Thursday, February 23, 2017

SEMINAR - Archives in Teaching: New Pedagogies and Practice


The James Hardiman Library presents:

Archives in Teaching: New Pedagogies and Practice

2 March 2017
Venue: Room G011, Hardiman Research Building


2.15pm - Welcome and Introduction

2.30pm Panel 1 - Archives in Teaching and Learning: New Encounters
Chair and Respondent: Dr. Verena Commins (Irish Studies)
               - Exploring Archives as part of Second Level Teaching – Dr. Paul Flynn and James Shovlin
2.50pm:  - Teaching the Exhibition: 'Yeats and the West in the World'– Dr. Adrian Paterson

Q & A

BREAK

3.30pm Keynote Panel


Post-Fact, Post-Truth . . . Post-Archive? The Place of Repositories in the New Misinformation Age

Dr. Nessa Cronin (Irish Studies)
Prof. Lionel Pilkington (English)
Prof. Iain MacLaren (CELT)
Respondent and Chair – Dr. Sarah-Anne Buckley (History)

5pm - Close
To Register attendance, please see the following Eventbrite page for details:
https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/archives-in-teaching-new-pedagogies-and-practice-tickets-32293669234

Monday, January 30, 2017

John Hurt and the Gate Theatre - From the Archives



John Hurt
The late John Hurt was one of the most celebrated and versatile actors of his generation. With a career that spanned over four decades on stage as well as screen, the British-born Hurt leaves a legacy of diverse and identifiable roles that speak to new generations. A character actor of rare an immense talent, Hurt brought his range of abilities to Dublin’s Gate Theatre on numerous occasions. The Gate Theatre Digital Archive, now available for research at the Hardiman Library, NUI Galway, documents Hurt’s performances on the Gate stage.

Hurt’s career at the Gate began in 1992 with a role of “Count Mushroom” in Brian Friel’s play The London Vertigo. Towards the end of the 1990s, Hurt would continue his association with the Gate Theatre and its director Michael Colgan through the work of Samuel Beckett. Hurt would play the eponymous role in Krapp’s Last Tape, written by Samuel Beckett and directed by Robin Lefévre at the Barbican Centre, London, as part of the Gate Beckett Festival. Hurt would revive the role at London’s Ambassador Theatre in a Gate production in January 2000, before finally bringing the role to Dublin’s Gate stage in September 2001, to great critical acclaim.


John Hurt in Gate production at Gielgud Theatre, London
 Hurt would return to the Gate to again take the lead in a play by another major playwright long associated with the Gate – Brian Friel. Hurt would play Andrey Prozorov  alongside Penelope Wilton as Sonya Screbriakova, in Friel’s Afterplay, part of “Two Plays After”, which explored much of Friel’s interest in the plays and characters of Russian playwright Anton Chekhov.

Hurt take to the Gate stage on two other occasions, in April 2006 and in November 2011, on both occasions to revisit what is now perhaps the definitive performance of Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape, directed by Michael Colgan.

The Gate Digital Archive contains a digitised video recording of Hurt in the role of Krapp at the Gate in April 2006, which is one of the most valuable records of Hurt’s stage career. It also includes nearly two hundred photographs, over one thousand press cuttings, stage management files, lighting designs, vast amounts of programmes, posters and other records from Hurt’s time at the Gate. In a fitting twist, as Hurt is so associated with the role of Krapp, an ageing man who listens to tapes of his younger voice recorded from decades previously, so too is Hurt’s infamous voice, deeply expressive face and his unique acting style now also preserved for future generations.

Read more on the Gate Theatre Digital Archive at NUI Galway.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Muintir na Tíre archive donated to NUI Galway

Muintir na Tíre has recently donated its archive to NUI Galway.  Muintir na Tíre is one of the most important national associations for the promotion of community development in Ireland. It was founded in 1937 by Canon John Hayes, in Tipperary (a future blog will focus on Canon Hayes). Through its core principles of neighbourliness, self-help and self-reliance, Muintir na Tíre has promoted and supported the concept of active community participation and championed the idea of community development in both Ireland and Europe.

This is a very significant archive of an organisation which from its beginnings sought to revitalise local communities in rural Ireland and foster and develop a community spirit from the 1930s to the present day.

This substantial archive consisting of 162 boxes and approximately 8,217 items was transferred to the James Hardiman Library in December of 2016. The archive consists of paper files, publications, photographs, loose documents, floppy disks, VHS tapes, cassette tapes, vinyl and bound volumes.

