Past Events

Digitising the Paul Mellon Centre's Photo Archive


  • 13 November 2018
  • 10:00 – 4:00 pm
  • Paul Mellon Centre

The Paul Mellon Centre (PMC) is currently in the process of digitising its institutional photographic archive collection. Since 1964, the Centre has amassed a collection of approximately 150,000 images of British paintings, decorative painting, sculpture and prints. The resulting images will be made available for research through a new online collections website. The key aims of this project are:

  • the preservation of an important resource that has been a core part of the Centre’s activity since its foundation
  • provide enhanced access to this material as a digital resource, both on- and off-site
  • enable new research projects and discoveries
  • produce high quality images for researchers to use free of charge in teaching, study and publication

The purpose of this workshop is to explore the potentials and challenges of using digitised photo archive materials and we invite academics, researchers, curators, conservators, collection managers, educators, arts professionals, photographic experts and digital technologists to take part in this roundtable discussion about the digital future of the PMC’s photo archive.

Topics that might be covered include:

  • How are photo archive materials used in 2018? How will they be relevant to researchers in the future? How do researchers use photo archives? What are they looking for? How might digitisation help them to search the collections?
  • What tools (e. g. image comparison tools) and search facilities would be useful for researchers consulting the photo archive online?
  • What are the benefits and/or losses of viewing this collection online?
  • How should this material be presented on a digital platform?
  • What extra material might the PMC provide alongside the digitised images to facilitate research?
  • What can this collection tell us about the historiography of British art and the development of the study of British art and architecture?
  • Is this material of interest to those outside of the field of British art history, i.e. photographic historians or practicing artists?
  • Could digitisation enhance how this collection might be used by conservators?

This will be an interactive workshop and all participants will be expected to contribute to the discussion.

To register your interest in participating in this event, please email [email protected] by 12th October. We envisage that the workshop will run across a day from 10am – 4pm. Lunch, refreshments and some travel expenses will be provided. Places are limited, so please register your interest in attending and provide a short paragraph outlining your interest in this project or photo archives more generally.