Micro sites: local interfaces for Archives Hub contributors

Background

Back in 2008 the Archives Hub embarked upon a project to become distributed; the aim was to give control of their data to the individual contributors. Every contributor could host their own data by installing and running a ‘mini Hub’. This would give them an administrative interface to manage their descriptions and a web interface for searching.

Five years later we had 6 distributed ‘spokes’ for 6 contributors. This was actually reduced from 8, which was the highest number of institutions that took up the invitation to hold their own data out of around 180 contributors at the time.

The primary reason for the lack of success was identified as a lack of technical knowledge and the skills required for setting up and maintaining the software. In addition to this,  many institutions are not willing to install unknown software or maintain an unfamiliar operating system. Of course, many Hub contributors already had a management system, and so they may not have wanted to run a second system; but a significant number did not (and still don’t) have their own system. Part of the reason may institutions want an out-of-the-box solution is that they do not have consistent or effective IT support, so they need something that is intuitive to use.

The spokes institutions ended up requiring a great deal of support from the central Hub team; and at the same time they found that running their spoke took a good deal of their own time. In the end, setting up a server with an operating system and bespoke software (Cheshire in this case) is not a trivial thing, even with step-by-step instructions, because there are many variables and external factors that impact on the process. We realised that running the spokes effectively would probably require a full-time member of the Hub team in support, which was not really feasible, but even then it was doubtful whether the spokes institutions could find the IT support they required on an ongoing basis, as they needed a secure server and they needed to upgrade the software periodically.

Another big issue with the distributed model was that the central Hub team could no longer work on the Hub data in its entirety, because the spoke institutions had the master copy of their own data. We are increasingly keen to work cross-platform, using the data in different applications. This requires the data to be consistent, and therefore we wanted to have a central store of data so that we could work on standardising the descriptions.

The Hub team spend a substantial amount of time processing the data, in order to be able to work with it more effectively. For example, a very substantial (and continuing) amount of work has been done to create persistent URIs for all levels of  description (i.e. series, item, etc.). This requires rigorous consistency and no duplications of references. When we started to work on this we found that we had 100′s of duplicate references due to both human error and issues with our workflow (which in some cases meant we had loaded a revised description along with the original description). Also, because we use archival references in our URIs, we were somewhat nonplussed to discover that there was an issue with duplicates arising from references such as GB 234 5AB and GB 2345 AB. We therefore had to change our URI pattern, which led to substantial additional work (we used a hyphen to create gb234-5ab and gb2345-ab).

We also carry out more minor data corrections, such as correcting character encoding (usually an issue with characters such as accented letters) and creating normalised dates (machine processable dates).

In addition to these types of corrections, we run validation checks and correct anything that is not valid according to the EAD schema, and we are planning, longer term, to set up a workflow such that we can implement some enhancement routines, such as adding a ‘personal name’ or ‘corporate name’ identifying tag to our creator names.

These data corrections/enhancements have been applied to data held centrally. We have tried to work with the distributed data, but it is very hard to maintain version control, as the data is constantly being revised, and we have ended up with some instances where identifying the ‘master’ copy of the data has become problematic.

We are currently working towards a more automated system of data corrections/enhancement, and this makes it important that we hold all of the data centrally, so that we ensure that the workflow is clear and we do not end up with duplicate slightly different versions of descriptions. (NB: there are ways to work more effectively with distributed data, but we do not have the resources to set up this kind of environment at present – it may be something for the longer term).

We concluded that the distributed model was not sustainable, but we still wanted to provide a front-end for contributors. We therefore came up with the idea of the ‘micro sites’.

What are Hub Micro Sites?

The micro sites are a template based local interface for individual Hub contributors. They use a feed of the contributor’s data from the central Archives Hub, so the data is only held in one place but accessible through both interfaces: the Hub and the micro site. The end-user performs a search on a micro site, the search request goes to the central Hub, and the results are returned and displayed in the micro site interface.

screenshot of brighton micro site

Brighton Design Archives micro site homepage

The principles underlying the micro sites are that they need to be:

•    Sustainable
•    Low cost
•    Efficient
•    Realistically resourced

A Template Approach?

