Research Libraries UK

Inclusive Collections, Inclusive Libraries – Traces of South Asia: Working with Hidden Collections

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Inclusive Collections, Inclusive Libraries is an RLUK programme of events that aims to foster conversation around decolonisation and inclusive practice in collecting, describing, presenting, and engaging with content in research library collections. It seeks to raise awareness about the opportunities and challenges of dealing with, contextualising, and engaging with offensive collections while also identifying and sharing examples of good practice.

Traces of South Asia: Working with Hidden Collections

Friday 19 April, 11:00 – 12:00 (BST), 13:00 – 14:00 (EEST/SAST), 12:00 – 13:00 (CEST), 06:00 – 07:00 (EDT), 18:00 – 19:00 (AWST/CST), 20:00 – 21:00 (AEST)

Those working in university archives will be familiar with a common complaint from a person accessing our archives – ‘Why have you organised these photographs by date? Wouldn’t it be better to organise them by location?’ The person might ask this because their research focuses on the locations of the photographs, where the dates do not matter so much to them. This is part and parcel of the work of the researcher, who must always do the labour of decentring the structure of collections when engaging in their research.

Archives and special collections must be structured and organised in order to make them discoverable. But what is hidden or minimised when we structure them in the way that we do, and who is it we are asking to do the work of ‘finding’ them?  In this talk, LSE Library curator Daniel Payne will share a project he has been working on to help raise the profile of so-called ‘hidden’ parts of the collection, in response to an analysis of the Library’s flagship collections, in a project called Traces of South Asia.

Daniel Payne is the Politics Curator at LSE Library. His background is in librarianship, having joined the library in 2012 working in a number of roles including research support, interlibrary laons, and academic liaison. He currently works on engagement work with the archives and special collections, working on exhibitions, workshops using archives, and connecting people with the archives and special collections.

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