Tuesday, 7 August 2012

eARMMS, July/August 2012

This is the latest edition of the ARMMS and CAIS newsletter, eARMMS, that we also post hereLet us know if you would like an email copy each month.
In this edition:

1. Staff Member Leaving
2. History Dissertations
3. Local Societies Display
4. Imag(in)ing the Past
5. Scottish Word and Image Group Conference
6. Recent Accessions
7. Photographing Changing Dundee
8. The Great British Story Event
9. Glasite/Sandemanian Papers
10. 100 Year Anniversary of the First World War
11. Returning Volunteer
12. New Archival Standard for Preservation
13. Records Management Update
14. Partnership with the University of Stirling
15. The Archives and Records Challenges in the Digital Information Society (ARCHIDIS) 2012
16. Preparing for September Student Intake

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1. Staff Member Leaving

CAIS said goodbye to a member of staff in July. Ms Angela Morton, CAIS Programme Administrator, has left to take up a post in education. CAIS would like thank Angela for all her excellent work over the past two and a half years and she will be sadly missed.

2. History Dissertations

The latest batch of 45 Arts and Social Science dissertations has been added to the Thesis database for 2011-2012. That is an increase in dissertations of 13 from 2011 figures. The dissertations cover a wide variety of subjects from the Boer War to fallen women of the nineteenth century. A large number of the dissertations look at local issues such as the Tay Bridge and why the 1960’s Overgate shopping centre failed. The dissertations are a valuable source of information as well as providing guidelines for up and coming students. Many also acknowledge the University Archives staff who were thanked for their help.

3. Local Societies Display

Jennifer has created a small display in the exhibition cabinet outside the Archive Searchroom showing items from various collections of local societies and organisations. This is to go with the display boards which were put together by Ruth Macdonald, the HLF funded Skills for the Future Trainee who was with us for two weeks in May. The boards show images from MS 21 Abertay Historical Society, MS 138 The Grampian Club and MS 342 Dundee Art Society. The items in the display case are from MS 155 Dundee Working Men’s Field Club, MS 80 Dundee Naturalists Society and MS 107 Calcutta and Mofussil Scots Society. For more information on all these collections you can search our online catalogue, www.dundee.ac.uk/archives/

4. Imag(in)ing the Past

The latest exhibition by Museum Services in the Lamb Gallery explores some of the many ways that art has represented, challenged and been inspired by history, mythology and our ideas of the past. Rather than straightforward history painting as such, this is about artists who explore issues relating to the past in more interesting ways. Some artists – such as Will Maclean – draw on the history of traditional Scottish and Gaelic culture to make us more aware of the impact of its loss. Ian Hamilton Finlay is one of several artists in the exhibition who draw on classical mythology, while updating Biblical imagery results in very striking works by Edward Burra and Neil Dallas Brown. There are also artworks inspired by archaeology and by the artists’ own personal past. All of the works shown come from the University’s own extensive collections of art, and many have not been shown publicly before. They include oil paintings, watercolours, prints, drawings and artists’ books. The exhibition runs until 8 September.

5. Scottish Word & Image Group Conference

The exhibition, Imag(in)ing the Past, was launched as part of a conference called Excavating Time, organised by the Scottish Word & Image Group (SWIG). The conference examined the various ways that the past is interpreted and distorted through interactions between word and image. Curator Matthew Jarron was one of the conference organisers and also gave a paper called 'Form and Number / Word and Image - Exploring the ideas and collections of D'Arcy Thompson'. The conference was attended by delegates from across Europe, Canada, the USA and Australia and also included tours of the McManus, a civic reception hosted by the Lord Provost and a walking tour of historic Dundee by Adam Swan of the Dundee Historic Environment Trust.

6. Recent Accessions

Recent accessions to the archives include material from the University Cash Office including information relating to flats the University owned in Whitfield; additional material on the Dundee Mountain Film Festival; a note book relating to the Angus Jute Mill; material relating to Duntrune House and records relating to the impact of the creation of the University of Dundee on the teaching of medicine at the University of St Andrews. The last item will be of particular interest to anyone interested in the history of university education in Scotland.

7. Photographing Changing Dundee

As you may have seen on Twitter over the past few months Kenneth has been taking photographs of the area around the waterfront which is currently undergoing extensive redevelopment. By doing this we aim to build a detailed photographic archive of this period of change in Dundee, which will see the demolition of Tayside House and the Olympia, as well the construction of several new buildings, including the striking new V&A.

