X Close

LibNet staff news

Home

Menu

Slade School of Fine Art Degree Showcase 2020

L ( Elizabeth ) Lawes9 July 2020

Due to the current campus lockdown, this year’s Slade School of Fine Art student degree shows were cancelled – a disastrous outcome for those students who had spent three or four years (BA/BFA) or two years (MA/MFA) studying towards that moment, their one opportunity to showcase their work to the wider world.

But Slade staff and students are nothing if not open to experimentation and have embraced the restrictions by producing a virtual degree show. Each student has their own microsite which includes a personal statement and images or video content.

One of the highlights is the work of BA student Mataio Austin Dean, who has produced a tripartite work titled Colonial Structures focusing on UCL’s colonial connections. Anyone who attended the Special Collections Late event, Protest!  Voices of dissent in art and text, will remember Mataio’s moving performance of the late 18th century industrial ballad, The Four Loom Weaver.

The showcase also has some associated live events; from 13th July Slade Radio will broadcast audio work, discussion, talks and other aural miscellany via Twitch.

The online platform is available until 14th July and is an opportunity to celebrate the work of students graduating, before a celebratory physical exhibition next year.

Colonial Structures: UCL-Wilkins, Mataio Austin Dean, 2020, inkjet on paper, approx. 30 x 40cm.

Colonial Structures: UCL-Wilkins, Mataio Austin Dean, 2020, inkjet on paper, approx. 30 x 40cm.

Liberating the Collections at UCL

utnvrev19 June 2020

As signalled in Ben’s Liblist message of 11th June 2020 we wanted to share a bit more detail about the work that has already happened in the area of ‘decolonising our collections’ and plans to develop and build on this work. There is a lot of activity in this area across the library and archives sector, many colleagues have attended events nationally related to this topic and there is a high level of interest and commitment to this area of work across the service.

Back in November 2019 a meeting was convened for all academic support staff interested or already engaged in themes around “decolonising” collections, at subject or site level, to consider the scope for activities in Library Services. The response was huge. We considered terminology and agreed we’d give this work the title of ‘Liberating the Collections’ so that it would complement the existing ‘Liberating the Curriculum’ work that UCL has undertaken. We also felt that the unintentional mis-use or misappropriation of the terms ‘decolonising’ or ‘decolonisation’ could be problematic.

Colleagues shared examples of work already being undertaken including:

Reclassification – recent projects

Art Reading Room, UCL Main Library (photo courtesy of Liz Lawes)

Tom Meehan (Head of Cataloguing & Metadata) spoke about a project initiated by Liz Lawes (Subject Liaison Librarian: Fine Art, History of Art, Film Studies, Small Press Collections) for the MX section of the ART collection, to change the classification of non-Western art from purely alphabetical-by-country to a logical arrangement using Garside’s standard geographical table. This followed on from a student enquiry and meant that African art in particular could be more effectively organised and less marginalised. The project involved mapping the former classmarks for 2000 items to new ones (in this case also recalculating Cutter numbers), making the changes to Alma holdings records, and physically relabelling and moving the books.

Wojciech Janik (Area Liaison Coordinator & Area Liaison Librarian for Russia, Ukraine, Belarus & Eurasia) shared details of similar reclassification work at SSEES library, undertaken to create new categories for materials from former Soviet republics which have been independent countries for almost 20 years. These had continued to be classified within the Russian collection which is politically problematic. There was a lot of interest in this work and it even resulted in a donation of books from the Georgian Ambassador.

Reading lists – modelling good practice

With planning for the new UCL East campus under way there is an objective to embed good ‘Liberating the Curriculum’ practice in new programmes from the outset. Hazel Ingrey (Head of Teaching & Learning Services) is working with academics to suggest inclusive, non-canon literature and viewpoints for the new reading lists that they will curate.

Change the Subject! – film screening at UCL

On 3 February 2020, Library Services co-sponsored the London premiere of this documentary, with UCL’s Department of Information Studies (DIS). The film narrates the story of a group of students at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, USA, who challenged anti-immigrant sentiment as represented by the Library of Congress subject headings in the Library catalogue, and specifically the term ‘illegal alien’, used by academic libraries globally.

