Author Archives: alison-cullingford

Discover Dr Wells

The Catalogue of the Calvin Wells Archive is now freely available online via the Archives Hub: https://archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk/data/gb532-cal

This high quality, very detailed set of metadata was written by James Neill with help from Michelle Williams-Ward.  Michelle as an osteology expert was able to ensure that the medical terms used are accurate and that the catalogue works well for typical palaeopathological research themes.  The archive will also have much to offer anyone with an interest in medical history, anthropology, or the history of East Anglia.

Thank you to James and Michelle for their excellent work. Thanks too of course to the Wellcome Trust for funding the Putting Flesh on the Bones project.

Staffing: a welcome and some farewells

An update on the Special Collections staff changes we shared with you back in October.

We are delighted to welcome our new archivist to the University!  Julie Parry will start work in January.  She is highly experienced and has worked with lots of modern, radical archives at the People’s History Museum, where she is senior archivist.

Alison (who writes this) leaves the University at Christmas to take up wonderful role at Durham Cathedral.  Martin is now settled into his new subject librarian role though still continues to be involved with Special Collections and will help Julie to settle in.  Our Project Archivist, James Neill, finishes on the 30th November.  He has done a fantastic job in cataloguing and promoting the complex Calvin Wells Archive and we are very grateful to him for all his efforts.

We are hopeful that we can offer a fairly seamless transition to new opening hours and arrangements in 2019 once Julie has started.  However we are not yet able to confirm exactly how our new service will operate.  Please therefore continue to inform us by email special-collections@bradford.ac.uk if you are interested in making a booking for 2019. As soon as new hours are agreed, we will be contacting interested parties to offer appointments.  Apologies for any inconvenience.  We believe it is better not to take firm bookings than to risk disappointing people whose bookings we cannot honour.

Staffing news

Some big changes are on the way for Special Collections.

I (Alison) will be leaving the University at Christmas to take on the role of Head of Collections at Durham Cathedral.  I am sad to leave Bradford and grateful for the many opportunities I have had there.  However the new role is too wonderful to pass up and I am thrilled to work with manuscripts, early printed books and objects in their historic, distinctive setting.  Martin is also moving on, taking up a subject librarian role in the J.B. Library: he has been a huge asset to the team and will be much missed.

We are hoping to minimise disruption to the service during these changes.  We are already recruiting a new archivist and are hoping to have someone in post as soon as possible.  If you’re planning to visit us in 2019, please contact us on special-collections@bradford.ac.uk so we can keep in touch with you about the prospects for your visit.

Gallery

The Conservation of Colour Slides

This gallery contains 9 photos.

Originally posted on Putting Flesh on the Bones:
Blog post by the Putting Flesh on the Bones Project Conservator Vanessa Torres. A trained paper conservator Vanessa works at the National Science and Media Museum, and acts as secretary for the…

Bones, Bodies and Diseases: launch and conference 26 January 2019

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The end of our Putting Flesh on the Bones Project is in sight.  It’s been a wonderful experience and we are most grateful to the Wellcome Trust for funding it.  The project team have created catalogues and digital resources that unlock the Calvin Wells Archive, creating an invaluable resource for researchers.  We have also enjoyed learning more about Calvin Wells himself, who was not only a doctor and archaeologist, but a columnist, water-skier, and collector of strange objects.

To launch the project, we’re hosting ‘Bones, Bodies and Diseases’, a one-day conference, at the Norcroft Centre, University of Bradford, on 26 January 2019. The event, named after his famous book, is a tribute to Dr Wells.  It is also an opportunity to celebrate and share the work of the project and of palaeopathologists and other researchers.  The event is free and all are welcome.  You can register, see the call for abstracts, and find out more via our eventbrite page: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/bones-bodies-and-disease-2019-one-day-conference-and-launch-event-for-the-calvin-wells-archive-registration-50908230889.

