Meet James Neill, who has just joined Special Collections as Project Archivist.
James will be with us for 18 months, working on the Wellcome-funded ‘Putting Flesh on the Bones Project’, a collaboration between Special Collections and Archaeological Sciences. Working closely with the rest of the project team, James will be cataloguing, digitising, preserving, and promoting the rich and unique archive of pioneering palaeopathologist Dr Calvin Wells. He will be based in Richmond Building but will also be seen around Special Collections.
James received his archive qualification from the University of Glasgow in 2013. Since then he has worked for all kinds of arts, heritage and academic organisations, including the Mercers’ Company, London Metropolitan Archives and the University of Arts London, and on collections ranging from the Estate Papers of Sir Richard Whittington to the counter-cultural comic books of Robert Crumb. This wide experience will be very helpful in navigating the complications of the Wells material! Find out more about him on his staff webpage.
We’re advertising for a new colleague to join the Special Collections team: an Archivist to catalogue the Mitrinovic/New Atlantis Archive.
Mitrinovic (in the centre) and his group of followers
The Archive tells the story of an extraordinary man whose life and ideas are intertwined with so many others in early 20th century art, literature, politics and culture. It shows how he built a circle of followers who shared his aspirations towards a better and peaceful Europe. We are thrilled that we will soon be able to make this important collection publicly available.
The post is part time, pro rata, for 16 months, and the key dates are 12 May (closing date) and 3 June for interviews. Note that the post requires a qualified professional archivist with relevant skills and experience. I welcome informal enquiries about the post by email.
We collect Special Collections for people to use, whether in our Reading Room or online wherever they may be in the world.
Image of the world, from a telegram in the Ludwig Baruch Internment Archive, one of the collections covered by the Programme. This series of letters between a Second World War internee and his fiancee offers fascinating first-hand accounts of internee life on the Isle of Man, the Arandora Star disaster and the Home Front in Liverpool.
The key to getting more people using our archives is a) cataloguing those archives and b) getting the catalogues online. This means anyone anywhere can find these archives just by searching for keywords (names, places, subjects!). They don’t necessarily have to know that we exist or that an archive is what they need.
Like many other archives services, Special Collections has inherited archive catalogues which exist only on paper or which use old guidelines. In 2013, the Quick Wins Programme will quickly digitise and otherwise update these useful documents in order to make more information about important archives available online. In particular those all important keywords!
Keep up with the progress of the Programme on its website.
Today sees the launch in lovely, snowy Settle of a most welcome project which will bring a wealth of historical information to new audiences. W.R. (Bill) Mitchell, journalist and prolific author, has spent his life gathering and sharing stories of the people and creatures of the Yorkshire Dales, documented in books, articles, photographs and oral history cassettes.
W.R. ‘Bill’ Mitchell (from WR Mitchell Archive project website).
Led by Settle Stories and funded by the Heritage Lottery, the W.R. Mitchell Archive Project is digitising and cataloguing these cassettes (some of which are held in Special Collections at Bradford) to unlock their wonderful content, about farming, industry, nature and everyday life. Bill spoke to well-known Dalesfolk like Kit Calvert and Marie Hartley, and many many more. His understanding of their shared landscape and his journalistic experience mean that the recordings bring out the full richness of these peoples’ lives and heritage.
For lots more detail about Bill Mitchell and the project, see the new project website which has just gone live.
I recently mentioned The Settle Stories project, which will digitise Bill Mitchell’s oral history interviews with Yorkshire Dalespeople. The project is now calling for volunteers to help with this fascinating work. Roles include admin, outreach, promotion via the web, helping with events, and transcription, background research etc. Note that many activities do not require travel to Settle. To find out more, see the documents attached below.
Information about Settle Stories project to digitise WR Mitchell audiocassettes
Readers who love the rich history and beauty of the Yorkshire Dales may be interested in a new project which has recently received Heritage Lottery Funding. Settle Stories will digitise a large collection of audiocassettes documenting Dales writer and journalist Bill Mitchell’s interviews with Dales people, made during the 1980s and 90s. Bill’s expertise and knowledge enabled him to get the most from his varied and fascinating speakers. The project incorporates story-telling and work with schools. There are many opportunities for volunteers to take part. As home to the W.R. Mitchell Archive, which includes correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks, ephemera and more cassettes, Special Collections will work closely with this very welcome project.
More detail about the works! Follow this blog for updates.
1. The Floor 02 toilets are being refurbished from 27 March: work will take about six weeks. Visitors will need to use alternative toilets on the other floors. There may be some noise from the building works – we do not yet know how much disturbance to expect so we are encouraging visitors to rearrange their appointments for later dates where possible.
2. We may experience disruption from the GLEE Project, which will transform the upper floors of the Library. Visitors with an interest in peace/politics should note that Commonweal will be affected: see the Glee Project website for ways to find out more.