The project has impacted on archivists in the public and private sector, publishing industry professionals, civil servants and broader publics (poetry “users,” museum-goers).
Impact Activities (1) and (2)
One-day workshop and exhibition on Carcanet Press
The one-day workshop in Manchester (17 January 2019) assembled thirty-five participants immediately receptive to the significance of the Carcanet Press collection: scholars, archivists, but also publishing industry professionals, creative writers and poetry “users.”
This audience was targeted through two roundtables, a poetry reading and a reception that concluded the workshop. The roundtable featured both well-known and emerging speakers such as Michael Schmidt (the founder of Carcanet Press) and poets Rebecca Goss and Alex Wong. The workshop was a key pathway for involving writers, readers and members of staff associated with the early days of Carcanet in the late 1960s and 1970s. This includes Helen Tookey, Grevel Lindop, Roger Garfitt, Judith Willson and Michael Schmidt. All of them made significant contributions during the workshop, helping our understanding of this important period in the postwar literary landscape.
These contributions were followed by further oral history interviews, that have been added to the digital resource.
Feedback immediately after the workshop included: “Consistently very high quality of contributions”; “Great line of speakers – including writers, publishers, editors, critics, curators”; “Best thing: Participation of Carcanet associated people.”
We also evaluated the impact of the workshop one year later. Grevel Lindop and Roger Garfitt did a joint reading in Cambridge in February 2019, which would not have happened without the workshop they both attended. Grevel Lindop pointed out: “I was asked to tell the story of my involvement with Carcanet and that got me thinking about the connections between past and present.” He added: “Reflecting on the early history of my involvement with Carcanet led me to revisit some of my very early notebooks with the result that I have decided to revise and publish certain early poems which I underrated, I think, at that time, and now feel are worthy of publication. This has been very interesting and personally revelatory for me in that it has enabled me to connect my early work with my later.”
Roger Garfitt noted: “Discovering that letters from the outset of my career are in the Carcanet archive at the John Rylands Library has led to the suggestion that the Library might take my entire archive and I am currently sorting it out to present to them.” This archive will represent a significant benefit to the Library and to its users – including academics and non-academics interested in poetry.
The workshop was followed by an exhibition at the John Rylands Library, which opened in October 2019. Drawing on unique archival materials at the JRL, the exhibition explored three themes: (a) the role of Arts Council England in funding poetry publishers; (b) the place of Carcanet Press within the broader UK poetry publishing landscape; (c) women poets associated with Carcanet including Elizabeth Jennings and Sujata Bhatt.
Impact Activity (3)
International Conference on “Archives, Access and AI” (15-17 January 2020)
This conference brought together 56 people, the majority of whom were non-academics (4 civil servants from the Cabinet Office and the Office for AI; and 33 archivists/ librarians/ museums professionals). In their feedback provided immediately after the conference, 81% of respondents chose to rate the conference as ‘Very useful’ and the remaining as ‘Useful’ (19%).
‘I’ll be sharing a lot of the project case studies and approaches with colleagues across my organisation’(GLAM [Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums] sector professional)
– ‘There was a great deal of useful content and I will be following up on a number of things as well as contacts and thinking about new projects.’(GLAM sector professional)
‘Met new people/ideas that will help shape my work.’(Early-career academic)
‘I hope to start integrating some of the considerations I got from my time at the conference (such as thinking seriously about how evolving methods of research impact how I work as an archivist, and how I can start to adapt and update my thinking and practice to move with these and provide for meaningful and broad engagement with archives in the future).’(GLAM sector professional)
‘It gave me awareness of some big projects in AI and I’ve made some useful contacts. It also gave me food for thought not only about applications of AI but also around expectations of AI’s capabilities.’(GLAM sector civil servant)
‘It will help to inform options for future work development, e.g. exploring particular tools and methodologies.’(GLAM sector professional)
We also evaluated the impact of the conference in early March 2020. William Kilbridge, the Executive Director of the Digital Preservation Coalition, wrote: “The conference gave me a chance to surface and organize these ideas and share them in discussion with colleagues. The blog post that I produced as a follow up has been popular, with 1250 views making it the most read blog of 2020 so far (the average for 2020 so far is 525 views). The blog would not have been written if I had not been challenged to do so in the context of your project. The DPC blog is mostly provided as a forum for debate and discussion among DPC members to whom it is actively promoted, including archivists, records managers, information architects and senior leaders in the IT sector. Thinking about the diverse contexts of the DPC membership in academic institutions but also in government industry and regulatory bodies. I would suggest this will have created an impact for your project in sectors and geographies that would not typically be able to engage with research of this kind.”
First Year Of Impact
Communities and Social Services/Policy, Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections.