Spirit of Revolt Chair report 2013.

Spirit of Revolt

Chair Report 2013

From the smallest beginnings in August 2011 we have developed very quickly thanks to the hard work and great ideas from volunteers. Through the site people share their memories, photos, knowledge and opinions about libertarian socialism and their experiences of struggle to get social change.

From an initial 5 people we now have over 20 members. Settling in to new formalised routines that none of us are used to has been a steep learning curve but it has enabled us to achieve a huge amount in the time, most of it recently in the past 6 months after we received the funding and employed our first archivist Chris.


Meetings have generally been well attended, with minutes taken and circulated initially by secretary J P who did an outstanding job and was temporarily replaced by J A.

Formal Agreements

Initial discussions with The Mitchell demonstrated their great interest in the project and we were generously given a room for sole use to develop SoR in July 2012. They furnished it and provided everything we asked for. Getting the internet set up was the biggest hurdle. Our system is completely separate from Mitchell and we have no internal links on to their system. Special mention and thanks to John Powles for advice re recruitment of archivist and sheer enthusiasm in pushing things ahead. All equipment was donated except wiring and external hard drives. Equipment is labelled should anyone need to have it back.

Standard City Archives Appraisal Policy and Depositor Agreements were discussed, honed and adapted until we are happy with them and a meeting to finalise this was postponed in December 2012 until March 2013 due to other pressures on time. At all times the Mitchell has been open to negotiation and to trying to accommodate our position on key areas. Although not finalised we are in the final stages of this.


Archive storage material was negotiated with Dr O’Brien and a suitable and generous arrangement agreed. Payment was made in Dec 2012.


Fundraising has been the most time consuming aspect of the project but the most crucial one. Initial success from BANM Trust generated the main wages to employ our archivist for the full term as planned 12 weeks, 2 days per week, however we were able to stretch this to 6 months because of underspends on printing and web site design as well as extraordinary generosity from donations.


Mentoring volunteers was always a central aspect of making the Spirit of Revolt sustainable. In recruiting the archivist we included this in his contract and he has really stepped up in this respect. As well as 2 formal training sessions, Chris has mentored weekly, I archivist and several scanner volunteers. The cataloguing that has been completed by Hartwig and Chris bears both names. Special mention to Keith Millar for organising rotas and keeping the great momentum going that he has established. Where things could be improved Keith has really tried to do so and it shows. Keith has inducted all the new volunteers into scanning and how the system works.


Cataloguing has proceeded at breakneck pace. Car loads of material from parts of Glasgow and Edinburgh have been collected and additionally we have had a donation from New Zealand. To date we have around 14 collections fully catalogued to fond level numbering thousands of items of material. Mostly catalogued by Chris, they include short biographies and are sorted and housed in archive standard storage. They are numbered to ISAD (G) standard and can therefore be entered on to the City Council Public system, becoming accessed by the public for enjoyment and research. Additionally they are uploaded to our catalogue on the website and will eventually link to scanned images for all to use.


The website is now live. The design was decided by the group in the SoR room at a training day. It is being loaded and a special thanks to John Couzin and Kevin Hobbs for hours of hard work tweaking it and getting it all to this stage. It really has been a time consuming job but crucial to the value of the project.


Public exhibition, Radical Presses Clydeside- 100 Years of Autonomous Protest Literature was displayed in the Mitchell Library Foyer, Jan 2013 was attended by @250 visitors, and generated great feedback. From an original idea of displaying a bundle of donated books it tried to make the most of the opportunity by inviting participation from other anarchist collections elsewhere in the city to tell the story of what we have developed on Clydeside over 100 years. Universities of Strathclyde/ Glasgow and Glasgow Caledonia all contributed material sometimes rare items. Warwick University’s rare online pamphlet on the Women’s Movement 1910, and a scan of the Worker by CWC 1916 was given by the TUC archive in London. A portable version of SoR material including the exhibits is now available free for display. The exhibition generated £300 in donations from 2 sources.

Oral Testimony

We piloted 4 oral testimony gathering sessions from John Cooper who talked us through part of his donation. This really brought it to life and linked bits of paper together that might not appear connected at first glance to researchers of the future.

So it has been a year in which we have surpassed any expectations we had and now we have designed and built the structure of the Spirit of Revolt the hard work really starts!!

From our Scoping Project (above) we make the following projections;


• Consolidate mentoring programme identify small clear roles for volunteer archivists, scanners and web-loaders.

• Develop oral testimony gathering from community members.

• Continue to catalogue further deposits including film, legal papers, private letters, rare publications.

• Develop value links from: 1 drama group/ 1writer/ 4 historians/ 2 researchers, increase public participation.

• Complete a short publicity film.


1. Pilot ; Item Level archiving of well known and rare materials by archivist and volunteers

2. Extend oral testimony gathering

3. Consolidate mentoring programme for volunteer archivists working towards autonomy

4. Extend outreach into universities and community/school centres.

We are small, and formal cataloguing of the deposits is key to enabling everyone to access the material. Therefore keeping a qualified archivist is core to volunteers getting experience and to liaising with Mitchell getting catalogues accepted on to their system. Fundraising is becoming a major aspect of the project and establishing an interest group would be helpful. We also decided that an editorial committee for the website would be useful and keep everyone involved in its content and in shaping it. We see this project as an ongoing affair and will continually expand the archive by seeking out new collections and material. Thanks to everyone who has helped to make all of this happen. John Couzin, Chair

Spirit of Revolt – Accounts Report from Treasurer, 2013

The Bank Transactions from 10.07.12 – 14.02.13 are attached and numbered showing a balance of £1212.50. The BANM Trust gave us £5498.00 from which we paid the archivist fees. We have had generous donations of: £97 Scottish Book fair, £500 Glasgow Peoples Press (Web Design), £5 J Cr snr donation, £200 Counter Information, £100 Alasdair Gray, £20 JP, JCn, KM/CB, SR set up money. We gained Compensation from the Banking Ombudsman of £75 for BoS inconvenience. We have monthly standing orders totalling £17 from the JCn and JCr snr. Donors We have had very, very generous donations in kind from; IO’B & EMcG – furniture, shelving etc. Transmission Gallery for free meeting space.KM, SR, JCn, JCr, K H, technology, Tommy , SR, JCn – printing leaflets and banners, flyers, fund application copies, postage, JCr jnr, SR petrol & transportations, SR – layout materials for exhibition, stands, adaptations, KF, Seph, and friend, Bob H for filming and video/Ethernet support ….. Many Thanks! Accounts Report compiled by Stasia Rice, Treasurer.


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