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Co-production and collaboration in the archive. Gerald Aylmer seminar 2020

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The National Archives

Bessant Drive

Richmond

TW9 4DU

United Kingdom

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The Gerald Aylmer Seminar is an annual symposium bringing together historians and archivists to discuss topics of mutual interest.

About this Event

A one-day symposium organised by The National Archives, the Royal Historical Society and the Institute of Historical Research, University of London.

What are the opportunities, and challenges of working collaboratively with archivists, academics and community groups? Join us at the 2020 Gerald Aylmer seminar which this year takes its theme as 'Co-production and collaboration in the archives'. Through the day we will discuss, analyse, and learn from, a range of collaborative projects, as seen from the perspectives and experience of archivists, historians and community practitioners.

The day will be structured around 3 elements relating to the structure, practice and value of co-production and collaborative work. In keeping with this year’s theme, there will be time for panel and audience discussion throughout and we invite attendees to consider any thoughts on the conference topics in advance of the day.

Provisional Programme

9:30 - 10:00 Registration and coffee

10:00 - 10:10 Introduction

  • Dr Valerie Johnson, Director of Research and Collections, The National Archives and Dr Philip Carter, Head of Digital and Publishing, and Senior Lecturer in British History, Institute of Historical Research

10:10 - 11:10 I: THREE QUESTIONS FOR THE DAY

This opening session poses three broad questions on the meaning, use, and ethics of co-production between archivists, historians, and collection creators. Speakers and audience members will be returning to these questions through the day.

  • What is ‘co-production’?
  • When is co-production most effective?
  • Is co-production useful or exploitative?
  • Professor Catherine Clarke, Director of the Centre for People, Place and Community, Institute of Historical Research, University of London
  • Dr Ayshah Johnston, Learning and Engagement Manager, Black Cultural Archives
  • Dr Victoria Hoyle, Research Associate, Department of History, University of York

Chair: Dr Alexandra Eveleigh, Collections Information Manager, Wellcome Collection

11:10 - 11:50 II: STRUCTURES: FORMS OF CO-PRODUCTION

This panel session considers how we approach, structure and begin the work of co-production. Via reference to selected projects, it will address topics such as:

  • How to plan for and establish co-production
  • Forms and formats for co-production
  • Models of co-production, and lessons learned
  • Sara Huws, Co-Founder, East End Women’s Museum
  • Kristian Lafferty, Content Acquisition Manager, Ancestry

Chair: Charlotte Tomlinson, PhD student, University of Leeds

11:50 - 12:10 Break

12:10 - 13:10 III. PRACTICES: WHAT MAKES FOR EFFECTIVE CO-PRODUCTION?

This panel session looks at the practice of co-production based on the experience of archivists and historians. It considers what does and doesn’t work, and how to get the most from collaborative research partnerships:

  • How do we run a successful co-production project
  • When and why does co-production go wrong?
  • When is co-production overt and when is it disguised within larger actions?
  • Dr Errol Francis, Artistic Director and CEO, Culture&
  • Rosa Schling, Co-director, ‘On the Record’
  • Dr Mike Esbester, School of Area Studies, History, Politics and Literature, University of Portsmouth and Karen Baker, Librarian, National Railway Museum

Chair: Victoria Iglikowski-Broad , The National Archives

13:10 - 14:10 Lunch (provided)

13:25-14:10 Layers of London workshop

Layers of London is a collaborative digital mapping project, run by the Institute of Historical Research.

This voluntary hands-on drop-in session will focus on co-producing a new collection relating to the theme of London arrivals and departures. Delegates are invited to bring a laptop and any documents, photos or stories relating to this theme (e.g. if you moved to London, when/why did you do so? Do you have a photo of your first flat?).

  • Adam Corsini, Public Engagement Officer, Layers of London, University of London

14:10 – 15:10 IV: OUTCOMES: WHAT IS THE VALUE OF CO-PRODUCTION?

The final panel session of the day explores the outcomes of co-production from the perspectives of an archivist, a historian and a contributor who have worked on multiple projects. We’ll consider the value of collaborative work by asking:

  • What is the intellectual/cultural value of co-production?
  • Who defines this?
  • What do various participants gain?
  • Professor Sarah Lloyd, History Department, University of Hertfordshire
  • Stefan Dickers, Library and Archives Manager, Bishopsgate Institute
  • Martin Spafford, school teacher and writer

Chair: Pip Willcox, Head of Research, The National Archives

15:10 – 15:30 Break

15:30 – 16:15 V: REVIEW SESSION

The closing review session returns to our three opening questions, with speakers responding in the light of a day’s discussion on the planning, running and outcomes of co-produced research. What too of the future for co-production and collaboration?

  • Professor Catherine Clarke, Director of the Centre for People, Place and Community, Institute of Historical Research, University of London
  • Dr Ayshah Johnston, Learning and Engagement Manager, Black Cultural Archives
  • Dr Victoria Hoyle, Research Associate, Department of History, University of York

Chair and closing remarks: Professor Margot Finn, University College London and President of the Royal Historical Society

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The Gerald Aylmer Seminar is an annual one-day symposium jointly convened by The National Archives (TNA), the Royal Historical Society (RHS) and the Institute of Historical Research, University of London (IHR). Running since 2002, the seminars are held in memory of Gerald Aylmer (1926-2000), who was president of the Royal Historical Society and Chairman of the Historical Manuscripts Commission.

Catalogue reference for image: The National Archives, INF 3/125b.

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Date and Time

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The National Archives

Bessant Drive

Richmond

TW9 4DU

United Kingdom

View Map

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