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Full programme for Pass it on! Celebrating Scotland’s sporting heritage

We are delighted to present the full programme for Pass it on! Celebrating Scotland’s sporting heritage. The event will bring together experts in the curation, care, use and promotion of sporting heritage to discuss their work and provide details of current projects. The event if free and open to anyone with an interest in sporting heritage. If you would like to attend please contact Ian Mackintosh, Exhibitions Assistant, Hosts & Champions, at / tel. 01786 467240

Pass it on! Celebrating Scotland’s sporting heritage

University of Stirling Library

Friday 24 February 2017

10.30: Tea & coffee

10.45: Sporting Heritage Networks

12.00: Unlocking Scotland’s Sporting Heritage #1

  • Hosts & Champions project
  • Karl Magee, University of Stirling
  • Ian Mackintosh, University of Stirling
  • Richard Haynes, University of Stirling

13.00: Lunch

13.45: Unlocking Scotland’s Sporting Heritage #2

15.00: Tea & coffee

15.15: Using Scotland’s Sporting Heritage

16.30: The Future of Scotland’s Sporting Heritage

  • Discussion chaired by Richard Haynes, University of Stirling

Throughout the day a small exhibition of material from the Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive will be on display in the Archives & Special Collections area.

17.00: Evening social event, Macrobert arts centre

  • 17.00 – Drinks reception
  • 17.30 – Film screening
  • 19.00 – Conference dinner

Lindsay Anderson Revisited, An International Symposium

Last week a major international symposium was held at Lund University to celebrate the work of one of British cinema’s greatest talents. Lindsay Anderson Revisited brought together academics, writers, film critics, filmmakers (and archivists!) to discuss the director’s long and colourful career. The many possibilities for research offered by Anderson’s work were reflected in the packed programme with speakers exploring various aspects of Anderson’s career as a filmmaker, theatre director, author and critic. The symposium highlighted the research value of Anderson’s archive of personal and working papers and also its links and connections with other collections both at Stirling and other institutions.

In his paper on Anderson’s friendship with John Ford Charles Barr presented the early correspondence between the two men, reassembled through archival research.  Anderson’s early letters to Ford are part of the extensive John Ford Archive held at the Lilly Library at the University of Indiana, with Ford’s replies forming part of the collection of Anderson’s papers at Stirling University. Barr’s detailed examination of these letters brought to light the historical significance of a seemingly innocuous passage in Ford’s first letter to Anderson. Writing to Anderson in March 1947 Ford thanks Anderson for his letter and invites him to write with his views of his new film The Fugitive. Ford apologises for typing the letter, explaining that “I am as yet unable to write long hand, due to a bathing accident at Omaha Beach.” This was Ford’s typically understated way of describing the injuries he received when shooting footage of the D-Day landings in Normandy in June 1944.

John Ford's letter to Lindsay Anderson in which he mentions his 'bathing accident at Omaha Beach.' (Ref. LA 5/1/2/13/1)

John Ford’s letter to Lindsay Anderson in which he mentions his ‘bathing accident at Omaha Beach.’
(Ref. LA 5/1/2/13/1)

The discussions which took place during the symposium around subjects including Anderson’s ‘Scottishness’ and his work as a documentary filmmaker brought out the links and relationships that existed across the British and international filmmaking community that Anderson operated in. Some of these relationships are reflected in the film-related collections held at Stirling. Anderson’s Archive now sits on the shelves beside the papers of John Grierson, the ‘father of documentary.’ When Anderson emerged as a young filmmaker with his Free Cinema documentaries in the 1950s he challenged the established British documentary tradition started by Grierson in the 1930s. Grierson’s less than enthusiastic response to this new generation of documentary filmmakers and Anderson’s challenges to his Griersonian predecessors are preserved in their papers, a search across both collections highlighting the critical and theoretical distance between the two men.

A selection of Polish films were presented in the Free Cinema Four programme at the NFT in September 1958 (ref. LA 1/2/5/13)

A selection of Polish films were presented in the Free Cinema Four programme at the NFT in September 1958
(ref. LA 1/2/5/13)

Anderson’s connections with his European filmmaking contemporaries were examined in papers relating to his correspondence with the French actor Serge Regianni and his connections with Poland. In 1966 Anderson visited Warsaw to direct a production of John Osborne’s play Inadmissible Evidence which led to an invitation to make a film (The Singing Lesson). Anderson had already visited the USSR in 1957 with the Royal Court Theatre and Czechoslovakia on a number of occasions in the 1960s. The archive includes an extensive photographic collection which includes many images of these trips across the Iron Curtain.

