People gathered at the first Archives and Access project training and practice sharing workshop in Wales

Activity at the training and practice sharing workshop
© Tate

One of my roles has been to plan and now to support the digital photography or scanning of 52,000 items of archive material that constitute part of the Archive & Access project which aims to deliver greater access and understanding to archive material linked to various artists in specific areas of the UK.

Part of the project is a series of learning outreach projects with partner organisations in different parts of the UK. Earlier this year a group of us from Tate worked with the Josef Herman Art Foundation Cymru in Ystradgynlais to run a training and practice sharing workshop to share skills and experience to support the first of these projects Mining Josef Herman.

Thorny subjects and short time frames

During the workshops, many topics were covered - supported by discussions and activities, enjoyed by all.

My part was to explain the digital capture process and raise issues which are commonly faced when a project of this type is being planned and executed.

I had a short slot to cover a wide range of issues including planning a schedule, recruiting a capture team, researching and purchasing equipment and so on. I explained the reasoning behind my planning decisions and how it related to the project and more importantly how it could relate to a project such as Mining Josef Herman.

Thorny subjects where touched on like budgets, quality standards, colour management, preservation, which camera and lenses to choose, PC or Mac computers, and monitor calibration. Image capture and output sizes and formats were looked at, both of which can dictate equipment needed and ultimately the resources required.

As you can imagine, the short time frame made it tricky to discuss these topics thoroughly, so what I hoped to show at least was how to employ a step-by-step approach for effective project planning. Did I achieve this? I don’t know. Feedback and questions were good but thank goodness for the printed handout [PDF, 194 Kb]!

Bringing the project to life

The surprising part of the visit for me was that it brought the project to life for the first time. I learnt more about Josef Herman in two days than I had ever known before.

Best of all I learned about the extraordinary people of this area of Wales and the fierce pride of place, culture and community which exists and flourishes here.

The Tate team and other invited participants were made to feel extremely welcome, and we look forward with pleasure to further involvement with Mining Josef Herman.