Material Culture – Records and Evidence Week 5

For records and evidence this week we were looking at objects as archive, and had a wonderful talk from the textile conservation expert Frances Lennard. As part of the class we were asked to bring in an object with meaning to us, and think about what archival traces it might hold.

My items were pebbles which my mother sent from one of my favourite beaches back home in Sweden. When they first came they were in a plastic bag, so the smell of seaweed and salt had been preserved for a little while. These are the type of gifts she often sends me when I long for home – such as dried flowers from my favourite walks and herbs and mint from the garden. All of them are very tactile – the rocks and the flowers have certain scents and the herbs taste of the lime rich water in which they were grown. They create moments of feeling transported, and flashes of memory which are hard to note down in writing…

This did make me think of an article by Daniel Miller* where he describes what makes us reverent to certain objects – he described it as being ‘faced with our own mortality’. Objects have the power to make us feel connected to humans who came before us, and give us a comforting sense of belonging. In a lesser scale this is how I would describe these pebbles. They transports and connects me to my home – but there is always a sense of melancholy in that this transportation is to the past rather than the present. From looking around at the objects which others brought in this also seemed, to me at least, to be the overarching theme. What did the rest of you think?


My favourite beach – Smojen

*See Millers article in the “Companion Encyclopedia of Anthropology” (2002), ed: Tim Ingold.


British Pathé archive blog

My main area of interest in archives, lies with moving images.  If a picture is worth a thousand words a moving image must be even more verbose, add sound and you won’t get a word in edgeways.  The sheer variety of subject matter held by British Pathé is endlessly entertaining and informative.

So here’s the link

And here’s the link to the material on Scotland they posted in relation to Independence

And here’s a link to ‘a sample of some of the finest 20th century reporting on Scotland’… Ye never know ye might see yer Maw!

In the news and soggy archives

My current favourite is

Fascinating link to our past, although once reeled in by twitter you may feel the need to spend £ to explore the actual site. It’s great for social historians, genealogists and newspaper fans.

Archive information

Read the blog

Just for fun. Forget the ship of Theseus or Cutty Sark, this is a genuine 100% reproduction and mighty fine too! Twitter is regularly updated with information about what’s up and coming. Play with old tools, make fire, embrace your inner pagan – semmits advised.The serious side of archives and underwater archaeology can be explored in this very interesting document.

Lothian Health Services Archive

Lothian Health Services Archive has a great blog and twitter account that are both regularly updated with news, stories and photographs. They provide a good insight into the inner workings of an archive, and the content regarding the projects that are underway is always interesting. Looking through some of the photographs in the blog posts I spotted more than one former IMP student working in the archive so it’s definitely got the IMP seal of approval!

IMPress Experience

The IMPRESS team have backgrounds in education, history, librarianship and sociology. The extent and scope of archiving experience is extremely broad. This includes work in Council Archives, Genealogy, Film and Television Archiving, Health Archives, Register of Sasine, Royal Societies and Special Collections.

By working in the above sectors we have accrued a collective knowledge of Appraisal, Cataloguing, Conservation, Digitisation, Exhibition Design, Palaeography, Research and Social Media, although the depth of knowledge is variable between sectors.

The transferable skills we bring from our various backgrounds are equally diverse. Our team has considerable experience in communication in customer service and working with teams. We also have a range of management skills which includes managing people and budgets, leading projects and events organisation. Our experience in risk assessment, health and safety, including fire prevention is pertinent to any future role working in an archive. We are also confident and able users of ICT. Particular strengths worth mentioning are time management, excellent organisation capability and attention to detail.

We intend to develop the following areas:

  • Increased knowledge of Archival Standards and Legislation, with particular regard to Freedom of Information, Data Protection and copyright
  • Links to the network of archival colleagues to fulfil a commitment to continuing professional development