Personal reminiscences, academic investigation and archival research all contributed to an event which opened up many new avenues of research into the life and career of one of Britain’s greatest filmmakers. Thanks must go to the organisers Erik Hedling, Christophe Dupin and Elisabet Björklund for putting together such a stimulating and entertaining programme!

Et in Archiva Ego – artists in the archive

The Scottish Records Association and ARA Scotland are holding a conference on Friday 8 November on the fascinating topic of artists in the archives. Et in Archiva Ego will be held in the Norrie-Miller Studio, Perth Concert Hall, and feature a range of speakers including artists, researchers, curators and archivists who will look at how artists have been inspired by archives and also provide advice on how to carry out research into the life and works of artists.

Artists in the Archives poster lge

We’re always keen to see our collections used in new, interesting and innovative ways and in recent years we’ve been involved in a number of projects with artists. These collaborations have resulted in a range of exciting (and sometimes unexpected) outcomes including live musical performances, interactive websites, new artistic works and curated exhibitions of archive material. Further details of these artistic adventures can be found in an article written with the Glasgow School of Art Archives about our experiences working with artists and designers in the Journal of the Society of Archivists (Volume 32, Issue 2, 2011).

SWIG 2013: Celebrating Lindsay Anderson

On Saturday we had the opportunity to talk about the Lindsay Anderson Archive at a fantastic conference organised by the Scottish Word and Image Group at the University of Dundee. The conference examined the interdisciplinary relationship and crossovers between live performance, film and television and included a special event celebrating the work of Lindsay Anderson at the DCA.

Our paper was a collaboration with Prof. John Izod from our film studies department which looked at how Anderson directed David Storey’s play In Celebration on both stage and screen. Anderson had a long and fruitful working relationship with Storey. They first worked together when Anderson adapted Storey’s novel This Sporting Life for the screen in 1963. Over the next 30 years Anderson directed 9 of Storey’s plays including Home (1970), Early Days (1980) and Stages (1992). In Celebration was the first of Storey’s plays that Anderson directed. It opened at the Royal Court Theatre in London on 22nd April 1969 and proved to be a critical and commercial success. In a terraced northern house a miner Harry Shaw (Bill Owen) and his wife (Constance Chapman) welcome their sons home to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary; but the reunion brings to the surface long-repressed tensions and conflicts which threaten to wreck the event.  The father, last in a family of coal miners, has given everything to ensure that his sons escape the pit.  However, the boys’ educational achievements have pushed them into worlds remote from their parents, and severed them from their roots.  Andrew (Alan Bates), the ungovernable eldest, is a lawyer who has abandoned his profession to paint.  Colin, the second (James Bolam), has risen to join middle management in a car factory.  Meanwhile the youngest, Stephen (Brian Cox), is an introverted writer who, riven by unresolved family tensions, has suppressed his account of their youth.

A scene from the 1969 Royal Court production of David Storey's In Celebration, directed by Lindsay Anderson.

A scene from the 1969 Royal Court production of David Storey’s In Celebration, directed by Lindsay Anderson.

Anderson and Storey returned to the play in 1974 to direct a film version for the American Film Theatre, a company which adapted plays to be shown in cinemas in the United States. In our talk Prof. Izod used Anderson’s production notes, correspondence and diaries to illuminate the process of transforming the theatrical into the cinematic. One of the key elements in the success of the film was Anderson’s insistence on reuniting the original cast of the 1969 Royal Court production for the film. Anderson noted that the actor’s performances had matured, partly because five years on they were closer to their characters’ ages, whereas some had been a little young for their roles in the original production. Their familiarity with the production also contributed to a sense of real family between them.

A photograph of the cast of In Celebration reunited for 1974s film adaptation.

A photograph of the cast of In Celebration reunited for 1974s film adaptation.

