DMU wins grant to catalogue sporting archives

Imagine an archive and you would be forgiven for thinking it would comprise papers, documents and photographs – but not at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

The new archivist who has joined DMU’s Special Collections team will be dealing with teddy bears, skis and even boxing belts as part of her job.

boxing archive

Louise Bruton will be cataloguing four sport-themed archives donated to DMU after the Special Collections team, led by Katharine Short, was awarded a £100,000 grant from the Wellcome Trust.

It means that the archives of the Ski Club of Great Britain, the Special Olympics Leicester, Sir Norman Chester’s papers relating to the Football Trust, and England Boxing will be organised, conserved and partially digitised.

Louise said: “What appealed about this role was that it was the chance to do a cataloguing project which doesn’t just involve one collection but four and that is quite unique. It really appealed to me because of the subject matter and the variety.

“Working as an archivist, no two days are the same no matter what materials you are working with and here that is especially true because we have physical objects from banners to actual skis and film reels, it is a diverse collection.”

Ski Club pic 1

The funding has come from the Trust’s Research Resources Grant programme to help collection and information professionals develop library and archive material for humanities and social science researchers.

Special Collections Manager Katharine Short said: “We were delighted to receive this support from the Wellcome Trust which has enabled us not only to hire Louise as a dedicated cataloguer for these collections, but also to get some of the materials digitised. We do not have the technology to watch old film reels within Special Collections, but with this grant we will be able to have them properly assessed, cleaned and transferred to digital formats.”

* Read the Special Collections blog
* City Mayor launches DMU's archive appeal
* Stories told of DMU students and staff during First World War

All four archives are connected to the work of the International Centre for Sports History and Culture at DMU. Professor Martin Polley, ICSHC director said: “Over the past few years, the Special Collections has developed as an innovative and increasingly significant archive for resources on sports history.

"These collections have their origin in DMU's long-standing commitment to the academic history of sport, which began with the foundation of ICSHC in 1996. They are now expanding, under the inspirational leadership of Katharine Short and her team, into a collection of national significance.”

Posted on Wednesday 3rd April 2019

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