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Literary Illustration: Conservation, Access, Use (LICAU)


10 December 2007

Image from a news pamphlet on the battle of Flodden Field, printed by Richard Faques (1513)Funded under the AHRC Research Workshops (Museums and Galleries) scheme, LICAU, or Literary Illustration: Conservation, Access, Use, is a series of three interdisciplinary workshops run by CEIR and the Word and Image Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum. The programme combines three sets of key issues which are usually kept apart: curatorial and conservation issues; aesthetic and interpretative issues; contexts and continuities of illustration.

There is an awakening of interest in literary illustration in the academic world, and many illustrated works and collections of illustrations are being brought to public and scholarly notice for almost the first time. Yet libraries and museums are unable to provide the kind of access researchers are beginning to need, are rarely aware of new modes of academic research and, with many other calls on funds, are unable to give the conservation of illustration a high priority. Collections of illustrations are underexploited, but might not survive higher levels of use.

This series of workshops brings together the stakeholders in literary illustration: curators, academic researchers, the creative industries, and practising illustrators, as part of a large effort to raise the standing of illustration in the academy, libraries and museums, and in the public eye. Conservation by digitisation is one rescue technique, and needs expertise from several fields, including ICT, to be successful. In the workshops, the stakeholders will explain their particular needs and forge alliances from which future conservation and research can spring. Unsuspected cultural riches are waiting to be revealed.

The first workshop, on Conservation, was held on 10 December 2007, with the remaining workshops to be held in April/May and June/July 2008.