Archive News

Happenings and goings on in the Archive and Study Centre: Events, researchers, discoveries, additions. For latest articles added to the Archive and Study Centre section of the website, click here.

david kennardDavid Kennard

 

David Kennard is part and parcel of the Archive and Study Centre. Once a Trustee, he is author of the classic "An Introduction to Therapeutic Communities", intimately bound up in the formation and history of the Association of Therapeutic Communities (see, for example, here), and one of the few Clinical Psychologists in the therapeutic community world to have played with the legendary jazz musician Alexis Korner, himself a member of the therapeutic community world. For details on all that, see here and here.

He has bathed in the waters of the late swimming pool (see here), and carried on a long conversation with Bob Hinshelwood on the PETT Bi-Blog/Tri-blog (see here). You can listen to the person himself, because his 2008 Maxwell Jones Lecture, "Therapeutic Communities: - a natural impulse or evolving technology", is live on the RadioTC International/PETT website (see here).

But nothing holds a candle to the man in person, and though he described his visit to PETT this week (June 2018, week 2) as a 'pilgrimage', the reality is that the mountain in this case came to the Archive, bringing depths of wisdom and humour, and cores of crystal and granite. No saxophone this time, and we didn't record any oral history, although there was a lot of talking and the music of shared and divergent experience; but next time.

Thanks for coming.

 

Bird

bird

 

We love a good segue, and it's a joy to move to our next visitor - from Jazz saxophonist David Kennard, via Jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker.

Bird was a short-term guest who invited itself into the large meeting room, on one of the warmer days when we were moving things, and had doors open for the cross-breeze. But really, this picture is just here for the beauty of the stone, the fall of light and shadow, and the bird's place in the composition. Being in an archive is fun.

It took some guiding. It was not a typical fluster of panic. It allowed itself to be caught and ushered out the open glass door it was standing beside. And standing outside it looked around as if to say "Gosh, that was easy", and then flew away.

Thankyou for being.

first computer

 

reel to reel1

reel to reel2

 

things discy

Top to bottom:

 

1. The Archive's first computer. A secondhand Atari, with a sweet external hard drive, as big as the computer itself. In the days before a computer was an essential in an Archive, and before PCs and Macs squeezed Atari out of the home and office computer race. A beautiful machine.

 

2. A domestic reel to reel tape recorder, part of the collection of playback technologies, built up by the early Archive to read formats slipping into obsolescence: 8 and 16mm film projectors; Acorn and Amstrad computers; BetaMax and VHS videotape players; floppy disk drives (see picture below). Acquired in the heady days before the Internet, when the future was analogue, and an archive had to have some way to read new materials coming in to it.

 

3. A Peto Scott reel to reel tape recorder. Out of an attic, found by word of mouth, and cheap at the time.

 

4. A floppy disk drive pre-usb. Amstrad? Built like a tank.

 

 Things have a beauty of their own, and don't need any narration. But they do have stories. These, and many others, are coming out of their places of storage to be counted. Some will become part of the Archive museum collections; some will be dispersed to new homes; some will remain in rare use. Each has the interesting scent of a Time. Some have been touched and used by the greats in our field.

box city

What is it?

First thing Friday morning Assistant Archivist Jen Galloway drove in to the Archive and Study Centre car park. She stopped. We had a group coming in the afternoon. She had a full-day planned, continuing the survey of archive collections to bring a higher level of order to the impending Transition. Archivist Craig was at home, working on the computer there. But.

One black tardis is a marvel, bordering on joy.

Five?

Jen, feeling the plans for the day slipping away, approached them. They were inert. They didn't move. They gave no sign of sentience.

She sent an email to Craig, which never arrived. (Well, it did; he just wasn't checking). "Craig, the boxes have arrived." In England it can rain at any time. 500 specialist archive boxes. pH balanced. Brass stapled. Half-length lids for a maximum combination of closure and contents security, and open-ability.

 

Improvise. Adapt. Come on.

jen and boxes

Don't mess with an archivist.

500 boxes? Impending rain? Group coming to do meditation and yoga? Pah! If you want a massive task done, which verges on the impossible, call an archivist.

Boxes towering over her and safely inside, Craig finally arrived, in time to take the picture.

All over and everything away.  Essential tools: a few hours and a sense of humour.

Pallets ditched. Black shrouds binned. Store room filled. Nothing left behind. Silence and the welcoming emptiness of a space ready for our guests.

Being an Assistant Archivist: Just another day.

May 14-16, 2018.

With fifteen people sitting down for a great catered lunch on Tuesday, it was one of the most numerous and active Archive Weeks in recent years.

wne2018 wellieGranted, Tuesday was special, because old friend and the Archive and Study Centre's Specialist Curator for Progressive, Alternative and Democratic Education, Albert Lamb, had dropped in, bringing Institute of Education PhD student Emily Charkin with him. Emily had torn herself away from Wilderness Wood {"Where adults and children work and play together") - http://www.wildernesswood.org/ - to live among and plunge herself into the Wennington community as a researcher for the middle days of the Week. There was project-archivist Debra, taking a break from listing and sorting a rich assortment of documents brought together by John Cross prior to his illness, and John Slowley, over from afar to meet the Wenningtonians and liaise about the past and future of the place and 'alumni' organisations. And, of course, there was the Archive team, and Wellie the dog, who technically didn't join the lunch, but waited patiently outside.

wen2018 branchesWenningtonians solve problems sometimes before you know you have them, drawing on tools they just happen to have with them: sawing down branches overhanging a neighbour's garden, and solving the standing-up problem of a flat-screen television. They catalogued Wennnington photographs, took Emily under their wings in upstairs seminars and all-around-the-place chattings, scanned, and transcribed to computer more Sunday talks of Wennington English teacher and poet Brian Merrikin Hill. In what felt like a non-ending whirl of liquid mercury Everything just seemed to happen, with swirling adventures of memory and real-time problem solving.

And then on Wednesday old Wenningtonian Grace Roberts lifted the specialness of the week another notch skywards with a surprise visit with her daughter - who was not herself a student at Wennington, but remembered the atmosphere of freedom and adventure at the annual Wennington reunions when she was growing up as a child.

And then the shock of Thursday, the last day, at the end of which the dishes had all been washed, floors hoovered, surfaces cleaned, and worktables, scanners and computers all put away. An interesting stillness, the Wenningtonians gone, and the Archive team going around locking windows and doors. Not an emptiness; but the quiet sense of a place well used and now at rest, in settled anticipation of the future.

wen2018 dd

wen2018 em

wen2018 cr

 

April 20, 2018: Georgia Tomlinson came by and spent a brilliant day talking about the Cotswold Community as she knew it, from 1987, when she began as a volunteer, through her time as a member of staff and then as a wife, with first one and then a second child, living in a flat at the edge of the Community near the Ashton Keynes road. Memories of Barbara Dockar-Drysdale, John Whitwell, Long Barn, setting up the Mothers and Partners Group for people like herself, with small children and a spouse working in the Community: they commandeered the cricket pavilion, and re-purposed it for playing, and painting, and having tea and time together. And more, in a richly lived life.

AND it was a glorious day at PETT! We are pleased to say Georgia plans to come again!

georgia

 

georgiato