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Archives and Writing Lives

Archives and Writing Lives

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Funded by:  AHRC

Main contact:  Dr Alison Wiggins

Start date:  2017

End date:  2019

Subject area:
English Language - School of Critical Studies, College of Arts

The AHRC Archives and Writing Lives Project considers how we access and analyse handwritten historical documents in the digital age and the next steps for the future. The way we use archival sources (letters, inventories, legal documents, receipts, wage lists and financial accounts) has undergone profound changes in recent decades as a result of the web and digitisation. Yet many challenges remain. Vast areas of the archive, in fact, most historical documents remain unread and unanalysed. Furthermore, in certain respects, the web could be said simply to replicate certain older research paradigms, rather than transform them. Where should our priorities lie next? How do we bring to life lesser-known and never-read archival materials and shed light on their traces of past lives? Archives and Writing Lives focuses on Early Modern handwritten archival sources. These are an especially challenging category of archival material, being both voluminous in quantity and difficult to decipher and interpret.