PhD student awarded a postdoctoral Innovation Placement at the British Library

Lynda Clark, PhD candidate in the School of Arts and Humanities, will help to develop a digital archive of UK Interactive fiction

The exterior of The British Library Knowledge Quarter
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Image courtesy of The British Library

Lynda Clark has been awarded an AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) postdoctoral Innovation Placement at the British Library, thanks to the Midlands4Cities Postdoctoral Training Partnership. Lynda is one of only four to have been awarded an Innovation Placement, which is a project developed between a candidate and an institution of their choice. She will spend the next six months supporting The British Library's ‘Emerging Formats’ project.

Lynda is currently undertaking a critical creative PhD, funded by Midlands4Cities, with the creative portion of her thesis comprising of an interactive online novel that allows readers to shape the life of an aspiring writer. Earlier this year, she was awarded the regional Commonwealth Short Story Prize for her story ‘Ghillie’s Mum’. She will be helping to develop an archive of British interactive fiction and working with the library to define what ‘British Interactive Fiction’ might look like as a genre by linking together stylistic traits or mechanisms common in the texts. Lynda will begin by identifying examples of British Digital Interactive Fiction and then archiving them using the British Library’s existing digital archiving tools, as well as researching into other archiving methods to discover the best approach.

During a previous employability placement with the National Videogame Arcade, Lynda made links with the Digital Curator from the British Library, who directed her to Ian Cooke, Head of British Contemporary Publications. The three worked together to create a proposal which is both beneficial to Lynda’s research but also marks an innovative step in the British Library’s strategy moving forward.

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The Reading Room at The British Library. Image courtesy of The British Library.

Ian Cooke commented: “We are really pleased that Lynda will be joining us at the British Library on an Innovation Fellowship to investigate Interactive Fiction, and web archiving approaches for building a UK collection. This forms part of the Library’s work on Emerging Formats, to respond to the changing and complex environment of new digital publications. This is a new field, and requires innovation to understand the role that libraries can play in collecting and making available this otherwise ephemeral content. Lynda brings an ideal mix of knowledge and experience, both through her academic experience and insight from her PhD research, which focuses on Interactive Fiction, and also as a writer and creator of interactive works.”

Lynda was elated to have been awarded the placement by Midlands4Cities. She told us: “I didn't actually realise how competitive the Innovation Placements were when I applied. When I received notification that our proposal had been successful and how few placements there were I was shocked. If I'd realised how competitive it was, I might have been too intimidated to apply, so there's a lesson in that I think!”

PhD student awarded a postdoctoral Innovation Placement at the British Library

Published on 15 October 2018
  • Subject area: English, history and philosophy
  • Category: Culture; School of Arts and Humanities

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