Hidden Histories: Gaps and Silences in the Archive

Kate Williams

For more information

  • This event has taken place
  • Tel: +44 (0)1937 546546
  • Email: boxoffice@bl.uk
  • Full Price: £15.00 Member: £15.00 Under 18: £10.00 Other concessions available

How do historians, researchers and novelists interpret and account for the gaps in historical and modern archives?

How do you construct a historical narrative when you don’t have all the facts? To celebrate the launch of The US-UK Fulbright Commission Archive at the British Library, join historian and author Kate Williams, academics Tony Badger and Caroline Bressey, and British Library cataloguer Eleanor Casson, as they discuss archival research, the politics and practices of using archives and the purpose and value they have for historians, researchers and novelists.

Hear each member of the panel speak on their work and experience of archival research, whether for creative or academic purposes, followed by a moderated discussion on the types of gaps and absences that can occur in the historical record, how these gaps can occur whether shaped by the effects of time and deterioration of material or even loss through administrative error. They also address the influence of current laws and legislation, such as the Data Protection Act and the Official Secrets Act, on the availability of modern records.

Kate Williams is a historian, author and broadcaster. She is the author of several acclaimed historical biographies the latest being Josephine: Desire, Ambition, Napoleon as well as historical fiction including The Storms of War and The Edge of the Fall. Kate has worked extensively on press, radio and television discussing social history, royal history and general politics and culture.

Tony Badger is an academic and historian specialising in post-World War II Southern American political history. He was a Fulbright Scholar in 1984, the Paul Mellon Professor of American History at the University of Cambridge, and the Master of Clare College, Cambridge. He is now Professor in American History at the University of Northumbria and the President of the Historical Association at the University of Cambridge. He has also undertaken the role of Independent Reviewer for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office overseeing the release of previously closed records.

Caroline Bressey is an academic and lecturer in the Department of Geography, UCL whose research focuses on the Black Presence in Victorian Britain, especially London, and ideas of race, racism, early anti-racist theory and identity in Victorian society. She has worked as a curator with the National Portrait Gallery and the Museum of London Docklands. In 2009 she was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize and in 2013 Bloomsbury published her award-winning biography of Catherine Impey, Empire, Race and the Politics of Anti-Caste.

Eleanor Casson is the cataloguer for the Fulbright Archive at the British Library and has been working on the collection for nine months. She is a qualified archivist and records manager, with experience working as a Heritage Assistant at a Local Borough Archive and has also volunteered at the Design Museum and the National Portrait Gallery.

Jane Winters is the Chair for the evening’s discussion, she is Professor of Digital Humanities at the School of Advanced Study. Jane is responsible for developing the digital humanities department, some of her interests include digital history, web archives, and open access publishing. She has led or co-directed a number of digital projects, including most recently a web archiving project ‘Big UK Domain Data for Arts and Humanities’, she is also a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a member of the Research Infrastructure for the study of the Archived Web (RESAW).

Sponsored by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library in collaboration with the US-UK Fulbright Commission

Image: Kate Williams


Name: Hidden Histories: Gaps and Silences in the Archive
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: Full Price: £15.00
Member: £15.00
Senior 60+: £12.00
Student: £10.00
Registered Unemployed: £10.00
Under 18: £10.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546