Thursday, 12 December 2013

World AIDS Day 2013: Gems of the Collection revisited

This is a belated thank you to all those who attended both the Gems of the Collection and evening seminar on 2nd December to mark World AIDS Day 2013. The two events allowed us to showcase some of the items within the collections currently being catalogued in the School archives. It was great to see people engaging with the collections and also to meet a number of people who are currently studying or researching the disease.

The lunchtime Gems session attracted around 47 people and included items from each of the six collections along with a sample of the Library's HIV/AIDS pamphlets and books. Items included:

  • An array of documents relating to Peter Piot's tenure as Executive-Director of UNAIDS including the first newsletter of the organization and a series of his travel files that conveyed the hectic, global role the position entailed. The material also included a letter from former President Thabo Mbeki to Piot describing at length his understanding of AIDS in 2000, when the South African government would not endorse the view that HIV caused AIDS.

  • Within the AIDS Social History Programme material on display there was public health campaign material from both UK and European governments collected from the 1980s-1990s. 

 The Programme was co-directed by Professor Virginia Berridge and is a great resource for examining HIV/AIDS within the United Kingdom thanks to its mixture of publications and reports from central government, local government and voluntary groups about tackling the epidemic.

  • The papers of Professor Kaye Wellings' provide a wealth of information about AIDS public health campaigns in Europe and it's extensive newspaper clippings document the early reporting and hysteria within the popular press. 

          Relating to this the Centre of Sexual and Reproductive Health collection highlight the visual power of the AIDS public health campaigns through the posters, postcards, badges and condom packages produced by European countries in the 1980s-1990s.

          It also shows the range of mediums used to convey public health messages most notably the use of graphic novels in Belgium and Italy respectively.

  • This sample of the SIGMA research archives documents the lobbying efforts of the group to lower the age of homosexual consent to be equal to heterosexual age of consent in 1994. The archive contains a number of letters received from serving MP's both expressing their support and opposition to the amendment. 

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