As part of our aim of ensuring a sustainable and low-cost solution we knew we had to adopt a one-size-fits-all model. The aim is to be able to set up a new micro site with minimal effort, as the basic look and feel stays the same. Only the branding, top and bottom banners, basic text and colours change. This gives enough flexibility for a micro site to reflect an institution’s identity, through its logo and colours, but it means that we avoid customisation, which can be very time-consuming to maintain.

The micro sites use an open approach, so it would be possible for institutions to customise themselves, by manipulating the stylesheets. However, this is not something that the Archives Hub can support, and therefore the institution would need to have the expertise necessary to maintain this themselves.

The Consultation Process

We started by talking to the Spokes institutions and getting their feedback about the strengths and weaknesses of the spokes and what might replace them. We then sent out a survey to Hub contributors to ascertain whether there would be a demand for the micro sites.

Institutions preferred the micro sites to be hosted by the Archives Hub. This reflects the lack of technical support within UK archives. This solution is also likely to be more efficient for us, as providing support at a distance is often more complicated than maintaining services in-house.

The responders generally did not have images displayed on the Hub, but intended to in the future, so this needed to be taken into account. We also asked about experiences with understanding and using APIs. The response showed that people had no experience of APIs and did not really understand what they were, but were keen to find out more.

We asked for requirements and preferences, which we have taken into account as much as possible, but we explained that we would have to take a uniform approach, so it was likely that there would need to be compromises.

After a period of development, we met with the early adopters of the micro sites (see below) to update them on our progress and get additional requirements from them. We considered these requirements in terms of how practical they would be to implement in the time scale that we were working towards, and we then prioritised the requirements that we would aim to implement before going live.

The additional requirements included:

  • Search in multi-level description: the ability to search within a description to find just the components that include the search term
  • Reference search: useful for contributors for administrative purposes
  • Citation: title and reference, to encourage researchers to cite the archive correctly
  • Highlight: highlighting of the search term(s)
  • Links to ‘search again’ and to ‘go back’ to the collection result
  • The addition of Google Analytics code in the pages, to enable impact analysis

The Development Process

We wanted the micro sites to be a ‘stand alone’ implementation, not tied to the Archives Hub. We could have utilised the Hub, effectively creating duplicate instances of the interface, but this would have created dependencies.  We felt that it was important for the micro sites to be sustainable independent of our current Hub platform.

In fact, the Micro sites have been developed using Java, whereas the Hub uses Python, a completely different programming language. This happened mainly because we had a Java programmer on the team. It may seem a little odd to do this, as opposed to simply filtering the Hub data with Python, but we think that it has had unforeseen benefits. Namely, that the programmers who have worked on the micro sites have been able to come at the task afresh, and work on new ways to solve the many challenges that we faced. As a result of this we have implemented some solutions with the micro sites that are not implemented on the Hub.  Equally, there were certainly functions within the Hub that we could not replicate with the micro sites – mainly those that were specifically set up for the aggregated nature of the Hub (e.g browsing across the Hub content).

It was a steep learning curve for a developer, as the development required a good understanding of hierarchical archival descriptions, and also an appreciation of the challenges that come from a diverse data set. As with pretty much all Hub projects, it is the diverse nature of the data set that is the main hurdle. Developers need patterns; they need something to work with, something consistent. There isn’t too much of that with aggregated archives catalogues!

The developer utilised what he could from the Hub, but it is the nature of programming that reverse engineering of someone else’s code can be a great deal harder than re-coding, so in many cases the coding was done from scratch. For example, the table of contents is a particularly tricky thing to recreate, but the code used for the current Hub proved to be too complex to work with, as it has been built up over a decade and is designed to work within the Hub environment. The table of contents requires the hierarchy to be set out, collapsible folder structures, links to specific parts of the description with further navigation from there to allow the researcher to navigate up and down, so it is a complex thing to create and it took some time to achieve.

