OPENING UP HUDDERSFIELD UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES TO NEW AUDIENCES
Heritage Quay is the home of the University of Huddersfield’s archives, and was opened in 2013, funded by the HLF. It’s a state of the art archive facility and one of the most technologically advanced in the U.K. It contains collections of national and international significance.
As Schools Officer for the archives from 2015 – 2017, the challenge for me was to create learning activities which would engage children from 5 to 15 years of age in collections as diverse as Rugby Football League, British Band and Contemporary Modern Music, The Performing Arts, the history of the University, and Huddersfield’s industrial heritage. This was achieved through strong story telling highlighted by the use of Imaginary Communities theatre workshops to tell the tale of how Rugby League was founded. Technology was another way of engaging schools audiences – artefacts and documents from the collection were used as trigger images in the creation of Augmented Reality Environments (AREs) for videos which the children researched using the archives.
The role was a part time, temporary post funded by the HLF. As with any HLF role, evaluation was core to the project, along with resources management and budget control. Sustainability was key – access to the collections needed to continue after the post had ceased. This relied on building strong relationships with schools, academic staff and students within the university and ensuring that workshops and activities could be delivered by volunteers after the post had finished.
As the post drew to a close, it was decided that online films would be an ideal way of ensuring lasting access to the collections. Six short object based videos were developed and filmed in conjunction with Digifish TV. These were supported by education packs linking to curriculum subjects across KS1-3. The films and learning materials can be accessed freely by schools on www.mylearning.org or you can click on the thumbnails above to view.
Heritage Quay has won many prestigious awards both for the build, and its innovative approach to heritage presentation:
2015 Museum & Exhibition Public History Prize, Royal Historical Society
2016 Buildings that Inspire, Guardian University Awards
2016 Best Small Library Design, Sconul
2016 Outstanding Library Team, Times Higher Education Leadership & Management Awards