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Author Archives: mattp


Learning about British Medieval Scripts with the InScribe module

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InScribe HeaderThe Institute of Historical research are pleased to announce the release of InScribe Module 2: Script. This is the second instalment from the online platform InScribe: Palaeography Learning Materials and follows the introductory module released in January 2013.

Studying scripts

The study of pre-modern scripts involves being able to identify specific letters, understand what is written down in a hand that is not necessarily familiar to us today, and being able to recognise the indicators that tell us the origin and date of production. The study of scripts in this way (Palaeography) is a useful skill to process especially for students who study any aspect of the pre-modern world.

Knowledge of the basic principles of Palaeography and the main features of particular script formats is an unavoidable requirement for anyone with an interest in the Middle Ages and a need to refer to primary sources. InScribe has been developed with that in mind. It is not a resource for expert Palaeographers, rather it is aimed at students that are required to consult primary sources (either medieval manuscripts or documents) and offers them with a chance to acquire the required knowledge and skills. Users are presented with a variety of textual and audiovisual resources that cover the whole medieval period with a focus on the English context. Besides detailed descriptions of each script, the student is given the opportunity to put that in practice by transcribing a range of selected manuscripts in the newly-developed transcription tool.

InScribe Module 2: Script

After the success of the introductory (free) module on General Palaeography, the School of Advanced Study have screenshot TTproduced a new, second online module for our successful InScribe palaeography course. This module focuses on scripts, providing an opportunity to determine the origin and date of production of any given manuscript from medieval Britain. It starts with Insular Minuscule (a script form popular in sixth-century Britain) and ends with Gothic types in the 16th century. The module’s contents include:

Section 1         Introduction

Section 2         Insular Minuscule

Section 3         Anglo-Saxon and Caroline minuscule

Section 4         The Protogothic Transition

Section 5         The Gothic Explosion

As with the previous module, the Scripts module contains advice, videos showing Palaeographers as work, and various opportunities to practise your transcription and identification skills using digital copies of manuscript pages.

This module costs £25 to complete. Further details can be found on the School of Advanced Study shop. The first free module can be found here: InScribe module one, just click on ‘guest’ access to go straight to the course.

 

Historians and their Data: Forthcoming Workshop exploring Research Data Management in History

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HRI1A critical skill for anyone conducting research in History is their ability to properly manage their digital data. A research project is only as good as the evidence that underlies it and that evidence needs to be clear, sharable, and reusable.

Join us on Monday 14 April 2014 at the Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield for a workshop that aims to help postgraduate students and early career researchers to make better use of their data by providing skills training in data management tailored directly toward the Historian.

This is the third and final workshop of the AHRC-funded History DMT (Data Management Training and Guidance) project, which seeks to integrate best practice, good principles, and skills of research data management within the postgraduate curriculum and among early career historians. The workshop will showcase the chief deliverable of the project: a free online training course dedicated to the research data types that historians are most likely to come across in their research.

Further, the workshop will build upon the specialist training workshops which were held at the University of Hull and the Institute of Historical Research (University of London) by exploring the role of data management and training in research.

The workshop is FREE to attend. Academic staff, early career researchers and postgraduate students are welcome.

Please register your interest by contacting Clare Mills c.e.mills@sheffield.ac.uk. Please include in your email any dietary or access requirements and if you would like a travel bursary (a limited number of travel bursaries are available for students. If you believe that your costs will be significantly high or have any questions about the bursary please contact matt.phillpott@sas.ac.uk).

 

Morning

10.30                     Coffee & registration

11.00                     Introduction

11.15                     Introducing the History Data Management Online Training Course

11.45                     Student Presentation #1

12.15                     Student Presentation #2

12.45                     Lunch

Afternoon

13.30                     Student Presentation #3

14.00                     Managing Data: Understanding Its Role and Impact in a History Research Project

14.30                     Group activity: using the course materials, evaluation

15.15                     Coffee Break

15.30                     Group feedback on the course materials

16.00                     Embedding Data Management Training

16.30                     Workshop ends

Location: Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield (34 Gell Street, Sheffield S3 7QY)

Event: History DMT workshop

Date: Monday 14th April 2014

Time: 10.30am-4.30pm

 

For further information about this workshop (including speaker details) check out our workshop home page.

 

Pick’s posters and progress: a design strategy for the Underground

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Going Underground: Travel Beneath the Metropolis 1863-2013
17 January 2013
Oliver Green
Pick’s posters and progress: a design strategy for the Underground

 

Frank Pick (wikipedia)

Frank Pick (wikipedia)

Abstract: In the early decades of the 20th century the London Underground was transformed from being simply a pioneer urban transit system into becoming the most powerful influence on the metropolitan landscape of any world city. This was entirely due to the vision and planning of one individual: Frank Pick (1878-1941) who became managing director of the Underground in the 1920s and the first chief executive of London Transport in 1933. Pick’s ‘total design’ management, through graphics, architecture, communication systems and the design of the entire passenger environment gave the Underground a unique character that is not found on any other metro. His influence is still felt today, an urban design culture which has shaped London’s chaos more than anyone else since Christopher Wren.

