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Alison Cullingford
Subject Librarian:
Alison Cullingford
01274 235256
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Mini biography

I came to Bradford in 2000 in the new post of Special Collections Librarian, initially set up with funding from RSLP to make the important but underused Special Collections better known. I had previously worked at Manchester Metropolitan University and Nottingham University, and studied mediaeval history at York and librarianship at Sheffield. Bradford offered a wonderful opportunity to create a service from scratch and to make a real difference to the experience of users.

I'm also currently seconded part-time to the role of RLUK Unique and Distinctive Collections Project Manager. This is an exciting opportunity to research and help the Special Collections sector in the UK face the challenges of cuts, digitisation and the growing market emphasis in higher education and take advantage of the amazing opportunities open to us. It follows on beautifully from my book, The Special Collections Handbook (Facet, 2011). Keep up with these and other Special Collections professional issues on my own blog, Collections in a Cold Climate, which is all about caring for collections in difficult times.

What I do at Bradford

Put formally, I am here "to develop and exploit the Special Collections of the Library in supporting research and teaching within the University and making the collections more widely accessible to external users". This covers all aspects of managing the collections, including,

  • Strategic development and management of Special Collections, in consultation with academic staff and subject librarians.
  • Preservation and conservation of materials in the Collections.
  • Marketing by cataloguing, descriptions, web and blogs, exhibitions and many other appropriate methods.
  • Service delivery, including dealing with enquiries, visitors, reprographics, digitisation and training of users.
  • Budget management.
  • Management of Special Collections staff and volunteers.
  • Fundraising.
  • Responsibility for legal issues affecting the Collections, eg terms of acquisition, intellectual property, freedom of information and data protection.
  • Space planning for the Collections.
  • Emergency planning for the University Library, and the training of library staff in disaster response.
  • Promoting the University and its collections externally through collaboration with other institutions, potential partners and donors.
  • Project management.
  • Liaison with suppliers.

Selected recent publications and presentations

The Special Collections Handbook, Facet Publishing. November 2011.

100 Objects Bradford. Online exhibition of amazing objects with stories to tell, from Special Collections. 2011-2013.

100 Amazing Objects: share the power of social media. Paper at Northern Exposure conference, 2011.

Article "J.B. Priestley" in Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Literary Fiction. 2010.

Celebrating Jacquetta Hawkes. About a remarkable archaeologist and author, fashionista and eco-campaigner.

Exhibition catalogue, Jacquetta Hawkes exhibit at the Ilkley Literature Festival, October 2010.

Paper on the PaxCat Project for the CILIP Rare Books and Special Collections Conference, September 2010.

Priestley's Finest Hour. Reflections on his inspiring 1940 BBC radio broadcasts, day by day, June-October 2010.

"UK peace activity 1945-1957" in Oxford International Encyclopaedia of Peace. Oxford University Press, 2010.

Past, Present, Man, Nature. Online exhibit about the life and ideas of Jacquetta Hawkes, 2010.

"Marketing English Journey 1934: the story of a remarkable scrapbook" in Priestley, J.B. "English Journey". 75th anniversary edition. Great Northern Books, 2009. Revised version in the Journal of the J.B. Priestley Society vol. 10.

Exhibition catalogue, Gallery II University of Bradford. "Peggy Smith: Drawing for Peace" 2009.

Paper on Priestley's Protests for Conference on Masculine Middlebrow, Senate House, 2009.

J.B. Priestley Society Lecture on "The Priestleys and the Bomb", 2008.

Chapter on J.B. Priestley in Woods, Mike (ed.). "Bradford in the Great War". Sutton, 2007.

Exhibition catalogue, Gallery II University of Bradford: "Art and Archives: the Remarkable Ted Edwards" 2006.