I’m currently laid up in bed coughing, while a whole heap o’ work hangs over my head. I’m considering putting a picture of my Halloween costume from the year before last* in the powerpoint for a conference paper, which probably means I’m delirious.

Anyway, for your delectation, here are some recent(ish) Things I have Made and Done.

*I was working from home and taped an EEBO printout to my face.

1. Something about NEWS

I made a painting for my supervisor and took a picture of it. My phone camera being top quality, it’s a little blurred and stuff, but hey ho. Click on it to make it bigger, if you so desire.


How to have fun: 1. draw Ben Jonson

2. Something about LOVE

My lovely friends got married and they like science fiction (this is an understatement) so I made them this. Apologies for the flash – I didn’t think to take the picture until I’d framed it, and for some reason my phone camera does not like to focus without the flash. Yes, I should get a scanner, but that’s become a running joke now, right? Click on this one, too, if you’d like to see some exhaustively-researched Time Lord outfits.

jim and swyrie

Dracula is tiny, this is CANON

3. Something about TASTY FAILURE

Last month I attended the rather excellent Failure in the Archives conference run by the also rather excellent Centre for Editing Lives and Letters (see Liesbeth Corens’s Storify for tweets from the conference!). I’d managed to fail (heh) to sign up in time, but emailed the redoubtable organiser, Brooke Palmieri, to see if I could come along anyway – and the answer was yes, if I baked something (there’s a bit of tradition of home-made baked goods at CELL conferences).

Anyway, I baked some Gingerbread Failures, which had the advantage of being On Theme no matter what shape they turned out to be.

Here they are in situ at tea time, courtesy of Professor Lisa Jardine’s excellent photography skills:

archive failure

And here they all are in my kitchen in Oxford:

archive fail2

archive fail

Have you ever used one of those teeny tiny icing nozzles? …have you strong hands for crushing your enemies?

This might be my favourite:

undefined span

It is EEBO-TCP fanart, that’s what it is

I hope you’re all having a more healthful and productive Thursday than I am having *coughs* *watches another gif of a happy boston terrier*



The Permissive Archive

Do you like archives? Of course you like archives. All the best people like archives.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters (CELL), my PhD colleagues and I are organising a one-day conference on archival research dealing with anything in the period 1500-1800. It’s at Queen Mary, University of London, on 9 November 2012 (which is a Friday, so you can come and make a weekend of it in glorious Olympics-free London). We’d love you to join us! Yes, you. The lovely person reading this on their computer screen. There will be papers, and stellar refreshments, and dancing girls… (maybe not the latter, unless I have too much conference wine).

The Call for Papers is below – the deadline is 31 July, in just over two weeks time. So please get sending! And registration will soon be available. Please check out our conference website at http://permissivearchive.wordpress.com/ and the CELL website at http://www.livesandletters.ac.uk/ for more information.

Meanwhile, a comic answering a question I’ve been asked a few times…

And the Call for Papers:

The Permissive Archive, Queen Mary University of London, 9 November 2012

For ten years, the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters (CELL) has pioneered original archival research that illuminates the past for the benefit of the modern research community, and beyond. To celebrate this anniversary, in early November 2012 we will be holding a conference examining the future of the ‘Permissive Archive’.

The scope of archival history is broad, and this conference seeks presentations from a wide range of work which opens up archives – not only by bringing to light objects and texts that have lain hidden, but by demystifying and demonstrating the skills needed to make new histories. Too long associated with settled dust, archival research will be championed as engaged and engaging: a rigorous but permissive field.

We welcome proposals for papers on any aspect of early modern archival work, manuscript or print, covering the period 1500 – 1800. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • The shape of the archive – ideology and interpretation
  • The permissive archive: its definition and its past, present and future
  • Alternatives to the permissive archive
  • Archival research as discovery or construction
  • The archive which challenges or disrupts
  • Uncatalogued material – how to find it, how to access it, how to use it
  • New findings
  • Success and failure
  • Broken or dispersed collections
  • The archive and the environment
  • The archivist and the historian
  • The ethics of the archive
  • The comedy of the archive
  • Order and anarchy

Please send 300-word proposals to hjgrahammatheson@gmail.com. Deadline July 31st.

Submissions are not limited to the 20-minute paper. CELL will be holding a workshop on the use of archival materials, and we are keen to hear from scholars with ideas for alternative presentations such as group sessions, trips or guided walks. Submissions will be peer-reviewed by Professor Lisa Jardine.

You can also download a PDF of the Call for Papers here