‘If you are warm and happy in a pile of shit, keep your mouth shut’ – football, poetry and fables in BLDS African port harbour magazines

By Caroline Marchant-Wallis, Daniel Millum and Tracy Wilson

There are many fascinating rabbit holes to explore in the BLDS Legacy Collection, and you often come across them in the most unexpected places. Perhaps this just shows our limited imagination, but when we first came across a run of journals relating to different African ports and harbour authorities our hearts didn’t leap with excitement.

File under “worthy but dull” and move on was definitely the first reaction to a front cover like this:

The front cover of Cameroon Inter-Ports
Credit: BLDS Legacy Collection Project team

And let’s face it, if you were asked what you thought lay within the pages of Cameroon Inter-Ports – Organe du Liaison et d’Information de l’Office National des Ports du Cameroun you’d probably have said the same thing – tables, charts, reports and the odd tedious institutional history.

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‘Are you drunk’ or is there ‘something wrong upstairs in your brain’? : Unparliamentary expressions in Zambia 1964 – 1974

By Caroline Marchant-Wallis, Daniel Millum and Tracy Wilson

We’re taking the opportunity of our (temporary) exile from our beloved BLDS collection (personally given its resemblance to a Cold War nuclear shelter I voted that we should spend the lockdown period in the IDS basement where the collection is housed, but University management thought differently) to spend a bit of time writing about some of the interesting and unusual items we’ve already found as part of the project.

These are found in unlikely sources. At first glance the title The Zambian Parliament 24th October, 1964 to 31st December, 1974 sounds of course worthy of inclusion in the collection, and of interest to scholars of Zambian political history, but possibly a little dry. Yet delving inside shows the Zambian parliament to have been a more colourful and contentious forum than you would expect the official record to reveal.

 The first Cabinet of the Republic of Zambia upon its Independence from Britain on 24th October, 1964. Credit: Mwebantu via The Gambian Observer
The first Cabinet of the Republic of Zambia upon its Independence from Britain on 24th October, 1964. Credit: Mwebantu via The Gambian Observer

In his introduction, President Kenneth Kaunda solemnly states that he has ‘repeatedly reaffirmed our complete confidence and trust in democracy’, and this is followed by a quote from Edmund Burke stating that Parliament should be a deliberative assembly of one nation guided by the general good. However, it appears that not all members had taken this lofty Burkean approach to parliamentary discourse, as can be seen from a brief perusal of appendix one, which contains a list of ‘unparliamentary expressions’ for each year.

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Making the most of your online meetings

By Karen Watson and Adam Harwood

Back in February, myself and Adam agreed to write a blog post about meetings, drawing together all the information, skills and ideas gained from creativity training and out in the world. Lindsay produced a great infographic that you can see here:

Credit: Lindsay Crook

We were going to put this together with some general thoughts we had about attending and chairing meetings. When we chatted about this earlier this year, we were really thinking about the format of meetings. Do we need to sit round a table? Can we go for a walk and talk? Is it OK to move about during a meeting? Move forward a few weeks and here we all are forced out of our meeting rooms into our homes. Having meetings from bedrooms, lounges, kitchen corners.

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Libraries and decolonisation: a conference report

By Alice Corble and Danny Millum

A couple of weeks ago we attended the ‘Decolonising the curriculum –the Library’s role’ conference at Goldsmiths, at which Alice was speaking. Given that the University of Sussex Library is in the process of formulating its own approach to decolonisation, and that this is both an extremely important and yet often frustratingly vague topic, we thought colleagues might be interested in a quick report.

Conference presenters. Photo credit: @ElizabethECharl on Twitter
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