The feed of data has to provide the necessary information for the creation of the hierarchy, and our feed comes through SRU (Search/Retrieve via URL), which is a standard search protocol for Internet search queries using Contextual Query Language (CQL).  This was already available through the Hub API, and the micro sites application makes uses of SRU in order to perform most of the standard searches that are available on the Hub.  Essentially, each of the micro sites are provided by a single web application that acts as a layer on the Archives Hub.  To access the individual micro sites, the contributor provides a shortened version of the institution’s name as a sub-string to the micro sites web address.  This then filters the data accordingly for that institution, and sets up the site with the appropriate branding.  The latter is achieved through CSS stylesheets, individually tailored for the given institution by a stand-alone Java application and a standard CSS template.

Page Display

One of the changes that the developer suggested for the micro sites concerns the intellectual division of the descriptions. On the current Hub, a description may carry over many pages, but each page does not represent anything specific about the hierarchy, it is just a case of the description continuing from one page to the next. With the micro sites we have introduced the idea that each ‘child’ description of the top level is represented on one page. This can more easily be shown through a screenshot:

screenshot of table of contents from Salford Archives

Table of Contents of the Walter Greenwood Collection showing the tree structure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the screenshot above, the series ‘Theatre Programmes, Playbills, etc’ is a first-level child description (a series description) of the archive collection ‘The Walter Greenwood Collection’.  Within this series there are a number of sub-series, the first of which is ‘Love on the Dole’, the last of which is ‘A Taste of Honey’. The researcher will therefore get a page that contains everything within this one series – all sub-series and items – if there are any described in the series.

screenshot of a page from Salford Archives

Page for ‘Theatre Programmes, Playbills, etc’ within the Walter Greenwood Collection

The sense of hierarchy and belonging is further re-enforced by repeating the main collection title at the top of every right hand pane.  The only potential downside to this approach is that it leads to variable length ‘child’ description pages, but we felt it was a reasonable trade-off because it enables the researcher to get a sense of the structure of the collection. Usually it means that they can see everything within one series on one page, as this is the most typical first child level of an archival description.  In EAD representation, this is everything contained within the <c01> tag or top level <c> tag.

Next Steps

We are currently testing the micro sites with early adopters: Glasgow University Archive Services, Salford University Archives, Brighton Design Archives and the University of Manchester John Rylands Library.

We aim to go live during September 2014 (although it has been hard to fix a live date, as with a new and innovative service such as the micro sites unforeseen problems tend to emerge with alarming regularity). We will see what sort of feedback we get, and it is likely that we will find a few things need addressing as a result of putting the micro sites out into the big wide world. We intend to arrange a meeting for the early adopters to come together again and feed back to us, so that we can consider whether we need a ‘phase 2′ to iron out any problems and make any enhancements. We may at that stage invite other interested institutions, to explain the process and look at setting up further sites. But certainly our aim is to roll out the micro sites to other Archives Hub institutions.

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Swords into Ploughshares

Archives Hub feature for August 2014

Image of disarmament protestor

WILPF/22/1 – World disarmament protestor, c.1930

The Swords into Ploughshares project encompasses the cataloguing of two peace organisations’ archives, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and the Fellowship of Reconciliation: London Union (FOR). Both organisations were formed during the First World War and have a strong history of actively campaigning for world peace, disarmament and supporting individuals affected by war. Cataloguing these collections gives peace movement researchers the opportunity to access important material documenting the history of pacifism and disarmament. The project was made possible by funding from the National Cataloguing Grants Programme for Archives.

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

WILPF was formed in 1915 when the International Women’s Congress met in The Hague, resolving to start an organisation to promote peace and campaign for an end to the First World War. Over 1,000 women, representing both belligerent and neutral countries, attended the Congress which saw Jane Addams, an American campaigner for female suffrage, elected president. Only three British women attended as the British government prevented 180 women from travelling by denying passports and closing the North Sea to shipping. However WILPF branches quickly formed in Britain once Congress resolutions were publicised.

Image of delegation to the King of Norway

WILPF/2009/18/2 – WILPF delegation to the King of Norway, 1915

Following the Congress WILPF embarked their campaign for an end to the war, and a delegation featuring British member Chrystal MacMillan met with the King of Norway. Jane Addams had a meeting with the American President Woodrow Wilson, who was greatly impressed by WILPF’s proposals to end the conflict.

