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Collectors & Collections

October 2007

All the leaves are brown...

Posted by Gareth Bonello on 17 October 2007
2007 will be known for the upside down year, when we had a torrential summer and a golden autumn. I pity the poor fungal foragers who are searching in vain for that elusive mushroom.

I had an interesting comment last time from pbhj, on the 'intriguing' BSL exhibition I mentioned. He asks 'Apart from being minority languages what are the comparison points (between BSL and Welsh)?' Well pbhj, the idea of the exhibition came from the BSL community, and they drew comparisons bewteen the way Welsh has been treated and the way BSL has been treated. For example, Welsh schoolchildren in the 19th century had to wear a Welsh Not and were punished for speaking Welsh. Similarly, BSL speakers were told to sit on their hands so that they couldn't sign. Another comparison was that there is only one BSL school in Wales, so BSL pupils elsewhere have their education through their second language, similar to many Welsh pupils until comparatively recently.

On a lighter note, they wished to draw comparisons between deaf comedians telling jokes about hearing people to Welsh comedians telling jokes about English people, or jokes that only work bilingually. Other aspects came up, and not all to do with the similarities between Welsh and BSL, but that gives a flavour of it.

I don't understand the second part of your comment - are you accusing someone? Firstly, I don't think you can 'over-promote' something, and secondly, Welsh translation is aimed primarily at providing non-Welsh speakers with an understanding of the language. Why is this damaging? And why is it to the detriment of other services? Yes there are BSL/Welsh translators - not many, but they do exist.

Sabrina Rochemont also commented, and asked 'Are there particular areas of interest that you would like our feedback on?' Well, I would like to hear people's opinions on what is 'Contemporary Collecting'. What objects should we target for future preservation, and why. In this world of mass produced things, should we be collecting televisions, computers, mobile phones? If every museum decided to do this, we'd explode at the seams! Another aspect is the community one - asking communities to curate what's important to them, and recording their experiences etc.

Right, to finish, a quick run-through of what I've been up to in the last month - we've had the preliminary meetings to discuss strategies for the 2009 Pop Exhibition; I attended a meeting in Welshpool where we discussed forming a Contemporary Collecting policy for all museums throughout Wales so that we work together; I attended a second Digital Story workshop which we intend to base our community workshops on; I collected the objects from Johnstown for the second community dresser (information about the first is in 'Rhagor' on this website); I visited a couple of museums in Swansea; and I started my MA Museum Studies course.

Whew! By the time I write next month, I will have been to Sweden for their SAMDOK conference, which is the leading contemporary collecting conference in the world. See ya then.