Saturday’s conference sessions were followed by a screening of Anderson’s film version of In Celebration at a packed DCA which was introduced by the actor Brian Cox. In Celebration was Cox’s first major film role and in an enlightening and entertaining Q&A session after the film he talked about the importance of the film in his career and his experiences working with Lindsay Anderson. He noted Anderson’s skill in getting the best out of his actors and he was struck, as were the audience, by how well the film stood up almost forty years after its original release. In the small claustrophobic sitting room of the family home the dramatic tension was built by the powerful performances of a cast led by a director who understood both the play and the actors, Cox referring to Anderson as “the best psychological director he’s ever worked with.”

Stirling hosts digital archives conference

ARA(S) present The Born (Digital) Identity

Friday 1st June 2012, Stirling Management Centre, University of Stirling

A one-day conference presented by Archives and Records Association (Scotland) with the support of the Scottish Council on Archives. Focussing on the management and preservation of born digital archives, this event will bring together experts in the field who will offer practical advice for those facing the challenge of dealing with born digital material.

The AGM of ARA(S) will also be held during the day and the event will be followed by an evening reception in the beautiful surroundings of the Management Centre’s Conservatory. Cost (payable on the day):  £30 for ARA members, £40 for non-members (this includes all presentations, catering and evening reception). We would ask all those intending to attend to please register in advance of the event. To register, email Jane Petrie, Secretary ARAS:

Conference programme:

10.00 – 10.30: Coffee and registration

10.30 – 12.15: Morning Session:

  • “Don’t Panic! An introduction to born digital records” – Sharon McMeekin (Digital Preservation Coalition)
  • “An Update from the National Records of Scotland” – Susan Corrigall & John Simmons (National Records of Scotland)
  • “An Update from RCAHMS: trustworthiness, preservation and dissemination, and available repository software solutions” – Emily Nimmo (RCAHMS)

12.15 – 1.00: Lunch

1.00 – 2.15: ARA(S) AGM (including presentation from Marie Owens, ARA)

2.15 – 5.15: Afternoon sessions:

  • 2.15 – 3.00: “Preserving Moving Pictures and Sound: An overview of the latest DPC Technology Watch Report” – Richard Wright (Audiovisual preservation specialist and former technology manager of the BBC Archives)
  • 3.00 – 3.30: “The use of file validation tools in the University of St Andrews digital archive for research data” – Swithun Crowe (St Andrews)
  • 3.30 – 4.00: Tea / coffee
  • 4.00 – 4.30: Parallel session (a): Practical demonstration of DROID file format identification tool – Swithun Crowe (St Andrews)
  • 4.00 – 4.30: Parallel session (b): “Twitter for Archivists and Archives” – Kiara King (Ballast Trust)
  • 4.30 – 5.15: Panel discussion and Q&A

5.30: Evening BBQ


Sport in Africa: History, Politics and the Archive

One of the side-effects of acquiring new collections is that they sometimes take your work in new and interesting directions. The recent deposit of the archives of the Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland with the University Archives has led to a growing awareness of the fascinating work that is being done in the area of the history of sport. This years SCOLMA (the UK Libraries and Archives Group on Africa) conference, held at the National Archives on the 29th June, was on the subject of Sport in Africa and it gave me the opportunity to promote our new sporting collection to an interested audience. Indeed, the SCOLMA conference is one of those very useful events which bring archivists, librarians and academics together to discuss current research and shared areas of interest.

My paper concentrated on the (unsuccessful) attempts to prevent a boycott of the 1986 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games led by African nations unhappy with the British government’s attitude towards the apartheid regime in South Africa. The archive holds detailed records of the planning, organisation and administration of the 1970 and 1986 Edinburgh Games and includes much material relating to the difficulties faced by the Games organisers in negotiating the choppy waters of sport and politics in the 1980s.

Cover of promotional brochure for the 1986 Commonwealth Games

The other papers presented on the day provided a very useful overview of the range of subjects being explored in this particular area of study. I came away from the day with an awareness of the central importance of cricket as a method of spreading the ‘virtues of Empire’ in the nineteenth century; the value of African newspapers (and in particular their sporting pages) for preserving first-hand, unmediated accounts of events; and the parlous state of the survival of records relating to community football in Senegal. The formal presentations and informal discussions throughout the day confirmed to me the research value of the latest addition to the University Archives.