Reflecting on a busy year

By Hannah

As we wind up for our Christmas break (until Wednesday 3rd January) we’re reflecting on what an action-packed year 2017 has been for us. We’re not very good at shouting about our successes, but our colleagues and stakeholders at the University, in the city council and in the community often comment on how much we achieve for such a small team.

So, in the spirit of giving ourselves a well-deserved pat on the back, here are our 2017 highlights:

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Creating the Legacy of Ahmed archive collection
At the beginning of 2017 we rounded off our Legacy of Ahmed project (funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund), and by early summer the project archive was catalogued and ready for access. This large collection tells the story of Ahmed Iqbal Ullah’s life through the voices of those who remember him, and explores the long-standing legacy of his tragic death. Read more.

Coming in from the Cold: BAME heritage projects and collections audit
Between February and September 2017 we carried out a piece of research (also funded by the HLF) to identify what BAME heritage projects have taken place in Greater Manchester since 2000 and what impact these projects have had on the city’s heritage collections. The key finding, that funding for heritage projects has increased but their visibility has not, will shape the next phase of our work. Read more.

Our first open-access digital collection: Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) publications
Some years ago we acquired an almost complete set of the CRE’s printed publications. The collection is some 500 reports and pamphlets charting the changing issues and debates around race in the UK between 1976 and 2007. The material does not exist as a whole anywhere else, and only a few reports are available online. Until now! In the last month we have made the whole collection available digitally, free of charge, to the public, via the University of Manchester digital collections. Take a look here.

Black History Month reaches far and wide
Our Black History Month programme, which included exhibitions, film screenings, talks, school workshops, handling sessions and crafting sessions, reached more than 3000 people school children, community groups, students, professionals from the police, the voluntary sector and higher education, teachers, library visitors and more.

Spreading the word at archive sector conferences
Hannah and Jennie have managed to get themselves onto the conference circuit this year giving papers at the Archives and Records Association conference in August and the National Archives conference in November. They’ve been talking about the Coming in from the Cold research findings and sharing our (what we think is) unique project-based collecting approach. They’ll be talking and publishing more on this in 2018. Read more.

Finding our place as part of the University of Manchester Library  
We have always been a part of the University of Manchester, but this year we officially became part of the University Library’s Special Collections. This is recognition of the importance of our collections for teaching and research, as well as the role our organisation is playing in helping the University meet it’s social responsibility goals.

Exciting news for 2018…
We had some good news to round off the year; we’ve been awarded a large grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to carry out the second phase of the Coming in from the Cold project. We’ll be saying more about this in the new year, but the aim of the project is to ensure the diversity of our city is better represented in our city’s archives. No small matter, but exciting times ahead, so watch this space…

A very merry Christmas to those who celebrate it, and a happy New Year to all! We look forward to seeing you in 2018.

 

 

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