Now the project is coming towards its end, I can see that working on the Student Curator Project at Surrey has definitely been one of the more creative activities I’ve managed to undertake during my PhD research. As so many libraries, universities and archives were closed to visitors during the various Covid-19 lockdowns, I’ve rarely had the opportunity to get beyond the essential reading and writing that has so far been the core of my PhD studies.
The Student Curator Project definitely enabled me to step outside of this day-to-day work. Not only has it been a great way to distil an aspect of my research into something more succinct and digestible, but it also lead me down several new areas of potential research that might help improve the overall direction of my thesis. It was also a fantastic experience to work in collaboration with Surrey Library on the project, and to see new reading materials arrive that will now form part of their permanent collections.
Going forward, I hope to explore some of the new research possibilities that came to me whilst putting together this display, potentially in the form of a Working-Class Studies Conference. It was great to see some of the books on my display had been checked out by students too – hopefully this will increase engagement with working-class materials in the library on a permanent basis!
For anyone interested in putting together a proposal for the Student Curator Project, I would definitely recommend it. A big thank you to Surrey Library for having this kind of project in the first place, and ensuring student-staff collaboration remains an essential part of how they organise their collections.