The archive came from the headquarters of Muintir na Tíre, Canon Hayes House, Tipperary. The archive was stored in banker’s boxes which were arranged by Muintir via two projects in 2010 and 2015 an example below: 


and in shelves like the picture below: 


The material that was selected from the shelves were transferred to us in large boxes as shown below:


I have been hired to review, arrange and catalogue the archive. I being Fiona Kearney a qualified archivist and records manager. I began researching Muintir na Tíre by reading Stephen Rynne’s “Father John Hayes: founder of Muintir na Tíre, People of the Land”, Mark Tierney’s “The Story of Muintir na Tíre 1931-2001 – the Frist Seventy Years” and various articles and theses written on Muintir na Tíre. This has given me a good understanding of the organisation and the work that it did throughout its history. A search of our collection can be seen here.

I have already begun opening the boxes to explore the wonders of the collection. I am currently identifying what the files contain so that I can begin to arrange the collection. This phase also involves some conservation work where I am removing rusty staples and paper clips and replacing them with plastic paper clips which do not damage the paper.       


An example of a completed file and a file that has rusty paperclips and staples.     

I am replacing the folders with acid free ones. I am also identifying any records that need further conservation work or which will need to be copied such as thermal paper, predominantly fax paper.

The process of archiving a collection from receipt to discoverability and availability to researchers takes a considerable time. I have fifteen months to complete this project. The end result will look like this.                                                                                                                                                                                                  


I hope you will join me on my journey of archiving the collection where I will provide monthly updates on the project.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

'Archives in Research' Seminar and Book Launch - 2 Feb 2017


Archives in Research – Methods, Practice, Outcomes

2 February 2017

Venue: G010 - Moore Institute, Hardiman Research Building

The Archives service of the James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway are hosting a half-day seminar on the theme of 'Archives in Research'. The seminar will feature expert speakers in various academic fields who will showcase new research projects which are based on innovative use of archival collections. The seminar will focus on a range of themes, including community and publicly-sourced records of the revolutionary period in the West of Ireland which are being digitised and being made publicly available online. Other areas addressed will be an NUI-funded project centred on creating digital access to historic traditional Irish musical scores, Irish language manuscripts and the research of the context of their collection.

A keynote paper will be delivered by Professor Frank Shovlin, Director of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool. The paper will  detail the experiences of Prof. Shovlin's study of the literary archive of celebrated writer John McGahern and the influence that archive has had on his research.

Completing the day, Dr. John Kenny (Discipline of English, NUI Galway) will launch the new book Touchstones: John McGahern's Classical Style by Professor Shovlin.

The event is free and all are welcome to attend.

Schedule:

3pm  - Welcome and introduction  - Niall McSweeney
            (Head of Research and Learning, Hardiman Library)

3.05pm  - Chair: Kieran Hoare, Archivist (Hardiman Library)

3.10pm - Dr. Conor McNamara (History) Chronicling the familial experience of the Irish                                    revolution: digitising the Cleary Papers

3.30pm - Dr. Deirdre Ni Chonghaile (NUI Fellow in Irish/Celtic Studies) The Rev. Daniel J. Murphy Collection: Reconfiguring the Cultural History of Irish-speakers in the 19th and 20th Centuries.

3.50 – 4.00pm    - Q & A

Short Break

4.10pm – Keynote Lecture
   Prof. Frank Shovlin (Director of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool) - Prospecting for Gold: A Year with the McGahern Papers.
   Chair: Professor Dan Carey (Director, Moore Institute)

4.40pm – Q & A

4.55pm – Summary Comments – Barry Houlihan, Archivist (Hardiman Library)

Break

The Moore Institute and the Hardiman Library present:

5.30pm – Book launch – Dr. John Kenny (English)

                   Touchstones: John McGahern’s Classical Style by Prof. Frank Shovlin.

Touchstones examines the ways in which John McGahern became a writer through his reading. This reading, it is shown, was both extensive and intensive, and tended towards immersion in the classics. As such, new insights are provided into McGahern’s admiration and use of writers as diverse as Dante Alighieri, William Blake, James Joyce, Albert Camus and several others. Evidence for these claims is found both through close reading of McGahern’s published texts as well as unprecedented sleuthing in his extensive archive of papers held at the National University of Ireland, Galway. The ultimate intention of the book is to draw attention to the very literary and writerly nature of McGahern as an artist, and to place him, not just as a great Irish writer, but as part of a long and venerable European tradition.

The event is free, all welcome. For queries contact barry.houlihan@nuigalway.ie


Prof. Frank Shovlin 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Advent in the Archives - 22nd December

Today's item comes from the Prionsias Mac an Bheatha collection (G40) from the James Hardiman Library Archives. A full description of the collection is at http://www.calmhosting01.com/NUIG/CalmView/Record.aspx?src=CalmView.Catalog&id=G40 and it reflects his interests in the Irish language, his work in Irish language journalism, as well as his interest in northern writers in Irish and the trade union movement. This particular item, a Christmas card from Eamon de Valera as President of the Republic, is interesting because of its date 1965.

