We have long had an ambition to make this Digital Media blog more accessible by adding audio versions. Since lockdown began in March, most of our day-to-day library-based digitisation activities have been re-jigged so that we can do them remotely. A silver lining to the change of pace is that the team have had to design alternative activities that volunteers can do at home. These activities are all aligned with the aims of the project, and also fit around people’s changed schedules alongside the stress and difficulty of lockdown.
One such opportunity has been to record audio versions of blog posts. We have been wary that not everyone can participate in volunteering from home because of a lack of the right equipment. However, audio recording is something that a lot of people can do using something they carry around in their pockets every day. Most phones now have free voice recording apps, which, combined with some tweaks to the home recording environment, produce a pretty good sound.
Posts on social media from journalists and podcasters show that almost anyone can create a makeshift recording studio: crouching under duvets, throwing blankets over children’s bunk-beds, or making a pillow fort all suddenly become very serious, professional activities!
Our volunteers really rose to the challenge! Pictured below are John and Tanya: John rearranged furniture to create his home studio, while Tanya went for the old fashioned duvet-over-the-head approach. Other volunteers used a cheaply-available yet extremely effective clip-on mic, or nestled in a walk-in wardrobe – anything to reduce the ‘sound of silence’ (all rooms have a drone or buzz!), external noises, and echo.
We also held an audio skills video chat, and volunteers shared their recording tips (smile as you read) and pitfalls (prop the duvet up on a clothes horse for much-needed ventilation) with each other. A huge thank you to Norman, Tanya’s partner, who is a vocal and performance coach, who shared some brilliant advice on breathing and speaking clearly https://sway.office.com/EsjdpNM0H7uPbtgC?ref=Link.
With the outtakes now on the cutting room floor (I admit I have had an empathetic giggle at some of the frustrated noises, self-coaching, and occasional cursing that comes with making a recording) the first wave of 25 recordings are now available to listen to!
A huge, enormous thank you to everyone who wrote the blogs to begin with. And a massive cheer and many thanks to everyone who read them so beautifully: Amanda Roberts, Anna Thompson, Ben Britton, Bill Bryant, Christopher Williams, Elena Vardon, Francesca Humi, Francesca Nardone, Gill Stoker, John Ramsey, Peyton Cherry, Sam Cheney, Tanya Goodman-Bailey, and Verity Babbs.
Behind-the-scenes of the Digitisation project
- On Digitising at the Courtauld, written by Mary Caple, read by Tanya Goodman-Bailey
- Who made the Conway Library?, written by Faye Fornasier, read by Gill Stoker
- Camera Obscured, written by Mary Caple, read by Anna Thompson
- Beautiful Damaged Negatives, written by Faye Fornasier, read by Elena Vardon
- Unexpected Music in the Conway Library, written by Ferhat Ulusu, read by Christopher Williams
- Interpreting the Conway Library with BeyondAutism, written by Sarah Way, read by Gill Stoker
- Agnes Conway, written by John Ramsey, read by Amanda Roberts
Modernist and post-war architecture
- Modernity in the Conway, written by Lorraine Stoker, read by Anna Thompson
- Finsbury, Lubetkin’s Socialist Utopia, written by Aya Bolt, read by Christopher Williams
- Contested Spaces: capturing modernist architecture in postcolonial India, written by Corinna Summers, read by Christopher Williams
- “I suppose it’s not the place’s fault”, Stevenage and creative collages, words and art by Sophie Baliey, read by Elena Vardon
- “The New Towns are no longer new”, Basildon in the Conway Archive, written and read by Ben Britton
- The Man Who Wasn’t There, written by Alia Ahmad, read by Francesca Humi
- Looking through different laws of landscape, written by Alia Ahmad, read by Verity Babbs
- Meeting the photographer’s gaze: Kersting in Nepal, written and read by Sam Cheney
- Kersting’s Modern Quirks: a visual (and audio described!) essay, written and read by Verity Babbs
- Journey through materiality: Communicating familiarity and distance in Kersting’s portraits, written and read by Peyton Cherry
- Kersting and the Picturesque, written by Irma Delmonte, read by John Ramsey
- Anthony Kersting, Canary Wharf, And The Removal Of The Fat Cat, written by Jessie Palmer, read by David Brown
- Castle Howard and Brideshead Revisited, written and read by John Ramsey
See the world through the eyes of Conway photographs
- Vignetting in Archive Photographs, written by Mark Long, read by Bill Bryant
- A love affair with Canada, written by Sabrina Gardiner, read by Tanya Goodman-Bailey
- The Church of St James the Great, South Leigh, written and read by John Ramsey
- The Steiner guide to Steiner, a mini Waldorf textbook, created by Tallulah Griffith, read by Gill Stoker
- The Wellington Arch, written and read by John Ramsey
- Catching the photographer, written by Isabella Lill, read by Anna Thompson
- The Oxen of Laon Cathedral, written and read by John Ramsey
- Winning and Losing: photographs of works of art, written by Lara Drew, read by Francesca Nardone
- A Sculpture in Canterbury Cathedral, written and read by John Ramsey
- The Serene Beauty Of Robert Byron’s Isfahan, written by Sophie Buckman, read by Christopher Williams
You can also listen to the audio versions of the blog on a range of podcast services, see our Anchor.fm profile for the full list: https://anchor.fm/courtauld-digitisation.
Or you listen right here on the Spotify player embedded just below! Happy listening!
Courtauld Connects Volunteer Officer