Open to attendees across the library sector, the screening was followed by a panel discussion where UCL was represented by Tom Meehan. The film is temporarily available to view https://www.pbs.org/video/change-the-subject-23nbpj/

Steps to Progress – facilitating and hosting a student initiative

Steps to Progress, UCL Main Library

In late 2018 a PhD student from UCL’s English Department approached the Library with a project he was developing, with the support of the Vice Provost International and other senior officers, to install decals of book spines to the stair risers leading to the Main Library that challenged existing perceptions of the literary canon and celebrated the diversity of the UCL community. Supported and enabled in liaison with library colleagues, the project came to fruition in early June 2019 https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/libnet/2019/06/05/steps-to-progress-2/. It has received considerable attention and plaudits from both UCL and external visitors to the space.

Eugenics Inquiry – supported and informed by Library Services

In 2018, UCL’s President & Provost Professor Michael Arthur commissioned an ‘Inquiry into the History of Eugenics at UCL’, led by Professor Iyiola Solanke of the University of Leeds. Library Services supported the Inquiry through the Director of Operations acting as secretary, and Special Collections staff assisting with identification and provision of evidence drawn from the archives and records materials we hold. Learning and insight from this process has been shared with Library Services staff in the Peer Review https://www.ucl.ac.uk/libnet/news-social/peer-review/archive-2020/issue-168-02-march-2020 on 2 March 2020. The articles illustrate some of the discoveries made and implications for how our collections might be researched and presented in future.

Sustaining the Liberated Curriculum – Special Collections project

The Special Collections team have long been involved in Liberating the Curriculum work, the most recent example being a funded project to develop enhanced resources for archival handling and exploration to support teaching in the BA (Hons) Education Studies at the IOE. The focus of the project was the preservation and digitisation of historical materials used for teaching about groups whose experiences have often been marginalised in historical accounts of education – in this case girls and the science curriculum, multicultural and anti-racist education in the 1970s and 80s and disability and special educational needs (SEN). Although they can be accessed in person, the resources are now available to UCL students on Moodle and have been used to develop teaching and student research in these areas over the past 2 years.

Next steps: Liberating the Collections Steering Group

It was agreed that there is a lot more that we can do and that we needed to establish a group to plan and oversee strands of activity across Library Services, aligned to our Strategy, UCL’s Liberating the Curriculum initiative and with reference to best practice in the library sector.

The group will be meeting for the first time on the 15th July to agree terms of reference and decide the priorities for this work going forward. The group will report to the Collection Management Advisory Group (CMAG) and connect closely with the Library’s Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

It will be co-chaired by Rozz Evans (Head of Collection Strategy) and Kate Cheney (Head of Site Library Services and lead for the Staff Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Key Performance Area).

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris20 August 2019

Medieval Mysteries from UCL Special Collections

Today’s meeting of the UCL Rare Books Club took a fresh and insightful look at UCL’s medieval scientific manuscripts. An outstanding scholar, Professor Charles Burnett from the Warburg Institute, gave a masterly personal commentary on many of the items on display.

Professor Burnett is here seen describing his favourite item on show, MS. Lat. 15, described in some detail in D.K. Coveney, Descriptive catalogue of the manuscripts in the Library of University College (London, 1935). It consists of 33 leaves and 1+2 fly leaves. The MS. is a palimpsest, which means that the original text has been erased and over-written. The original text is still visible on some folios.

The contents are in handwriting thought to date from the 14th century and the text is accompanied by diagrams in red or red and black.  The MS. contains various texts, and the one most discussed by Professor Burnett was Johannis de Sacrobosco, Tractatus de Sphera. This main text constitutes one of the most famous fundamental tracts on astronomy and cosmography being circulated from the 13th to the 17th centuries. It is based on Ptolemy and discusses the terrestrial globe, the rising and setting of stars, and the orbs and movements of planets.  Johannis De Sacrobosco (otherwise John of Holywood, or Halifax), is thought to have been born in Yorkshire and he settled in Paris around 1220. He was a mathematician and astronomer. He wrote texts on arithmetic, astronomy and cosmography. He died either in 1244 or in 1256 (see the UK Archives Hub here). The manuscript was formerly in the Graves collection, no. 3496, bequeathed to the Library in 1870. John Thomas Graves (1806-1870) was a mathematician and Professor of Jurisprudence at University College London, whose collection included manuscripts dating from the 15th to the 19th centuries, relating mainly to mathematics.

My own personal favourite, being a church historian of the English church, was the Perspectiva Communis of John Peckham, formerly Archbishop of Canterbury 1279-92, being a treatise on optics. He was a prolific author of treatises on science and theology. This manuscript dates from the 15th or 16th centuries and is MS. Lat. 31, bound  (perhaps from the first) with two printed works, the Arithmetica of Jordanus Nemorarius, edited by Jacques le Fêvre (Johannes Higman and Wolfgang Hopyl, Paris, 1496), and the Geometria speculatiua of Bradwardine (Paris, 1495) (see AIM25 here). The manuscript also formed part of the library of John Thomas Graves, and was formerly Graves no. 3950.

