My Blog Post on The National Archives website

Have a look at my blog post on The National Archives website:

From Letters to Lego, Manuscripts to Minecraft“.

In this post I describe what I’ve been getting up to in the world of archives so far in my Transforming Archives Traineeship at the Hull History Centre. Many thanks go to Emma Stagg, Transforming Archives Project Manager, for coordinating these- I’m looking forward to seeing all the other trainee’s posts about their traineeships!

Also have a read of Emma’s blog post “Transforming Archives Traineeships” where she announces the new traineeships for cohort 2.

A Video Tour of the Hull History Centre Recreated in Minecraft

Here’s a quick video I made of the Hull History Centre recreated in Minecraft as part of our HullCraft project. My idea behind recreating the centre in the game was so Minecrafters could be introduced to the concept of archives in an immersive and relatable way, the centre being the first building they see on entry to the HullCraft server.

From the searchrooms to the archive strongrooms, Minecrafters can explore the centre before heading through a portal to plots of land where they will recreate historical architecture from one of the archive’s architectural plans.

My video was recorded using the default texture as to be instantly recognisable as a Minecraft build. It gives a simple tour of the archives and (a very brief!) mentioning of some of the collection themes, hopefully providing an introductory overview of what the Hull History Centre has to offer!

HullCraft at The Space Digital Arts Day

HullCraft Participants
Recreating architecture from the Hull History Centre archives in Minecraft

Last week (19th March) team HullCraft went to Digital Arts Day at The Custard Factory, Birmingham hosted by The Space.

Myself and Joel Mills were invited to hold two HullCraft sessions where delegates could participate in building architectural archives on our live Minecraft server.

It was a fantastic day all about showcasing art and cultural activities using digital technologies and I was particularly excited about the BBC Blue Room’s virtual reality headset display.

Have a look at my post on the Hull History Centre blog to read what we got up to at the event!   I also wrote a blog post “Introducing HullCraft” for The Space website.

Thank you to The Space for hosting a brilliant day, and we are looking forward to bringing HullCraft to more events!

HullCraft Demos
Joel showing participants around the server

We brought our recycled archives box Creeper!

I Presented at the Digital Utopias Conference

On the 20th January I was very fortunate to have presented at the Arts Council’s national conference “Digital Utopias” on the Hull History Centre’s archives engagement project “HullCraft“.

“Digital Utopias was a one-day conference which inspired and sparked debate about how new technologies are enabling creativity across the arts. The conference captured topical and diverse approaches to curation, archiving, collecting and creating from a range of art forms, from the visual arts to theatre”. (Arts Council England)

The conference was held at the Hull Truck Theatre and there were lots of big tech, arts and culture names there, from the Google Cultural Institute to the V&A! See the programme to view a full list of speakers.

As I was there representing the Hull History Centre, you can read my full extended blog post here on the Hull History Centre blog.





Life at the Hull History Centre

Looking at a Francis Johnson architectural plan at the overhead camera
Looking at a Francis Johnson architectural plan at the overhead camera

Lots of exciting things have happened in the past three months since my introductory post working as a trainee at the Hull History Centre under the “Transforming Archives” scheme.

I’ve been blogging on the Hull History Centre’s blog recently where you can read about the HullCraft project (engaging young people with archival material using Minecraft), and my work digitising the Grand Tour diary of Francis Johnson, a local architect.

The National Archives building

In late November I spent a week at The National Archives in Kew which was insightful. It was my first visit and I was accompanied by all the other “Transforming Archives” trainees who are based at different archives services nationally. To read more on my week at The National Archives have a look at my Hull History Centre blog post.

I was also promoting HullCraft at the Platform Expos 2014 at Hull College accompanied by Joel Mills and our recycled archive boxes Creeper and Steve. This was a fantastic day of speaking to gamers and teachers about the project, recruiting new HullCrafters and showcasing the server live on a big screen. The server features a reconstruction of the Hull History Centre and took approximately 18450 blocks to build!

Myself on the HullCraft stand at Platform Expos
Myself on the HullCraft stand at Platform Expos
The Hull History Centre in Minecraft
The Hull History Centre in Minecraft

The next coming year brings lots of events that I would recommend for anyone interested in digitisation and digital heritage.

I have a showcase session with Joel at the Digital Utopias event in Hull on the 20th January 2015. We will be demonstrating the HullCraft project and looking at  re-contextualising archives using Minecraft.

I am also particularly looking forward to attending Digital Pasts 2015 at Swansea, and Minecraft Unplugged in Leeds.

More posts to follow on these events!

Minecraft and Archives : HullCraft

Do you play Minecraft and want to contribute to a real, community project based on the amazing City of Culture that is Hull?

HullCraft is an exciting new heritage project I have been involved with in my work at the Hull History Centre and the University of Hull using Minecraft. We need lots of players to join our server and recreate real historical buildings from Hull’s history, starting with the beautiful Georgian architecture of Bridlington architect Francis Johnson. All of the buildings you will create will be from the archives based at the Hull History Centre, from simple townhouses to elaborate churches.

My Georgian builds in the HullCraft server
My Georgian builds in the HullCraft server

YOUR builds will be used to create a Minecraft world of Hull’s past periods, enabling you to travel back in time, adventure, learn, collaborate and ultimately have fun!

The project is for all ages and suitable for both newbies and Minecraft experts. Parents- if you would like your child to be involved there is information on our website on safeguarding and getting started.

The HullCraft server will have its official launch at the upcoming Platform Expo event in Hull- how exciting! So if you are in Hull on 14th November come and say hi to Joel, Simon and me on the HullCraft stand, we are always looking for players to join the server.

Check out our website on for more information about taking part.

Meanwhile….. Creeper and Steve cause havoc at the Hull History Centre. Read the latest HullCraft blog post to find out why!

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