On Friday, King’s College was pleased to host the Archives and Records Association (ARA) Eastern Region’s latest event, ‘Reaching New Audiences’. The ARA is the professional body for archivists and related professions, with regional committees and special interest groups.
After Gillian Cooke (chair of the ARA Eastern Region) introduced the event, I gave a talk entitled ‘Introduction to Archives: Rupert Brooke Case Study – Putting Skills First’. In this talk, I described our new online resource ‘Introduction to Archives: Rupert Brooke’, a guide to using archives. I focussed on skills, from two perspectives:
- The archival research skills the website teaches to A-level students, as well as bright and motivated GCSE students.
- The skills I had to develop in order to ensure I reached that audience successfully.
My approach to the latter included producing a smaller Rupert Brooke-related online resource on the My Learning website, working with young volunteers and working with our School Liaison Officers to deliver a programme of day-long school visits and ‘residentials’ (where students from all over England were also able to spend a night in College and experience Cambridge life).
Then, Sally-Ann Greensmith spoke about her work on the involvement of Cambridgeshire Archives and Local Studies in the Cambridgeshire Community Archive Network (CCAN) project ‘The Great War – Between the Lines’, which also culminated in the creation of a website. This was a very different, though complementary, project. Her talk, entitled ‘The Great War Between the Lines Project – an allied effort’, focussed on the challenges and benefits of partnership working. This project was part of a larger programme which included 16 partners from France, Belgium and the UK. The project was intended to pool our knowledge of the War and raise awareness of it, ahead of the centenary. Local newspapers were indexed. Touring exhibitions were created by six of the partners, with copies in appropriate translations available to all partners. Walking, cycling and driving routes were created. There was also a significant ‘Last Day of Peace’ event, featuring musical performances, re-enactments, vintage cycles, a military hospital and a display by the St Neots museums. This project showed some of the exciting ways heritage organisations can collaborate to engage communities.
Sally-Ann and I were then asked questions on our projects. These included such issues as copyright in the King’s College project and working with international partners in Sally-Ann’s project.
The delegates were then taken to the King’s College Archive Centre, where they were able to see an exhibition of the papers of Rupert Brooke in the reading room and small groups were shown the Muniments room (one of our strong rooms, in which the College archives are kept). The exhibition was almost identical to that shown during the school visits, however, we were able to add a few items from the recently acquired Schroder collection, including Rupert Brooke’s attaché case.