Archiving Final Draft: A potential digital gold mine of film and TV scripts – but can we access the creative process behind them?

Within the screenwriting industry, Final Draft is universally acknowledged as the industry standard scriptwriting software to use if you want to be taken seriously as a professional. The Final Draft website proudly boasts that companies from the BBC to Netflix to Walt Disney use the software for their productions, and includes quotes from users such as Guillermo Del Toro, JJ Abrams, and Sofia Coppola praising the ease of use and technical ability. Del Toro even humorously suggests that Final Draft has been such a ‘wise, patient and loyal writing partner’ that he would happily elope with the software.

GdT comment on Final Draft

The package – which currently costs around £200 – can write Film, TV, or theatre scripts, can be customised to suit any company scriptwriting format, allows for cross-computer collaboration, works on almost any device, and has regular updates introducing new interactive features like a beat board and alternative dialogue (which I’ll return to later). Overall, the Final Draft software is used in over 95% of film and television productions.

Due to the incredible permeation of the Final Draft software in film and television production, it was inevitable that archives would need to begin grappling with deposits of Final Draft files.

As part of the growing TV Comedy Writing collection within the British Archive for Contemporary Writing at the University of East Anglia, we have received numerous files from various television comedy writers. The volume of files will no doubt increase in the future, as our contributors are all practising writers. There is already a pressing issue with the older files; as Final Draft updates, older Final Draft files from the 1990s and early 2000s are incompatible with software upgrades and may eventually become unreadable. This creates the question: how do we preserve these files and allow them to be read by visiting researchers?

The files could be saved as a PDF/A and a typical and secure ‘read-only’ archival presentation could be provided within the Archive Reading Room. In addition, although sligtly retro – these PDFs could even be printed out for use in the archive. However, converting Final Draft files to a PDF loses valuable information relating to the creative process. Final Draft allows writers to create beat boards, link characters and scenes, write ScriptNotes and alternative dialogue (especially important in comedy, where the writer may try multiple punchlines), and use of the navigator to move freely around the document. Converting the file to a PDF only preserves the ‘final draft’ of the script and loses all of the invaluable information that can inform on a writers’ creative decisions and processes, which could be key to a researcher’s project.

To present a secure copy of the file in its native environment of Final Draft presents other immediate problems: there isn’t a read only mode. Final Draft is incredibly easy to edit. The software allows users to write in extra letters, words, or lines to the script, and whether this is done intentionally or unintentionally, editing could seriously affect the document and the researcher’s work.

There is one other alternative we have considered, which is using a special version of the Final Draft Software called Final Draft Reader. This software is intended for users who have not paid £200 for the software itself but want to read a script written on Final Draft. Reader does not allow users to create new scripts or edit them but does give access to information such as the ScriptNotes and navigator. Unfortunately, having access to ScriptNotes means the user can also accidentally create one, and the editing lock stops the user from writing or deleting it. This is also the case for features such as the alterative dialogue; a user can create the space, but not edit or delete it.

final draft screen shot

Also, the Reader allows a user to move tabs around, such as the links between characters and scenes and the story map. More importantly though, the Reader does not let you access the beat board, where writers may have stored important information about the creative process (structure, story beats etc.). Therefore, while Reader seems like the best option in terms of accessing information about editing and interactivity, there are still serious problems that affect the preservation of the document and the accessibility of research information.

At the moment, these Final Draft digital files in our archive are completely inaccessible to researchers, although we have begun to process using software such as DROID and Archivematica and so will pursue the PDF/A route as a first stage and potentially look at secure alternatives, such as emulation to see if we can salvage more. As the collection expands and more files are added, the need for a safe way to access the full richness of the file increases.

We would welcome any comments from other archives who are also facing this issue or have found a solution. In fact, through DPC, we have already been introduced to colleagues at the British Library and at Sussex, who are grappling with these issues and which we are keen to follow up. In addition, DPC are also reaching out to Final Draft Pro itself, to see if the company has any interest in helping writers and archives to salvage the creative process behind the final draft. We look forward to working with them, if there is a positive response.

