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July 23, 2014
Although the "Africa's Sons Under Arms" doesn’t officially start until October, most of the team gathered today at the British Library - Warwick's institutional partner for this project - where there was plenty of good advice on hand. We discussed databases and digitisation with Aquiles Brayner (Digital Curator) and heard about the presence of West Indian materials among the India Office Records from Margaret Makepeace (Senior Archivist). We also met with Carole Holden and Matt Shaw, part of the BL’s curatorial team for the Americas and Australasian collections, who came to Warwick two summers ago when we started to make our original plans to work on the West India Regiments. Their colleague Beth Cooper (Curator for Latin American Studies) was there too and it was good to hear that there's lots of potential for scholarly synergies between a collaborative PhD that she will be co-supervising with Richard Huzzey at Liverpool University and the PhD students attached to our project. Indeed, joining the project team for the first time today was Melissa Bennett who will be starting a PhD on ‘Picturing the West India Regiments in an Age of Unrest, Civil War and Tourism, c.1850-1914’ in autumn, working with me and Phil Hatfield. The team also met with Ria Bartlett (Learning Programmes Manager) who heads the BL's Learning Team. They run visits to the Library for school children and workshops for teachers. Both kinds of educational outreach are central to the "Africa's Sons Under Arms" project and the Learning Team will play a crucial role when we engage with schools in London and the Midlands. Indeed, Ria will be joining the project’s Advisory Board. We also started making plans for a couple of launch events for the project, one at Warwick in autumn and something more substantial at the BL in the New Year...