12 Events of Christmas, an HQ redux!

If you’re a regular blog reader, you may remember from this time last year, our ’12 days of Christmas’ themed ‘Developments in the Archive’ post, reviewing the year that we moved into our new facilities at Heritage Quay. This year, as our programme of events has escalated, I thought it might be nice to review 12 important/exciting events that have happened in Heritage Quay this year. If you missed out, don’t worry, check the Events Calendar and make 2016 the year you join us to learn more about our collections!

12. Twelve meetings have taken place this year for some of hosted societies, like the Local History Society and the Local Archaeology Societies. They have hosted talks on a wide variety of subjects, from the First World War to the female Pharaohs of Egypt.

11. Eleven students from a local school joined us in November for a national Kids in Museums Takeover day. Spending a Friday with the Archivists and Engagement staff, students learnt basic conservation techniques and how to protect documents. They learnt about using digitisation as a method of preservation and providing access, carried out some market research for us, all the while reporting on their day across social media on their activities!

group photojazzhands

10. Many more than ten university students and classes have joined us in Heritage Quay since the beginning of term to hear one of our Introduction to Archives skills sessions! These started off by appealing to students in subjects like History where we have natural connections, but over the past few years we have broadened this to appeal to Textiles, Music, English and Computing students! There’s something for everyone in archives!

9. From fiction to fact, and the 1980s miners strike to 1940s war torn Europe, Heritage Quay has hosted a number of film nights throughout the year, either related to our own collections, as December’s ‘Dangerous Moonlight’ featured a track from our own British Music Collection, to Pride, hosted by the university’s Unison reps, to It’s a Wonderful Life, part of a series of films shown by the University’s Health and Wellbeing team.

8. We’ve been challenging students across the university to use the space in Heritage Quay in different and non-traditional ways and they certainly haven’t disappointed! In March, Fashion students staged a vintage fashion show, ‘with a twist’, that being all the seating was arranged in a spiral instead of a traditional catwalk. Sound design and music students came in to demonstrate their new music projects through our sound system in December, and we hope for new and exciting innovations in this area next year!

7. This year, we again joined in with the nationwide campaign to ‘Explore Your Archive’. Last year this took the form of a display of one of our political collections in the library, this year, we decided to spread the word about good archival handling and care skills by running a course for interested amateur archivists to learn collections care, cataloguing and promotion skills. Soon we’ll be running a course on palaeography (studying old handwriting), so get in on it while you can!

6. Over the past year, our Archivists have gone out to many local and national organisations giving six talks on our collections and the work we’ve been doing in Heritage Quay. These include a presentation on the history of Rugby League to the British Records Association, using the University collection for genealogy at Huddersfield Family History Fair, and Pecha Kucha talks on the engagement work going on as part of the HLF project.

5. We were joined by composers of the future, during the HCMF’s Under 5’s event ‘Music at Play: Graphic Scores for Under 5s.’ Toddlers (and their parents) explored the group space, and the textures, objects and sounds provided in order to inspire them to create a giant hands-on graphical score!

4. For four weeks, Rugby League history fans joined us and some eminent RL historians for a course exploring the Roots of Rugby League and birth of the game. This involved studying some of the objects from our extensive Rugby League and Supporter collections.

RL Heritage Forum 25-04-15-6 compressed

3. This year we’ve run three Highlights exhibitions in our exhibition space. At the beginning of the year our Rugby League exhibition was still in situ. In April we installed an exhibition looking at important buildings in the fabric of Huddersfield landscape. The Local History, Civic and Archaeology societies and University history department all contributed their ideas and choices for streets and buildings important to their idea of the development of the town. This Autumn we welcome an exhibition on contemporary music, co-curated by many of our depositors, and featuring cases on dance band, brass band and 20th century music.

2. For this year’s Heritage Open Days, we ran two Lego serious play activities, once again exploring some of the architecture featured in our Huddersfield Gems exhibition. Youngsters could rebuild local landmarks, like the Lindley Clock Tower, from Lego, and design and create their own architectural landmarks.

1. Mikron Theatre Company visited us for the second year running this October, this time bringing the sweet smell of fish and chips for a performance of their sell-out show, One of Each! Rival fryers vied for the coveted Golden Fish Fork Award and the audience participated in voting for Cod over Haddock as the favourite dish of the day!

Autumn term at Heritage Quay

With the new school term well under way, here at Heritage Quay we’re looking forward to welcoming lots of new faces onto our schools programme for years 4 to 8, with workshops such as Find It! Draw It! Play It! and Build It! All our workshops are linked to the History, Geography, Technology, English and Drama curriculae for key stages 2 and 3, are great fun and completely free!