 
It is interesting in another way too. The image for such Christmas cards has always been the usual season's greetings, but the image this year reflected the fact that the following year would be the fiftieth anniversary of the Rising.
It is perhaps fitting, on the year that sees the 100th commemoration of the Dublin Insurrection, that we have a Christmas card from the last surviving Commandant of that Rising.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Advent in the Archives -21st December


Today’s items come from the John Magahern collection which is housed in the archives service of the James Hardiman Library. The first image comes from an initial hand-written draft of part of the John Maghern short-story “Christmas”. In the story a boy, who has to serve at altar at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, looks forward with apprehension to the “hours of boredom” he will have to endure.  At the Midnight Mass itself the Monsignor’s sermon is disrupted by a very drunk Guard Mullins who states that the Monsignor is “a man after my own heart” before warning the parishioners to beware of hypocrites. The Monsignor cuts the sermon short, peremptorily wishing his parishioners a happy and holy Christmas with “a voice like acid”. For the boy “the shortest midnight mass the church had ever known” is a godsend.



Whether the Guard is referring to the Bible when warning of hypocrites, or is referring pointedly to his own personal experience of policing in the town remains unstated. The Catholicism portrayed here has echoes of Joyce’s politically charged Christmas dinner in “Portrait of an Artist”, and is tinged with repetition, boredom and despair.

 


The other item from the John Magahern collection highlighted here is a typescript draft of part of a piece on Christmas in Ireland; beginning 'In America, it is Thanksgiving; in Scotland, the New Year; and in Ireland the great festival is Christmas.' Contains handwritten amendments.

 


Descriptions of both of these items, and the rest of the collections, can be browsed at http://www.calmhosting01.com/NUIG/CalmView/Record.aspx?src=CalmView.Catalog&id=P71

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A Christmas Archive Miscellany - Festive Acts and Writings

Christmas has inspired personal stories and writings for so many of Ireland's writers. From playwrights to novelists, the story of Christmas and what it means, in comedy and tragedy, for so many has resulted in great works, many of which are within the Archives of the Hardiman Library here at NUI Galway.

Draft of story, Christmas, by John McGahern

The writer John McGahern explored this particular time of year in one of his short stories. How that story even came to be is a story in itself. Christmas is the story of the young boy deposited to a family at Christmas time from an orphanage. He rejects a gift he is given, that of a toy aeroplane and this act forms the centre of McGahern's attention in the drafting of the story. The McGahern Archive contains numerous drafts of the story which was first published in the Irish Press in 1968. Numerous titles range from Santa Claus, A Gift for Himself, The Aeroplane, before finally being published as Christmas in the volume of short stories Nightlines in 1970.

Draft of story, Christmas, by John McGahern


The opening line of many of the drafts begin with "The thaw overhead in the bear branches had stopped the evening we filled the load for Mrs. Grey". This would imply that winter has passed and Christmas is over. Yet the published story opens with a different scene, one of a young boy being boarded onto a train, described as a "ward of State" and being sent to live with 'Moran' for the Christmas period. Moran is a recurring name within McGahern's work, also being the family name within his 1991 novel Amongst Women. The novel itself was nearly called The Morans, only to be changed very close to publication.

Given so much effort of redrafting, editing and re-titling of the story is evident with McGahern's papers, it is clear this particular story meant quite a deal for the writer in the late 1960s. The variances in handwriting styles also show the revisions were carried out over a number of years, as McGahern's hand changed over the years.

Cover of A Christmas Carol, Lyric Theatre Archive, 1981
Another traditional Christmas tale is that of the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol. The Lyric theatre in Belfast staged in 1980 in a version by John Boyd. Boyd was a prolific playwright during the previous decade of the 1970s, writing some of the most important plays regarding the ongoing conflict in Northern Ireland with works such as The Flats in 1972 also presented by the Lyric Theatre. In his introduction to the play, Boyd writes of Dickens' story being linked to the plight of everyday life in Belfast at the time. The Lyric theatre founding director, Mary O'Malley, was so enthused with Christmas-themed drama that one of the very first productions by the Lyric players was a version of The Nativity, by Lady Augusta Gregory in November 1950. The script of this had to be procured from the Gate Theatre, Dublin, as seen in the letter here.
Scene from the Nativity by Lady Gregory, Lyric Theatre Archive, 1950
Letter from Gate Theatre sending script of The Nativity to the Lyric Theatre
Lyric Theatre Archive.
At the Gate Theatre itself, the theatre staged a revival production of Micheál MacLiammóir's Christmas play, Home for Christmas or A Grand Tour. First staged in 1950, in the original programme note, reproduced in the 1976 revival programme, MacLiammóir recounts how he was prompted to write the play by Orsen Wells about an prosperous English family touring across Africa and Europe at a time of Victorian empire and exploration. MacLiammór took that advice but set the story among an wealthy Irish family who are returning from world travels to Ireland for Christmas.






We wish all our readers a very
 happy Christmas and best wishes for 2017!