 

Biography: Oliver Green is currently Research Fellow at the London Transport Museum (LTM) and working as an independent museum consultant, lecturer and historian. He began his museum career at the Museum of London in 1974 and was the first Curator of LTM when it opened in 1980. He left to manage local authority museums and cultural services in Colchester, Poole and Buckinghamshire, returning to LTM as its Head Curator in 2001 and leading the curatorial team working on the major lottery funded refurbishment of the Covent Garden museum, which reopened in 2007. He has written and lectured widely on transport art, design and history. His latest book, authored jointly with David Bownes and Sam Mullins, is UNDERGROUND, How the Tube shaped London, published  by Penguin Books in association with Transport for London to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Underground.

To listen to this podcast click here.

Movement, Vision, Underground

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Going Underground: Travel Beneath the Metropolis 1863-2013
17 January 2013
Marko Jobst
Movement, Vision, Underground
Green Park Tube Station, London (wikipedia)

Green Park Tube Station, London (wikipedia)

Abstract: This paper looks at the history of vision in architectural modernity and its failed acknowledgement of the London Underground. While there have been a number of studies of the architecture of Underground stations, including the interiors of the network – the Underground corridors and station platforms – the specificity of the visual regimes that the Underground establishes has been overlooked.

The paper aims to demonstrate that the establishment of the Underground represents modernity’s unacknowledged conjunction of interiority, mobility and imaging, which locates it at an interesting intersection of well-rehearsed arguments regarding the regimes of vision established in the era of the railways, the visual regimes associated with architectural interiors of modernity, and the regime of moving images that emerged at the end of the nineteenth century. In order to do this, I will look at the history of perspective in relation to the architectural interior, as elucidated by Nicholas Temple in Disclosing Horizons; the visual regimes established by the railways earlier in the nineteenth century in the interpretation of Wolfgang Schivelbusch in The Railway Journey; and the conception of mobile imagining in film, offered by Gilles Deleuze in Cinema1 and Cinema 2. The aim is to show that London Underground, as the first underground transportation system of its kind, established a model of mobile architectural imagining that brought together several trajectories of vision, yet remains unacknowledged as such in the histories of modernity.

Biography: Marko Jobst has a DIA from Belgrade University and March, MSc and PhD from The Bartlett, University College London. He is a senior lecturer in Architecture at Greenwich University and has written for The Architects’ Journal on architecture and film. He writes about the London Underground and Gilles Deleuze and is interested in film, philosophy and experimental writing. He also contributes to Mikser in Belgrade.

To listen to this podcast click here.

Training Up the Escalated Body

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Going Underground: Travel Beneath the Metropolis 1863-2013
17 January 2013
Richard Hornsey
Training Up the Escalated Body
London Angel Underground station escalators (wikipedia)

London Angel Underground station escalators (wikipedia)

Abstract: During the 1920s and 30s, as the Underground network expanded outwards and passenger numbers increased, Tube stations were designed (or redesigned) with a particular emphasis on speeding up and regulating the flow of passengers from the streets onto the trains. The symbolic and spatial centres of these new designs were the automatic escalators, a technology that accorded with the Fordist conveyor belt and which deployed similar logics of individuation, regulated (im)mobility and unthinking, disciplined habit. This paper returns to the early years of the Underground escalator to explore what was at stake within this administrative technology and how it reconfigured the historic relationship between architecture, the Underground environment, and corporeal patterns of movement and attention.

Biography: Richard Hornsey is Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies at the University of the West of England, Bristol, and the author of The Spiv and the Architect: Unruly Life in Postwar London (University of Minnesota Press, 2010). He is currently working on a project about the bureaucratisation of movement in interwar London, including an exploration of the administrative choreographies then being built into the Underground. His article ‘Listening to the Tube Map: Rhythm and the Historiography of Urban Map Use’ is coming out in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space in August 2012.

To listen to this podcast click here.

 

Managing your research: from creating to sharing

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shutterstock_120033487To be effective researchers historians must learn skills to enable them to manage their research processes so that everything they do is recoverable, usable, and useful. This workshop is intended to help postgraduate students and early career researchers to think more about what it is they do, to learn about digital tools that can help them become better and more efficient historians, and to recognise the importance of being able to share that research in terms of both the data/research gathered and in terms of publishing.

