The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Why DO we love Leicester?

Beaconsfield Road, Leicester

Bovril Ghost Sign, off Narborough Road, by Me!

Ceri and I went along to the New History Lab, last Friday, for a really fascinating talk from Colin Hyde, of the East Midlands Oral History Archive (EMOHA), and Cynthia Brown, about why they love Leicester.  Really, you should all come along next time (I'll post the schedule in a bit) - they have tea and cake and pink armbands!!!!

Anyway, Colin's talk particularly fascinated me, because it was illustrated with photographs of Leicester, showing how it has changed and developed over the last hundred years or so.  Malcolm - of the History Lab - has posted a link to one of Colin's EMOHA websites, which documents, by way of photographs and audio recordings, the interiors of some of Leicester's more unusual landmarks; it's barber-shops, cafes and factories.  It's called Semper Eadem (always the same) - for the uninitiated, that's the city of Leicester's motto.  Definitely well worth a look.

Colin's talk also highlighted, for me, the impact of the growth of digital photography and opportunities to store and share images online.  In years to come, social and architectural historians, will have an enormous wealth of visual information available to them.  And not just the big, apparently significant things, but all the small, prosaic, often overlooked stuff; the things that make the city look like it does.  Turns out that Colin is a bit of a ghost sign aficionado, like me.  (I will write about my 'collection' in Collector's Corner soon, promise).  But there are many others documenting the 'minor details' on a regular basis, recognising the importance of its industrial heritage and making the results accessible to all through photo-sharing sites like Flickr.  See here, here, here, here and here for a few examples.  This is why I love Leicester.

The last set of photos are mine, btw.  :)

1 comment:

Ceri said...

It was really fascinating and re-ignited my interest in Leicester, which I have to admit had been waning a bit lately. It confirmed however for me that Leicester has no real interest in its past - not only was much of its historic buildings knocked down in the 60s I was amazed to hear from Cynthia that Leicester has a radical, political past! You would never know that from the museums - most other cities I have been to, including Manchester, Sheffield and Glasgow - celebrate such things in their exhibitions. Yet it was by going to the British Library that I learnt the Chartists were active in Leicester, and this was confirmed at the presentation on Friday. I wonder why this? Leicester however does celebrate the diversity of the city in terms of the population so perhaps they have chosen to concentrate on that.