Magic, Myth & Medicine in the Calvin Wells Archive

Our Project Archivist has discovered some fascinating and sometimes gruesome stories in the archives … find out more in this article from the fantastic Folklore Thursday website:

Source: Magic, Myth & Medicine in the Calvin Wells Archive

Discover Jacquetta’s story via Unbound

A must read! Christine Finn’s long-awaited biography of Jacquetta Hawkes now available via Unbound …

Celebrating Jacquetta Hawkes

Exciting news!  “Ice without, fire within”, Dr Christine Finn’s biography of Jacquetta Hawkes is being published via crowdfunding publisher Unbound. This offers an opportunity for readers to engage with the long overdue first biography of this fascinating woman.  Dr Finn follows in Jacquetta’s footsteps, and draws on her unique access to and knowledge of Jacquetta’s archive to trace her work from its origins in Cambridge to her celebrity status in London in postwar Britain.

If you are interested in archaeology, poetry, literature, culture, women, television, campaigning, nuclear issues … this book could be for you.  Take a look at the ‘pledges’, from e-books to talks and help make this book happen.

https://unbound.com/books/ice-without-fire-within/

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Special Collections, data protection, and you

The GDPR is coming – to help you!

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GDPR rubik’s cube, CC0 licence, via pixabay

The mis-management and mis-use of individuals’ personal data by companies and other organisations is a massive and growing concern. What do we mean by personal data?  Email addresses and other contact details, bank account and credit card information, details of medical conditions … all at risk of loss or theft if organisations don’t take proper care.  Data breaches can result in serious financial or other consequences for people affected.

On 25 May 2018, the law is changing to give you more control over organisations holding and using your data.  The European GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) will be enshrined in UK legislation via the Data Protection Bill.  Companies will have to obtain your consent to keep and use your data, and take proper care of it – or face huge financial penalties.

Special Collections and your data

We in Special Collections are already managing data as required by the law currently in place, the Data Protection Act of 1998.  So GDPR does not mean a radical change in our working practices or relationships with our users.  Along with all our colleagues at the University, we are however taking the opportunity to review the personal data we hold to make sure we are keeping only what is necessary and legal.

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Letterhead from the JB Priestley Archive showing names, addresses and telephone numbers.  This is no longer personal data as JBP is deceased, so we are able to share the image with you.  (PRI 16/3).

Special Collections manages personal data in two contexts:

  1. Records relating to the services we offer.  Data about collection donors, users, partners, and other people who use our services or work with us: mostly email addresses, occasionally postal addresses and phone numbers.  We are auditing the data we keep to make sure we have a lawful reason to retain it.
  2. Our archives.  Archives are about people!  Thus they contain personal data relating to those people.  As our archives are mostly modern (20th and 21st century) many of those people are probably still alive.  We have all kinds of data in all kinds of formats, though we most commonly see addresses and telephone numbers in correspondence – as in the Priestley example above.  We keep the data in line with the provision for ‘archiving in the public interest’.  We keep only what is archivally appropriate and legal, and access is restricted or closed.

Further help

I’ve written this as a summary to assist our users and to help raise public awareness of this important new legislation.  Please do contact me if you have any queries about our management of personal data (you also have the right to submit a Subject Access Request).

For general GDPR/data protection queries, here are some resources that you may find useful:

Meet our new Project Conservator

We are delighted to welcome a new colleague to Special Collections.  Vanessa Santos Torres joins us as Project Conservator for the Putting Flesh on the Bones Project.  Here’s her story, in her own words:

“I am delighted to be part of this fascinating project funded by the Wellcome Trust and having the chance to work in a multidisciplinary team between the University of Bradford’s Special Collections and the Department of Archaeological Sciences.

VT

Vanessa Santos Torres, conservator

I have a degree on Conservation and Restoration and I am specialised in Paper Conservation. Upon conclusion of my degrees, I had the chance to work on a range of different environments and countries which contributed to the consolidation of my knowledge on remedial conservation skills and preventive conservation. Since 2013 I have been the Conservator of the National Science and Media Museum, Bradford. It is with great satisfaction that I am now able to work on these two celebrated Bradford institutions.