Emily Walker is a CHASE-funded Doctoral Researcher at the University of East Anglia currently specialising in television comedy. Her thesis is investigating the representation of religion in four British religious sitcoms – All in Good Faith, The Vicar of Dibley, Father Ted, and Rev – to establish ‘religious sitcoms’ as a sitcom sub-genre. She is also undertaking a placement as Curatorial Assistant for the British Archive for Contemporary Writing’s TV Comedy Collection (University of East Anglia).

https://www.finaldraft.com/

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Charlie Higson – author, scriptwriter, actor and musician – returns to UEA to share ideas on breaking into a creative career

A guest blog from Emily Walker, current UEA postgraduate researcher in comedy television, and Curatorial Assistant for the TV Comedy Writing Collection, within the British Archive for Contemporary Writing, as part of her CHASE-funded placement.

On October 17, the UEA’s British Archive for Contemporary Writing (BACW) hosted Charlie Higson: writer, actor, director, and Archive depositor, for interactive student sessions discussing scriptwriting, novel writing, television, and the creative industries.

Higson, whose prolific credits include the BAFTA winning classic TV sketch comedy The Fast Show, and the bestselling book series Young Bond and The Enemy, is a UEA undergraduate alumnus and received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters in 2014.

Since his graduation in 1980, Higson has been a frequent visitor; during my six years at UEA he has appeared at three separate student-oriented events (all of which I have been lucky enough to attend) but his willingness to help students extends much further back. I recently found a letter from a UEA student dated 1997 thanking Higson for his visit and advice.

With a nearly 40-year history with the university, UEA is the natural home for the Charlie Higson archive, a huge collection of Higson’s writing drafts, notebooks, sketches, and the occasional drawing. The archive material is revealing of Higson’s creative methods and his career development and is already used in teaching. In discussion with the BACW Archivist, Dr Brett Mills, Curator of the Comedy Writing Collections at UEA, felt it was a natural progression for the Archive to host seminars and masterclasses with the writers themselves.

Based on my own experiences, I suggested students would benefit most from working with Charlie in smaller groups. Students from across Humanities were encouraged to apply for the opportunity – from foundation year to post graduate. Successful applicants were then offered the chance to meet the man himself and ask personal questions about his life and work.

Higson ran a Q&A session chaired by Brett Mills and a series of three small-group sessions tailored to the research interests of the applicants (scriptwriting, comedy, and fiction). The students were aspiring novelists, stand-up comedians, film-makers, and actors, and they were encouraged to ask specific questions about their career aims.

Over three hours, Higson provided so much insightful and practical advice that to list every piece would fill volumes. Instead, I have picked out five key points:

1. Do your research (but not too much). If you are looking to write a script, read them as well. Higson specifically recommended the Withnail and I script (written by Bruce Robinson) and the book How Not to Write a Screenplay by Denny Martin Flinn (currently £0.01 used on Amazon, so there’s no excuse). Still, be prepared for the research to end because otherwise the writing may never begin.

2. Find a writing partner. “I definitely think it is much easier to write comedy with someone else”, a statement that chimes with his many collaborations in television comedy, especially with long-time comedy partner Paul Whitehouse. Higson met many of his writing partners at UEA, and believes that complementary skills, such as organisation and ideas, can be very beneficial.

3. Create world, character, and story. Higson listed three elements to writing a novel or screenplay: start by creating a world (it can be a vague image, no need to be Tolkien-esque), then find the characters, and the story should grow out of this combination. It is also important to know the ending, because “you can take as many detours as you want along the way”, and “it is the everyday things” that can make a world seem real.

4. If you have writer’s block, work on a few projects. Instead of struggling with one story, why not try working on a few projects at once? James Cameron, when tasked with writing Rambo and Alien sequels at the same time, would work on one until he ran out of ideas, and then swap to the other and repeat the process. However, “if you’re really stuck,” Higson suggests, “something is fundamentally wrong”.

