Archives offer a wealth of information and insight into the past, particularly when digitised and aggregated with metadata. Nonetheless, they remain collections of static objects or datasets, and in so doing lose much of their contextualisation. This is particularly the case with postcards, which are fundamentally intended as a flow of information. At the centenary of the First World War, interest in commemoration has increased alongside an awareness that any memory of the period is inherently secondary. This loss of direct experience mimics the loss of motion in archival artefacts such as postcards, which become isolated snapshots if cut off from their narratives. How, then, can we re-engage with this journey and reinsert the vital quality of movement into archives?
Return to Sender proposes an original, dynamic visualisation of the Postcards collection within the Europeana 1914-1918 thematic archive. This will involve the creation of an interactive map of the postcard archive’s metadata to plot the artefacts’ transnational movement and explore the resulting narratives of war and the memory thereof.
The project is kindly funded by the Europeana Research Grant Programme and includes an interdisciplinary team of researchers at the intersection of culture, history and technology. The main outputs of the project will include the map itself as well as research on: transnational movement during WWI; issues surrounding archives and cultural memory; and postcards as a medium in the digital age. The work will be presented at a range of academic and public events.
Lecturer in French, Coventry University
Postdoctoral Researcher, Solent University
BA History, Coventry University
As part of our commitment to engaging with academic researchers, archivists and the public, we will present the project at a number of events.
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