The session today was well attended by UCL staff, students and external visitors. As Professor Burnett remarked, the medieval holdings of UCL Special Collections deserve a wide and appreciative audience.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

Special Collections at Newham Heritage Week

Helen Biggs20 October 2017

Newham Heritage Week, which runs from 21-29 October, will see the launch of a new pop-up exhibition, Making East London, created as a collaboration between UCL Special Collections and Newham Libraries.

Five banner displays combine items from the Main Library exhibition East Side Stories and Newham Borough’s own archives, to explore two centuries of continuous change in east London.

The exhibition is open now in Stratford Library. From January it will be on tour, visiting the other nine public libraries in Newham.

East London history “open mic” night

As part of Newham Heritage Week, Special Collections’ outreach team are hosting an open mic-style night at Stratford Library, from 6pm on Thursday 26 October. A 30-minute talk on the work behind Making East London will be followed by an opportunity for attendees to share their own research, stories and memories of East London’s past.

For more information, or to book your own space at the talk, get in touch with Vicky at vprice@ucl.ac.uk.

You can learn more about what Special Collections has been doing with Newham Libraries (including poetry sessions and an oral history initiative) and our funders for this project, over at our blog.

To discover what else is happening at Newham Heritage Week, download a programme.

Printlbnpartnershipno-swoosh-3-logoBlack_small_logo_UCLCulture transparent

 

April to June titles from UCL Press

Alison Fox7 June 2017

We are delighted to announce the publication of 9 new open access books and 5 open access journal issues from UCL Press. Additionally, we are also delighted to provide information about a brand new student journal, Interscript, hosted on UCL’s student publishing platform.

New Books (April-June)

New Journals (April-June)

Student Journals Hosted by UCL Press (April-June)

  • Interscript: UCL Journal of Publishing (vol 1, issue 1). This journal is run by students of the MA publishing course, and hosted on UCL’s OJS platform. The students have also published an online magazine.

Please don’t hesitate to contact the UCL Press team with any questions or queries about UCL press or any of our titles.

UCL Press partners with JSTOR

Alison Fox27 October 2016

UCL Press is delighted to announce a partnership with JSTOR to provide access to open access books on their widely used platform.  JSTOR is a leading digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources used by academics and researchers worldwide. All titles will also be preserved in Portico, ensuring that they will be available to researchers in perpetuity.

The only UK publisher to be an inaugural partner in this programme, UCL Press titles are included in an initial set of open access books available from four leading university presses, including University of California Press, University of Michigan Press and Cornell University Press.  Books published by UCL Press that will appear on JSTOR’s widely used platform from Wednesday 26th October include:

The ebooks are freely available for anyone in the world to use and do not have DRM restrictions, nor do they have limits on chapter PDF downloads or printing. Users will not need to register or log in to JSTOR in order to access any of our titles. Free MARC records are available for librarians, who will also be able to activate the titles in discovery services; more information for librarians is available here. The titles are also cross-searchable with other content on JSTOR.org.

Jewish Pamphlets Project Phase 2

Andrew Watson8 January 2016

In August 2015, Vanessa Freedman reported on the completion of phase 1 of the Jewish Pamphlets Project. A total of 4,000 rare Jewish pamphlets were catalogued, a conservation survey carried out and a pop-up exhibition presented. In addition, a full-page article about the project by Professor Colin Shindler appeared in the Jewish Chronicle.

Following this noteworthy achievement, we have been successful in obtaining funding to allow us to embark on the next stage of the project. In phase 2, we will be addressing the urgent conservation needs highlighted in the phase 1 survey. Over 1,000 pamphlets are in a fragile state with some 300 in very poor condition.

Jewish PamphletsAngela Warren Thomas and her team of conservators based in the Science Library will be carrying out this work to make the material safe to handle.

Following the conservation of the physical items, Matt Mahon will manage a programme to produce digital surrogates of the rarest and most fragile items. Not only will this reduce the need to handle the originals, it will also allow the material to be accessed globally via Digital Collections.

Lastly, phase 2 includes provision to catalogue the remaining pamphlets in collections of notable provenance, in particular the Montefiore pamphlets, to enrich, as Professor Shindler put it, this “treasure trove for anyone interested in Jewish history”.

