This AHRC-funded conference and community showcase marked the climax of the Pararchive project (www.pararchive.com) which sought to build a new interactive environment (www.yarncommunity.com) that explores issues of ownership, public and institutional relationships and provides tools for collaborative community research and creative expression using digital heritage resources.
Poster publicising the Conference and Community Showcase. It is worth saying that although we had a couple of hundred posters printed, we ended up actually not using many of them because the response to our Call for Papers/Contributions was overwhelming right from when it was set out!
This event marked the climax of the Pararchive project (www.pararchive.com) which sought to build a new interactive environment (www.yarncommunity.com) that explores issues of ownership, public and institutional relationships and provides tools for collaborative community research and creative expression using digital heritage resources. YarnCommunity was motivated by recognition that communities are encountering real barriers to organising and connecting to resources and each other.
Photo Credit: Dugcampbell.com
In the field of heritage it is often difficult to access archival materials from public cultural institutions owing to bureaucratic, commercial and geographical barriers, something that impedes community research and connectivity. It is often difficult to establish relationships between communities and institutions that could and should be mutually enriching.
Photo Credit: The City of Calgary
Over two days at the end of March 2015 at the University of Leeds, The Connecting Communities: Storytelling and the Digital Archive event brought together community groups, activists and campaigners, researchers, creative professionals, cultural institutions and policymakers who engaged in conversations and discussions about how to deal with issues such as copyright, collaborative working, connectivity, forms of creative practice, impact, policy and activism around the notion of building open access digital public spaces and ensuring their lasting legacies.
George McKay, Professor of Film, Television & Media Studies and AHRC Leadership Fellow, Connected Communities Programme (CCP) gives an overview of the CCP including its conception, overarching objectives, the kind of projects funded to date, achievements, future plans and where Pararchive sits in the bigger picture.
On Friday 27th and Saturday 28th March 2015, delegate registration took place on the mornings at 9:15 am and 9:30 am respectively in the Foyer of the conference venue – Stage@leeds. Delegates received conference packs containing – among other things - a username and password to enable access to the University wireless network. Other items supplied in the conference packs included a printed programme, a Pararchive project conference journal/newspaper and publicity materials from various heritage and cultural organisations. The event opened with Welcome and Introductory notes from Simon Popple and Professor George McKay (AHRC Leadership Fellow, Connected Communities Programme)
Delegates listen to George's talk on the Connected Communities Programme.
Panel Three: Building Archives chaired by Fiona Philip and featuring from left to right: Zata Kitowski (PoetryFilm), Hannah Claytor (Flo-culture), Vanessa Jackson (Birmingham City University) and Dolores Grant (Digital Repository of Ireland).
All the plenary sessions – including the launch event and film screenings - were held in Stage One. The panel and workshop sessions were split into three strands: Sessions in Strand 1 were held in Stage One, those in Strand 2 in the Alec Clegg Studio and all the workshop sessions took place in the Dance Studio. Throughout the two-day event, we had community group projects showcased both in the Foyer and in the Dance Studio. Big Data in the Arts and Humanities was the title of the keynote, given by Andrew Prescott - Professor of Digital Humanities & AHRC Leadership Fellow for Digital Humanities, University of Glasgow. You can listen to the audio below.
Workshop 3: Documenting Community Heritage: 20 years on the Ground led by Judith Garfield (Eastside Community Heritage, London)
Simon Popple leading the Launch Event
Delegates closely following the demonstration on how to make a story on Yarn
Film Screening - Here Adele Myers' trailer "Wodchester" being screened...
... while delegates who were able to stay on after an inspiring and exciting first conference day watched!
Panel 8: Archives, Access & Inclusivity facilitated by Helen Graham (far left). Featured left to right are Jane Abraham, Ajay Choksi, Vicky Green and Sue Ledger. The panellists were Onno Crasborn (Radboud University, Netherlands), Andrea Capstick & Katherine Ludwin (University of Bradford) and Joanne Evans (Monash University)
All lunches and refreshment breaks were catered for in the Foyer of Stage@Leeds. The Conference Buffet on Friday evening was served in the Terrace – a lively, modern, well-stocked bar in the heart of Leeds University Union next to Stage@Leeds. Many delegates were thrilled to bits with the curry buffet that it warrants listing what it constituted: 4 Starters: Onion Bhajis, Veg Crispy Samosa, Paneer Tikka & Chicken Seekh Kebabs, 5 Mains: Meat Karahi, Fish Masala, Palak Paneer, Mix Veg Karahi & Daal Makanhi, 2 sides: Jeera Rice & Naan and Desserts: (glass pots – in dessert parlour): Kheer, Mango dream, Strawberry Cheesecake, Chocolate Cheesecake & Chocolate Flake Gateaux
Check out what some of the delegates said about their experience of the conference and the Pararchive project as a whole on social media via Storify: https://storify.com/YarnCommunity/connecting-communities-storytelling-and-the-digita