Live Brief case study: Churchill Archives Centre

ARU History students

ARU students from the BA History course participated in a Live Brief with partner organisation Churchill Archives Centre.

The brief:

Students were asked to contribute to a two-day international conference on diary-keeping and making organised by Churchill Archives Centre, held at Churchill College, Cambridge and online.

The students placed chosen diary materials in historical context and considered issues around digitisation and presentation (including copyright clearance), and the problems of interpretation and presentation of this material.

How the Live Brief benefited Churchill Archives Centre:

Students curated an online exhibition titled Keeping and Making Diaries: historical sources and perspectives, produced to coincide with the two-day conference.

Allen Packwood, Director of the Churchill Archives Centre, said:

“It was a real pleasure to work with the students on the selection and interpretation of our archival material.

“They brought a lively enthusiasm to the project, and it was fascinating to see their personal reactions to the original diaries.

“We learned a lot about our holdings and benefitted enormously from seeing them through new eyes.”

How the Live Brief benefited ARU students:

ARU BA History students Hattie Seager-Pope and Hanah Ansari described their Live Brief experiences and the positive impact they felt it brought for them:

Hattie Seager-Pope, BA History student

I really enjoyed doing the Live Brief. We worked in small groups with a mentor from the Churchill Archives Centre to pick out diaries from their collection.

“Our diaries then went into their online exhibition that also went alongside a conference. It was very interesting as we got to learn how an archive works and we got to learn about handling documents.

“Picking a diary, we had to look through the online archive and choose a few diaries. We then looked through them and wrote about the diary and who wrote it.

“It really helped me when thinking about my future career and I will be doing some volunteering with them in the future in conservation.”

Hanah Ansari, BA History student

“Taking part in the Live Brief with Churchill Archives Centre was a fantastic and eye-opening opportunity for me!

“It not only provided me with the key skills of working with archive material – in preparation for researching my dissertation in my third year – but it also gave me an insight as to what it is like working with an archive, advancing my knowledge of the job market and employability with a history degree after ARU.

“Part of the project involved launching an online exhibition with the archive centre and via this I gained work experience, as well as a greater understanding of how to interpret and use primary sources, as a history student at ARU.

“I feel very fortunate to have been able to take part in this opportunity and really enjoyed learning about archived diaries.”