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Monthly Archives: December 2016

2016: End-of-year review

Well, it’s that time of the year again. Time to tot up our visitor figures and enquiry databases to discover how our collections were used by researchers and find the most popular archives of 2016. For the second year running the collection which has topped our end-of-year chart is the NHS Forth Valley Archive. The collection, which includes the records of Stirling District Asylum (Bellsdyke Hospital) and the Royal Scottish National Hospital, continues to be very popular with family historians, providing a wealth of information on the patients who passed through the Victorian health-care system. In 2016 the records of these local hospitals have also increasingly been used by academics and students across a range of fascinating research projects.

The NHS Forth Valley Archive, our most popular collection for the second year running.

In 2017 the University of Stirling will celebrate its 50th anniversary having opened its doors for the first time on 18 September 1967. The interest in, and preparations for, this important anniversary have resulted in the university’s own archives taking the No. 2 spot. The University Archive holds the official history of the institution in its minute books, reports and publications. It also preserves the unofficial story of life on campus through student newspapers, memorabilia and oral history interviews with retired staff and alumni. We are looking forward to making full use of this material throughout next year’s 50th celebrations!

Our film collections remain incredibly popular with academics, researchers and students. In 2016 the personal and working papers of the director Lindsay Anderson ended the year at No. 3 in our chart. In part this was due to a renewed academic interest in his work sparked by the publication of Lindsay Anderson Revisited: Unknown Aspects of a Film Director (Palgrave MacMillan, 2016). The enduring appeal of films such as If…. and This Sporting Life also brought a number of researchers to Stirling. The collection was also a key resource for our own M Litt Film Studies students who worked on Anderson’s papers during their research placements in the archive.

Our film collections continue to be popular with researchers.

Outside the archives reading room our Hosts & Champions exhibition continued its tour around Scotland, taking material from our Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive to Stranraer, Kirkintilloch, Eastriggs and Grangemouth. Unique items from our collections were also loaned to exhibitions in places as varied as Montrose, Stirling, Paris and Udine!

We ended the year with the launch of an exciting new project to support the cataloguing and conservation of the Peter Mackay Archive, a collection relating to modern African history which was recently donated to the University of Stirling. A crowdfunding campaign has been launched on the Crowdfunder website:

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/petermackay/

Help us to reach our target by 24 January 2017!

Those results in full:

2016:

  1. NHS Forth Valley
  2. University of Stirling
  3. Lindsay Anderson

2015:

  1. NHS Forth Valley
  2. Musicians’ Union
  3. University of Stirling

2014:

  1. Norman McLaren
  2. NHS Forth Valley
  3. Commonwealth Games Scotland

Launch of crowdfunding campaign to support the Peter Mackay Archive

The University of Stirling Archives has launched its first crowdfunding campaign to support the cataloguing, conservation and digitisation of the Peter Mackay Archive. Mackay (1926-2013) was a tireless campaigner for African liberation, becoming politically active shortly after emigrating to Rhodesia in 1948. Following his death in Zimbabwe in 2013 the archive was carefully packed up by his family and shipped to the university. Mackay’s family hailed from the town of Doune, near Stirling, and it was his wish that the university become the custodians of his papers.

Working with the university’s fundraising team we have created a campaign for the archive on the Crowdfunder platform. We’ve set a target of £8,000 to be raised over a two month period (closing date 24th January 2017). Depending on the amounts donated supporters can also claim rewards including invitations to launch events, inscriptions on archive boxes and framed photographs from the archive. We hope you can help us in reaching our target! Further details can be found at:

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/petermackay/

An introduction to the Peter Mackay Archive:

The archive provides a comprehensive record of Mackay’s journalism, political activism, travel, photography and charity work. His journals, notebooks, correspondence and papers preserve a detailed account of his life as a writer and activist.

(Photo: Peter Mackay on the Freedom Road, a route which smuggled political dissidents out of South Africa)

Peter Mackay on the Freedom Road, a route which smuggled political dissidents out of South Africa

It includes a large collection of photographs taken by Mackay during his travels around Southern Africa. These images provide a stunning visual record of a continent during a period of great change. The independence struggles across a number of nations are documented alongside scenes from everyday life.

Independence supporters in Malawi photographed by Mackay in 1960.

Independence supporters in Malawi photographed by Mackay in 1960.

The Peter Mackay Archive is a collection of international importance and has already attracted interest from academics and researchers from around the world. The digitisation of his papers will provide online access to this unique archive of modern African history. We look forward to developing the archive as a major research resource for all students of African history and politics.

Some of Mackay's files which contain his correspondence with key figures in the independence movements of a number of Southern African nations.

Some of Mackay’s files which contain his correspondence with key figures involved in African independence