With my expertise on paper and photographs conservation I am responsible for ensuring the long-term care of the Calvin Wells Archive is considered at all times – from suitable handling and packing to appropriate storage conditions. I will be performing conservation treatments on the archive to increase their stability and lifespan. I am delighted to being able to contribute towards its preservation to future generations of researchers and enthusiasts.

I am passionate about photography and printing techniques. During my free time I enjoy reading and experimenting with traditional printing.”

Ban the Bomb! CND at Sixty

Sixty years ago, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) was founded. The organisation grew out of widespread public concern about a frightening new twist in the Cold War arms race: Britain had built and was testing its own hydrogen bomb.  Such H-bombs are thousands of times more destructive than the original atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945.  How were the tests affecting the environment?  Would the existence of such bombs mean the British government would feel compelled to use them?

Deeply worried by these developments, celebrated author J.B. Priestley wrote possibly his most influential article: “Britain and the Nuclear Bombs”, published in the New Statesman of 2 November 1957.

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Section of Britain and the Nuclear Bombs, article by JB Priestley, New Statesman 2 November 1957. (ref HAW 13/4).

Priestley drew on his own experience of war to argue that if weapons were there, they would be used, and called for the country to take a moral lead in renouncing them:   “Alone we defied Hitler; and alone we can defy this nuclear madness”.

Many readers agreed, and wrote to the magazine, overwhelming it with sackfuls of mail.  Something had to be done.  Priestley and his wife Jacquetta Hawkes met  peace campaigners at the flat of Kingsley Martin, the magazine’s editor, to discuss a national anti-nuclear campaign. The result was the creation of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.  It was chaired by Earl Russell, Priestley was Vice-President and Canon L. John Collins chairman. Priestley was one of the speakers at the public launch of CND in the Central Hall Westminster, on 17 February 1958.

CND acted as an umbrella group, bringing together people with a wide range of political and religious views and differing ideas about how to achieve their goals (or even what those goals were).  Priestley and Jacquetta and their circle were not necessarily pacifists, and campaigned using traditional lobbying methods, using their connections in political and cultural life.   Other campaigners were veterans of the Peace Pledge Union era, while others were influenced by Gandhian ideas of nonviolent direct action.  The latter included the Direct Action Committee (DAC), whose members had explored the potential of such techniques as long ago as the early 1950s.

The DAC organised a march from London to the Aldermaston weapons research centre for Easter 1958. Graphic designer Gerald Holtom created the Nuclear Disarmament Symbol for use on the march.  CND later adopted both the design and the Aldermaston march.

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Detail from sketch by Gerald Holtom, showing the nuclear disarmament symbol in use on a march.  Courtesy of Commonweal Trustees.  (ref: Cwl ND).

The Symbol was based on the semaphore signs for ‘N’ and ‘D’ but in its simplicity it echoed many other ideas: a human figure in despair, a tree, a cross, a missile.  Endlessly applicable to creative re-imaginings, and adopted by Americans protesting against the Vietnam War, the Symbol  became synonymous with peace and counter-cultural ideas.

CND in its early years grew a mass membership and was strongly influential on culture.  Members moved increasingly towards direct action methods as traditional campaigning did not have the desired result.  In 1960 Russell resigned as President to take up a role in the new Committee of 100.  This aimed to create a mass movement of civil disobedience against British government policy on nuclear weapons.  The Priestleys became less involved as the group became more radical.

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Front cover of pamphlet advertising Aldermaston film (ref Cwl HBP)

The organisation, and its many regional and themed sub-groups, has remained active ever since its foundation, with a notable rise in membership and influence once again during the early 1980s.  Protest centred on the peace camps at air bases: bearing witness, symbolic protest, and carrying out acts of disobedience such as cutting the wires.

The 60th anniversary will be marked by many events (and no doubt much press coverage).  Here are two in Bradford:

Yorkshire CND exhibition at the Peace Museum from 12 January 2018.

CND 60th Anniversary event 17 February 2018 (includes the chance to meet objects from our collections!).

Want to know more?  The Commonweal Library and our peace campaign collections contain thousands of resources for the history of CND and nuclear disarmament campaigns.