Last week AIUET archivist, Jo Robson, together with freelance archivist Jane Speller (who has been helping us to catalogue the Anwar Ditta collection) ran an archiving workshop for all AIUET/ RRRC staff.
It may seem odd that we all work with archives on a daily basis, and still need training. However, the majority of us have qualifications in other areas (History, Museum Studies, American Studies, Biomedical Science even!) and are particularly ignorant of recent changes in copyright and data protection law that effect the records we collect and the data they contain. So a crash course proved extremely useful all round.
Earlier this month our archivist Jo Robson, together with volunteers Daljit Singh and Raj Kaur organised a reminiscence session at Manchester Central Library. Participants – including Daljit and Raj – comprised staff and members of the management committee from ‘Speaking for Ourselves’. SFO was a landmark oral history project with Manchester’s Sikh community, funded by Manpower Services during the 1980s.
On Friday 6th July we held our 3rd annual Community History Showcase at GMCVO St Thomas’s, Ardwick. A huge thanks once again to everyone who contributed; the event could not have happened without your input which is hugely valued and appreciated.
4 speakers shared the challenges and achievements of their projects through illustrated talks:
We currently have two postgraduate students from the Institute for Cultural Practices (ICP) at the University of Manchester on a placement with us. They have been investigating the value of historic documents and how to encourage further deposits from local BAME communities as part of the CIFTC project. Today Naomi Weaver and Yang Li were busy interviewing our long-time friend and trustee, Nigel de Noronha in various locations around Central Library as part of a project to demystify the archive. Nigel was once a member of the Asian Youth Movement (AYM) and also contributed to the Macdonald Inquiry, so features prominently in a number of records we hold. He is now a Teaching Fellow in Sociology at the University of Warwick.
During his interview, Nigel reflected on both the experience of encountering representations of himself as a young activist and on the value of being able to examine such collections as an academic researcher.
By creating a short film with a range of contributors, Naomi and Yang hope to address basic questions about what’s in our collection, how it ended up here and to whom it might be of interest in future years. Watch this space for the final edit, which we hope to share with you soon…
We are delighted to announce that Phase Two of our project ‘Coming in from the Cold’ is now up and running. Over the next three years members of the CIFTC project team will support the development and delivery of BAME-focused heritage projects across Greater Manchester, with the aim of building a more comprehensive and representative archive collection. Please download our press release for further information.
If you are a community group thinking of undertaking or in the process of delivering a heritage project, please do get in touch. There are lots of ways we might be able to help you.
Yesterday Collections Access Officer Hannah Niblett and I presented a paper to around 60 delegates from the National Archives conference at The Lowry in Salford. Our paper was called Coming in From the Cold: Narrowing the Gap Between Community Engagement and Collection Development. In it we presented findings from the research phase of this project, together with ideas for a model of working based on our own experience of facilitating and archiving community history projects. Our main concern – and our aim for Phase Two going forward (should we receive the necessary grant funding) – is to address the key issue, that funding for BAME-related community-led heritage projects is increasing but their visibility is not. The content seemed well received by the audience who helped us to ponder issues of authorship, ownership and access during the ensuing discussion.