Friday, 8 December 2017

Digital and tangible sketchbooks: my postgraduate research


My postgraduate research into the collection and accessibility of sketchbooks in the UK's galleries, libraries, archives and museums, which has kept me busy for the past 12 months, is now finished and published online. (Cue the sound of popping corks.) You can find it on Humanities Commons at:

http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6H240

[Update: I am happy to say that it has won the RT Bottle Prize, which is awarded by City, University of London to an outstanding library science dissertation contributing to professional practice.]

Its appeal may be a bit niche. Essentially, it's about how sketchbooks can be found and accessed in the UK's institutions. To do this, I interviewed a handful of people, mainly artists, about their experiences of going into the archives to research sketchbooks, and then sent a questionnaire to sketchbook-holding institutions about how they are collected and accessed – a magnificent 55 of these responded. The sketchbooks weren't just those that belonged to artists, but also those of designers, filmmakers, engineers, architects and others.

Arranging to see and handle sketchbooks in an archival situation requires a bit of forward-planning and organisation, but getting your hands on them can reveal their contents more fully than when they are viewed as printed reproductions or digitally. To hold them and turn their pages in your hands is to better understand them.

But there are many digitised sketchbooks available online that don't require you to head out to the archive to view them in person. Digitisation broadens accessibility to a global scale, and more and more institutions are turning towards sharing their sketchbooks this way: the Hunterian, Glasgow, the Henry Moore Institute, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and Tate Archive are examples of those that show them online. There are, of course, many more.




7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you... I am now perusing some of the linked pages!

James Hobbs said...

There are some great sketchbooks out there to be unearthed and enjoyed, Kate, both digitally and in the flesh.

Angela Brew said...

HI. I posted this on International Drawing and Cognition Research Facebook. Thanks for all the links! i look forward to perusing. Angie Brew

James Hobbs said...

Thanks, Angie!

Karina Kuschnir said...

Congratulations on your research! I am very much interested in reading it thoroughly. I have some articles on the benefits of drawing during fieldwork. I'll post the link in my identity profile here, so blogger doesn't think I am a spamer. ;-)

James Hobbs said...

Thanks for the link, Karina. I'm similarly interested in what you have written.

Karina Kuschnir said...

thanks!