5. “Have a life”. Imagination will play a big part in crafting stories, but having experiences will be vital in creating believable situations and dialogue. Since Higson started writing after UEA while working as a painter/decorator, he had a bank of experiences to draw on. Family can be a big help too: Higson says that reading his young adult horror fiction to his children helps to gauge whether the stories are scary enough.

The student response was overwhelmingly positive. On the anonymous feedback forms, attendees all classed the sessions as “Very good” or “Excellent” and considered the sessions creatively and professionally inspiring. Here are some of the comments:

“Charlie was friendly and easy to talk to while also providing wise and valuable advice. I loved the casual setup of the session.”
“Practical with humorous anecdotes: interesting insights on the creative process.”
“First-hand experience in hearing from an accomplished writer and former UEA student.”
“Just hearing how a career can develop fairly organically was incredibly reassuring.”
Many of the students said they had gained “confidence” in their abilities, felt more “energised” by the experience, and were encouraged to ”write more” and “collaborate” in the future.

One student even said Higson had inspired him to “enjoy life!” In fact, the only repeated recommendation was that they wanted more time, a factor we will be absolutely delighted to increase next time (Higson’s schedule permitting).

Dr Brett Mills (AMA), who chaired the event, in his role as curator of the comedy strand of the Archive, said:

“It’s fantastic to have Charlie on campus again, giving invaluable advice and support to our students who are keen to do all kinds of creative work. The student feedback shows how much such events are valued. I’m particularly glad that comedy – often an ignored genre – is given its prominence here, and Charlie was able to give encouragement to students keen to make others laugh.

The Archive’s comedy strand represents a significant intervention into the kinds of culture and creative activity that typically gets kept for posterity – and events such as this show how invaluable it is for teaching and research. I know I’m looking forward to Charlie’s next visit as much as our students are.”

For those who didn’t attend the seminar, there are still plenty of ways to find out more information. The Charlie Higson Archive in the BACW collection http://www.uea.ac.uk/bacw  is full of fantastic material from his extensive career, which would be an excellent starting point for any budding writers. In addition, as part of my work placement with the archive, I conducted an interview with Higson which will eventually be available in the archive for researchers. And of course, since Higson is a frequent visitor, it would not be unreasonable to hope for another seminar very soon.

Emily Walker, current UEA postgraduate researcher in comedy television, and Curatorial Assistant for the TV Comedy Writing Collection, within the British Archive for Contemporary Writing, as part of her CHASE-funded placement.

Angela Carter’s Intellectual and Personal Adventures in Japan

Natsumi IKOMA, Visiting Professor to the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at UEA, discusses the influence of Japan on Angela Carter and the origins of the exhibition she curated for the British Archive for Contemporary Writing.

In 1969, Angela Carter visited Japan for the first time in her life with the money received from the Somerset Maugham Literary Award. She had expected to find the exotic and strange, like many European intelligentsia who visited the land of the Orient before her. But what she came across there was beyond her preconceptions.

 

Encounters with Japan, its culture and its people had such a huge impact on Angela Carter that her scholars differentiate the works as Pre-Japan and Post-Japan. She lived with a Japanese boyfriend in Tokyo. Their time together – just a few years – was intensely romantic, but often plagued with harsh power struggles. Twenty odd years after their defeat in World War 2, Japan, and this young man, were suffering from complex issues. They were trying to regain the confidence and authority they believed they once owned. He was sensitive to the objectifying treatment that Japanese people receive from Europeans and Americans. Being in a relationship with a European woman, an established writer, was a difficult one for him. Eventually, the relationship ended unhappily, even though they shared many intellectual interests and sensibilities. But her will to understand him and his country was a strong motivation to overcome the apt othering of the Orient. She acquired sensitivity towards gender, race, and power issues partly from this relationship, which contributed to Carter’s unique writings. Because of this personal experience, Angela Carter is so unique in British literature.