The Archives at Heritage Quay will be celebrating The Big Draw during October with the launch of an arts based workshop, Draw It! which draws inspiration from two local historical figures, Victor Grayson, M.P. for Colne Valley in the early 20th century, and Susannah Sunderland, “Yorkshire Queen of Song”, the founder of the choral competition which will be familiar to many Huddersfield schools.

In November, Heritage Quay will be handing over control to students from Netherhall High School’s history club as they take over the archives on Friday 20 November, as part of the national Kids in Museums campaign. They’ll be undertaking some research of their own as well as taking on the roles and tasks of Archivists.

We’ve already got some role play experience under our belt through our theatre workshop Play It! which took place back in June. This drama workshop takes the Rugby League collection at Heritage Quay as its starting point. Supporting History and English curriculum objectives, Y6 children from Lindley Junior School re-told the story of the birth of Rugby League and its impact on local communities. They were led through a range of dramatic techniques by professional actors from Chol Theatre along with Huddersfield University drama students. The pupils and their teachers learned a lot about acting and rugby – they thoroughly enjoyed dressing up, handling artefacts from the collection – and wearing false moustaches! Here they are posing at the end of their performance with the 1892 Yorkshire Senior Competition Shield.

Our schools workshops support National Curriculum objectives, last around 3 hours, can include a campus tour, and best of all, are completely FREE!

So if you would like your class to discover their inner thespian, architect, researcher or artist, drop an email to T.Wells@hud.ac.uk or give her a ring on 01484 473 168.

We look forward to seeing you this term at Heritage Quay!


What’s On launched!

Today sees the launch of Heritage Quay’s first brochure of events and activities, to cover the period September 2015 – March 2016.

Heritage Quay Brochure September 2015 – March 2016 FINAL

The programme responds to different areas of our collections and there is something for (almost) everyone in there although there is a particular focus on rugby league, music and local history.

To pick out a few highlights, the Rugby League History Day in October will be brilliant – the line up of ex-players, fans and historians is looking stellar (more information to come closer to the time) and it’ll all be for free. For those wanting more detail on the history of the game, renowned historian Tony Collins will be here to run a Roots of Rugby League course over four nights, with a special focus on the Kirklees and Calderdale areas. This is apt because of rugby league’s big 120th birthday this year.

Also make sure to book for our showing of Dangerous Moonlight. Although not a wartime ‘classic’ the lush and emotional music of the Warsaw Concerto, composed specially for the film, made it incredibly popular and should get you in mood for dancing afterwards. They’ll be a bar on hand and live music to make the evening go with a swing. Those proto-band leaders amongst you can get more involved with our Conducting for Beginners workshop.

Finally, we’re kicking the season off with a special event in association with the Huddersfield and District Archaelogy Society who’ll be letting people get hands on what they’ve dug up near the buried Roman Fort at Slack. And we finish the brochure period with more history with our Hopkinsons Day, where we’ll be getting out a selection of things from the collection to jog some memories and get people interested in what we’re doing with them over the following months (you’ll have to wait until the next What’s on for the details)

The last thing I’ll mention is The Listening Room, our special group (it’s like a reading club) for music fans. We’ll be serving up a mix of tunes from our collections every month and then dicussing them to pieces over tea and cake. If you fancy joining the conversation visit our web page or join the Facebook group or of course just come along.

For more information about all the events and activities and links for booking tickets head to our website here or our Facebook page

News from the trenches…

If you’ve been a long time follower of the HQ blog, you may remember reading last year about our participation in an ‘enlisting station’ for a First World War schools day for Years 10-11 from the local area.  It was an opportunity for them to participate in interactive learning about aspects of the First World War, and our enlistment activity during the lunch break prompted them to consider questions about what role they might have taken if standing in front of enlistment station in 1914 (military service, home service or conscientious objector).

WWI triage 6 (2)
Students triage a student helper in need during the Injuries of war session.

We were involved for a second time this year, much more on the organisational side, but the archive took on the task of designing the wrap up session after lunch, which consisted of a fact based First World War quiz to test students existing knowledge and introduce them to new facts and figures  in a fun environment.   Due to changes in the National Curriculum we targeted the day at Year 9 students, many of whom were visiting the university for the first time.  Many of the students did well in the quiz, which came down to a high pressure head to head between a girls team and boys team from Yewlands Academy, nr Sheffield.  The tiebreaker question was correctly answered by the boys team, who went away with a stylish and highly collectible University of Huddersfield drawstring bag!  Colleagues from the History, English, Music, Health and Human Sciences, Chemistry and Creative Writing departments took part, making the event truly interdisciplinary.  You can read more about the event on the university news page.

WWI spiritualism 2 (3)
Students attended a workshop on the rise of Spiritualism as a result of the war

The event grew out of the University First World War Commemoration Network and its the second year it has successfully run.  With next year being the centennial anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, we hope to run the event again, making it a truly reflective and informative event for all those students attending.

