Peel Workshops

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This term, Peel Workshops are exploring topics ranging from technologies to activism to the history of ideas. It is the last chance to sign up for the always popular workshop, "Where Do Our Ideas About Witchcraft Come From?"

In the first workshop in the series, participants enjoyed lots of laughs while hearing Professor Ted Bishop's stories relating to his GG-nominated book, The Social Life of Ink, examining stellar examples of historic inks, and working together to make iron gall ink.

In the second, librarian Dr Linda Quirk shared her research on the first generation of Canadian women to work as professional authors with an enthusiastic crowd. Workshop participants examined early editions and learned about the influencers among the "Canadian Mob of Scribbling Women," and the profound changes they brought about.

Two popular workshops followed on historic "Photographies"led by Professor Andrea Kordaand the Peel team was happy to welcome a large contingent of students from Augustana campus for these. 

In one of the most anticipated workshops in the series, Professor John Considine (English) and Professor Greg Kondrak (Computing Science) offered an opportunity to delve into "The Irresistible Mystery of the Voynitch Manuscript." Workshop participants examined a fine-art facsimile of a Medieval manuscript penned in an encrypted language that has defied scholarly attempts to decipher it over centuries, learned what we do and do not know about this mystery, and heard from the U of A computer scientists who used AI research methods to try to identify the source language. 

Following this, in a workshop entitled "Caring for Your Collections," Peel Conservator Carolyn Morgan introduced basic strategies that can help to protect our treasures from damage and deterioration caused by handling and the environment. Participants were so engaged that they encouraged Carolyn to continue the workshop well beyond the scheduled time. 

These are just a few highlights from the Peel Workshops in January-February 2020. All workshops offer hands-on opportunities to closely examine rare materials for a deeper understanding of book history and print culture, and many inspire participants to think more deeply about issues relating to form and content, medium and message. 

Workshops are open to University of Alberta undergrad and grad students, faculty and staff. Advance registration is required and there are still a few openings available. Link to complete information and online registration here.

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