Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: March 2020

Access to the Archives

As of Monday 23 March access to our physical collections are closed for the foreseeable future. Staff continue to work remotely on developing the collections and outreach projects and we may also be contacted to answer queries and offer guidance. In some instances we may be able to offer a digital copy or a link to a digital file. Contact us at archives@uea.ac.uk

Literary Festival interviews brought to you at home

The Archives has teamed up with UEA’s Literary Festival Archive and New Writing. From 23 March we started to open up a series of recordings from past events. Each week a new interview is released. For a stimulating un-edited conversation follow links from Twitter @UEAArchives @UEALitFest @NewWritingNet

Enquiries, Visits & Activities


Filming of Higson’s Archive took place in the Archives on 6 March. A programme celebrating 25 years of The Fast Show, a popular BBC comedy sketch show programme of the 1990s, will be aired later in the year. Higson was one of the central performers and sketch writers of The Fast Show. Our Chase Placement student, Emily Walker, who has worked extensively on The Fast Show material within the archive, contributed to the programme.
Guardian The Fast Show returns to TV for one-off special.
Chortle: the UK Comedy Guide Brilliant! Fast Show team to reunite


Justine Mann led a seminar on Exhibitions as part of the ‘Cultural Heritage in a Digital Age’ MA Module. Students were introduced to current debates surrounding the design, creation and presentation of digital surrogates and exhibitions and community participation. The session also drew on our National Lottery funded digitisation project, Suffragette Stories, led by the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing and the British Archive for Contemporary Writing, which digitised 100 items from our Kenney Papers Archive to celebrate the centenary of women achieving the vote. Students were introduced to Omeka exhibition software and the challenges behind the creation of an online exhibition. Finally, they contributed digital exhibits and added metadata. The session was held in the Media Suite. Attendance: 12


Julian_Huxley_1964 CC BY-SA 3.0 NL. Unknown author Dutch National Archives

Julian_Huxley 1964. Creator unknown. Source Dutch National Archives. CC BY-SA 3.0 NL

An academic from the University of New South Wales has visited to  research Sir Julian Huxley (evolutionary biologist). Papers relating to Sir Julian can be found in three of our collections but predominantly in the Zuckerman collection. Sir Julian was secretary of the Zoological Society of London (1935-1942), a post later held by Solly Zuckerman (1955-1977).

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: June 2019



Walnut Tree Farm. Copyright Estate of Roger Deakin

  • The Archives are pleased to have been of assistance with a newly published work Life at Walnut Tree Farm by Rufus Deakin and Titus Rowlandson. Richly illustrated, the book examines the property formerly owned by nature writer Roger Deakin; the restoration of the semi-ruined Elizabethan farmhouse by Deakin, and his passion for the surrounding countryside in which he quite literally immersed himself.
  • An article on born digital archives from Paul Gooding, Jos Smith and Justine Mann “The Forensic Imagination: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Tracing Creativity in Writers’ Born-Digital Archives” has been accepted for publication in a special issues of the journal: Archives and Manuscripts (Taylor and Francis). The paper draws on a panel event at the ‘Born Digital Literary Archives’ event that took place at Loughborough University in January 2017.

‘Institutions in the 21c. Libraries, Archives and Digital Heritage: Projects and Prospects’ – Heritage Dot Conference, University of Lincoln, 3 June

Justine Mann joined a panel of colleagues from the British Library at the inaugural Heritage Dot Conference to talk about the challenges and opportunities of digital in archive and libraries. The innovative governance model for the BACW and the challenges in archiving born digital literary material were discussed. http://heritagedot.org/

Interviews for internship, 13 June

The Strachey Trust has generously granted funds to the British Archive for Contemporary Writing (BACW) to employ a UEA graduate intern to assist in an archive cataloguing project during the Nobel laureate, Doris Lessing’s Centenary year.

This role will help to improve the visibility of the Doris Lessing Archive catalogue ahead of a major international conference in September. An LDC finalist was offered the role as part of UEA’s Graduate Internship Programme.

Enquiries & Visits


UEA’s School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing (LDC) hosted this event for teachers of English Literature. The focus was dystopian fiction, in particular Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. They examined questions of narrative, voice, structure, theme, genre and the dystopian tradition in literature, with the aim being to suggest some fresh perspectives that the teachers could use with their students. 18 attendees.


