I used the British Library’s music collections for my doctoral work and had always found their holdings fascinating and benefited from the help of curators. I was therefore excited to work in the Library as part of the collaborative project Delius, Modernism, and the Sound of Place.
My task was to use Frederick Delius’s manuscripts to create a digital thematic catalogue of his music: what became The Delius Catalogue of Works. When I started work on the catalogue, I was able to form a collaborative relationship with curators, learning about cataloguing, purchasing of collections and all manner of things from colleagues. I was delighted when this resource won the BL Labs Research Award in 2018.
During this project, I became interested in the problem of making music manuscripts more accessible to a public who may not have easy access to them and who may not read music. I worked with music curators to build a follow-on project – Digital Delius - which would create a digital exhibition of Delius’s manuscripts with explanatory articles, letters, audio clips, and other items that could bring the manuscripts to life. This exhibition became part of the Library’s Discovering Music web resource (you can read my article on 'Delius in performance' here).
I am now working again with the British Library on a new project looking at Elgar’s manuscripts, through which we aim to create more digital resources to bring audiences closer to the Library’s music collections. Working with the British Library offers so much scope for combining original research with work that engages wider audiences. This keeps me coming back for more projects!