MacDonald, Juliet (2014) Shelf lives: Drawing out letters from World War I. Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, 7 (3). pp. 359-374. ISSN 1753-5190

This article concerns the initial stages of an art residency with the Liddle Collection, an archive of World War I interviews, documents and related objects at Leeds University Library’s Special Collections. The Collection, which has been awarded Designation for its international significance, was founded by historian Peter Liddle in the 1970s, and is centred on personal testimonies of wartime experiences. After outlining its history and current situation, the article focuses on my modes of entry into this large body of material. The Collection has a catalogue and cross-referencing subject index. With reference to Spieker, I consider how they shape the archive as I encounter it. Three writing/drawing methods (making notes, drawing diagrams and writing lists) have been used as a means to immerse myself in the Collection, map and process it as an artist. Finally, I consider Christov-Bakargiev’s idea of the ‘distracted archive’ as a model to take forward.

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