These have been for Naomi Alderman’s The Power and J.D. Salinger’s personal letters. We’ve also gained some biographical information relating to the children’s illustrator Cecil Mary Leslie, which complements our collection of original ink drawings.


From the Zuckerman  Archive we’ve received enquiries on the WWII school essays; the history of bio-engineering; the disaster of the Torrey Canyon (an oil tanker which hit rocks off the coast of Cornwall); defence; Lord Mountbatten; and the history of the School of Environmental Sciences at UEA.

Special Collections

There were 5 requests.

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: March 2019


Isokon and the Bauhaus in Britain (001)The Archives is pleased to have been of assistance to Leyla Daybelge and Magnus Englund with their publication Isokon and the Bauhaus in Britain. Pavilion Books. Published March 2019. The authors made countless research trips to the Archives, researching the Pritchard Papers.

Jos Smith (Director of the British Archive for Contemporary Writing) and Fiona Sinclair (UEA Archive’s Writer in Residence) were interviewed on local radio (BBC Radio Norfolk, 15 March). They talked about our local theatre collections as well as the Suffragette Stories community project and the significance of some tree-clippings (remnants of an arboretum planted by the suffragettes).


MA Publishing Module, 4 March

Students had the opportunity to look at selected correspondence between authors, their agents, editors and publishers. Some letters are tense and fractious, others are encouraging and bear good news.

For those interested in literary translation the papers of translator John Fletcher (UEA Emeritus Professor) provided insight into the translation process, the time pressures of authors and publishers and the importance of watertight contracts. Nine attendees.

“It was really interesting to look at the letters regarding the publication process.”

“It’s been relevant to the whole Creative Writing course actually!”

LDC UG Creative Writers, 5 March (pm & late pm)

These two sessions focussed on the texts of Sara Taylor (The Shore). 16 attendees.

“It was extremely helpful to see how a published writer develops their work through redrafting. I felt inspired by her methods and will use these in my own writing.”

“ … Reading other people’s comments on the draft and the editors’ notes, and seeing how the author adapted the feedback or rejected it was also interesting.”

LDC PGT Contemporary Fiction, 7 March

Naomi Alderman The Power. 13 attendees.

“The session gave me a perspective which I would not have grasped on my own.”

LDC PGT Poetics of Place, 14 March

Deakin - Treyarnon Cornwall

Roger Deakin – Treyarnon Bay Cornwall

This module led by Jos Smith looked at proposals for Mark Cocker and Roger Deakin’s books, TV and radio programmes. Also Deakin’s preliminary work for Waterlog. Seven attendees and two additional visitors.

LDC PGT Feminist Writing, 20 March

A chance to explore feminist views in the works and letters of Doris Lessing, Margaret Drabble, Muriel Spark, prominent suffragettes, and Naomi Alderman. 11 attendees.

“This is my first archive session, and I wish I had done one sooner. This really is a great resource and I will definitely aim to sit in again.”

“Some great resources that I otherwise would’ve been unaware of. Great starting points to inspire our summative projects.”

“The material is great for specific information and contextualising ideologies or societal views.”

PGT Module ‘Cultural Heritage in the Digital Age’. Two three hour module seminars led by Justine Mann (Archivist) and Annie Kelly (Digitisation Assistant) on the Suffragette Stories project, 19 and 26 March


Session one – Students worked with us in the Digitisation Suite (within UEA Media Suite) to digitise unique archive material from our suffragette archives. They worked through the process of capturing & enhancing digital surrogates in preparation for adding to the Suffragette Stories UEA digital exhibition. Nine attendees.

Session two – Students were given an overview of UEA Archives’ recent digitisation and engagement project, Suffragette Stories, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The session introduced i) key theoretical debates in the area of digitisation and public engagement and ii) the importance of metadata standards and controlled vocabulary. Students were also given a hands on introduction to our digital exhibition software, Omeka, and added their own digitised exhibits to the Suffragette Stories test site. Eleven attendees.

“Useful introduction to the Omeka site and info about metadata.”

“Great to see the lifecycle of a digitised item and to hear a critical engagement with a digitisation project.”

“Useful to have practical experience alongside the theory – learning in context!”

HUM Foundation Year – Adventures in the Archives, 26-28 March

Over a period of three days, three groups of students were introduced to the Archives for an opportunity to engage with the suffragette and WWII archives. A new discovery for most. 22 attendees.

“Very useful. I didn’t even know it existed before this week. Will use it for future research.”

“Interesting and thoroughly fascinating.”

