Diasporic Literary Archives Network: new website

SLA’s long-time partners, the Diasporic Literary Archives Network (DLAN), has launched a new website in 2023.

This follows a decision by the University of Reading to bring DLAN in-house as one of its ongoing research projects.

The new web-address is: https://research.reading.ac.uk/diasporicarchives/

Please amend your bookmarks to the new web-address.

The new website is still under construction, but the listing of diasporic literary collections around the world, which was a major feature of the previous site, can already be found here.

From the website: In November 2013, the network became an approved project of the International Council on Archives, by decision of ICA’s Programme Commission. The Network’s ongoing value and impact is recognised by the University of Reading, and the University will support its continuation into the decade of the 2020s.  Visit the News page to read more about work since 2014 on archives in danger / documentary heritage at risk (work with UNESCO and swisspeace); on Caribbean archives (notably with partners in Grenada and Trinidad & Tobago); and on literary, musical and artistic archives in Africa (Namibia, Malawi, Cape Verde, Cameroon and other countries).

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A Literary Collection in Hungary

The National Széchényi Library in Budapest holds the largest collection of manuscripts and personal papers in Hungary and one of the most significant in Europe.

Among the highlights are a Theatre History Collection and a Music Collection. There is also a remarkable collection of individual letters, not part of any one fonds, numbering over 30,000 items. As the Library website states, the collections represent “first-rate sources for research in 19th-20th century Hungarian history, literature and cultural history.”

The Theatre History Collection is the national reference library for theatre studies and the largest collection of Hungarian theatre literature in Hungary. It collects all library documents related to theatre in Hungary and theatre history documents of Hungarian relevance from abroad. It contains, in particular, the basic sources of Hungarian theatre history, works of art and paper documents that record, perpetuate and recall the ephemeral theatre performances.

The scope and structure of the Theatre History Collection are as follows:

  • the manuscript, reproduced or printed plays, scripts and copies preserving traces of theatrical use made in Hungary or abroad;
  • playbills, posters, programmes and other printed material for prose, musical and dance theatre, as well as related genres (cabaret, orpheum, circus, stuntmen, spectacles, etc.);
  • visual documents related to the theatre: original and reproduced graphic sheets, set and costume designs, theatre photographs forming a Graphics and Set Design Collection and a Photograph Collection;
  • handwritten documents and bequests, limited edition copies or typewritten documents, which are important source documents for theatre history research.

In addition to these, the collection also contains a specialised library of theatre history with around 8,000 volumes and theatre journals from the NSZL General Collection.

The Theatre History Collection of the National Széchényi Library is documented in a representative album published by the Osiris Publishing House: Színháztörténeti képeskönyv (Libri de Libris). Budapest, 2005. 389 pages.

[This post is one of a series. For similar notes about other countries, use the Search box above to look for Austria, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, Hong Kong, Namibia, Nigeria, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Uruguay and Vietnam]

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A Literary Collection in Switzerland

Switzerland is one of the countries which has a dedicated literary archive institution for the country. This is the Swiss Literary Archives.

The Swiss Literary Archives holds a wide range of literary manuscripts and correspondence, both collections and individual items.

More recently it has begun to digitise some of its best known and most popular collections, including the archives of Carl Spitteler, Hans Rhyn, Friedrich Glauser and Rainer Maria Rilke.

The e-manuscripts of Rainer Maria Rilke, for example, can be consulted here.


[This post is one of a series. For similar notes about other countries, use the Search box above to look for Austria, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, Hong Kong, Namibia, Nigeria, Singapore, South Korea, Uruguay and Vietnam]

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Caribbean Literary Heritage project

The website of our sister Caribbean Literary Heritage project is now nearing completion. It includes a cartographic location register of Caribbean literary archives, and innovative new work, notably on recovering forgotten writers and creating a fuller literary history of the Anglophone Caribbean.

The website states that: “Our project is concerned with the Caribbean literary past and is particularly interested in neglected writers and writings at risk of being lost. We want to understand how fuller literary histories can be told and how their sources can be identified, preserved and made accessible. We hope that engaging with living writers across generations to raise awareness around the value of their manuscripts, correspondence and other papers, will help to safeguard future literary histories in the making.”

Visit the Caribbean Literary Heritage website here.

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“You hear my voice as a witness”: A Conversation and Reading with Afghan Writers Dr. Kawa Jobran and Ramin Mazhar

Join the ICA Section on Archives of Literature and Art for its second talk in a new series of speaking events prepared for the last quarter of the year. This project is supported by the International Council on Archives (ICA) through the Programme Commission.   

Event Description: 

Through the power of words writers play a unique role in advocating for human rights. Whether speaking truth to power, giving voice to the voiceless, or speaking out when others are silent, journalists, poets, novelists, and other authors bring important perspectives to society. Yet this work is not without risk, and during times of war and political upheaval, writers may be forced to flee their home country. In this conversation and reading, two Afghan writers, Dr. Kawa Jobran and Ramin Mazhar, will provide insight into how their writing responds to life in Afghanistan, the experience of artists at risk, and reflect on their archival legacies. Dr. Jamila Ghaddar will respond, considering the connections between archives and broader social and political contexts.   