Jewish Pamphlets Project phase 1 is complete

Vanessa Freedman4 August 2015

The first phase of the project to to catalogue the Jewish pamphlets at UCL Special Collections is now complete, with 4000 pamphlets catalogued in Aleph.

Pamphlet

The 4000th pamphlet

Some notable items from the project will be installed in the display cases next to the Donaldson Room in the Main Library on 13th August and will remain there until October/November, so do go and have a look.

Sadly this means saying goodbye to the project cataloguers, Dalia Maoz-Michaels and Peter Salinger (though Peter will remain at UCL as a volunteer). We held a small celebration after the Retrospective Cataloguing Team meeting last week to thank Peter and Dalia for all their hard work. They in turn thanked Andrew Watson, the project manager, for his guidance and support.

Peter and Dalia

Peter and Dalia

We are now seeking funding for phase 2 of the project, which will involve conservation, digitisation and further cataloguing – so watch this space!

Jerome Bruner’s MACOS Curriculum Project at the UCL Institute of Education Library

Nazlin Bhimani10 April 2015

Christina Egan cataloguing the MACOS materials

I consider myself very fortunate to be able to collaborate with some of the most wonderful people in the world – not just researchers who I work with regularly but also the librarians who I work with everyday. My most recent collaboration has been with the UCL IOE cataloguers, Christina Egan and Dianne Stacey.   Christina and Dianne have just finished cataloguing one of the most interesting of our Special Collections, Jerome Bruner’s MACOS or Man: A Course of Study Curriculum Project. The materials were donated to the library by Mr. Barry D.Varley-Tipton (see: http://newsamnews.ioe.ac.uk/2013/07/24/curriculum-project-macos-man-a-course-of-study/) in July 2013.

Man:  A Course of Study (commonly referred to by the acronym MACOS or M.A.C.O.S) is the brainchild of the American psychotherapist and Harvard academic Jerome Bruner.  Bruner believed that it was possible to teach children to be more humane and eliminate racism and ethnocentrism by studying another culture closely. He also believed that you can teach children complicated ideas using the ‘spiral curriculum’ method which introduces the same theme in increasing complexity over a period of time.

The successes of this collaborative Special Collections project have been partly due to the interest we all shared in the material but also because of the regular discussions Christina (who was tasked with managing the project) and I had over the course of several weeks. I am particularly indebted to Christina for masterminding the inclusion of additional terms which enhance the catalogued records and which will make it easier for users to find additional relevant content. Not only did Christina and Dianne ensure that the catalogue records contain all the necessary bibliographic and descriptive information as is custom and practice – but they also included information about content that we have which the MACOS site lacks and vice versa. We hope this additional information will be useful to other researchers and librarians.

MACOS is an example of one of the many curriculum projects that were devised in what has been referred to as the ‘Golden Age of the Curriculum’ in the US and in England. Now that the collections is fully catalogued, I hope researchers will be able to explore these materials which demonstrate so clearly Bruner’s pedagogic theories. The accompanying LibGuide at http://libguides.ioe.ac.uk/macos has been updated to provide links to the catalogue records.

Christina Egan who was in charge of this project has written about how she decided on what information to include in the catalogue records in the next post on Newsam News.

Uncovering UCL’s Jewish Pamphlet Collections

Vanessa Freedman11 November 2014

Earlier this year we received funding for an exciting project to uncover a hidden treasure in UCL Special Collections: the Jewish pamphlets. The first phase of the project is under way and involves cataloguing some 4,000 pamphlets from the Mocatta and De Sola collections, as a well as a conservation survey and small exhibition.

Two project cataloguers, Dalia Maoz-Michaels and Peter Salinger, started work in July, and so far have catalogued nearly 1400 pamphlets. These mostly date from the 19th century and cover various subjects including the Anglo-Jewish community, anti-semitism, missionary activities focussed on Jews, and Jewish communities in 19th century Palestine.

The history and conversion of the Jewish boy, by the author of the “Twin Sisters”, &c. London, 1829. From the Asher Myers collection. Ref: SR MOCATTA PAMPHLETS A 106 SAN

The history and conversion of the Jewish boy, by the author of the “Twin Sisters”, &c. London, 1829. From the Asher Myers collection.
Ref: SR MOCATTA PAMPHLETS A 106 SAN

Look out for an article about the project in the autumn library newsletter. You might also be interested in this post on the Hebrew & Jewish Studies blog written at the beginning of the project.