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The Anthony Davis Book Collecting Prize is now open for applications

By Erika Delbecque, on 9 February 2021

Calling all budding book collectors studying at London universities! Would you like to win a £600 cash prize to grow your collection, a chance to present your collection to an international online audience and the opportunity to work with library and archive staff to select an item for UCL Special Collections? The 2021 Anthony Davis Book Collecting Prize is now open for applications.A student studying an item from UCL Special Collections

To many, the term book collection conjures up the image of shelves groaning under the weight of century-old leather-bound volumes, but that is not what this prize requires. The size, age and the financial value of your collection are irrelevant, because we expect these collections to be embryonic. Queer comics, debut Chinese poetry, books by Black British publishers, post-war architectural books, and Slovakian Beat poetry; this selection of themes from the shortlist for last year’s Prize gives a flavour of the broad spectrum that the Prize covers.

Your collection should consist of at least eight printed and/or manuscript items that reflect a common theme. It’s worth noting that despite its name, the Anthony Davis Book Collecting Prize is not only restricted to books – other paper items such as collections of sheet music, manuscripts, magazines, booklets, and other ephemera are all admissible for the Prize. For more inspiration, have a look at our blog post explaining how you can put a collection together.

To apply, you need to submit an essay of not more than 500 words explaining the coherence and interest of your collection and why and how it was assembled, a list of items in the collection, and a list of five items that you would like to add to their collection. You can find full details and an application form here. The deadline for applications is 30th of April 2021. Good luck!

The New Curators Project is Open for Applications!

By Vicky A Price, on 18 January 2021

The New Curators Project is a new programme by UCL Special Collections and Newham Heritage Month. It will offer 10 young people in East London the chance to develop the skills and experience needed to start a career in the cultural heritage sector.

 

UPDATE: The application deadline has been EXTENDED to midnight on 5th March 2021.  If you’d still like to apply, please do!

 

What will the project entail?

Successful applicants will receive training from industry experts in key areas such as carrying out historical research, creating an exhibition and engaging with cultural heritage audiences. Participants will also work together to create an exhibition for Newham Heritage Month. Using historical material from UCL Special Collections and the Archives and Local Studies Library in Stratford, the exhibition will be an opportunity for participants to gain real life curation experience for a public heritage festival audience.

We expect the entire project to take place online, with the possibility of face to face sessions towards the end of the project (this will depend on national and local restrictions.  Any face to face activity that does take place with be compliant with government guidelines).

Who can apply?

Applications are open to people who:

  • Are aged 18 to 24 at the time of making their application.
  • Are living, studying or working in Newham, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.
  • Are not a university graduate.
  • Have less than 6 months paid experience in the cultural heritage sector.

As this project is a part of Newham Heritage Month, there are 5 places available to individuals who live, work or study in the borough of Newham. The remaining 5 places are available to those who live, work or study in Tower Hamlets, Hackney or Waltham Forest.

When is it happening?

Application close midnight on 12th February 2021.  There will be two online sessions per week, the first will be during the week of 1st March 2021 (date and time to be agreed with participants).  The final week of activity will be the week of 24th May 2021.

What’s in it for me?

We will be providing training in essential skills for working in the cultural heritage field, including:

  • How to carry out historical research.
  • How to use an archive.
  • How to create an exhibition.
  • Presentation and public speaking skills.

We are also offering a £200 bursary, paid in instalments, to support participants in attending as many of the workshops as possible.

Do I need to have any specific A Levels or GCSEs?

Absolutely not. We want to recruit participants who have a passion for local history, regardless of their qualifications.

What is Cultural Heritage?

The cultural heritage field is an area of work focused on preserving history and culture and making it available to the general public. Among other things, it includes:

  • Museums.
  • Arts organisations and charities.
  • Libraries and Archives.
  • Historic Buildings and heritage sites.
  • Archaeology.
  • Conservation.

How do I apply?

You can apply online via our online form. If you have difficulty using the form, please send us an email and we can find an alternative way for you to apply.

The due date for the application has been extended to midnight on 5th March 2021.  We aim to reply to applicants by 5pm on 8th March 2021.

A student looks for resources in a library. Shelves laden with colourful books line the edges of the photograph as she reads a book.

Among other skills, The New Curators Project will train participants in carrying out research, creating exhibitions and public speaking.

Questions?

You can send us an email at: library.spec.coll.ed@ucl.ac.uk.
Or, if you’d prefer to give us a call, you can call Vicky Price, Head of Outreach, on 07741671329.

If you think this project is a good fit for you, apply now!

