We had an absolutely wonderful day on 6th February and if you were able to attend, we thank you for your company and hope you enjoyed the day too. If you were not able to attend you can find the speaker’s podcasts and presentations on our Media page, but here’s a taste of the events of this great day.
The event was introduced by Helen Shenton, Trinity College Librarian and Archivist, and was attended by over 120 people with thirteen speakers ranging from experts in the field of history of art, to world leaders in digital humanities. The morning session focused mainly on the history of art aspect of the project (the “analogue”) and the keynote speaker was Nicola Gordon-Bowe. Nicola is the world’s leading expert in Harry Clarke and gave a wonderful presentation on the life of this amazing stained glass artist and the progression of his work; even describing how she got “stuck on a windowsill at a wedding trying to get close to a Harry Clarke window”.
The keynote speaker for the afternoon (“digital”) session was Simon Tanner from King’s College London, one of the leading experts in digital humanities and Director of Digital Consulting at the College. His paper reflected on the huge benefits and many challenges associated with digitization, and reflected on his past experiences of digitising stained glass windows.
Other papers discussed the global reach of the Clarke Studios, particularly Africa, America and New Zealand; the contribution of digital collections to humanities research; the cultural context of stained glass windows in Ireland; and also practical demonstrations from Ken and Muriel Ryan. Ken and Muriel from the Abbey Stained Glass Studio brought along a wide variety of props, examples of stained glass windows and working designs. They also displayed a sample of shattered Harry Clarke glass they gathered at St. Mel’s Cathedral in Longford, after the fire of Christmas Day 2009, which totally destroyed the Church along with the original windows. It was fantastic to have such a variety of speakers contributing to the day and engaging with each other; connecting the analogue and digital world of research and stained glass windows.
The Symposium also engaged the online community through Facebook and Twitter. With the hashtag ‘#ClarkeStudios’, attendees tweeted pictures, interesting points or general comments about the day. This use of social media was a great way to document the day and encourage further engagement with the digital collection. A brilliant Storify was created and clearly shows the positive experience of speakers and attendees. We encourage you to continue tweeting, commenting and using the Clarke Studios digital collection to engage with and inspire other researchers interested in the Harry Clarke Studio “Digital” and “Analogue” Archive.