Hope Fulton has been appointed as our full-time archivist and will initially oversee the cataloguing and digitization of our archival material. Once this complicated process is completed, our collection will be made accessible to researchers both physically and via on online catalogue.
This month we have also begun leading free historical tours of Riverside Studios, during which we share the stories behind our buildings’ plaques, guide participants through our photographic exhibition and allow some behind-the-scenes access. As a parting gift, each attendee is given a full set of our popular Riverside Icons coasters.
Additionally, we have been added to Hammersmith & Fulham’s Black History Trail, which means we accommodate visiting local school parties and introduce them to stories and visual material celebrating black artists who have worked at Riverside, including Eartha Kitt and Benjamin Zephaniah.
Our first archive volunteer has been appointed to assist our archivist Hope with cataloguing the contents of our 300+ archive boxes. Here, Holden tells us about the sort of work he’s been involved with so far:
“I was delighted to become a volunteer in the archives at Riverside Studios this summer. Working in close co-ordination with Hope Fulton, the senior archivist, has been a gratifying and educational experience so far, and I am looking forward to learning more in my time here. In the weeks that I have been working at Riverside I have witnessed the archive gradually taking shape, transforming from a collection of boxes housing unknown and indeterminate materials into an archival catalogue that will be used to assist budding historians, researchers, artists and beyond. I have really enjoyed being part of this unravelling, and I am grateful to Hope and Daniel, the Projects Manager, for allowing me to assist in this process.
The archive itself is full of interesting documents and is a wonderful resource. Through internal briefing documents, press releases and cuttings you can chart the careers of the many actors, musicians and artists who performed and exhibited at Riverside over the years, and there is a real thrill in opening a box, uncertain of what or who might pop out. Riverside itself is a fascinating institution, and it has been edifying charting the stages of its life. It has metamorphosed from a TV studio used by the BBC to an arts centre presenting the best in European dance, through to a multimedia space with a cinema, TV studio and space for performing arts, now with a marvellous temperature-controlled archive to boot. Working in the archive makes you aware of the difficult decisions involved in these transformations in the appeals for funding, fight against budget cuts, and desire to stay relevant to audiences in rapidly changing times.
If this process sounds interesting to you, I would really recommend volunteering in the archives and learning more about the various, meandering histories that constitute Riverside Studios.”