I’m Sarah Cole, Director of Time/Image – a heritage and collections consultancy based in London.
Time/Image predominantly works to enhance historical and cultural collections through research, digitisation, curation, creative promotion, and improved online presence. We work with all forms of archives, though moving image collections are our speciality. Our goal is to maximise the opportunities for access, exploration, and engagement.
A typical example of our work is the British Council Film Collection – a joint project between the British Council, the British Film Institute, Google, and Time/Image.
When Time/Image first encountered this collection, it was simply as a list of titles and dates. Over 18 months, we worked to research, digitise, catalogue, and provide content around this remarkable film archive. In May 2012 the collection became available for the public to watch and download for free, receiving overwhelming positive press and vast numbers of viewers.
Experimenting independently with modes of engagement, Time/Image was the main contributor at a pop-up ‘shop’ in Exmouth Market, London. This two-week event was held in partnership with the charity New Deal of the Mind and organisation Meanwhile Space. The former shop was set up as a museum of local history featuring both films and static visual media, and encouraged members of the public to share their own histories and interact with archive materials.
I am currently working on a broad Knowledge Exchange Fellowship with the Centre for Advanced Studies at the University of Nottingham, allowing me to work across different CEKE projects and to work with other CEKE fellows. My aims are to:
- Explore common themes and connections between the different CEKE projects under the ‘Archives, Assets, and Audiences’ umbrella.
- Bring my experiences of film and engagement methods to a range of CEKE projects.
- Explore and develop the ‘Blink’ idea (a concept for a framework for cross-domain ‘tours’ of online content, with heavy focus on user interactivity and narrative) as a means of curating a digital trail through online sources.
- To explore the theme of digital and physical user curation and contribution, across both the other CEKE projects and the wider heritage sector.
- Explore the ‘pop-up’ exhibition shop as one of the possible outcomes of the CEKE project.
I have thus far been focussing on the the pop-up exhibition and exploring cross-project links as well as the way in which various themes manifest – or don’t – in each project.
The latter of these has involved interviewing as many participants as possible to get a feel for the projects, what challenges they’re facing, and what issues they are addressing. It has been unexpectedly interesting to speak to different members of any given project, as individuals do not always have the same motivations or interests as their colleagues, despite their common goals. Other interesting points to emerge so far are the differences of approach between projects that have a more academic focus and those which are technology focussed, as well as the prominent theme of visitor experience in all projects I have explored to date.
With regards to the pop-up exhibition, we have made good progress, and are currently looking at occupying a large, currently unused shop space on Carlton Street in conjunction with a bigger scheme that’s being organised by the Creative Quarter. The idea is that the space will be used as a temporary exhibition space – probably for about a week – at the end of the year where all the ‘Archives, Assets, and Audiences’ projects can display or represent their work to the public. This would be a particularly great location as it’s in the Lace Market area, which relates to a number of the projects who would exhibit there.
This arrangement is looking promising, but I’m hoping to have a more definite idea of whether we’ll be able to use the space in the very near future.
My exploration of the ‘Blink’ concept continues (though largely with non-CEKE parties) and I am keen to speak to anyone with thoughts about digital curation, user curation, data trails, and narrative.
I am also assisting the Malt Cross project in locating and retrieving film archive material.
I am hoping to speak to many more projects in the next few weeks, and I would be immensely grateful if those of you I haven’t spoken to yet would get in touch.
I am happy to hold interviews in person, via Skype, or over the phone at your convenience.
I’m also interested to hear everyone’s thoughts on the pop-up exhibition, such as whether you think the concept will work with your project and what you might like to display.