Cross-Cutting Theme

(Re)Presenting the Archive

Tuesday 28th May 2013
Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield
For instructions on how to find the HRI, please follow this link.

St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 51, p. 78 – Irish Evangelary from St. Gall (Quatuor evangelIn a Higher Education context where “originality” in research is increasingly valorised, what place is there for explicitly re-presentational practices such as scholarly editing and curating? At first glance, the REF2014 landscape would seem favourable. The panel guidelines recognise “scholarly editions”, “databases” and “electronic resources” as outputs, and promote “the creation of archival or specialist collections to support the research infrastructure”. Edition and curation also produce tangible results—including printed and digital texts, catalogues and exhibitions—that can ‘impact’ beyond the academy, preserving and presenting materials for a general audience. But what is the value of these activities and how can it be measured? How will REF2014—with its categories of “originality”, “significance” and “rigour”—judge the editor and curator?

This symposium will address such topical debates, interrogating theories and practices of editing and curation alongside methodological questions raised by innovation in the digital humanities. The relationship between editing, curating and pedagogical practices will also be addressed, and we will ask how scholars working with archival materials might learn from those working outside Higher Education (e.g. how do museums and galleries (re)present the archive?).

Image: St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 51, p. 78 – Irish Evangelary from St. Gall (Quatuor evangelia) (

Questions and topics to consider include:

W(h)ither editing and curation?

  • Accessibility and posterity
  • Beyond HE: editors and curators in dialogue
  • Beyond HE: ‘impacts’ of editing and curation
  • Curating, anthologising and corpora
  • Editing, curating and pedagogy
  • Histories of editing and curation
  • Inediting: manuscripts in the digital age
  • REF2014 and the ‘value’ of editing
  • Theatre and the archive: curating performance and editing playtexts?


  • Corpora building
  • Critics and linguists as editors
  • Digital humanities
  • Materiality and the archive: editing and curation beyond text (e.g. objects and ‘thing theory’)
  • Classical, medieval and early modern vs. modern editing practices; non-Anglophone editorial practices
  • Theorising the archive
  • Theorising editing and curation

Registration is free for University of Sheffield staff and students. External delegates will be charged a registration fee of £10.

We will be awarding three bursaries of up to £50 for postgraduate students travelling to Sheffield from other universities. If you would like to apply for one of these bursaries, please send a 250 word account of how this event will support and inform your research to by 1 May 2013. Bursaries will be awarded on the basis of distance travelled and academic ‘fit’.


Registration is now open.

Symposium Delegates: External
Please register at the University of Sheffield Online Shop

Symposium Delegates: Internal
Please register by sending an email to:

Archives Masterclass Delegates: External and Internal
If you are a postgraduate student or early career researcher and would like to attend the pre-symposium archives masterclass, please reserve a place by emailing Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

If you have any further questions or would like more information, please contact:


9:30 Archives Masterclass PGR training with Richard Steadman Jones (Sheffield), Jessica Dubow (Sheffield) and Sophie Baldock (Sheffield)
10:30 Registration and Coffee
10:45 Keynote:
Tony Edwards (Kent)
Filling the Archive
11:45 Coffee
12:00 Panel: Teaching, performing, transforming

‘Nothing goes to waste. Performance process and the archival metaphor’ 
Terry O’Connor (Sheffield/Forced Entertainment)

From Hacking the Book to Folios and File Formats: embedding digital literacy in the history of the ‘book
James Mussell (Birmingham)

How do we build it so that they will come? Editing Bess of Hardwick’s Letters Online
Alison Wiggins (Glasgow)

13:30 Lunch (Not Provided)
14:15 Roundtable: (Re)Presenting texts and things: curation, editing and public engagement Matt Cheeseman (Sheffield), Wim Van Mierlo (School of Advanced Study, University of London), Amy Ryall (Sheffield) and Cathy Shrank (Sheffield)
15:45 Coffee
16:00 Keynote
Fiona Douglas (Leeds)
The Archive: Corpus, Repository, or Catalyst?
17:00 Wine Reception