Simon Wilson

Simon Wilson

Last updated on 6 October 2017

Hull – City of Culture
In November 2013 Hull was announced as UK City of Culture for 2017. The scheme, echoing that of European City of Culture, seeks to use culture as the focus for regeneration. City of Culture represents a tremendous opportunity to do so much more than normal; not only in terms of our audience engagement activities but also to develop partnerships and contribute to initiatives across the city.

City of Culture archive

Bicycle - an iconic part of the City's bid to become UK City of Culture

We have been working closely with the City of Culture team to "archive City of Culture". If you say it quickly it doesn't sound so bad....but we are expecting to receive a huge born-digital archive of files that will (eventually) allow people to study the how, the why and what of it all.

The City of Culture archive was launched in Hull on 11 April 2017.  Jeff James, Chief Executive and Keeper at The National Archives who was in Hull to present Hull History Centre with its archive accreditation certificate and to help launch the archive, said: “The archive seeks to capture a pivotal point in Hull’s history and will become a key part of the collective memory of the city. I’m looking forward to seeing how it matures and informs future cities of culture.”

Martin Green, Chief Executive of Hull 2017, said: “The Hull 2017 archives will tell many tales from the creative minds behind the spectacular performances and events to the people of Hull who experienced it. It will be an important record of our incredible year which will inspire creativity and innovation for years to come.”

Dedicated staffing

We hope the archive will also include records created by the creative community with event feedback and evaluation capturing the user perspective. We will also be sharing the lessons learnt (so far) with the next UK City of Culture. We could not hope to undertake this work without additional dedicated staffing. We have recruited a City of Culture Digital Archivist, Laura Giles, who started work in August of this year. We are also recruiting technical support to oversee our implementation of Archivematica to work with the University’s Samvera (the new name for Hydra) digital repository.

Technology plan

made in hull - City's history beamed onto city buildingsOur technology plan at the moment (subject to change!) is to harvest records directly from the City of Culture team – primarily their SharePoint and Asset Bank systems. We anticipate that initially material will go in a “holding area” of sorts, most probably Box, which the University has an existing subscription to.  However, as with most workplaces there are important records dotted about in all sorts of places and systems so a large part of our work right now is to conduct an audit of how the team manage their digital records.

Once identified, records will be appraised, processed through Archivematica and stored in Samvera. We have committed to providing access to the archive so we are currently reviewing our options for this. Hull History Centre currently uses Blacklight to provide access to the University and City Council archive catalogues so one option is to adapt this to provide access to born digital content. We are also in the process of analysing whether using AtoM may be a viable option for us going forward.

We are keen to engage with colleagues about some of the digital preservation and engagement challenges we face once these have become more apparent to us!  We will provide regular updates on the Hull History Centre’s blog and via various social media channels so like us, follow us and retweet us (please). 

Simon Wilson, University Archivist This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  
Laura Giles, City of Culture Digital Archivist This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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