What a week it’s been in Heritage Quay!

What a week it’s been in Heritage Quay!

Last week was our first official week here in the new Archives so I thought today would be a good time to reflect on the breath and value of what we’ve got up to in that short space of time.

The week began with the launch of Heritage Quay by Gary Verity (from our funders HLF), Cllr Ken Smith (Mayor of Kirklees Council) and a small group of invited guests. What was so pleasing for me was the sheer range of people who came to support us. I met not only University staff, funders and major partners but more local individuals and groups who will play a large part in our future.

HQ launch-62

On Tuesday we hosted the Royal Historical Society and the University’s History Department with a fascinating lecture from Dr Alex Shepard of the University of Glasgow who talked about her research into the experience of women in the past, a key theme of our collections.

Dr Sheppard talks to University history students
Dr Sheppard talks to University history students

Wednesday saw Heritage Quay host a performance by one of our newest partners, Mikron Theatre Company. With their archive coming to us in the near future the very well attended show felt like a brilliant way to mark the start of a great relationship. Lindsay followed up on the performance by speaking at the Mikron Friends event on Satuday.

Friday was relatively quiet – but it was the first Through the Quay-hole tour of the archive, led by Rob. Curious staff came down on their lunchbreaks and left knowing a lot more about what we’ve got and how they can use it. If you’re interested too make sure you book on a tour in the future.

It all ended with Rugby League on Saturday. Fans from across the country came to Heritage Quay for Supporters Direct’s Voice of the Fans day – it was awesome to finish the week feeling a part of the Rugby League community.

Picture of Rugby League forum
Neil Hampshire and Phil Caplan quiz Blake Solly of the Super League on the future of the sport

Of course we’ve also welcomed staff, students and the public who have just come to look around and see what’s going on (and play with the Big Curvy Screen!)

Picture of someone using the interactive screen in Heritage Quay
Have you tried it yet?


Final tests… for us!

Now that the Archive staff have successfully moved into our new offices we are excitedly awaiting the handover of the rest of the space in order to get the collections in and start implementing our plans to get the public and the university community using the exploration and group spaces! We’re now so close we can really see how fantastic it’s going to look when completed, apart from some final construction work, all that’s really needed is for us to do our bit and populate it with collections related material!

We’ve had a couple of ‘test’ events this week (well real events, but a chance for us to test our up till now theoretical processes and procedures!), with some of our friendly local community groups holding their events in the space and giving us feedback about what we need to tweak before we open to make sure the space can adapt to big and small groups, and people with different requirements and needs. First up, the press launch of the forthcoming travelling Rugby League exhibition, which saw the space decked out with Rugby League Cares bright and sleekly designed exhibition boards (which went down well amongst us Archivists!), those involved with setting up and supporting the exhibition, and local and national press!

Our Pro-VC Tim Thornton being interviewed about the exhibit, you can see the interview on the Huddersfield Examiner website, linked above via the 'local'  news link.
Our Pro-VC Tim Thornton being interviewed about the exhibit, you can see the interview on the Huddersfield Examiner website, linked above via the ‘local’ news link.
Our Participation and Engagement Officer, David Smith, surveys the scene as press and invited guests view the new RFL travelling exhibition.
Our Participation and Engagement Officer, David Smith, surveys the scene as press and invited guests view the new RFL travelling exhibition.

A few hours later we welcomed our friends from the Huddersfield Local History Society who are hosting their monthly meetings with us this year after outgrowing their previous venue. Over 120 people joined former Huddersfield lecturer, MP, and a depositor to our archives, Lord David Clark , who gave an entertaining and informative talk on Early Labour Pioneers in the Huddersfield area. Now members know where we are (and we know we need to deploy maximum chairs!) we look forward to welcoming them back every month, and you can find out more about forthcoming talks at this link or by visiting the society’s page, linked from their name above.

Lord Baron David Clark addresses a packed house at the first HLHS talk of the season.  Photo courtesy of Hilary Haigh, HLHS Secretary.
Lord Baron David Clark addresses a packed house at the first HLHS talk of the season. Photo courtesy of Hilary Haigh, HLHS Secretary.

From our point of view, this week has been useful to test out how our behind the scenes admin processes will work, from the basics of running out of hours events and dealing with new departments in the university to make that happen, to how long it takes to turn around the space between events, and what the spaces actually feel like when there’s a talk to over a hundred people going on! There are still inevitably tweaks to be made, and we’ve welcomed the valuable feedback from both organisations who have hosted events with us this week. Hopefully they will see the improvement in their next event, and other groups will benefit from them taking the time to work with us during this bedding in period.

I’ll close with our other exciting technological development that we’ve recently seen running in its home environment, and are excited about our visitors getting to use! If the still image below whets your appetite, you can view the video of it in action from our developers Wide Sky!