Reinvention Thriving in the 21st Century

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 11:40:00 GMT

Dr Martyn Walker, a Principle Lecturer based in the University’s School of Education and Professional Development recently attended the Independent Libraries and Mechanics’ Institute International Conference hosted in San Francisco ‌

‌4th-6th November 2016. The event is titled ‘Reinvention: Thriving in the 21st Century’ and Dr Walker was invited as one of the international speakers.  His talk was entitled ‘No More Admirable Building Could be provided for Such a Purpose’: A Study of Several Mechanics’ Institutes and How They Have Been Adapted for Twenty-First Century Britain.

Over 30 papers were presented with delegates from several American States, Australia, Canada, England and Wales. Dr Louisa Yates, Director of Collections and Research, from Gladstone’s Library presented a paper on how it was being revitalised for the 21 century and Martyn passed on best wishes on behalf of the School. The themes of the Conference were divided into three:

  • Practical Skills for a Successful Future (Digitization, Disaster Planning, Growth and Marketing
  • Keeping viable, staying relevant and thriving
  • Future Ready

The conference was not historical but how the Movement can continue to support education and library services. Dr Martyn Walker’s paper looked at several surviving institutes in Britain under the themes of education, public buildings and the community, he was also invited to launch his book ‘The Development of the Mechanics’ Institute Movement in Britain and Beyond’ which includes a chapter on overseas development and several institutes in the States are mentioned, including this one in San Francisco. Dr Walker says that one of the goals of the book is to provide today’s educationalists and trainee teachers with special insights.

Eve Hartley (pictured below) who is a Postgraduate Researcher within the School of Music, Humanities and Media at the University had her paper accepted. Her work relates to the impact and influence of institutes on industrial design and art in Britain during the Nineteenth Century. Eve’s paper related to digitising documents and developing websites for heritage projects.‌

To read more on Dr Martyn Walker's book you can read a further article here.


‌‌San Francisco Mechanics’ Institute today Dr Martyn Walker

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