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DisCOVER: Bringing Chatsworth archive to life: facts, stories and agency

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Council Room, Firth Court

Weston Bank

West

SHEFFIELD

S10 2TN

United Kingdom

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Bringing Chatsworth archive to life: facts, stories and agency...

About this Event

The archives at Chatsworth are exceptionally rich and well-preserved, including legal papers, estate records and family correspondence from more than five centuries. In this seminar we consider the challenges inherent in unlocking stories in – and about – the archive and using them to enhance the experience of visitors to Chatsworth today. The twentieth century saw a structuring of the family papers into ‘ducal’ correspondence sequences, perhaps obscuring the many female voices also represented in these letters, and sidelining a wide range of other surviving personal documents like scrapbooks and journals. The legal and estate papers potentially provide a rich source of information about non-elite lives. Can the archives be read ‘against the grain’ to highlight stories of women, non-elites and those who have curated and shaped the archives over the years? What are the gaps or absences in the archives? What creative and imaginative processes might be necessary to engage modern visitors with these stories? And what are the ethical implications of using the archives in this way?

Speaker details:

Fran Baker came to Chatsworth as Archivist and Librarian in 2018; she previously worked for many years at the John Rylands Library (University of Manchester) where she curated the literary, social/political history and born-digital archives. She has published on literary and email archives, and has interests in correspondence studies and historic house archives.

Lucy Brownson is a WRoCAH-funded PhD candidate at the University of Sheffield, where she is researching the Devonshire Collection Archive at Chatsworth - namely how, why and when it was consolidated, with a focus on how women’s lives and voices have shaped the collections across time and space(s). Lucy is interested in democratising archival practice to bring through overlooked and radical histories, having previously worked on a project to preserve the history of the worker co-operative movement, as well as working in business and museum archives.

Jane Hodson is Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Sheffield. From 2014-17 she led on impact and public engagement for the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. She has been working with Chatsworth on a range of different activities for more than 6 years, including supervising three recently completed PhD students (Lauren Butler, Fiona Clapperton, Hannah Wallace) who worked on the "Servants to Staff" project.

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Date and Time

Location

Council Room, Firth Court

Weston Bank

West

SHEFFIELD

S10 2TN

United Kingdom

View Map

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