Over 50 people joined us to disrupt traditional research into archives, earlier this month.
The focus was on 'identity archives,' (archives associated with one individual), such as the Stanley Kubrick Archive, housed at London College of Communication.
Often these archives appear to present history only from one perspective. Or, they present only certain elements of the past.
Over this two-day event speakers explored many different archives through a range of papers, case studies and interdisciplinary perspectives. They problematised existing histories and narratives to move the discussion forward.
The conference allowed us to (re)examine the contested nature of archives. Participants challenged current archival methods and explored innovative archival practices.
We sought to answer questions such as:
- How can marginalised voices and identities be excavated from archives?
- How can we bridge and foster dialogue between archivists and researchers?
- How do we approach archives and research to reach a better understanding of the past?
This was our first in person since 2019. We made new friends and cemented future connections. Twitter was noisy! We listened to researchers as they uncovered uncomfortable stories from looking into archives. Their discoveries called past archival theory and practice into question.
In the third annual Stanley Kubrick Lecture, Dr James Fenwick told us that it’s not all about Stanley. Also, that his archive is full of ‘rubbish’. However, this ‘rubbish’ can shine a light on hidden work of the Kubrick ‘firm.’ Even boxes of receipts can tell new stories.
Together we were interdisciplinary and critical in our approach to celebrate whole histories and value all narratives. The conference resolved to reconvene as a network of enquirers to publish and continue to disrupt dominance in the archive.
- Sarah Mahurter, Manager, University Archives and Special Collections Centre
- Georgina Orgill, Stanley Kubrick Archivist and Assistant Manager, University Archives and Special Collections Centre
- Catriona McAvoy, PhD student, Sheffield Hallam University
- Dr Matt Melia, Kingston University
- Dr James Fenwick, Sheffield Hallam University
If you have any questions about our conference programme, please contact us at email@example.com.