Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Consultation Workshop – Architectural and Buildings Records

As part of the project this month we have been putting together a workshop to consult with professionals, researchers, and those with an interest in the field of architecture and buildings.
One of the challenges of cataloguing the Francis Johnson & Partners Archive will be the specialist nature of the records.

We knew the general interest factor of prominent buildings such as Maister House, Sledmere Hall and Beverley Minster would attract the casual researcher. However, we wanted to ensure that architecture and buildings professionals, researchers, and those with an interest picked up on the potential relevance of this collection to their own work.

Plan showing proposed alterations to a house for the Trustees of Burlington Methodist Church at Bridlington, c.1968-1969 (Ref U DFJ/59). 
These records provide an excellent example of the working process of an architect, something that could be highly useful in architectural education. They document a major strand of classical architectural history in the 20th century and therefore are an excellent resource on which to base a research project. They also record new constructions and alterations and repairs to buildings on which architects might be engaged to undertake work. This record of previous work might therefore aid current architects when trying to identify materials to use and past contractors.

To ensure we reached this audience we needed to know that we were including technical terms and elements of description that these groups would be likely to use if searching our online catalogue. But we needed to balance this with not making the description too technical so as to put off the casual researcher. We also needed to know that we were promoting the collection using the most appropriate channels and to understand what past experience these groups had of using archival records.

To achieve this understanding we looked at the different approaches we might take and decided that application of the Revisiting Archives Collections methodology for consulting stakeholders might be applied to our case. The basic approach of this methodology is to consult with relevant groups of people on specific collection types to better understand what they want from the collection. [If you are interested in reading more about this approach see http://www.collectionslink.org.uk/programmes/revisiting-collections ].

So after much networking and contact seeking (thank you to everyone – our first experience of those working in the field of architecture and buildings has been a very friendly and helpful one!) we have now managed to arrange a workshop at 10am-1pm on the 15th April 2014. There are still a limited number of places so if anyone is interested please do contact us.

Claire Weatherall, Project Archivist

01482 317506

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