While she was in Japan, she was a diligent student of Japanese culture and society, trying to absorb every tiny detail. She read numerous books, both literary and scholarly, perused journal articles, enjoyed and analysed comic books. She watched many theatre performances, such as Kabuki and Bunraku, and saw many films including blue-films. She was fascinated by the juxtaposition of high and low culture in Japan, and by the proliferation of the sex industry, just a street away from serene residential areas. The mixture of literary flamboyant expression with lewd remarks, one of the trademarks of Angela Carter’s writings, was arguably acquired during her Japanese days. She loved to discuss her findings with her Japanese boyfriend. The complex city, the world’s most populated city then, gave her an opportunity to examine the relations among gender, race, and power not only in Japan but also in the UK, in Europe and in the world, and offered a new insight.

When I came across the list of books owned by Angela Carter in the British Archive for Contemporary Writing at the University of East Anglia [held within the Lorna Sage Archive], I was delighted. I had been studying the influence of Japanese culture on Carter’s writings for years, and was convinced of the extensive research done by Angela Carter regarding Japan. The list confirmed my conviction. During my sabbatical year at UEA I have recovered some of the books from the list, and with the immense and invaluable help provided by Justine Mann, managed to compile exhibition materials to show, at the Symposium: Angela Carter and Japan, that took place at UEA on 30 June, 2018, which was organized by myself and Dr Stephen Benson of LDC. You can see Carter’s extensive study of Japanese society and culture, which she continued even after she returned to UK. You can now see the exhibition materials at 02 floor of UEA Library until early September 2018 and then by appointment only in the Archive Reading Room during October 2018.

British Archive for Contemporary Writing at UEA: http://www.uea.ac.uk/bacw

 

Ingmar Bergman, Doris Lessing & inconsistencies of the human psyche

by Johanne Elster Hanson (Unboxed)

After the success of films such as Through a Glass Darkly, The Silence and Persona in the 1960s, Swedish director Ingmar Bergman continued to explore the contradictive human psyche in his works. It was during this period that he first read Doris Lessing’s Briefing for a Decent into Hell.

 

In 1974, Bergman wrote an admiring letter to Lessing in which he proposed a meeting between the two in order to discuss a potential film adaptation of one of her novels. The letter is dated September 1st 1974 and is held in the British Archive for Contemporary Writing at University of East Anglia. In it the director expresses deep gratitude towards Lessing, and claims to have read almost all of the Swedish translations of her works. In Lessing’s 1962 novel The Golden Notebook, Bergman claimed to have found the material for more than ten different feature films.

Lessing’s reply on September 12th matches Bergman in admiration and enthusiasm: Pleased with his letter, she tells him how he is “the film-maker I most respect and admire.” She goes on to discuss her new book The Memoirs of a Survivor that is about to be published in the UK, and asks him to read it before their meeting. She also recounts how the writing of her last book The Summer Before The Dark was almost cinematic; “This is the only novel I have ever written when this happened to me – that as I was putting the word down, it was as if I were describing a film running before my eyes.” Lessing sent Bergman an English copy of Memoirs of a Survivor, and signed off by saying how she looked forward “very much” to hearing from him. However, the enthusiastic correspondence preserved in the British Archive for Contemporary Writing bore no fruits: Bergman never made a film based on Lessing’s book, although a film of Memoirs of a Survivor was later directed by David Gladwell and starred Julie Christie.

Michael Tapper, an affiliated researcher in film studies at Lund University in Sweden, writes in his 2017 book Ingmar Bergman’s Face to Face that Bergman appreciated how Lessing gave “credibility to insanity and/or dream as a reflection of an absurd existence”. Lessing’s The Golden Notebook tells the story of writer Anna Wulf who attempts to tie together various aspects of her life through coloured notebooks. The book’s fragmented, post-modern narrative must have appealed to Bergman; his film Cries and Whispers, a psychological chamber piece about four women whose pasts are revealed through flashbacks, had premiered at the Cannes Film Festival the year before he wrote to Doris Lessing.

2018 marks the centenary of the Swedish filmmaker’s birth. The British Film Institute is celebrating the filmmaker, who died in 2007, with its very own Bergman-festival. Stretching across three months from January through March, the festival involves screenings of classics such as The Seventh Seal, Scenes from a Marriage and Fanny & Alexander, as well as some if his lesser-known films. Given Bergman and Lessing’s overlapping interest in the inconsistencies of the human psyche, any collaboration between them would no doubt have been one of the headlines at the British Film Institute’s Bergman-festival.