The Foundation for Future London logo The logo for Newham Heritage Month

Women of The Institute of Education

By utnvwom, on 15 January 2021

To start, I feel this post needs a disclaimer – there is no way I can cover all the inspiring women who have played important roles in the life of the Institute of Education. These are just snapshots, hopefully they will inspire people to look further and read more about these women. I have put them in order of date of birth, in an effort to equalise any hierarchy of perceived significance.

Explanation of abbreviations;

  • LDTC – London Day Training College, the name of the IOE on its founding in 1902
  • IOE – Institute of Education, the name adopted in 1932

Margaret Punnett (1867-1946)

Photograph of staff register page

Margaret Punnett’s staff registration page

As Mistress of Method and later Vice Principal at the LDTC, she was responsible for organising and overseeing the teaching of the women students, and had overall responsibility for the teaching of maths, to which scripture and psychology were later added. She lectured also on the Principles of Education.

For many years she carried the main burden of administration, and also took a personal interest in students and their welfare.  When she retired the responsibilities of her post were divided, perhaps demonstrating how much work Punnett carried. It is interesting to note that, at a time when women’s salaries were generally lower than those of men with the same level of responsibility her salary on appointment, and subsequently, often equalled that of her male colleagues’.

Clotilde Rosalie Regina Von Wyss (1871-1938)

Copy of von Wyss' article

Article by Clotilde von Wyss, IE/12/3/1

Clotilde von Wyss was a pioneer of educational broadcasting and film.  Her teaching at the LDTC was enriched by her introduction of collections of plants, an aquarium, artists’ materials and animal photographs. In an article Nature Study for Fidgety Children in the Londinian, the Student Union magazine (Summer 1909), von Wyss expressed her belief in practical manual work as an outlet for children’s natural energy; one example was the creation of gardens in boxes brought in and painted by the pupils. She offered two separate courses in biology at the LDTC, for specialists and non-specialists and, in the 1930s, a special voluntary course for the colonial group.  In addition to her work at the college she taught on a voluntary basis at Wormwood Scrubs prison. In retirement she acted as adviser to producers of a film on Wood Ants.

Susan (nee Fairhurst) Isaacs (1885-1948)

Susan Isaacs was an influential child psychologist, her primary interest being in child development. She had had a varied career before joining the Institute of Education, including several years as Head of an experimental school in Cambridge, and was an advocate of nursery education.

Photograph of Susan Isaacs

Susan Isaacs

At the Institute of Education she was the first Head of the new Department of Child Development. The Department grew rapidly, her work and reputation bringing prestige to the Institute. When the Institute was evacuated to Nottingham in 1939, and the department temporarily closed, Isaacs led the Cambridge Evacuation Survey.  Illness prevented her from returning as Head of Department when the Institute moved back to London in 1943 and she was succeeded by one of her earliest students, Dorothy Gardner.

Between 1929 and 1940 Isaacs, under the pseudonym Ursula Wise, was an “agony aunt” replying to readers’ problems in child care journals. She also had her own practice as a psychoanalyst, which she maintained while working at the Institute. Isaacs was awarded the CBE in 1948.

Grace Mary Wacey (1894-1987)

During her 38 years at the LDTC/IOE Grace Wacey saw it grow from a small college chiefly engaged in preparing students to teach in London schools, to a major academic institution with an international reputation.  The changes were reflected in the scope and responsibility of her own post: starting off as the only full time member of administrative staff, by the time of her retirement the complement was about 50, over which she, as Secretary, presided.

Photograph of Grace Wacey holding a book

Grace Wacey

Grace Wacey was remembered as an approachable, kindly yet firm administrator – so much so that in 1984 the IOE organised a party to celebrate her 90th birthday. In 1953 she was awarded the MBE in the Coronation Honours.

Margaret Gladys Calthrop (1886-?)

At the LDTC/IOE Margaret Calthrop taught French and German, lectured in methods of teaching Modern Languages and supervised student teachers’ school practice.  She was one of a number of subject tutors who sought to make learning her subject more interesting to children, incurring some opposition from those who wondered whether the essentials of grammar were receiving sufficient attention. Her demonstration lessons attracted a good deal of attention, one on a La Fontaine fable drawing applause from children and students.

In the mid-1930s she suffered health problems.  Restored to health she continued to work until she reached retirement age in 1952; she was then offered the possibility of remaining on for a time, but decided not to accept.

Margaret Helen Read (1889-1991)

Margaret Read joined the Colonial Department after five years engaged in missionary social work in India. She had carried out research in anthropology at LSE, and been awarded a doctorate.  She took charge of the department during the war years and became Head in 1945.