This workshop looks at various aspects of the research process, providing guidance, ideas, and training in how to be more efficient and better at the research that you do. It is part of the History DMT (data management training) project between the Institute of Historical Research (London); the Department of History (Hull); and the Humanities Research Institute (Sheffield). The workshop is FREE and refreshments, including lunch are available.

To register for the workshop please fill in a booking form on the Institute of Historical Research website.

 A number of bursaries are available to help with travel costs so please indicate if you are interested in one of these in your application. 

Morning

10.30                     Coffee & registration

11.00                     Introduction (Matt Phillpott)

11.15                     Researchers projects – managing their data

11.45                     Bibliographical Tools

12.15                     Practical activity

13.00                     Lunch

Afternoon

14.00                     Sharing Data

14.30                     Open Access

15.00                     Break

15.15                     Practical Activity

16.00                     Conclusion

16.30                     Workshop ends

This is the second of three workshops for the History DMT project. The previous workshop was held in Hull in December (see this previous blog post for full details). The third will be held in Sheffield in April. Each session is intended as a standalone; however, if you attend more than one session we believe that this would be highly beneficial.

Location: Senate House (University of London)

Date: 27 February 2014

Time: 10.30am-4.30pm

Places are limited. To reserve a place please fill in the booking form here. If you would like to learn more about the workshop then please contact Matt Phillpott at matt.phillpott@sas.ac.uk who is happy to help.

Notes from the Underground: Seamus Heaney’s ‘District and Circle’

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Going Underground: Travel Beneath the Metropolis 1863-2013
17 January 2013
Tom Herron
Notes from the Underground: Seamus Heaney’s ‘District and Circle’

 

Seamus Heaney in 1970 (wikipedia)

Seamus Heaney in 1970 (wikipedia)

Abstract: When we think of Seamus Heaney we tend to turn to the landscapes of his native Co. Derry, to the anxious negotiations of identity and national affiliation articulated via his poetry, to his attempts to situate the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’ within a mythological continuum that stretches back to Iron Age times. While it is true that the ‘matter’ of Ireland has remained at or near the centre of his poetry for over forty years, other locations have in fact figured prominently and persistently in his work. One of these locations is London; more specifically, the London Underground. In some respects it is not surprising that the Underground has featured in the work of a poet who has constantly been drawn to what lies beneath the visible ground, has been drawn to the land as a repository of objects, histories, and cultural memories. Heaney is also a poet who has regularly sensed analogies between contemporary local concerns and universal patterns – most obviously in his frequent recourse to classical myth.

It is the argument of this paper that Heaney’s poems of the Underground extend these propensities to look down into land and to draw upon myth. But more importantly I argue that the poems, especially ‘District and Circle’ published in the immediate aftermath of the July 2005 attacks on the London Transport system, forge what I term a poetics of tube travel fully cognizant of the protocols, the anxieties, and the understated but definably present sense of commonality (in fact, an ethics of travel) foregrounded in the era of perceived terrorist threat and counter-terrorist measures. In staging an absolutely quotidian journey on the Underground, Heaney invokes a tremendously vivid range of memories, sensations, histories, and mythological echoes, to reveal what is at stake in any journey by tube beneath the capital. Heaney’s ‘actual’ journey on the District and Circle lines are inevitably coloured by the innumerable journeys his poems and translation have made featured as they have been (several times in fact) on the Poems on the Underground posters. This sense of literary circulation as complement to his actual journeying is something I will also consider in this paper.

 

Biography: Tom Herron is lecturer in English and Irish Literature at Leeds Metropolitan University. Author of After Bloody Sunday: representation, ethic, justice (Cork UP, 2007) and editor of Harrowing of the Heart: the poetry of Bloody Sunday (Guildhall Press, 2008) and the new edition of Louis MacNeice’s I Crossed the Minch (Polygon, 2007), he has recently completed an edited collection of critical essays for Bloomsbury entitled Irish Writing London (2012). He has written numerous articles on Irish literature and culture and is currently working on a monograph exploring the place of poetry within the public sphere.

To listen to this podcast click here.

Harrington, petitioning and the construction of public opinion

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Harrington, petitioning and the construction of public opinion
Edward Vallance (University of Roehampton)
Franco-British History seminar
8 November 2012

Abstract: Historians have noted that the republic depicted in Harrington’s ’Oceana’ (1656) allowed little room for political debate beyond the confines of the senate. However, ‘Oceana’ did permit the localities to petition Parliament, allowing some channel for the expression of the popular voice, albeit in a form framed by the phylarchs, ‘the princes of the Tribes’. The Harringtonian circle itself engaged in petitioning activity in 1659, as the restoration of the Rump Parliament in May 1659 revived hopes of a new republican constitution. These political interventions were part of a wider petitioning campaign by the ‘well-affected’ in support of a republican settlement. Ruth Mayers, in her work on the revived English Commonwealth, has argued that these petitions provide   evidence of popular support for the republic. However, Harrington’s own view of the value of this petitioning activity, as expressed in Valerius and Publicola (1659) was much more pessimistic, seeing the exercise as essentially fruitless.

