(DEV) Department of English

SFU English offers archival-palooza at Bennett Library

February 24, 2022
Photo Credit: Linda Morra

About 30 Department of English graduate students and their counterparts from History, Philosophy, Graduate Liberal Studies, and Film Studies gathered on the top floor of the Bennett Library on Friday, February 18th to celebrate all things archival! Organized by Farley Visiting Professor Linda Morra and Distinguished University Professor Betty Schellenberg, this all-day event, titled “Archival Research: A Best-Practices Workshop,” offered six different sessions covering traditional and current issues encountered in archives. The sessions were facilitated by ten experienced archival researchers from SFU and other universities across Canada. Also making a special appearance were some of the unique objects held in SFU’s Special Collections and Rare Books.

Topics included the negotiations involved in working with “Authors and Their Archives”; “Ethics in the Archives”; “Reconstructing the Past” (sights, sounds, and tastes) from theatre playbills, manuscript books, and parish records; “Digital Mediations” of sound recordings into accessible and durable forms; and a hands-on comparison of “Digital and Physical Archives,” including manuscript recipe books and unwashed punk-rock t-shirts. Our participants were especially keen on the opening collaborative session, a “Start-Up Guide to Working in Archives,” in which the day’s presenters shared their top-ten tips for planning and carrying out archival research.

Hint: Be kind to archivists – they hold the keys to the treasure!

Second Hint: Archival time and clock time are not the same thing!

We are currently processing a Zoom video, so we can offer highlights of the event for viewing. Stay tuned for more details.