GSA’s Archives and Collections team were really pleased to welcome four new volunteers into the ranks at the end of November last year. Julia, Lucy J, Kelly and Tilly have been with us for a fair few weeks now, so we thought it was high time we introduced them to you.
All four are working on our World War One Home Front research project, but the volunteers have come to us from a variety of backgrounds. Here they each explain what got them interested in volunteering with us, and what they’ve been up to so far:
I have just graduated from the GSA, studying a Masters in Curatorial Practice (Contemporary Art). Before that, I completed a History Degree at the University of York. I was really keen to volunteer on the Home Front research project because I wanted a way to actively engage with social history research again. So far I have had the opportunity to find out about students who have contributed very significantly to the culture and heritage of Glasgow. The project is helping me to build a vibrant map of the cultural history of Glasgow, and I can’t wait to discover more!
I have worked in the heritage cultural sector for the last 10 years; primarily focused on engagement and outreach, project development, funding and strategy. More recently, as Heritage Development Officer for The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) my job role has developed to include museums and collections practice. This element of my work is something which I am very keen to nurture. I have always had a strong interest in people, places and the stories which encapsulate them. The GSA Archives is a wonderfully rich place to continue that learning journey not only for my own practice, but also to share that learning within my own organisation and apply it to the collections of SFRS. Having the opportunity to work with such a collection, whilst learning alongside such experienced staff has massively increased my knowledge, understanding and confidence of handling archival material.
I’ve lived in Glasgow for 25 years and The Glasgow School of Art is a such a well-loved and significant institution in the city that the opportunity to be able to look at the archive materials and contribute to the catalogue was very exciting. I’m involved with another venerable Glaswegian institution – a Victorian swimming baths – so I was keen to work with the records of the Art School staff and students to help me think about a project to research former members of the swimming baths.
I’m currently a content editor but intend to start an archives and digital records course later this year. I’m interested in how archives and museums can communicate with the public and use their materials to help people develop their knowledge about the past and how it relates to the place we know now. The Home Front project is a really valuable insight into how to use archive materials to reveal stories that add little extra strands to history of the city and its people.
It’s been very satisfying to trace each individual as far as possible through the records. And as, well as being interesting, I’ve learnt some valuable lessons: to remember to check every source you can, to recognise that every small detail contributes to the bigger story, and to be ready for surprises!
In 2013 I graduated from the Sculpture Department of The Glasgow School of Art. The School played an important part in my daily life for over six years, having previously completed the Portfolio Preparation Course with the School’s Continuing Education Department and working for Glasgow School of Art Enterprises while completing my studies and for a year after graduation.
Working with archives had been a growing area of interest in my studio practice, and as a potential career path, when The Mackintosh Building suffered fire damage in the Summer of 2014 with losses to its historical collections. The tragedy reaffirmed the incredible importance of archives and solidified my resolve to pursue a career working with historical materials in some form. Since then I have had the opportunity to work and volunteer in a wide variety of archives and to pursue postgraduate study.
I am delighted to have the opportunity to return to GSA as a volunteer in the Archives, while completing my dissertation. They contain really fascinating material, and I have been able to learn more about the history of the School, while undertake training and working in a friendly and positive environment.
Perhaps you’re also interested in volunteering with GSA’s Archives and Collections? We sometimes have opportunities for volunteers to work with us, on a variety of projects. Any opportunities will be advertised on our blog, so do keep an eye out, or subscribe for updates. For more information about our volunteer programme click here. And remember to keep reading the blog for updates from our volunteers on the home front project!