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A window on working together: librarians, academic staff and displays

Over the last few years the Education Library Team have used the beautiful Library windows for different kinds of displays from #BeMyBorrower to the #FestiveFeedbackTree.  This academic year we had the exciting opportunity to work collaboratively with academic staff in devising window and Library displays of material linked to conferences and Faculty research themes.

Peter Cunningham, who has research interests in the social and cultural history of education and is an Emeritus Fellow at Homerton College, approached the Library Team about creating a display for the Dewey conference – here’s the result:

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The Library houses a curated archive of texts with relevance to the history and development of education. Within this archive, Peter found a number of titles which demonstrated the influence of Dewey’s works on education and those writing about it.  The Library Team worked with Peter to compile significant titles into a timeline for display in the Library.

The collaboration on this project also included the Rare Books Department at Cambridge University Library who kindly lent copies of key Dewey texts for display.

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The project also fostered collaboration with local schools and we were delighted to host works of art from Wroxham School and the University Primary School in displays in the Library:

 

There was wider engagement from the international academic and education community during the conference itself and the Library Team found it extremely rewarding to show attendees the dedicated Dewey display in the Library.  Some kindly made donations to the Library too!

 

The lasting legacy of this shared enterprise was the installation of permanent double-sided display boards within the Library celebrating the impact of Dewey on educational theory and relating Dewey to the work of the Library within the Faculty.

dewew board inside

Following on from this success, we were contacted by Dr Arathi Sriprakash about creating a window display to highlight her race justice research as Arathi explains below:

“The Library’s exhibition on Race Justice and Education emerged from a collective of graduate and postdoctoral scholars at the Faculty of Education who are engaged in research on issues of racism in education. We are involved in a number of activities that are helping to establish race justice scholarship in education at the University. Our members have conducted workshops on racism and pedagogy, led teach-ins about Islamophobia, and convened a fortnightly reading group on theories of race and racism. We share our ideas through public engagement, blogs and news outlets, as well as through academic scholarship. And we present our ideas in public forums and seminars.

We wanted to celebrate the work of critical race scholarship that inspires us – which led to the collective curation of the Race Justice and Education exhibition. The texts and authors we have included in the display have – for example – been inspirational figures in black feminist movements, contributed critical perspectives on the political limitations of the concept of ‘diversity’, and brought new ways of understanding the racial dynamics of young people’s lives. Our reading group has recently been discussing the need for decolonised research methodologies and non-western theory in educational research. 

With this exhibition we hope to encourage scholars – both staff and students – to join us in conversation about the possibilities of an anti-racist agenda both in the field of education and in our university itself.

The collective: Amina Shareef, Amberley Middleton, Arathi Sriprakash, Christy Kulz, Michael Meaney, Sharon Walker, Daphne Martschenko, Anna Nti Asari

The Library space was once again transformed with both a physical display within the Library, showcasing the breadth of resources from within our collection, and visual displays on the Library windows.

Race Justice window

Both displays generated a lot of discussion and interest both in person and through our social media channels as can be seen in this Storify.

As part of this discussion, Sara Baker (University Lecturer at the Faculty) posted the following tweet:

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We hope to continue supporting the Faculty through collaborating with academic staff in promoting their research in the future.  Who knows what the Library window will reveal next?

 

 

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