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?

smojen

My favourite beach – Smojen

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

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