Approaching the (Family) Archive: Challenges and Reflections

Date / time: 25 May - 31 March, 12:00 am

Approaching the (Family) Archive: Challenges and Reflections


Dusty shoeboxes of papers; drawers of textiles and treasured keepsakes; scrapbooks and albums of tickets, photographs, and ephemera: our homes are sites of intergenerational collection and curation. And yet, though the recent ‘archival turn’ has led to a renewed interest in the collections compiled by institutions and eminent individuals, we know rather less about the papers and artefacts accumulated by families and the diverse meanings that these items have possessed for those created and preserved them. The materials of family life are rarely approached as ‘archives’ – but, when transferred into local and national record offices, these same collections go on to form a significant part of our nation’s archival heritage.

This series of online workshops seeks to bring together practitioners from a range of disciplines, periods, and geographic contexts to explore some of the major challenges that confront scholars working on, and with, family collections and archives, ideologically, methodologically, conceptually, and practically.

Each workshop centres around a particular “challenge” and features a paper by guest speaker(s) who will reflect on the ways that they have approached this issue in their own work. The rest of the workshop will be given over to questions and an open-ended discussion of the issues raised, allowing scholars share practice and connect with other researchers working in the fields of family, memory, collections, and archival practice.

Culminating in a two-day conference on ‘Family Archives’ in March 2023, it is hoped that these workshops will offer a space for both new and established scholars to discuss, not just the results of their research, but the processes, practices, and challenges that have informed it.

For a full programme and to register follow this link:


Workshop 1: Collected, Curated, Other?
(25th May 2022, 10am)
Speakers: Dr Katie Barclay (University of Adelaide) and Dr Liesbeth Corens (Queen Mary, University of London)

Workshop 2: Objects as Archive
(20th July 2022, 4pm)
Speaker: Prof Jill Journeaux (Coventry University)

Workshop 3: Absence in the Archive
(22nd September 2022, 4pm)
Speaker: Dr Imogen Peck (Coventry University)

Workshop 4: Archives into Institutions
(23rd November 2022, 4pm)
Speaker: Dr Ann-Marie Foster (Northumbria University)

Workshop 5: Accessing the Family: Private Collections
(TBC January 2023)
Speakers: Dr Laura King (University of Leeds), Ms Emma Carson (University of Adelaide), and Ms Lucy Brownson (University of Sheffield/Chatsworth House Trust)