Harrington_-_Oceana_(Toland_1737)

Harrington’s disappointment was understandable: the petitioning activity of 1659 bore little resemblance to the orderly scheme of political communication from periphery to centre mapped in ‘Oceana’. The cliques of the   ‘well-affected’ who submitted supportive petitions represented both a far more exclusive political constituency than the Harringtonians had hoped would be involved in settling a new Commonwealth, and a far more varied cross-section of the political nation than the ’natural aristocracy’ that Harrington believed alone had the right to ‘debate’. Moreover, this petitioning activity was arguably orchestrated by the Rump and its propagandists rather than representing grassroots support for the Commonwealth. Nonetheless, this paper will suggest that the use of petitioning in 1659 to legitimate both the government and its programme set an important precedent that was followed by the Crown into the Restoration era.

To listen to this podcast click here.

The East India Company at Home: Domestic Interiors, Public Histories and Material Cultures

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The East India Company at Home: Domestic Interiors, Public Histories and Material Cultures
Margot Finn (University College London)
Franco-British History seminar
28 February 2013

sezinccote houseAbstract: The East India Company at Home, Domestic Interiors, Public Histories & Material Cultures’ discusses the context and preliminary findings of a 3-year collaborative research project based in the History Department at University College London.  In recent decades, the Georgian country house has featured in films, television, tourism and history as an icon of ‘Englishness’ (and, to a lesser extent, of Scottish, Welsh and British identities).  This project contrasts this narrowly national representation of the Georgian country house to the increasingly ‘global’ forces that shaped country house construction, purchasing and furnishing in the Georgian era.  Its focus is on both ‘Oriental’ luxury objects and the significance of the country home and its furnishings for the families of the English East India Company.  How did the aspiration for an ‘English’ home sustain Company men’s participation in colonialism in India?  How (and why) were Indian fortunes domesticated through the purchase of country houses in Britain? What role did Chinese, Indian and Japanese luxuries play in building effective country houses?  Addressing these issues has involved the East India Company at Home team in new forms of collaboration, new forms of public history, aimed at illuminating the global underpinnings of British national identities.

To listen to this podcast click here.

Rethinking Historical Research in the Digital Age: A TEI Approach

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Charles de Valois, engraving by Pierre Daret (1610-1657)

Charles de Valois, engraving by Pierre Daret (1610-1657)

Rethinking Historical Research in the Digital Age: A TEI Approach, Camille Desenclos (ENC, Sorbonne)
Digital History seminar (9 October 2012)

Abstract: Historical research cannot be conceived without a close relation to physical text:  paper is still the main source. However the emergence and subsequent multiplication of digital technologies within the historical field have tended to modify the examination of sources. This change is particularly apparent for text editions: how is one to manage the transfer from the manuscript age to a digital one? Can sources be understood and analysed without physical support?

This paper will be based on experiences of using electronic editions of early modern texts, specifically diplomatic correspondences such as L’ambassade extraordinaire du duc d’Angoulême, comte de Béthune et abbé de Préaux vers les princes et potentats de l’Empire. TEI, a XML-based language, has been chosen for those editions. Using such a structured language – a far cry from the plain text created by classical text editors – implies changing the conception of what an edition is. We need not just think about texts anymore but only about the historical information contained within the text and which has to be highlighted in terms of the research. This requires researchers to think more about what they want and what they want to show in their studies. Above all, it allows researchers to track specific features such as diplomatic formulas and then to facilitate their analysis.

The aim of this talk is to ask if and how digital technologies have changed how historians view sources and even if they have changed the historical studies themselves; how TEI can be used to create new kind of editions. This paper will try to show how, if well used, TEI and digital technologies highlight and add to the results of historical studies.

Biography:  Camille Desenclos is currently completing her PhD at the École nationale des Chartes where she is also engaged in leading several projects to create electronic editions of medieval and early modern texts including an edition of the correspondance of Antoine du Bourg. Her PhD is entitled ‘The Communication Policy of France in the Holy Roman Empire at the beginning of the Thirty Years War (1617-1624)’. A fundamental part of her PhD research includes creating electronic editions and the encoding and ciphering of diplomatic correspondence and structures in related medieval charters. Camille has given numerous conference papers largely concentrating on the Text Encoding Initiative and its application to her research. She was also a Visiting Researcher at the Department of Digital Humanities (DDH) at King’s last year. An electronic edition of the ‘Ambassade extraordinaire des duc d’Angoulême, comte de Béthune et abbé de Préaux’ which she has written will be available online shortly.

To listen or watch this podcast go here.