 Johanne Elster Hanson is a second year undergraduate at the University of East Anglia, currently studying English Literature with Creative Writing and working as a volunteer blogger for the British Archive for Contemporary Writing’s Unboxed programme. A native Norwegian, she is particularly interested in translation and cases where Scandinavian and British culture overlaps.

Doris Lessing’s archive of correspondence is held at the University of East Anglia’s British Archive for Contemporary Writing. To visit the archive please email: archives@uea.ac.uk

 

 

What’s the key to a brilliant piece of writing? Revisions – lots of them

Yin Lim uncovers the editing process behind the short fiction of award winning UEA MA graduate, Tash Aw, and his reluctance to alter the ending of his debut novel.

Authors will tell you that good writing is the product of countless edits and rewrites as they polish the work until they deem it ready for public consumption. For instance, Neil Gaiman recommends putting away a completed manuscript until the author can read it with ‘new eyes’ to be able to fix it, while Kazuo Ishiguro spends an average of six hours a day on his later drafts and revisions – twice the time he takes to work on his first drafts. Recent Booker prize winner George Saunders says that the artist ‘tweaks’ what is already there.

For award-winning author and UEA alumnus Tash Aw, it would take many revisions before he was happy for his short story Sail to be published in A Public Space, an award-winning literary and arts magazine. Annotated drafts that form part of archival material loaned by Aw to the British Archive for Contemporary Writing (BACW) at the University of East Anglia provide a fascinating insight into the all-important practice of revision. Through these documents we can see Aw’s process of writing the piece which tells the story of Yanzu, a Chinese businessman who despite his financial successes, still struggles with a sense of insecurity and failure following the end of a love affair. It’s a rare opportunity to peer into the author’s mind as we read his handwritten notes about the different ideas he had for the piece as it developed; for example, whether a specific section would eventually become the main set piece of the short story.

Going through these drafts, it’s not hard to be curious about the thought processes that prompted Aw to make his revisions; why he replaced certain words and sentences, moved around sections or omitted them altogether, deleted secondary characters and developed a new ending. Some of these revisions would have been responses to comments made by fellow author Yiyun Li, who is also a contributing editor with A Public Space. In a 2011 e-mail exchange with Aw, Li noted how one of the characters felt flat, and suggested that some cuts and revisions could help heighten conflict in the story. The final draft of Sail reveals that Aw also took into consideration Li’s feedback about shortening or changing a book club scene in the story, with the end result being a tighter and subtler version of the earlier drafts.

Not all editors’ feedback are necessarily as well-received however. Aw believed that revisions suggested by editor Cindy Spiegel of Riverhead Books, the US publisher of his debut novel The Harmony Silk Factory, could potentially alter the very essence of the book. A letter exchange between Aw and Spiegel reveals how Aw spent a month working on Spiegel’s edit notes and ‘agonising’ over them before finally making the decision to stand by his original ending instead of modifying it as Spiegel recommended.   As important as the process of editing and revising is to improving a manuscript, equally crucial is the author’s conviction of what works and what doesn’t.

This correspondence can be found in Aw’s archive within the BACW, which also includes typescripts, editorial comments and correspondence with agents and publishers for the critically-acclaimed The Harmony Silk Factory, whose draft manuscript was completed while Aw was on UEA’s MA Creative Writing (Prose Fiction) in 2003.

Yin F Lim is an MA student in Biography and Creative Non-Fiction at the UEA. A former journalist and editor, she is writing about her grandparents’ migration from China to colonial Malaya from her perspective as a recent immigrant to the UK. 

Tash Aw (1971-) a prize winning author and graduate of the MA in Creative Writing (Prose). Aw has produced three novels, all to critical acclaim: The Harmony Silk Factory (2005), Map of the Invisible World (2009) and Five Star Billionaire (2013). He is winner of the Whitbread First Novel Award, a regional Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and has twice been longlisted for the MAN Booker prize. His short fiction has won an O. Henry Prize and been published in A Public Space, the landmark Granta 100, and elsewhere.  His non-fiction book, The Face: Strangers on a Pier, was a finalist for the LA Times Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose. 