  • Dr. Kawa Jobran 
  • Ramin Mazhar 


  • Dr. Jamila Ghaddar 

Date: Thursday, 1 December 

Time: 9:00am PST. To confirm the date/time of this session in your time zone please use the following link

Register here

This virtual session will be delivered in English. Interpretation into other languages will not be provided.    

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From Paper and Paint to Pixels: Preserving and Providing Access to Born Digital Literature

As part of a new series of speaking events, the Section on Archives of Literature and Art (International Council on Archives) is presenting a panel discussion on preserving and providing access to born digital literature and art. The panel features scholars whose work engages with these issues in the areas of born digital literary archives and interactive media. Topics covered will include innovative preservation methods used for born digital literary archives and electronic literature. Speakers will also address methodologies for accessing and incorporating these unique cultural heritage objects into research. Approaches include using artificial intelligence and machine learning to make born-digital cultural records more accessible to the research community and creating virtual spaces for born-digital literature.

Note: this will be an online panel discussion hosted by the International Council on Archives platform – access details forthcoming.


Dr Dene Grigar (Professor and Director of The Creative Media & Digital Culture Program, Washington State University Vancouver, U.S.A.)

Dr Lise Jaillant (Senior Lecturer in Digital Humanities, Loughborough University, United Kingdom)

Date: Thursday, 3 November 2022

Time: Time: 10:00 am PST (Pacific Standard Time) – use this link to confirm the date/time of this session in your time zone.

Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwsde2rqDoiGtziSiPkrql6OcvUxKX4waEl

This virtual session will be delivered in English. Interpretation into other languages will not be provided.

This project is supported by the International Council on Archives (ICA) through the Programme Commission. 

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Disputed Archival Heritage

SLA members will be interested to learn of the publication (October 2022) of a new book entitled Disputed Archival Heritage, edited by James Lowry.

The book is available on open access here.

Among the essays included the one entitled ‘Diasporic, Displaced, Alienated or Shared: Caribbean Literary Archives‘ by John A. Aarons and Helena Leonce may be of special interest. It is closely connected with many of the interests and activities of SLA members, including the SLA session at ICA Mexico City.

The new book will be widely welcomed, and its availability on open access should ensure a wide readership.

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Upcoming ICA-SLA business meeting and tour of Keats-Shelley House

ICA-SLA will be hosting a tour and business meeting at the upcoming ICA Roma conference.  We warmly welcome those SLA Members to join us who will be at the conference in Rome.  For those who are unable to attend, please stay tuned, as the Steering Committee is currently planning a few virtual events for this Fall. 

What:   Tour of the Keats-Shelley House with the Section on Archives of Literature and Art (SLA). All ICA members welcome.

When: Monday, 19 September 2022, 5:00 pm / 17:00.

Where: Keats-Shelley House, Piazza di Spagna, 26, Rome

Cost:      €6.00

RSVP:    Please RSVP to Heather Dean (hdean@uvic.ca) as space is limited. 

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What do we mean by Literary Archives?

As we look forward to the ICA Rome conference, to meetings of our Section, and to meetings with colleagues who may be considering joining our Section, it may be useful to try to define what we mean by Literary Archives.

This is the definition used by the British group known as GLAM (Group for Literary Archives and Manuscripts):

GLAM defines ‘literary’ as creative writing in all genres, whether or not intended for publication, including:

  • Poetry
  • The novel
  • Other forms of fiction (including short stories and novellas)
  • Other prose writing, such as essays and letters by or relating to ‘literary’ figures
  • Writing for drama, in the theatre, or for radio, television and film
  • Life writing, including literary biography, autobiography and self-representation
  • The writing of criticism (both theoretical and practical) relating to creative writing, including editing, reviewing and the histories of literature
  • The process of publishing or otherwise supporting the production and dissemination of literature

The definition is intended to hold good regardless of format. It includes book proofs, therefore, and both born-digital and digitised formats.

Do we have a similar definition for Artistic Archives?

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First International Meeting of Art Archives

A new initiative on art archives in Latin America is underway at the Pontificia Universidad Católica of Chile. Organised by Alejandra Wolff, a painter and Director of the Archivo y Patrimonio de la Facultad de Artes at the Pontificia Universidad Católica, the initiative held the First International Meeting of Art Archives on 28 April 2022. The program included representation from the Section on Literary and Artistic Archives, as well as speakers from Argentina, Perú, México, Colombia and Chile. The organisers’ goals include creating a network of art archives in Latin America and the development of policies and practices supporting regional work on art archives.

For more about this project, please see the news item on the Facultad de Artes website: ‘Faculty of Arts UC presents the 1st International Meeting of Arts Archives’.

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