Following the end of the First World War WILPF decided that campaigning should continue as worldwide peace and disarmament still needed to be achieved. In 1930 WILPF launched a disarmament petition under the slogan ‘War is renounced – Let Us Renounce Armaments’. The petition was to be presented to the League of Nations World Disarmament Conference in Geneva in February 1932.

Image of disarmament petition arriving in Geneva

WILPF/22/1 – British WILPF’s disarmament petition arrives in Geneva, 1932

British WILPF played an active role in promoting the petition with members attracting signatures by wearing banners calling for disarmament; one had the slogan ‘Big Guns and Tanks Are Forbidden to Germany Why Not Abolish All Round.’ Shop fronts were taken over with displays in windows encouraging people to ‘Sign Up Here Against War.’

By February 1932 British WILPF had collected over 2 million signatures. A delegation carrying the British petition travelled by train from Victoria station to Geneva and a large crowd gathered to see them off with Margaret Bondfield, the first female cabinet minister, giving a speech highlighting the importance of disarmament. Once in Geneva the several crates containing British signatures were met by international WILPF members, later they marched through Geneva with posters stating ‘Japanese bombs are falling on Chinese cities. What will you choose: War or Disarmament?’

Fellowship of Reconciliation: London Union

FOR formed in 1914 when Henry Hodgkin (a British Quaker) and Friedrich Siegmund-Schultze (a German Lutheran) attended a Christian pacifist conference in Germany. As they bid farewell to each other at its conclusion and seeing war as inevitable, they pledged that “We are one in Christ and can never be at war”. Back in Britain, Hodgkin spread the message to Christian groups and the Fellowship of Reconciliation was formed, with public meetings calling for an end to the war a regular occurrence – some attracting supporters of the war with ugly scenes occurring. London branches joined together in 1916 to form the London Union.

FOR has a long history of supporting conscientious objectors in their decision not to undertake military service. During both world wars FOR provided advice and guidance to those conscripted into the army on the arguments they should deploy to prove they were a genuine conscientious objector. This was extended when National Service continued after the Second World War with FOR calling for an end to the scheme.

A scrapbook compiled by First World War conscientious objector Frederick Bradley is held in the archive. Following conscription being introduced in 1916 men were required to appear before Military Service Tribunals when requesting exemption. Bradley appeared before the Tribunals four times, he was granted exemptions initially as his Father argued he was needed to run the family business. The local press followed the case and the headline ‘Third Time of Asking’ gives an indication of local feeling. At the fourth tribunal Bradley stated ‘he absolutely refused to take life’ and he was allowed to undertake non-combatant service. Bradley was sent to Dartmoor prison work camp where a dietary chart reveals prisoners received fewer rations than the civilian population.

Image of prison dietary chart

COLL MISC 0456/7/3 – Dietary chart for male convicts in convict prisons, c.1916-c.1918

Conscientious objector and FOR employee, Stella St. John, was imprisoned in Holloway in 1943. On her release she wrote a fascinating account of her experience, revealing that prisoners were generally tolerant about her beliefs some saying ‘Good luck to you, I don’t hold with this war, but I wouldn’t get put in here for it.’ Stella writes about all aspects of prison life and is particularly scathing when describing food, writing the following about porridge “I had it the first day but never again, it tasted of mould and decay!”

Carys Lewis
Swords into Ploughshares Project Archivist

Useful links

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom: British Section records on the LSE Library Archives Catalogue:
http://archives.lse.ac.uk/Record.aspx?src=CalmView.Catalog&id=WILPF&pos=1

Fellowship of Reconciliation: London Union on the LSE Library Archives Catalogue:
http://archives.lse.ac.uk/Record.aspx?src=CalmView.Catalog&id=FOR&pos=1

Swords into Ploughshares Project blog posts are available via the LSE Library blog:
http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/library/author/lewisc5/

All images copyright LSE, and reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright holder.

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The Anti-Apartheid Movement

Archives Hub feature for July 2014

The Anti-Apartheid Movement – Archives held at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

Image of Boycott South African Goods poster

Boycott South African Goods poster, AAM Archives, ref: po001.