More on the The Tash Aw Archive at BACW (UEA)

To visit the British Archive for Contemporary Writing, email archives@uea.ac.uk

www.uea.ac.uk/bacw 

Snoo Wilson Scriptwriting Prize 2017

We are delighted to announce the winners of the Snoo Wilson Scriptwriting Prize, 2017 judged by Molly Naylor and Adam Taylor.

  • Undergraduate shortlist: Angie Peña-Arenas (Winner of the undergraduate category) – Oiga, Mire, Vea (Screenplay) and Eleanor Daymond – Glawen (stageplay)
  • PG Shortlist: Iain Gonoude (Winner of the postgraduate category) – Cherrypicking (Stageplay) and Ann Yuu Engebretsen – Aireborne (Screenplay)

The Prize seeks to reward the most inventive, imaginative and formally achieved piece of scriptwriting as a dissertation by an Undergraduate or Postgraduate student in the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing. Each student received £250. In 2018, the Prize will be extended to scriptwriting students in the School of Art, Media and American Studies.

The prizes were awarded at a ceremony held at The Garage in Norwich on 31 January 2018. UEA Drama students gave excellent performances of readings of extracts from each of the shortlisted scripts before the winner was announced by judges Molly Naylor (scriptwriter and performer) and Adam Taylor (The Garage in Norwich).

Also in attendance were members of Snoo Wilson’s family and friends, and an invited audience of students/ and families of the shortlisted entrants.

The late Snoo Wilson read American Studies at UEA and was taught by the author and literary critic, Malcolm Bradbury. He graduated in 1969 and began his writing career in the same year. He was one of a handful of playwrights who reinvented British theatre in the 1970’s and 80’s. More About Snoo Wilson.

The Snoo Wilson Archive was gifted to the British Archive for Contemporary Writing in 2015 and the Faculty of Humanities kindly funds the prize which acknowledges Snoo’s legacy.

 

Plotting the Perfect Crime: a crime writing exhibition from the British Archive for Contemporary Writing at UEA

Noirwichnoirwich logo

This year’s crime writing exhibition, created to coincide with Noirwich, reveals the intricate planning behind some of our greatest contemporary crime novels, with material from Val McDermid, Stuart MacBride and Robert Edric, author of a crime trilogy set in Hull, this year’s City of Culture. Stuart MacBride predicts a nosebleed amongst fellow writers.

Here archivist, Justine Mann, introduces her personal highlights.

Stuart MacBride

MacBride’s notebooks and mindmaps are the earliest incarnation of his novels. He has created a literal map to visualise his fictional town of Old Castle, all the better to locate the murders and the distances between them. What begins as an impressive tool evolves into something the Ordnance Survey would be proud of and is published within a subsequent novel. Perhaps the most striking of elements within this display is a graph. At first glance it appears to be a chart of multiple, frantic, sound waves but on closer inspection it reveals the cadences of plot points marshalled to pinpoint accuracy in order to create the most devastating effect on the reader. He remarks casually, that ‘This has been known to give other writers nose bleeds’. This display also reveals his painstaking restructuring of the plot for In the Cold Dark Ground, scene by scene with scissors and sellotape.

Val McDermid

The author’s latest novel, Insidious Intent, ‘impeccably plotted and intensely gripping’ also began in notebook form. On display are original pages from a numbered outline charting key plot developments. ‘When I start a book, I have an idea of the story arc and I’ve spent most of my prep time thinking about the characters: how they’re going to conduct themselves, how they got to be the person they are today.’

The evidence here suggests that McDermid’s subconscious is working hard on plot design before she tackles the page. While crafting the language she refers to the outline notes to keep the structure on track. She recently revealed her daily routine to The Guardian:

‘Around the second cup of coffee, I take a look at what I last wrote, tweaking and revising, stripping the prose back till I’m more at ease with it. I spend the first month feeling my way into the book, getting a sense of its world and learning its nooks and crannies. Then it picks up pace and I can’t escape it.’

