Workshop

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This free workshop at The National Archives in London explored what families keep and why.

Many families have some sort of archive—documents, photos, heirlooms, scrapbooks, recipes and other items which link to past generations and preserve family stories for future ones. Even if they’ve never thought of their collections as ‘archives’, preserving family possessions allows people to invest in these items as symbols of their pasts & futures.

This workshop was aimed at archivists, museum curators, librarians, researchers, academics, students and anyone else with an interest in family collections and histories. The event featured presentations, discussion sessions, and opportunities for networking. Contributors included The National Archives staff, librarians, archivists, members of The Family Archive Project team and other researchers. The event addressed themes such as:

  • What goes into a family archive? How do heirlooms, ‘recovered’ items (e.g. documents retrieved through family history research) and things that contemporary generations retain for the future work together?
  • Why do people keep and care for family possessions? What do these items reveal about personal and family identities? What expectations do they pass on to future generations?
  • How do people care for and preserve their items? What impact does digital technology have? How do families engage with their archives, and the histories associated with them?
  • Who owns and curates archival material in families? Who decides what’s included and excluded? Do archives exist in one place or multiple places?
  • Is the concept of a ‘family archive’ a useful one? What sorts of challenges do we face when trying to define a ‘family’ in this context?

We livetweeted this workshop using the #famarchive hashtag; you can catch up on the tweets over on Storify if you were unable to join us on the day.

WORKSHOP PROGRAMME

10:15        Refreshments and registration. 

10:45        SESSION 1: FAMILIES AND ARCHIVES

Welcome and introduction

Seeking identities, memories and stories in the family archive – Vicky Crewe and Anna Woodham (The Family Archive Project Team, Cardiff University and King’s College London)

The National Archives: records and research – Mark Pearsall (The National Archives)

Questions and discussion

12:00        SESSION 2: SPOTLIGHTS ON CURRENT WORK

Short presentations from delegates

12:30        Lunch

13:15        SESSION 3: FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES

The My Route project: community memory and the urban landscape of Stratford Road Birmingham – Katy Wade (Sampad)

Seacroft Stories – Vanessa Manby (LS14 Trust)

What’s in the box? The unofficial family archive of a city – Ross Horsley(Leeds Local and Family History Library)

Questions and discussion

14:15        SESSION 4: GROUP DISCUSSION

14:45        Coffee and tea

15:10        SESSION 5: ARCHIVES IN DIFFERENT MEDIA

Telling your story: YARN and community storytelling – Simon Popple (University of Leeds)

Not again! Boredom, home movies, and the archives – Christine Grandy (University of Lincoln)

Questions and discussion

16:00        SUMMING UP

16:15        Workshop close

 

 

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