For over three decades the Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM) campaigned for a boycott of apartheid South Africa and support for all those struggling against it. Founded in 1959 as the Boycott Movement, the AAM grew into the biggest ever British pressure group on an international issue.

What was Apartheid?

Apartheid was a unique system of racial segregation and white supremacy in South Africa. For nearly three centuries Africans were dispossessed and exploited by Dutch and British colonists. In 1948 apartheid (‘apartness’) became official policy. The National Party, elected by an all-white electorate, extended and formalised separation and discrimination into a rigid legal system.

Most of the land was allocated to whites, and Africans were confined to barren overcrowded ‘homelands’. Black workers in so-called white areas were required to carry passes at all times. They lived in townships outside the city centres and were paid below subsistence wages.

Health and education facilities were segregated and those for blacks were hugely inferior to those for whites. The system was kept in place by a battery of repressive laws, under which people could be detained indefinitely without trial.

The Anti-Apartheid Movement in the UK

Some of the most compelling material held in the AAM archive at the Bodleian library has been included in a new website ‘Forward to Freedom: The history of the British Anti-Apartheid Movement, 1959–1994’ at http://www.aamarchives.org.

This site features selected video, photographs, posters and documents from the AAM’s archive at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. Highlights are footage of the Wembley stadium Nelson Mandela tribute concert in 1988, iconic posters from campaigns to save the Rivonia trialists from the gallows in 1964 and to stop the Springbok cricket tour in 1970, and letters from Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher arguing against sanctions on South Africa.

Image of London demo poster

London demo poster (1982), AAM Archives, ref: po065.


Also included are more than 50 interviews with former anti-apartheid campaigners including musician Jerry Dammers, actor Louis Mahoney, Lord David Steel, (AAM President in the 1960s), and grassroots activists who tell what motivated them to get involved.

It shows the wide range of interest groups who took action against apartheid, from students who campaigned for universities to disinvest in the 1970s to British trade unionists who supported resurgent South African trade unions to church groups who campaigned for South Africa’s withdrawal from occupied Namibia.

Other archives related to the Anti-Apartheid Movement

The Anti-Apartheid Movement in the UK had many affiliate branches, partner groups and organisations working alongside them towards their shared aim of ending Apartheid. Some of these also have their archive descriptions included in the Archives Hub.

The Anti-Apartheid Movement in Scotland

Branches supporting the AAM organisation existed in Glasgow and Edinburgh through the 1960s, with 1976 seeing the establishment of the Anti-Apartheid Movement Scottish Committee.

The object of the Scottish Committee was to further the work of the Anti-Apartheid Movement, especially in Scotland, being responsible for the recognition of local Anti-Apartheid groups in Scotland and their admission into membership of the Anti-Apartheid Movement.

Activities in Scotland incorporated a number of specific areas that were the focus of international campaigning on South Africa, including sports, cultural, retail and academic boycotts, campaigns against nuclear and military collaboration, loans to South Africa, and for oil sanctions. The Movement’s work was not limited to South Africa. It was one of the first organisations to highlight the “unholy alliance” between apartheid South Africa, the racist regime in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), and Portuguese colonial rule in Africa.

This archive is held at Glasgow Caledonian University and belongs to Action for Southern Africa Scotland – their site can be found here: http://www.actsascotland.org.uk/.

Lawyers against Apartheid

Also held at the Glasgow Caledonian University site is the archives for Lawyers Against Apartheid. Lawyers Against Apartheid was formed following a legal conference in December 1986 to mobilise the support of the legal community in Great Britain for the liberation struggles in South Africa and Namibia. Membership was open to all members of the legal community in Britain, including practitioners, academics, students and legal workers. The group was affiliated to the Namibia Support Committee, London, and the Anti-Apartheid Movement.

The first official meeting of the group was in London in January 1986, where it was decided that their aims were to include exposing the nature and illegitimacy of the apartheid regime to the British legal community, campaigning for anti-apartheid policies and practices within the British legal community, and providing advice and assistance to the local anti-apartheid groups. The group challenged the established ideas of the South African legal system, especially the myth of impartial hearings from an independent tribunal, and also promoted the issue of Prisoner of War status for captured freedom fighters and supported the campaign for Namibia’s independence following South Africa’s illegal occupation.