Robert Edric

How does a literary novelist take on the challenge of writing crime fiction? In 2002, the Booker longlisted author, Robert Edric, took a break from writing literary novels, to create a crime trilogy set in Hull, this year’s City of Culture. In The Times, Neel Mukherjee, applauded Cradle Song, Edric’s first, for: “its vertiginously devious plot twists, the maze of multiple-crossings (which) all close like a fist around the throat of the reader.”

“When I’m working on a literary novel,” Edric says, “it’s less important to me whether I write a, then d, g , x then e. The meaning of the book might be in the middle. The goal is not the end, but whether it fails or succeeds in your own mind. With a crime novel, you’re less organic. There has to be a logical process.’

A sense of place has always been important to Edric and in the opening chapter on display he uses Spurn Point, a bleak yet beautiful peninsular, 30 miles from Hull and ravaged on all sides by the North Sea, as the setting of a key meeting between ex copper, Sullivan, and private investigator, Rivers. The drafts reveal the key phrases and striking images that survive, almost in tact, from first draft through to final publication, as well as the tweaks and line edits that heighten characterisation and plot tension.

Previewed on Friday 15 September (UEA, TPSC Foyer) /

UEA Archives Foyer, UEA Library Floor 02, Tue 19 Sept – Fri 22 Dec (Free access)

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: June 2017

In June, Archives staff settled into the Silent Reading Room just along the corridor and we expect to be here for several weeks. Refurbishment work continues on Floor 02 and the builders have gone to great lengths in safeguarding our equipment and the collections, even installing temporary walls and doors.

Further details on the temporary closure of Archives.


BACW

  • UEA students have been consulting Tash Aw’s Archive and Doris Lessing’s correspondence.
  • 10 PhD students of creative writing, literature, history, languages and linguistics attended our joint British Archive for Contemporary Writing and East Anglian Film Archives workshop at the CHASE Encounters Conference  held at UEA on 29 and 30 June.The workshop highlighted the opportunities and challenges of using film and literary Archive material for research and teaching, as well as the day to day role of the Archivist and the future challenge for archives in managing born digital material.

    Students were provided with hands on access to copies of unique archive material to help simulate the process of independent archive research. This provoked some interesting discussion, particularly amongst creative writers who were prompted to consider their own archive material.

Kenney Papers (Suffragettes)
• We are preparing materials for an external exhibition to be held in 2018/19.
• The collection is being used by a writer as the basis for her work of fiction.

Pritchard Papers
One user is researching for a book on Lawn Road Flats and artists of the 1930s; another is writing a book on art, design and science.

Other enquiries related to the Pritchard family tree; and to Walter Gropius’ farewell dinner guest list from 1937.

Roger Deakin

ShepherdsHutSummer

The shepherd’s hut to which Deakin refers in The Garden. Copyright Estate of Roger Deakin

Users are reminded that the BBC recording of Cigarette on the Waveney is publicly available online (a tranquil documentary of Deakin’s trip down the River Waveney in a white canoe). For UEA members, his recordings of The House and The Garden are available on Box of Broadcasts.

UEA Collection
Malcolm Bradbury’s large magazine and newspaper archive has been accessed by a visiting academic in LDC (School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing).

Zuckerman Archive
The collection has been accessed for the correspondence of Lord Zuckerman, Lord Mountbatten and Margaret Thatcher; and for architectural drawings of German and Italian buildings held within WWII bombing reports.

Special Collections
RauschenbergA valuable addition to the collection has been a limited facsimile edition of Robert Rauschenberg‘s 34 illustrations after Dante’s Inferno. Produced by New York’s Museum of Modern Art and presented in a grey clothbound clamshell box, it includes the trade publication. Rauschenberg’s series of drawings from 1958–60 are each reproduced at actual size on individual sheets; a drawing for each Canto of Dante’s poem. A copy of the trade publication is on order for the Library’s open shelves.