Unboxed (blog writing)

Editorial workshop, 5 March. Five attendees.

Enquiries & Visits

• A student on the MA scriptwriting course is reading a suffragette’s diary of her 1917 trip to Russia, and Doris Lessing’s love letters of the 1940s.
• An AMA student is selecting slides on the Kalahari Bushmen, part of the UEA Collection.
• A DEV student is comparing UEA’s marketing and information literature before and after the introduction of the 2010 Equality Act.
• An overseas researcher is researching free speech at British universities, in particular the visit of politician John Carlisle to UEA in 1986.

Special Collections

There were 16 requests.

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: June 2018

This update includes just a sample of enquiries, visits and activities during the course of another busy month. June has been warm for most however we are fortunate to occupy the coolest spot in the Library building.

Suffragettes Heritage Project [update provided by Stanislava Dikova]

Workshop in Cromer



The Suffragette Stories project, generously funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, held its first workshop on 11 June 2018. Fiona Sinclair (Project Officer), Kate Cooper (Norfolk Library Service), Ben Morrison (MA Creative Writing, UEA), and Stanislava Dikova (Digital Curation Assistant, UEA) visited Cromer Academy and met a group of nine GCSE students. Materials from the Kenney Papers, including Annie and Jessie Kenney’s passports, pictures of elderly ex-suffragettes attending a commemorative event at Manchester Free Trade Hall in 1960, and various suffrage-related badges, were used to immerse the students in the suffragette struggle for the vote and invite them to reflect on its legacy.

On 14 June, we met a group of older community members at Cromer Library and presented on materials in the archive. The two groups will come together at the end of the month to prepare a local exhibition using materials from the Kenney archive and memories from older community members on the legacy of the suffragettes.

Workshop at UEA
On 6 June, organisers of the Walter Scott Prize for Literature led a workshop with MA and MFA (Master of Fine Arts) Creative Writing students at UEA, to develop skills in using our suffragette archive material to prompt creative writing with groups of young people and adults.

Digitisation update
40 of the planned 100 items from the Kenney Papers archive have been digitised by Annie Kelly (Digitisation Assistant, CHASE Placement, based at UEA Archives) using the UEA’s Humanities Media Suite. The images are currently going through post-production and will be added to a digital exhibition site due to be launched to the public later in the year.



Prof. Natsumi Ikoma (Visiting Scholar, International Christian University, Japan)

Angela Carter and Japan Symposium, 30 June. How did Japanese culture influence Angela Carter’s writing and teaching at UEA? The symposium and accompanying display included contributions from BACW staff and the Lorna Sage Archive. Symposium’s webpage.


• Delegates from a teachers’ conference visited the BACW on 7 June to explore the use of archives in learning and teaching.
• We have met with an organiser of the UEA Staff Association to arrange an archives visit for members over the summer.

Doris Lessing Archive

We have received a request for content for a publication which is incorporating artists’ responses to the life and work of Lessing.

Kenney Papers (suffragettes)

• A lecturer in the Interdisciplinary Institute for the Humanities (IIH) is making arrangements to bring students to visit the suffragettes archives in Spring 2019. There are normally around 80 on the module.
• As part of Mulbarton Words Week, an arranged visit to the Archives took place on 5 June. Participants were introduced to the literary collections and the suffragette archive and some had a go at transcribing letters from Christabel Pankhurst.

We were amazed at the amount and range of items and will be back.

Pritchard Papers


Bauhaus Dessau. Marc Wathieu, Creative Commons licence

We have received a number of visits and enquiries from curators and researchers involved in the preparation of publications and exhibitions for the Bauhaus centenary in 2019. The Pritchard Papers documents the activities of significant Bauhaus figures who were living in London during the thirties, including Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and Laszló Moholy-Nagy.

Snoo Wilson Archive

A UEA academic is researching one of Wilson’s early plays from the sixties.

W.G. Sebald

A curator and writer from the US has visited to research Sebald’s Vertigo; and an academic from another US university has asked for any correspondence by Sebald on architectural history.

Zuckerman Archive

• An overseas researcher has requested papers of the Bombing Analysis Unit’s (BAU) investigations and reports on Allied attacks on pin-point targets in France.
• A US researcher is focussing on the donation of animals to London Zoo in the 1920s. Zuckerman held the post of Prosector (Research Anatomist) and went on to be Secretary and President.

Special Collections

There were 25 enquiries.