Archives offer a wealth of information and insight into the past, particularly when digitised and aggregated with metadata. Nonetheless, they remain collections of static objects or datasets, and in so doing lose much of their contextualisation. This is particularly the case with postcards, which are fundamentally intended as a flow of information. At the centenary of the First World War, interest in commemoration has increased alongside an awareness that any memory of the period is inherently secondary. This loss of direct experience mimics the loss of motion in archival artefacts such as postcards, which become isolated snapshots if cut off from their narratives. How, then, can we re-engage with this journey and reinsert the vital quality of movement into archives?
Return to Sender proposes an original, dynamic visualisation of the Postcards collection within the Europeana 1914-1918 thematic archive. This will involve the creation of an interactive website through digital mapping of the postcard archive’s metadata to plot the artefacts’ transnational movement and explore the resulting narratives of war and the memory thereof. This talk will discuss the context and development of the research project, as well as giving an interactive demonstration of an initial version of the platform.
Dr Elizabeth Benjamin, Lecturer in French, Coventry University
TS401, The Spark
This seminar is organised and run by Solent's Culture, Media and Place research group