8. The Great British Story Event

On 30th June Caroline, Jennifer, Kenneth and Keren represented Archive Services at the BBC's Great British Story Dundee event at the McManus. Several people visited our stall to try writing with a quill pen, to take part in our guess the date of the photograph competition and to have a look at some of our maps, photographs and documents relating to old Dundee. We were also able to help many people with their own research.

9. Glasite/Sandemanian Papers

The process of cataloguing the Glasite/Sandemanian papers is continuing. Of recent interest was a bundle of letters written by Michael Faraday and his wife Sarah to a friend and fellow believer who lived in Edinburgh. Faraday’s writing can be difficult to decipher, but it seems that he was losing sleep over the stand taken by the London Sandemanian church – of which he was a member – on accepting back ex-communicated believers. The practice of the church was to accept a person back only once – if they were ex-communicated again then presumably they had to remain ex-communicated forever. Faraday was quite upset by this; the two letters from his wife to their friend were written without his knowledge, and she in them she asks their friend to give Faraday advice based on Scripture. His response did seem to have succeeded in appeasing Faraday. It is little wonder, however, that Michael Faraday found the subject of ex-communication painful. Some years earlier he had been ‘excluded’ from the church and stripped of his eldership – all because he had accepted a dinner invitation from Queen Victoria. The problem was that the dinner was on a Sunday, when Faraday was supposed to be fulfilling his duties at the church.

10. 100 Year Anniversary of the First World War

Caroline and Matthew are involved, along with representatives from History, Mcmanus, the Local History Centre at the Wellgate Library and others, in planning a series of events to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the First World War. Starting in 2013 Dundee will see a range of lectures, exhibitions and other projects relating to the war and its impact.

11. Returning Volunteer

We are pleased to welcome back a volunteer. Hazel Elder, who was with us last summer, has returned for July and August and is currently working on the Torrance archives. The Torrances were medical missionaries in Tiberius and Hazel is checking the numbering of some of the thousands of their photographs that we hold.

12. New Archival Standard for Preservation

Archive Services staff held a meeting about the new archival standard for preservation, PD 5454: 2012 which replaces and updates BS 5454. Currently temperature and humidity levels in our stores are within recommended levels for mixed collections and Jennifer regularly monitors the conditions with thermohygrometers. We discussed recommendations for the filing and storage of different media, including photographs and PD 5454’s recommendations for nitrile rather than cotton gloves.

13. Records Management Unit Update

July was an unusual month in the Records Management Unit. Client requests were considerably lower than normal which meant that more time could be given over to processing new accessions than in recent months. Mhairi has been able to finalise consignments from Accounts Payable, Cash Office, Research Finance, Environmental Sciences, Careers and Registry. There are yet more consignments waiting to be dealt with from Management Accounting & Planning, Payroll, Residences, HR, Duncan of Jordanstone, Dental Health Services Research Unit and Education, Social Work & Community Education. However, with three audits by the Chief Scientist’s Office looming before the end of August, Mhairi is waiting for the requests to start coming in from Research Finance and will soon be busy scribbling out retrieval forms and searching for the required documents.

14. Partnership with the University of Stirling

A new partnership between ARMMS and the University of Stirling began this month. Alan will work with their information compliance team, providing guidance and support as required, based upon his knowledge and experience as the University of Dundee's Records Manager and Information Compliance Officer and as a professional educator and Programme Leader in CAIS. This is the first formal collaboration between institutions in this area in Scottish Higher Education and we are excited to be working with our partners in Stirling.

15. The Archives and Records Challenges in the Digital Information Society (ARCHIDIS) 2012

Pat and Craig attended ARCHIDIS 2012 in Härnösand, Sweden during August. ARCHIDIS is an Erasmus-funded Intensive Project, which has 14 European University partners. 30 students from the participating universities stayed at Mid-Sweden University and, in workshops, presentations and group sessions, discussed aspects of Appraisal and Social Memory. The current three-year programme finishes next year when ARCHIDIS will be hosted by the University of Dundee.

16. Preparing for September Student Intake

CAIS is currently processing offer documents for the September student intake. We expect to have over 50 new students studying a range of courses with us, including modules on our Masters, Family and Local History, and CPD programmes as well as on our 6 week vocational course Beyond the Internet.

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