There were 12 enquiries for Special Collections.

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: May 2017

British Archive for Contemporary Writing (BACW)

  • Around 40 international agents (UEA ambassadors) visited the Archives in May to hear about some highlights including the Storehouse model, the Publishing module, the Unboxed project and the Literary Festival collection.
  • At UEA’s Learning and Teaching Day the BACW held a joint workshop with the East Anglian Film Archive (EAFA) ‘Digital Heritage: Equipping Students for the cultural and creative industries’.
  • Richard Beard (writer) was interviewed by Jos Smith (Director of BACW) at UEA’s Enterprise Centre. This was part of an all-day seminar for MA Creative Writing students. Beard spoke of the writing and publishing process and the rationale for placing his papers on loan in the Archive. Richard Beard Archive.

Unboxed
Three new blog posts have been published by our LDC (Literature, Drama & Creative Writing) students:

Permission requests for forthcoming publications by users of the archives have related to the suffragettes (Kenney Papers) and to the history of climate change (G.S. Callendar Archive).

John Hill Archive
We’ve been looking at agricultural land in Haddiscoe, Norfolk and how it looked in 1961 when it used to operate as a pea vining station.

Pritchard Papers
Researchers have been interested in the journalist and architectural critic Philip Morton Shand (grandfather of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall); and the archaeologist Gordon Childe (former tenant of Lawn Road Flats).

Roger Deakin
Research has concentrated on Deakin’s income and letters of refusal from agents and publishers.

Zuckerman Archive

010

Committee on Research & Development.

Researchers have been interested in:
• The use of dogs to detect metal explosives 1955-1970.
• The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and international scientific cooperation during the Cold War (SZ/IIASA).
• The Committee on the Management and Control of Research and Development. This is a valuable resource documenting the early articulation of Applied Science in the UK (SZ/MR).
• The Bombing Analysis Unit of the RAF (SZ/BAU).

 

Special Collections: 13 enquiries.

Temporary disruption to UEA Archives and Special Collections during summer 2017

There will be some temporary disruption to the UEA Archives and Special Collections service, including the British Archive for Contemporary Writing (BACW), during summer 2017.

The UEA Library is undertaking a space project to create further student study spaces. The work requires Archives staff to relocate from their office on Floor 02. The adjacent Archive Reading Room will also be affected during this time.

To safeguard material:

There will be no access to archive collections between 16 June and 18 August.

There will be limited access to Special Collections items by prior arrangement.

Archive staff will be working during office hours and are able to answer queries regarding the collections.

Below are some frequently asked questions about the planned work.

If you have any concerns whatsoever, please let us know.

We regret any inconvenience caused.

Justine Mann, Archivist, British Archive for Contemporary Writing

Bridget Gillies, Archives Assistant, UEA Archives

e: archives@uea.ac.uk

t: (voicemail only available during this period) 01603 59 3483  / 01603 59 3419

FAQ

How will the work affect users of University of East Anglia Archives and Special Collections?

The Archive Reading Room will be inaccessible between 15 June and 18 August.

To safeguard collections, there will be no access to Archive material during this time.

If you have any concerns about the loss of access during this period, please contact Justine Mann justine.mann@uea.ac.uk.

Archives staff will relocate from their office to a nearby Silent Reading Room.

Our office hours will be as normal and we can answer archive queries during this time.

There will be limited and bookable access to Special Collections items (books/ pamphlets) within the nearby Silent Reading Room by prior arrangement with Archive staff who will supervise visits.

There will be one microfilm reader available within Silent Reading Room – Periodicals Rm 02.32  with a printing facility. This will be bookable by prior arrangement.

Unless advertised otherwise on our Website, access hours will be 09:30-12:30 and 13:30-16:30 as usual.

Please email archives@uea.ac.uk to make a request for Special Collections or for microfilm access and provide as much notice as possible.

If we have no existing bookings on a particular day, we will assist you whenever we can.

We apologise for the inconvenience caused during this period.

Our Website pages will contain up to date information on access:

For further information on the Library Space Project, click here.