Photograph of Colonial Department class

Margaret Read, front row, centre. Class photograph 1946/7

She was a pioneer in applying social anthropology to issues in the developing world, with a particular interest being the nature of cultural change affecting families and individuals who, having for generations practised agriculture in villages, had become part of the industrial proletariat. She thought that education in colonial territories should not be simply in basic skills, but also in citizenship and social relations, taking account of cultural traditions, and she stressed the need for adequate histories of education in each territory, to provide an objective description of what had happened since the earliest European contacts.

Read was a member of, and advisor to, various governmental, and world-wide organisations. In 1948 she was awarded the CBE for work in connection with colonial education.

Marion Elaine Richardson (1892-1946)

As art mistress at Dudley High School Marion Richardson started to develop a child-centred approach to art education, encouraging pupils to use memory and visual imagination in creating art works. At the LDTC she established a specialist course for students training to teach art. She was one of several subject tutors who challenged the prevailing methods of teaching in schools. In addition to her work in schools and the LDTC, Marion Richardson taught classes in Winson Green and  Holloway prisons.

Her ideas about child centred art education gained international recognition, while her book Writing and Writing Patterns remained in use in schools for some 50 years. A London school, Senrab Street in Stepney, has been renamed Marion Richardson School in her memory.

Sophia Weitzman (1896-1965)

Weitzman had progressive ideas on methods of teaching history and on the contents of the school curriculum which, she felt, had traditionally been overly concerned with political and constitutional matters.  She believed in working from the realities of children’s lives, and saw the value of visits in arousing their interest in history. Weitzman also considered that school should no longer be a forcing house for knowledge, but should prepare children for social living, encouraging initiative and independence.

Her lectures to students on teaching methods spelled out ways in which historical content might be communicated through the medium of active interest, including modelling, drawing, talking, writing and acting of historical plays, historical excursions, films and radio talks.

Like many of her colleagues at the Institute, Weitzman was interested in the educational systems of other countries, and in her later years she devoted much time to work with students who studied Indian education.

Geraldine Susan Maud de Montmorency (1900-1993)

Geraldine de Montmorency’s appointment as the first Librarian of the LDTC was on a part time basis. Realising the restrictions of this, with the help of students from UCL’s School of Librarianship, she worked on cataloguing and on a classification scheme within the subjects. Additions to the stock came from donations of books and material, as well as purchases.

Over the years de Montmorency increased the number of days she spent at the Institute, in 1940 her post was made full time. Both before and after the second world war specialist collections were developed, e.g. in the fields of colonial education, child development, comparative education and English as a foreign language. Although the marriage bar had been lifted some years earlier, the expectation that women could not cope with working and managing home life prevailed, and de Montmorency retired her post at the IOE upon marriage in 1957. By the time Geraldine de Montmorency resigned her post, the Institute Library had grown massively, with a stock over 50,000 volumes, and had achieved an international reputation.

Dorothy Ellen Marion Gardner (1900-1972)

Dorothy Gardner trained as a Froebel teacher, then worked with young children in a variety of settings and as a trainer of teachers and nursery nurses before becoming a part time student on the new advanced Child Development course at the IOE, while lecturing at Bishop Otter College.  As a student she greatly admired Susan Isaacs, the first Head of the new Department of Child Development, and in due course succeeded her.

Gardner became head of the Department of Child Development in 1943. When teaching – which included a course on the needs of young children in war time – resumed in January 1944 it had to take place in the evenings because teachers were unable to get paid leave. In 1948 Gardner established a research centre at Coram Fields: one of its projects, conducted jointly with the Institute of Child Health, was a long term study of local children.

Gardner played an important part in shaping the development of child centred education.   A highly regarded community nursery centre in West London, catering for 100 children, bears her name.

A number of these women recount their experiences in the volume Studies and Impressions, 1902-1952 Harrison, A. S., and University of London.  [edited by A. S. Harrison … Et Al.]. London: Evans Brothers for the U of London Institute of Education, 1952. Print. https://ucl-new-primo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/f/5qfvbu/UCL_LMS_DS21167882720004761

Further biographical information has been collated from the Institute archives. Extended profiles of most of these women are available on request from the IOE archives ioe.arch-enquiries@ucl.ac.uk

If you have any ideas of who could be included in this list, and why they should be here, please add them in the comments.

The New Curators Project

By Vicky A Price, on 12 January 2021

We are excited announce a new collaboration with Newham Heritage Month 2021.

Building on previous successes working with the London Borough of Newham’s Libraries and Archive and Newham Heritage Month, The New Curators Project will be a community curatorship project made especially for young adults aged 18-24 from Newham, Waltham Forest, Hackney and Tower Hamlets who do not have a university degree or more than 6 months paid experience in the cultural heritage field.

