A new digital archive is collecting stories of creative practice in Coventry
Got a story to share about a creative project you’ve been part of in Coventry? Today’s Saturday Shout Out goes to Coventry Digital, a new digital archive for the city.
As well as working with institutions like the Herbert and Belgrade, Coventry Digital hopes to host items from business, folk and artistic archives to reveal the many layers that make up a city.
As part of this, Adele Reed is working with Dr Ben Kyneswood on ‘Collecting Coventry’ to document archives of artistic practice in the city, covering stories of artistic work, cultural movements and grassroots projects that have emerged in Coventry across the decades. We spoke to her to find out more.
“The idea is to create a really holistic picture, so we want to include stories both from big institutions and from lesser-known, grassroots groups, and we’ll be digitising a lot of the Herbert’s existing archive alongside the new material we’re gathering.
“However, because a lot of the bigger organisations already have their own publicly accessible archives, we’re particularly interested to hear from those smaller, independent groups and artists that a lot of people might not know about.
“At the moment, I’m having lots of phone calls with people about the different projects they’ve worked on and what kind of materials they have to tell the stories of those projects. Often its photos and videos, but it could be anything – audio recordings, letters or articles, for example.”
Since starting work on the archive, Adele has been using Facebook groups, online research and word-of-mouth as well as her own knowledge of the arts and culture sector through her engagement in the arts scene as a photographer over the last ten years, to source her contributors. Anyone interested in submitting material or finding our more can get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
“The response so far has been interesting. A lot of people have been really excited and enthusiastic about it, while others have had a lot of questions about it, I think just because the remit is so broad. I’d encourage anyone who thinks they might have something for us to get in touch, even if they’re not sure.
“Coventry has a really rich history of cultural movements. There’s so much to discover, and I’m learning so much from every single conversation I’m having with people. It’s a real privilege to have the opportunity to speak to so many different people, who have all been incredibly generous.”
“The university is funding the first period for Coventry Digital as its commitment to City of Culture in 2021. We are planning that if it becomes successful through use, it will continue to have a life beyond that.
“There’s definitely an understanding [amongst the artist community] that it would be a real shame to build this archive without longevity. I feel like I’ve barely started and I’ve only got a month or so left now – I think it’s a project you could do full-time forever!”
For more information or to enquire about submitting material, please email email@example.com by 18 August.
Copyright will be respected in all cases where materials are digitised.