Lawyers Against Apartheid met quarterly, usually in London, and had sub-groups working on specific issues such as Prisoners of War, Domestic Legal Support, International Law, and Trials & Punishments, until their disbanding in 1996.

The original deposit, which consisted mainly of books, pamphlets, serials, and posters, has been supplemented with two additional deliveries of predominantly archive materials.

Paul Flieshman
Mimas Development Officer

Collections

A selection of the collections relating to apartheid on the Archives Hub:

Image of Free Nelson Mandela rally poster

Free Nelson Mandela rally poster (1980), AAM Archives, ref: po059.


Records of Anti Apartheid Movement Scottish Committee, pressure group, Glasgow, Scotland. 1965-1994 (predominant 1976-1994). http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1847-aams

Records of Lawyers Against Apartheid, pressure group, London, England. 1977-1996 (predominant 1986-1991).
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1847-ghjarc/la

Granada Television: Broadcast on Apartheid, 1977-1987. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb101-ics119

Archive of the Bishop Ambrose Reeves Trust, 1965-1996. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb162-mss.afr.s.2348

Papers of Howard Barrell, 1989-1993.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb162-mss.afr.s.2151

Papers of Mervyn Bennun , Late 20th century.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb29-eulms112

All images copyright the Anti-Apartheid Movement Archive, and reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright holder.

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Exploring British Design: An Introduction

We are very pleased to announce that the Archives Hub has joined forces with The University of Brighton Design Archives for an exciting new project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, ‘Exploring British Design’. The project is funded as one of ten new ‘Amplification Awards’ from the AHRC.

We will be working with Catherine Moriarty, Curatorial Director of the University of Brighton Design Archives and Professor of Art and Design History in the Faculty of Arts.  Catherine, myself and others on the project aim to provide you with updates and insights through the Archives Hub blog over the next 12 months.

* * *

The project will explore Britain’s design history by connecting design-related content in different archives. A collaboration between researchers, information professionals, technologists, curators and historians, the aim is to give researchers the freedom to explore the depth of detail held in British design archives.

We will be working with researchers to understand more about their use of archives and methods of archival research within design history. We aim to answer a number of research questions:

1. How can we link digital content and subject expertise in order to make archival content more discoverable for researchers? How can we increase the discoverability of design archives in and beyond the HE sector?

2. How can connected archival data better recover ‘lost moments of design action’? (Dilnot 2013: 337)

3. How might a website co-designed by researchers, rather than a top-down collection-defined approach to archive content, enhance engagement with and understanding of British design? How can we encourage researchers, archive and museum professionals, and the public, to apprehend an integrated and extended rather than collection-specific sense of Britain’s design history?

4. How can the principles of archive arrangement/description be made meaningful and useful to researchers? Are these principles sometimes a hindrance to public understanding, or can they be utilised to better effect to aid interpretation?

We want to use this opportunity to explore ways of presenting archival data beyond the traditional collection level description. We will be working with three main sources of data:

1) We will be utilising and enhancing the data within the Archives Hub, starting with the descriptions of the collections held at Brighton Design Archives, but also utilising other descriptions of archives held all across the UK, covering manufacturing history, art schools, personal perspectives and professional contexts, so that we make the most of the diversity of the archives described on the Hub.

2) We will be creating archival authority records, using the EAC-CPF XML format for ISAAR(CPF) records

3) We will be working with the Design Museum and looking to integrate their object-based data into our data set

We will also be working to integrate other sources of data into our authority records.

We aim to provide a front-end that demonstrates what is possible with rich and connected data sources. Our intention is to be led by researchers in this endeavour. It will give us the opportunity to explore researcher needs and requirements, and to understand more about the importance of familiarity with interfaces compared to the possibilities for ‘disruptive’ approaches that propose more radical solutions to interrogating the data.

We are grateful to the AHRC for giving us the opportunity to explore these important questions and take digital research to another level.

 

 

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