Over three months, participants will be given training in skills and competencies relevant to working in the cultural heritage sector.  They will also work as a group to create their own collaborative exhibition for the Newham Heritage Month programme (held in May 2021).  It is hoped that this can become a recurring annual project, developing an ‘alumni’ of community curators who can go on to enrich future programming from this partnership.

With funding from Foundation for Future London and UCL Culture’s Community Engagement Seed Fund, we are able to bring in a range of different professionals from multiple corners of the cultural heritage field to deliver these training sessions, and we are able to offer a bursary to participants to ensure all those interested are able to apply.  This funding has also enabled us to bring in an external evaluator for the project.

A conservator works on manuscripts at UCL Special Collections. She holds a pair of tweezers at a table strewn with conservation materials in a brightly light room.

A conservator working on items at UCL Special Collections. Photograph © David Tett.

Call for Trainers and an Evaluator

We are currently seeking professionals in the cultural heritage sector with the right skills and experience to deliver one or more of a series of training sessions;

  1. Carrying out public history research (including how to develop an historical enquiry, understanding and interpreting a wide range of historical resources and how best to record findings).
  2. Accessing public records, archives, museums and libraries (how to find publicly available historical resources).
  3. Digital tools, skills and accessibility for the cultural heritage sector (how to create online ‘exhibitions’ and  how to use online platforms to engage with new audiences within the cultural heritage sector).
  4. Curatorship (how to develop ideas for an exhibition as a group, including ways of creating a narrative, using themes and how to first identify and then play with or challenge the tradition ‘norms’ of what an exhibition is).
  5. Oracy and presentation skills (how to speak about yourself and your work to various audiences, including on the radio or podcast, or to run an online or face to face event for the public).

We would be particularly keen to hear from professionals based in or around East London.  For a full brief, please contact us at library.spec.coll.ed@ucl.ac.uk .

We are also seeking an evaluator who is available to start in January.  We would also be most keen to hear from prospective evaluators who are based in or near East London.  A full brief will be provided on request, please email library.spec.coll.ed@ucl.ac.uk  before sending an expression of interest.

The Foundation for Future London logo

 

Liberating the Curriculum – A New Remote Volunteering Project

By Vicky A Price, on 24 November 2020

We are excited to announce a new remote volunteer project, starting in January 2021 at UCL Special Collections!

The project is part of our team’s work towards Liberating the Curriculum and is our first foray into digital, remote volunteer work. If you are interested in being a part of a project that widens all of our knowledge of, and access to, voices that might otherwise be under represented or under highlighted in our collections, please read on (and register here to attend an induction event)!

The Challenge

Four visitors and a member of staff stand over a table in UCL Special Collections' South Junction Reading Room, looking at collection items from our Poetry Store collection. The items are colourful and vary in format, some folded and with bold print, others non-standard sizes.

Staff and visitors inspecting items from our Poetry Store collection.

The Special Collections team are always working towards enabling access to the collection. This usually involves the acquisition, preservation, conservation, digitisation and cataloguing of rare books, archives and manuscripts. We also use the collection in teaching and outreach, deliver a reader and an enquiry service and provide as much digital access to the collection as possible.

Despite this work, we are aware that there are still many barriers (both physical and ‘invisible’) that prevent some users from accessing the collection and that prevent lesser heard voices in the collections coming to the fore: Historically, society’s most privileged have been most able to write and publish work, to collect rare materials and to create archives. The result is that stories from less privileged people – those of non-white ethnicity, women, those living with a disability or people who are LGBTQ+, for example – can be obscured or lost in the narratives mined from the special collections at UCL.

We know that we could do better, and want to make a start in this effort. A more focussed approach to researching the collection, and on communicating this research to collection users, could result in more diverse representation and in these lesser heard voices being more visible to collection users. However, our challenge is routed in the sheer size of the collection at UCL – we need your help to make this happen!

How to get involved

If you have an interest in historical research, librarianship, archives, representation in historic collections, or are simply curious about the project, please consider registering for one of our induction events.

Following one of these induction events, volunteers will be invited to sign up to a specific area of research – some examples could be searching for representations of non-European people and cultures in the Jewish & Hebrew rare books and pamphlets, Small Press collections and Folklore Society, or searching for early modern female book owners that are connected to our rare books.  Volunteers will be trained and supported throughout the project by a UCL Special Collections team member.

How much time do volunteers need to give, and what equipment will they need?
We are very flexible with regards to how much time volunteers can offer, and as this is a remote project, the required equipment amounts to a computer and internet access. If you would like to be a part of this project, but don’t have access to this equipment, or have further questions, please let us know by emailing library.spec.coll.ed@ucl.ac.uk, as we can offer further support for those who need it.

Register to attend an induction event here!